[Review] Arcadia Quest by CoolMiniorNot

Arcadia Quest Inferno Kickstarter Funded

With Arcadia Quest: Inferno being successfully funded (and then some) on Kickstarter, we figured it was time to take a look back at the original 2014 release. Check out our review below. If you are wanting to still back Inferno, you can Late Pledge on CoolMiniorNot.

TL;DR

This game took 7th place in Tom Vasel (The Dice Tower)'s Top 10 Board Games of All Time.

And rightly so. The game is a blast of the dungeon crawling PVE that we know and love, with the addition of PVP and rival guilds controlled by people who will soon become your closest frenemies. All of this comes in a brilliant chibi sized package with each scenario taking a maximum of an hour on average.

The only things holding it back are some character/item balancing issues (which can largely be remedied with a few house rules) and increased RNG when incorporating the expansion, Beyond the Grave. As well as the elephant in the room, the Kickstarter exclusive content. There is so much that you do not receive in the retail version of the game, that it is very easy to feel like you aren't getting your monies worth.

Rulebook

Review time.

Game Board

Arcadia Quest Game Board

The game board is modular rather than being a fold out design. The quality of materials is definitely what you would expect out of an 80.00 base set. The scenarios are designed symmetrically to prevent any player from gaining an advantage due to starting area location. This is a great way to create game balance without having to take additional time to draft starting locations like you do with games such as Risk.

Miniatures

Arcadia Quest Miniatures

The miniatures are also very high quality, detailed, and come unpainted which, while disappointing for some, is wonderful for others who like to customize their characters. You have to be committed to the design you like though because replacements are not cheap, especially for the exclusives, if you can even find them.

Characters

Here's a quick run down of all the core game heroes and their character cards. Their lore can be found on pages 31-33 of the rulebook located in the TL;DR section.

Diva | Greensleeves | Grom | Hobsbawm | Kanga | Johan | Maya | Scarlet | Seth | Spike | Wisp | Zazu

Now, 12 characters may seem like a good amount. It theoretically allows you to have max number of players, with 3 characters to a guild and provides the game with balance due to the variety alone. The problem with this theory is that some of these cards are severely unbalanced. Seth, Spike, Wisp, and Diva in particular from the core set. This is largely due to their abilities' interactions with fairly cheap, common items both in early and late game. Though Diva is the exception to this rule in just being too big of a stat stick.

The greatest offenders, however, are the Kickstarter exclusives. I'm looking at you Nibbles . With a 5 HP body to start and a self healing ability, he isn't even worried about getting dazed because you would only stack HP. Even Seth, who is arguably the most broken of the core group (I had him during our first campaign and even I will admit he is overpowered, though only once you hit late game), due to defense negation, isn't able to stop him. There are a number of others who also exhibit a great deal of power creep.

Because of the above, I would recommend that you allow each player to hate draft out 1 character of their choice if you will still have enough for everyone to play a full guild roster. This will help even out the strength curve significantly.

Minions

The minions scale well based on the level of scenario that you are playing in and were very balanced overall. We never ran into a situation where we felt like it was too difficult to complete, though some of the minions did give us a run for our money. Playing the Kickstarter exclusive The Nameless Campaign , the Heartless was probably my favorite enemy. Warning: preparing to digress. Skip down to items if you want to avoid my ramblings. Though if you made it this far, you probably don't mind. The reason for my immense enjoyment of this character was that for every critical hit that she rolled, the minion attacking her would receive a death token. Which theoretically will punish you later. However, these do not matter in the final scenario so you can receive as many as you want then. There also, just so happens to be an item in the previous scenario that you receive from defeating the boss, that allows you to roll +1 attack dice per death token in your guild. Shenanigans ensue and I find myself with Seth equipped with the buff item rolling 14 attack dice on a Burninate with The Nameless not being able to roll any defense dice. One shot, one kill. It was glorious, but a bit out of hand.

The following campaign Seth was hate drafted out as PVP had gone the same as above.

Items

Weapons can be used once each before they are exhausted. Once exhausted a player must rest (essentially skip their turn) to unexhaust their items in order to use them again. Items suffer the same issues that are present with player characters in that some are quite overpowered, either based on their cost, ability, or combos that can be created that break heroes such as Wisp. Wisp, by himself, is not overpowered. But with the addition of Das Boot and Assassin's Cloak he can become the strongest character in terms of quest completion.

Arcadia Quest Wisp Das Boot Assassin's CloakThe same is true of Spike and Diva with the Moon Shield and Amulet of Retribution, though they are more suited to direct combo given their abilities.

Arcadia Quest Diva Moon Shield Amulet of Retribution

Quests

These are fairly straight forward with their always being 3 different types per scenario: a kill quest (defeat the boss), a fetch quest (collect one of 4 tokens), and a PVP quest (kill any member of an opposing guild). You must complete 3 quests to win the scenario with at least one being PVE (boss/fetch). I always found the most enjoyment from PVP but there is something to be said for a little teamwork here and there.

Gameplay

Gameplay proceeded at a reasonable pace with each player being able to move one character per turn and minions not having a turn of their own specifically, only retaliating if attacked or if a player leaves a square close to them. Each scenario took approximately an hour to complete, though this could certainly be improved with additional exposure to the game.

Arcadia Quest is also one of the few board games that I am aware of where the offense has the advantage, with 4 opportunities to score a hit to the defense's 3 opportunities to defend per dice.

Combat brings with it a fantastic mix of PVE and PVP during the early game, with needing to cooperate in order to get to the boss of each scenario but late game this faulters. Players are able to run over minions easily once they get to around scenario 3, with the other players being the only ones to pose a real threat.

Whether you have a taste for PVP or prefer PVE, there's something for everyone to enjoy. But whichever you prefer, you will have to eventually do the other as well if you intend to win.

 

So what do we give Arcadia Quest? On a scale of 1 to 5, I would have to give it

AQ NibblesAQ NibblesAQ NibblesAQ Nibbles(4) out of 5 Nibbles. The game is a blast but it has some balancing problems. The Kickstarter exclusives are also too glaring of an issue to simply ignore.

What do you think? Were we spot on or did we miss a crucial element? Do you have another game you want us to review? Let us know in the doobly doo below. Or email us at metagamr@outlook.com.

 

About Matt Merlenbach

Matt Merlenbach is the founder of MetaGamr. He loves RPG's and fears no gazebo. Connect with him at the links below:

One Response to [Review] Arcadia Quest by CoolMiniorNot

  1. themerlen says:

    After reviewing Arcadia Quest, we really wanted to work up some custom cards just for fun. Here's just a few of our favorites that we came up with.

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