Do you hunger for battle? What about leveling up and amassing piles of loot? Would you like to take on monsters while smacking the snot out of your friends? Well, dear readers, today I shall be taking a look at a game that offers just that. Does it deliver on those promises? Let’s take a look, shall we?
|A scenario set up for two players.|
Arcadia Quest is a campaign-style, dungeon crawling, chibi-filled, epic game for 2-4 players produced by Asmodee and Cool Mini Or Not. It is best played with 3-4 players and each scenario in a campaign takes 30 minutes to an hour to complete. However, one campaign consists of six scenarios, so to fully complete the game, you’ll need to set aside a significant chunk of time.
|A guild, its heroes and their equipment and curses.|
In Arcadia Quest, you will take control of a guild battling for fortune and glory in an anime-styled fantasy world. Your guild will consist of three heroes which you will choose at the beginning of the campaign from a roster of twelve possible candidates. Each of these heroes has unique abilities, so looking over the roster thoroughly before beginning a campaign will help you immensely as once you pick your three heroes, you’re stuck with them for the entirecampaign. Furthermore, each guild receives an identical set of starter equipment with which to equip their heroes. These pieces of equipment will be usual fantasy game fare- weapons (either melee or ranged, enabling the hero to attack), armor (to increase their health and/or their defensive stats) and other pieces of equipment to increase things like movement and more defense.
|Some of the quests completed in this scenario…|
Each scenario in your campaign has its own quests (such as defeating a certain monster or killing a hero of an opposing guild). The rewards from these quests will grant you money (which can be used to purchase better equipment between scenarios), special items or even titles which will allow you to influence game events in later scenarios. Once a guild has completed a certain amount of quests, a scenario is over. After six scenarios, the game is over and whichever guild has performed the best (by amassing the most gold in a scenario, having the least amount of hero deaths in a scenario, etc.) is victorious!
|I’m not going to lie… I think I love these miniatures…|
Player turns are incredibly simple. On your turn you may either A) rest your party (more on that later) or B) activate a hero. When you activate a hero, you may move them up to three spaces on the board and then attack a nearby monster (unless your movement caught the attention of a nearby monster, in which case, they attack you). If you deal enough damage to a monster, you kill it outright (if not, it retaliates). When you dispatch a monster, you get a certain amount of gold, which is yours to keep. What causes a certain amount of strategy is this: when your hero uses a weapon, it exhausts that option, causing you to place a token on it. Weapons with tokens on them cannot be used again.
|Just one of the many monsters you’ll face in your campaign.|
However, if you choose to rest your party, you get to remove any tokens from weapons and also return any heroes of your guild that have been slain to the board. What is the repercussion for being slain, you ask? Well, at the end of the scenario, all heroes are dealt a Death Curse card for each time they were slain. These nasty cards can have all manner of nasty effects in the next scenario, from lowering that hero’s maximum health to taking up a valuable slot in their inventory.
|Don’t want to face a particular monster, that’s fine. Tackle a scenario how you want to.|
So, what doesn’t work about this game? Well, first off, this is not a game for beginning gamers. There are a lot of components, the campaign is immense and there are a few rules to remember as far as how monsters retaliate. Furthermore, this is a game that encourages you to go after other players, something that can really discourage new players from really getting to grips with (and having fun with) this game. What adds to this is the fact that once you pick your heroes, you are stuck with that decision for the entire campaign. What this means is that if you don’t compose a team of heroes whose strengths complement each other well and your opponents do, they will wipe the board with your heroes scenario after scenario, causing you to receive more Death Curses in the next scenario, which will cause you to struggle more- which your opponents will use as an opportunity to crush you once more, which makes things harder for you in the next scenario and on and on and on. This flaw, in my opinion, is worse than the much maligned mechanic of player elimination, as this poor player will most likely quit the game half-way through the campaign, causing a ruined experience for all.
|Using these dice makes finding the results of battle a snap.|
That being said, this is a worst case scenario and the positives of this game far outweigh its possible negatives. The miniatures are well crafted and beautiful (and for those of you who are artistically inclined, they’re paintable). The basic rules are pretty simple, allowing you to start a campaign fairly quickly without getting bogged down in the manual. The combat dice (somewhat reminiscent of the system used in X-Wing Miniatures) makes resolving combat incredibly easy. The game comes with a simple, yet well-designed sheets to keep track of each guild’s heroes and their equipment (allowing you to stop between scenarios if you wish). The art style is gorgeous. And lastly (and if you read these reviews of mine, you know this is something that I get quite excited about) there is immense replayability in this game. While you only complete six scenarios in a campaign, there are a total of twelve possible scenarios in total. This, combined with the large roster of possible heroes means this game will play completely different each time you sit down to start a campaign.
|Run out of record sheets? The manual has blank ones you can photocopy- a nice touch.|
In the end, even with its flaws, Arcadia Quest is a massive game that is just as much fun to play as it is to watch. You’ll amass fortune and glory and smack around your friends, all the while gripping the edge of your seat as you eye that legendary sword that is up for grabs this scenario. A Space Ahead heartily recommends Arcadia Quest as the next game to add to your collection- just don’t take it too seriously.
Want to strive for fortune and glory beside your friends? If you live in the Bloomington area, you can find this game at The Game Preserve. If not, check it out at your local game store. Support local game stores!