What would you get if you took the gameplay of Risk, but replaced the dice rolls with a word puzzle challenge? You'd get Quarrel, a fun little game in which words mean war. I'm sure that Risk is familiar to a lot of gamers, but for those of you who somehow missed playing the board game while growing up, the object of both Risk and Quarrel is to capture all of the territories on a map. To capture a territory you move your armies from one of your territories into an adjacent enemy territory and if you manage to defeat the armies garrisoning it then the territory s yours. Where Quarrel and Risk depart ways is in how those battles are resolved. In Quarrel, the number of soldiers that you have in a battle determines the maximum length word that you can put into play. When the battle begins you'll be given a collection of letters each of which is given a point value ala Scrabble or Words With Friends. You then need to create a word from those letters with a maximum length determined by the size of your army. Once both players have made their words, the score for each word is added up and the higher scoring word wins the battle. A larger army allows you to make a longer word, which is an advantage but does not guarantee victory. Play proceeds until one of the players owns all of the territories on the map.
Quarrel can be played both as a single player game or against human opponents. The AI players are each rated on their word "IQ", so you can create matches against the computer that match your skill level. The top AI players are pretty decent at what they do, but if you're a word puzzle aficionado you'll probably want to play against human opponents if you want to be challenged.
The game has a sense of humor that's reflected in its cartoon-like graphics and overall presentation. The armies are made up of cartoon soldiers who look like they've escaped from a South Park cartoon, and players can choose from a variety of army types such as pirates, ninjas, and Vikings.
Overall, Quarrel is an enjoyable game that word puzzle fans will really appreciate since such games are a rarity on XBLA. Add an extra layer of strategy from the Risk aspect of the game, and you have a great little game to play when you want to give your brain more of a workout than your reflexes.
Final Rating: 90%. This war of words will certainly please word game fans.