Pros: Simple card game, kids enjoy playing
Cons: Not a lot of challenge for adults in sequential play
Santa Claus was looking to even out the number of gifts without spending a lot of money. A card game seemed a likely candidate, but finding one we didn't already own was a challenge. I settled on Qwitch for my 6 year old daughter.
There are two sets of cards, the direction cards and the Qwitch cards. The Qwitch cards have a letter and number on the index. One Qwitch card is set in the middle of the table and the remaining 63 cards are distributed evenly among all of the players. Players draw the top 5 cards from their pile and use these for the first round. Each player must match a card in their hand to the card in the middle. Cards are matched based on the direction card shown, minus, plus or equal. If a plus is showing players must play a card that is one up form the one on table. For example, if a card with C6 is showing you must play a card with either a D or a 7. If a minus is showing players would need to play a card with either a B or a 5. An equal sign means players must match the letter or number showing. If a player cannot make a match they must pass. When no player can make a match or someone plays all of their cards, the round is over. Players draw cards from their pile to once again have five cards in their hands and a new direction card is turned over. The first player to play all of their cards is the winner. Qwitch is for 3-6 players ages 7 and up.
Qwitch is a simple but fun card game. My daughters definitely enjoy playing this game although they struggle more than I ever would have expected to determine which letter or number they need to play. At 6 and 8 they both know their alphabet forward and backward (literally) but it seems that when they have to think about both the letter and the number they get confused. I've found it easier to just announce the letter or number they need. While I am sure they could do it if given enough time to think about it the game goes much faster if I help out. Games take about 20 minutes to complete which seems just about right for this type of game.
Surprisingly, no one gets upset when they don't have a match and have to pass. I think that is because, with a maximum of 5 cards in your hand at a time, everyone gets stuck from time to time. Since the numbers and letters on the cards only go up to 8 and H there is a rather small pool of cards so if a player has to pass once, they often can play at their next turn.
For older players, Qwitch can be played without taking turns. Players must play matching cards as quickly as possible. Until my daughters are more comfortable with quickly determining the next possible cards based on the direction cards, taking turns works much better for us.