Wednesday, 16 March 2016

A list of games taken to Testbash

Testbash in Brighton was yet again a highly organised and community based testing conference.

Signup for the Ministry of Testing Dojo to see the talks, which should be available soon.

At a pre-testbash meetup in Brighton I was asked by Rosie if I would not mind bringing some of my collection of games along. That may have had something to do with having a big interest in games and how they can be useful for testers to improve creative and critical thinking skills.

After the conference I had a few requests for a list of the games that I brought along to the Testbash gaming evening.  To provide a reference I have created this page to list the games I brought along and some I did not due to limited luggage space.  All the links are for the UK version of Amazon unless otherwise stated.


A wonderful abstract communication game with highly detailed artwork.  The purpose of the game is to describe the card you have to enable some of the players to have a good idea of what your card is.  There is a twist, you want to communicate so only a few people get it, but provide enough information to make sure that no-one does not get it. If everyone guesses your card or no-one guess your card then no points are awarded. A useful game about communication and providing enough information. It comes with many expansions which can be seen when looking at the main link.


Quirkle is a cross between dominoes and the card game SET (See below).  You place tiles that meet a set of rules.  The tiles placed in a single line have to be either same colour, different shape OR same shape different colour.   You score double points for getting a set of six, a quirkle!  A great game but needs good lighting and a lot of space!  One of my current go to games for a bit of fun and lateral thinking skills.

Quirkle Cubes

Quirkle cubes takes that concepts of quirkle and adds a random element and the ability to use a different strategy.  Unlike the original quirkle you can now see other players hands and can choose on your turn to roll some of your cubes to change the hand you have. This version require a lot more thought about tactics.


This seems to be the 'go to' testers game of choice.  A game of visual perception, where you have to find a set of three that matches the rules of the game.  A set is three cards where either the feature is the same or the feature is different on all cards. A feature is either colour, shape number or shade.

Fluxx & Star Flux

A card game of ever changing rules where the object is to have cards, keepers, that meet the goals.  However the goals can and do change along with the rules as well. I do have the board game version of this which is fun since the board changes as well as the rules and goals.

Fluxx Dice

Fluxx dice is an expansion for the fluxx card game which adds an extra dimemsion. By rolling the dice you change the draw and play rules every single hand. Adds a great new random dynamic to the game.

Ice Dice

Ice dice or ice pyramids is a set of dice and pyramids which can be used for a variety of games. The most common one for testers is to play Zendo. This game is where a master sets a rule and shows an example of the rule and an example that does not meet the rule.  The student has to try and work out the rule by building their own pyramids and ask if it meets the rule or not.  A wonderful deductive game to challenge the mind and expand the investigative skills of testers.

Colt Express

One of my favorite games at the moment.  Each player has a bandit trying to take loot from a train whilst avoid the marsh and other bandits.  Each player has aset of action cards that they select at random.  These actions cards such as punch, fire, move, steal and so on are player during a round.  A round has a series of turns.  Some of the actions are played face up for all to see and some are placed face down.  At the end of the turn section, the action cards are played one at a time and the action carried out for that player.  It is fun to watch as some thought goes into what actions to play depending on where your bandit is, however it never quite works out as your expect.  This to me has alot in common with coding, we create what we think works only to find it ends up in a big mess.  Highly recommend this game for all testers!


A fast paced game where there are no turns.  You try to place your cards down that match the play decks by matching either colour, shape or number.   The first to get rid of there cards wins.  An ideal game for improving your pattern spotting skills.  One of the reasons I got this game was based upon an article by James Bach - Quick Oracle - Blink Testing.


This card game needs a lot of space to play and can become very hectic.  All the cards are placed on the table and then they are turned to the other side, they are double sided cards. Each player gets a rule card which shows what they need to have facing up at the end of the round.  They could be looking for a color, number or shape.  The first round is colour, then shape and finally number.  A timer is set and everyone starts to turn cards over using one hand.  The aim is to have as many of the cards facing up that matches your own rule. This is a quick and face paced game where it quickly becomes manic! You need lots of room to play this game and it is based on quick visual perception.

Rory Story Cubes

Rory story cubes are little dice with pictures on each face.  The dice are rolled then the players one at a time pick up a cube and using the picture that is face up start to tell a story, they leave it on a cliff hanger for the next player to pick a cube and continue the story.  Once the last cube is selected the person who picks this provides an ending to the story. These cubes are great for creative play and improving story telling skills.

Story Wars

A wonderful game in which two teams battle it out to convince an impartial judge why their character(s) should win. They is magical lands, characters and special weapons to use.  This game is useful for those wanting to improve their influencing and convincing communication skills.

This is quite an expensive game at the moment, I picked it up in the USA for $15.   You can obtain a PDF to printout for free from the manufacturers website see here.


I have previously done an in depth review of this game on this blog spot. See here.


A quick game of spotting the same item on a different card.  You place two cards face up and the first to spot the same image on both cards wins those cards.  A clever game where every card has an image that is on another card. What makes it tricky is the images could be bigger or smaller or rotated.  Another game that improves the visual perception of the players.


This is another visual percetion game where the players try to match one of the two characters in their hand with the game cards.  There are no turns and the first to get a match keeps goig until they have no cards left and are declared the winner.


Cubu is an intense game of following a sequence of colours and numbered squares with the aim to get rid of all your cards before the other player does.  This game requires a lot of concentration to be able to workout which way would be best for your sequence and to throw a proverbial spanner in the works there are action cards which can force you to miss turns, pick up more cards and other actions that inhibit your chances of winning.


  1. John, I played SET, Cubu and Dixit. All of them were fun and challenging. For me Dixit was the most fun one, I like how it makes you use your imagination. Do you know the "Dark Stories" games? I like those too, really taps into your creativity and imagination. But you can only play them once :-) At least if you have a good memory

    1. Thank you for your reply Philip - not heard of Dark Stories but will take a look.

  2. As mentioned on Twitter, I recently picked up Diavolo (by the same folk as Dobble) - which is kind of a lite version of The Dice Game. A worthwhile addition to your list I suspect.

    As an aside, I use many of these games with my (homeschooled) children, all three of whom are currently <10yrs. They particularly enjoy Set, Dobble and Fluxx - and as your article makes clear, there's plenty of lessons to be learned at the same time as having some fun.

    1. Thank you Simon - Do you have shares in Diavolo (wink)? It is on my wish list so hopefully will get it at Christmas :o)