Dicebreaker Recommends: Cube Quest, a board game that lets you conquer a kingdom with a single finger
Flicking of my heart.
Cube Quest: Clash for the Crown is chess as snooker. Armed with a handful of plastic cubes and your most accurate digit - you can take your pick as to index or middle - you and another player take it in turns to flick cubes across the game's board to push each other's king cube off the neoprene mat. The first to do so wins.
It's not just about the flicking, mind. There's also a dash of strategy in the mix. You have two different types of units: a dozen orc-like grunts and four armoured strikers. (Variant rules introduce more complex units like healers.) The difference between the two - other than their appearance - comes into play once they cross into enemy territory. Any cube that successfully lands on the opposite half of the board with a picture of its unit face-up is safe and stays where it is. Any cube that lands with a silhouette showing, however, is captured by the enemy and must be rolled like a die. A face returns it to your own castle ready to be propelled back into the fray, while a silhouette sees it removed from the game for good.
This means that playing it safe and trying to tactically slide your cubes into battle like particularly awkward curling stones can be just as viable as going for broke with full-force shots aimed at smashing through your opponent's defences and scattering their cubes across the table - your own fingertip accuracy permitting, of course.
What makes this back-and-forth of plastic projectiles even better is the way you have the chance to construct your own defences during setup, arranging your cube attackers and defenders however you like around your king in their castle. Playing with seasoned Cube Quest players inevitably sees more and more elaborate layouts emerge, with the simple rules giving way to hilariously ambitious formations and attempts to bend the rules of physics to your advantage. Why not try arranging multiple cubes into a shotgun-like blast propelled by a single flick? Or using other cubes as a cannon to keep shots on target? It's still technically within the rules! Or sending a warrior soaring over a wall of defenders, like a pinpoint free kick in football?
Like dexterity game classics such as Jenga, Cube Quest's rules can be understood in an instant - you already know how to play having read this article - and matches rarely take longer than 15 minutes to play out, so it's a perfect party game crowd-pleaser. You can easily play in teams, too - just take turns flicking, and watch people line up to have their shot.
The potential for silly moments and laughs as cubes go flying is high, but you'll also find yourself applauding perfectly-placed shots that land just right, sending your opponent(s) into a worried state of check before they knock your attacker away or spend their turn to reset a wandering king back to the safety of their castle.
It all looks fantastic, too, thanks to the bright game mats that make up the two halves of the verdant kingdom and the light-but-solid-enough cubes you'll be flicking. Judging how far the dinky cubes will fly is half the fun at first, as an overzealous ping sends them splashing into drinks, down the back of sofas or into your opponent themselves. As your confidence grows, you'll find yourself stretching across the board or cockily contorting your arm into a playbook of trick shots with varying results on the table but guaranteed entertainment around it.
Whether you're completely new to dexterity board games or already a pro at pinging cardboard and plastic across the tabletop, Cube Quest puts the 'king' into 'flicking good' - it's one of the best dexterity games out there, and well worth a place in your collection.
Cube Quest: Clash for the Crown was released a few years ago by Gamewright (the same publisher behind Sushi Go!), so requires a little seeking out to find nowadays. It can be found on the likes of Amazon.com and other online board game retailers. Pick up a copy and make yourself flick-happy.