Strategy is 90% of the game Qix. There are basically two things to keep in mind, no matter what type of strategy you play:
- Complete the screens as fast as possible (the longer you lag, the more aggressive the Sparx become, and the panic factor multiplies)
- Get as much of the screen as possible. 75% gives you a new screen, but no bonus points. You get 1000 bonus points for every percentage beyond 75%. In other words, 85% will yield 10,000 bonus points.
Another thing to keep in mind is the Slow vs. Fast Draw. The general rule is: Use the Fast Draw to set up your pattern. Slow Draw area yields twice the point value as the Fast. Listed below are four different strategies. The first three are basically designed for one Qix. The fourth pattern is especially designed for a twin Qix.
The theory behind the Tree-Branch Strategy is this: if you create enough small open areas, the Qix will eventually get trapped in one. You can then seal off the Qix and claim the rest of the area—preferably beyond 75%.
- Erect a tree trunk. Start your pattern with a trunk nearly to the top of the screen. It may take up to six or seven moves. It may take only one. Be careful.
- Create as many Branches as possible. It may be better to think of these as Hangman's Gallows. Create these everywhere—from the trunk and from all sides of the machine. Your primary aim is to leave as small a space as possible. It should be big enough for the Qix to enter, yet small enough to seal off quickly.
- Trap the Qix. Once a Qix slips into one of the gallows, head down toward him—dodging Sparx as you go. Then seal him off with the Slow Draw, if possible. You will then get double the points you would for the Fast. If you left a small enough opening, the Slow should be possible. If you've planned properly, and the Qix is trapped in a small area, you will have claimed way beyond 75% of the screen.
Triple Arena Strategy
Another highly successful strategy follows a more structured method than the tree-branch strategy.
- With the Fast Draw, build two columns—one from the top and one from the bottom—to split the screen into three vertical rectangles. Create horizontal blocks from time to time as you go up or down.
- The Qix must choose one of the three areas. Go to the areas where the Qix is not, and begin blocking them off with Slow Draws.**
- Eventually, only one rectangle will remain. Move toward the Qix. Wait for an oppotune time and then block him into as small as space as possible. Once you block him, the screen will clear, giving you mucho bonus points.
Another approach is to refrain from blocking off the arenas for the sake of claiming points, until the very last move. Sparks move along the parameter of the unclaimed area, and claiming too much of the board too soon insures that the sparks have a short trip back to you, returning more frequently. Instead of blocking the other arenas, narrow the passages between the arenas, and narrow the arena the Qix is in. This tends to confine the Qix without blocking it in.
Develop the skill of adding to a narrow wall by adding to the end making it longer and longer.
Consider a 4 arena strategy if the opportunity presents itself. The Qix is much less dangerous confined in a very narrow corridor. Sometimes the arenas are formed by narrow walls descending from a "T" shape.
If you get the Qix confined in one of the corridors, consider making a 'comb' pattern in another arena. This would be an extremely long and slender back and forth pattern, with little area, but very long length. The purpose of this is to give sparks a very long path to travel so as to minimize your exposure to them. This buys you time to put the 'squeeze' on the Qix by drawing corridors and narrowing them. Position the comb so you don't make it hard for you to move back where you want to go!
When the Qix is confined to a very small or narrow space, it will sometimes explore even smaller corridors you have made, in an effort to escape. This is an opportunity to confine it even further. This is a time consuming strategy that looks to maximize bonus points by blocking one very large area at the the end of the round, and reducing the danger from sparks by not blocking off areas too soon.
This strategy uses numerous long and slender walls, not square blocks. Expect to take at least 90% of the board and typically 95% or more with this strategy. Most of the area you claim, and most of the points will be the the very last draw of the round.
The Quadrant Strategy
Another highly successful, very simple strategy is the Quadrant. In effect, your aim is to divide the screen into four separate parts.
- Construct four columns. Place one in the center of each side, with the Fast Draw. Be careful. Take your time.
- The Qix will claim one quarter. You can seal off the other quarters with the Slow Draw, collecting double points.
- Wait for an opportune time to seal off the Qix. When you can block him into a small space, do so. And claim top bonus points for your strategy.
Twin Qix require special handling. You get double points for splitting the two Qix on the third screen, triple on the fourth, etc. If you split it too early, however, with only, say, 13% of the board claimed, you get double that 13%. Big deal. Plan on getting as much of the board as possible—up to 74%. Then split the two Qix for big points. You can use either the Triple Arena or the Quadrant strategy for splitting the Qix. Just claim as much of the board as possible, box the two Qix into limited areas, and split them. Don't use the Tree-Branch strategy. You won't get enough points. A special Double-Qix strategy is given below, for your instruction.
- Build horizontal columns. Start at the bottom of the board. The two Qix will try to get into the largest space possible. The idea is to keep forcing both Qix toward the top of the machine.
- Use the Slow Draw. Claim the bottom section of the board as you continue up.
- Claim up to 74% of the screen. You can then try to split the Qix. The best way is to keep inching upward from the center. Once the Qix split to each side of your column, Fast Draw a line to the top. You've thus split the Qix and made top points.