Review – Arcadia Quest
A story driven, miniatures skirmish game.
Title: Arcadia Quest
Year Published: 2014
Designer: Thiago Aranha, Guilherme Goulart, Eric M. Lang, Fred Perret
Publisher: Cool Mini or Not
Game Time: ~60 Mins
Set-up Time: >10 Mins
Mechanic: Action Point Allowance, Dice Combat
How to win: Kill the final Villain and receive the most awards throughout the campaign.
In Arcadia Quest, players lead guilds of intrepid heroes on an epic campaign to dethrone the vampire lord and reclaim the mighty Arcadia for their own. But only one guild may lead in the end, so players must battle against each other as well as against the monstrous occupying forces.
Players get a Guild Dashboard and their colour pieces. You then Draft 3 Heroes and attach the base of your colour to each them. They’re bright so you can’t miss them really. Then put the relevant Hero cards on your Guild dashboard and distribute the 5 starting equipment cards as you see fit.
Randomly choose a starting ‘Outer Circle’ Campaign to get things started. The rulebook has a suggest starting one for the first game, or roll a D6? In a Campaign, you do 3 Outer circle scenarios before moving to the Inner circle. Then you do 2 Inner Circle Scenarios before the Final Showdown. 6 in total, 45-60 mins each.
Set-up Tiles, Doors, Portals and Quest Tokens etc as displayed in the Campaign Book for the chosen Campaign. This can be fiddly and slow so make sure everyone is helping 😉 Get the monster figures required and their related card equal to the level of the scenario being played. Also, put the Quest cards, Spawn Tile Wounds/Death Tokens, Coins and Dice next to the game board. Randomly distribute starting areas for each Guild, and players should sit in that order, but it’s not necessary.
On a players turn they can do one of two things: Activate a Hero or Rest Guild. To Activate a Hero you choose one of them and then that hero may move and/or Attack.
Heroes have 3 movement points which can be used to move 1 orthogonal space, Use a Portal, Open/Close Door or Reveal a Tombstone card.
To attack you select un-exhausted Card on that Hero and a Target. First you place a Guild token on that card to exhaust it and gather the attack dice shown on the attack card plus any bonus dice.
Roll the Attack dice, matching the symbol for the type of attack (Sword for Melee, Bow for Ranged) counts as 1 hit. The Crit symbol counts as one hit and an additional die is rolled.
Gather defence dice shown on character if PVP, the player to the right of the active player rolls defence dice if the defender is a monster. Shields count as one save and an additional die is rolled for a crit the same way as attacking.
Hits – Saves = Wounds
If damage dealt equal or exceed health of a monster, it’s placed on the first slot on the monster Spawn card. If a Hero kills the monster they get a number of coins as staated on the monster card.
A defeated hero is returned to their Guild card. If a hero kills an Enemy Hero, they get 1 coin. The dead hero also gets a Death Marker on their card which is used later.
If a Monster/Trap/Game Effect kills a hero, the other Guilds get 1 coin. Always fun!
If a Hero damages a Villain, put a Guild token on its card. When the Villain dies, all Guilds with a token will get the full payout in coins! But, credit for the kill and any other rewards goes to the Guild that made the final blow.
To rest your guild, you un-exhaust all cards in your Guild, rearrange equipment cards if you like, remove all wounds from dead heroes and put them in your starting area, or close to one of your other Heroes.
Monsters are controlled by a set of rules and they guard Close spaces… These are the space they’re on and orthogonally adjacent ones. They will move and attack Heroes if possible and as they’re controlled by your opponents they usually will!
Monsters trigger if you move FROM one of these close spaces. They attack before a move is made, then after all attacks have been resolved the move occurs. Using movement points for other things such as opening a door, using a portal etc does not trigger Guard reactions.
A Monster will also attack if you have a Monster close to you and you don’t attack at least one of them. After all, they won’t ignore you just because you’re not looking at them! They attack after the Hero makes their initial attack.
Payback Reaction – If a Monster is attacked by a Hero, it makes a Payback reaction.
A killed monster can react before dying, unless a single attack deals equal to or more than its Overkill value of that monster.
The player to the right of the active player may first move the Monster, then attacks its attacker and it’s attacker only. The player can move it anywhere, blocking doors or corridors etc but can’t attack anything other than the attacker.
If the Attacking hero targeted more than 1 Monster, the controlling player chooses which one to activate. You only get one Payback Reaction per single attack. A monster can open doors and use Portals which can be used tactically 😉
If the Spawn tile is full of Minions, or no Monsters are on the board, new monsters spawn. If there is no space on the Spawn tile and extra monsters would be added they are removed from the game instead.
At the end of the active players turn, roll 2 attack dice per monster in order and place them on the space with the matching spawn token. If no matching spawn token is out or the space is full, the minion is removed from the game.
When completing a Quest, place a guild token on the quest card. Multiple Guilds can complete the same quest but only one guild can complete each once and the first Guild to complete each single Quest gets a bonus coin.
To win a Scenario, you must get 3 Quests and at least one must be a PvE Quest.
After each Scenario…
Death Curses – Shuffle the deck and deal each Hero one Death Curse card per Death Token. That Hero must keep the highest value and discards the others and any death tokens they had.
Upgrades – Deal 6 cards from the level of equipment deck equal to the scenario just played then draft 2 at a time passing left. One you have a hand of 6 cards you can buy up to 3 of them with the Gold you have. You can only keep 1 coin after this phase so spend up!
The winner of the previous scenario winner picks the next one.
So plenty of variety…
First, you draft your 3 Heroes and their abilities are different enough that each will be played to their unique strength and there are plenty to choose from.
Then, there are enough scenarios that 5 of the 6 mission you play in your first two games can be different. The scenarios are different too… Each has it’s own story and objectives and it’s not all just “go here” or “kill that”.
Also, you draft different upgrades and then have to have the coins to buy different ones so each campaign you play has it’s own feel.
The components are great, ‘Cool Mini or Not’ great. The minis and art are cool, very cartoony and cute to the point you almost feel bad for killing them, almost.
I love the exploding dice part. No matter how much damage you need to deal, it’s possible. Maybe you need to deal 5 and only have 1 die? Technically it’s possible. It always gives you hope and that feeling of hope is a really good one. Until you roll once of course and realise you’ve failed but still… Better than “I can’t possibly win and there’s nothing I can do about it”. *sulk*
I also like the PvP bit and I usually don’t, but that ‘forced’ PvP element that you need to complete to win is cool. It means you can be nasty without having been seen to be nasty 🙂
Killing things for coins gives you a goal, something to achieve on the way to completing the scenario goals… But this holds the game back for two reasons…
1 – If you’re not playing a campaign and spending coins, collecting them has no point so to me this game only works in a campaign.
2 – If you don’t kill you don’t get coins, so you can’t buy the better upgrades you need to kill the harder guys in the next scenario so you earn fewer coins etc etc
Also, as varied as the game is attack is the way to go to get those coins. I tried to make a guy who damages while defending have a tonne of defence dice… Should have just given him an axe.
Despite all that, it is fun as long as you play though a whole campaign.
A very fun, cute game with a tonne of re-playability.
I give it 9/10