Players organize their individual tiles by similar color or shape, then lay them down in lines. The object of the game is to complete as many linear "Qwirkles" as possible: six tiles of the same color (but different shapes) or six tiles of the same shape (but different colors). A tile cannot be repeated in a Qwirkle, and this is the strategic complication which makes the game more challenging for the younger ones. They may see a line of yellow and want to add to it, but they cannot place a yellow circle on the line if there is already one there.
My daughter had a fine time in the beginning of the game, and we played with open hands so we could help her. But once the board became more complicated with multiple rows and lines, she got confused and lost interest. Perhaps with a few more rounds she would understand the game better, but at the moment, she prefers Pictureka instead.
My husband and I loved the strategy involved with a game that seemed so simple and we played well into the night. There are ways to block the completion of a Qwirkle as well as ways to set up your next Qwirkle, and while matching colors and shapes seems fitting for pre-schoolers, the strategic thinking requires a more sophisticated player. Once there are several rows and lines on the board, some several tiles deep, it becomes an overwhelming task for young children to make correct moves, let alone strategic ones.
The age range on this game says 6 and up, although parents will probably enjoy the game more than the youngest players. But it's definitely worth the purchase.