Do you have control issues? Does the idea of relying on others to achieve your goals make your skin crawl? Are you the type of person who detests group projects and ends up doing everything because your teammates won’t do their portion of the work up to your level of expectations? Well, have I got a game for you!

Quirky Circuits by designer Nikki Valens and published by Plaid Hat Games is a cooperative action programming game for 2 – 4 players, and each mission plays in about 15 to 30 minutes. Quirky Circuits boasts 21 scenarios across 4 different characters to test your mental mettle and optimization skills. Each scenario will offer different objectives, from cleaning house while avoiding vases, to preparing and delivering sushi to hungry customers.

Released in 2019, Quirky Circuits sports an adorable calico on the box atop a roomba, chasing down a dust bunny as chaos reigns in the background. The cover and art by Danalyn Reyes is bright and colourful through the production. With 4 different characters, each sporting their own deck of action cards, depicting how the character is performing the action on the card. There’s charm and cuteness throughout the entire production that is sure to attract anyone passing by your table.

To play Quirky Circuits, all players told the only communications allowed are ‘BEEP BOOP”, and then are dealt an equal number of action cards. Players play their cards face down into a queue along the bottom of the board and after each player has played at least one card, they can indicate their intention of being ‘done’ by placing their hands flat on the table and passive-aggressively spew beeps and boops at the players who are needlessly pushing fate.

Once all players have agreed to end the round, the queue of actions is flipped up and executed. Once the command has been entered, there is no going back! After the queue has been exhausted, the cards are swept up, shuffled, and redistributed. The battery marker that acts as the game timer depletes by a single stage, and players continue on their quest.

Quirky Circuits is the kind of game that makes you assess why you’re coming to the gaming table. If the goal of the game is to win, making sure everyone is on the same page with priorities and strategies prior to playing is essential, as conflicting priorities will literally spin your character around in circles. If your goal is to have fun, then removing that fog of war also leaks the fun out of the game. I’d argue a perfectly played game is just an exercise in sorting cards. Yes, winning feels good, but overcoming the puzzle against all odds is immensely satisfying, and even losing in a spectacular fashion is more fun than following a pre-determined strategy and winning every-time.

The chaos and silliness is the beating heart of Quirky Circuits. We played a game where we were on the precipice of winning. It was the final turn possible, everyone played all their cards. By some stroke of luck, we sucked up the final dust bunny and were headed for home. We narrowly made it back to the spot adjacent to the final square. All that was left was to turn left, then move forward a single space. We flipped the second last card, it was a turn right. With dejected and heavy hearts, we flipped the final card, which was a move backwards. Elated, we threw our hands in the air, celebrating and laughing at our stroke of luck! The joy and full bellied laughter was an experience that most games can’t even come close to.

I’ve played a few other limited communication cooperative games, The Mind by Wolfgang Warsch, Magic Maze by Kasper Lapp, and The Crew: The Quest for Planet Nine by Thomas Sing are all games that I’ve enjoyed in the past. All feature limited communication, and share the same core joy of overcoming the puzzle through telekinesis, or pure luck. Where Quirky Circuits stands above these other titans is in its emergent narrative. Like, one time we had Gizmo move past a post that held a vase, leaving it unscathed. The next few cards had Gizmo backup, turn to face the vase, backed up a square, and RAN at the pillar, sending the vase crashing to the floor. Then, turning and continue on it’s original path. The story in our heads became Gizmo waltzed by the unscathed vase, then backed up saying “NOT ON MY WATCH, BUCKO!”. And it’s these stories and experiences that will stick in our minds and hearts, not an immaculate win rate.