Review: Arcadia Quest – day and night joined into one
Earth and its inhabitants have always been slaves light. Today, it may seem, it behaves quite predictably, but there were times, when it was different. No sunrise or sunset, but only one everlasting day and eternal night on the other side. But people changed it all and moved the sun. And it seemed, that everything will be fine and day and night will switch in peace. But then somebody new arrived on the scene of world: Lord Fang. He returned to the world its dark face and everything went dark.
To preserve history of our civilization, you must join forces and push it back. To do this, you get a chance in Arcadia Quest board game, in which you become a representative of Sun patrols. Game created by Eric M. Lang (XCOM, Kaosball, Quarriors), Fred Perret, Goulart and Thiago Guilherme Aranha. All illustrations were created by trio Andrea Cofrancesco (Super Dungeon Explore), Nicolas Fructus (Timeline) and Mathieu Harlaut (Kaosball, Zombicide). All this published in 2014 under banner of company Cool Mini or Not and distributor Esdevium Games.
And it is clear from the first moment, that it has many things to show off, when you look on the box. This packaging does not leave you for a moment of calm and when you enter battle with darkness (on the cover), you just marvel and marvel. First trip leads to a pile of cardboard sheets. Large part of them are tiles of a nine-piece board, that is illustrated as various places and divided into small boxes for heroes to move on. Each of the participating guilds (players) also gets its color board for storing heroes and their equipment.
These figures are represented by a larger card and brings it to total of a dozen of heroes, each with its own defense value, numbers of lives, and special abilities. Heroes make the company for monsters. Their package includes 42 cards. Smaller sizes are represented by cards of enhancements (items, spells) and a small package of curses. For completeness, we are only missing cards of quests. But we were only talking about cards. Then, there are quite expectedly smaller components, that fill the space in the already mentioned cardboard sheets (tokens of door, injuries, finances or portals). And pilgrimage to Arcadia would not be complete without a total of 37 beautiful miniatures, piles of plastic pedestals in player colors and of course some dice.
At the beginning of big campaign, each player must first choose his guild, také its big card and a trio of colored bases. Each participant chooses three heroes. With those, he will embark on a journey to rescue the world and puts them in the upper row of his board on three free spots. Commander must also divide five initial cards of arbitrary equipment among them.
Journey to the city of Arcadia will be long and players are still located somewhere on the outskirts of its land, and they must still earn their audience with Lord Fang. They will gradually choose scenarios from the menu, which makes them advance further until the end of the sixth chapter, when they finally enter the city for final confrontation. Any such little story has described its own setup instructions, and it all starts with spreading boards, doors, portals, tasks and also spawn places for monsters. All positions are clearly outlined in the instructions.
Each location has some specific types of enemies. Players select them, stand them next to created map and some even start on it, because they will represent waiting patrol. Each scenario is also related to a specific task, which must be met by heroes and cards will represent it. Besides the plan i salso needed small space for enemy board and stacks of tokens. Players place their miniatures on the prepared map.
Although all the heroes go through the campaign together, each is only true to his own guild and does not believe in others. Everyone plays for himself. In the game, players alternate turn after turn, in which they have a choice of two actions – activation of a hero or rest. Each time, only one hero can be chosen. Player then makes him move and attack in any order.
Interaction with doors or portals also counts as a movement. Altogether, each of the heroes is able to move the same distance, regardless of their physical conditions. This number is equal to three spaces in any direction.
Whenever a player is around any character, whether from other guild or a monster, and no obstacle is in the way (wall), he can attack. There are different types of attack, but all can be divided simply into melee and ranged. Fights take place always in the same manner: player chooses a target (which he must have in sight) and ability card, which is used to attack and puts one his guild token on it. This marks the card as exhausted until refeshing.
According to assault cards, player takes a certain number of dice. Same is done by defender, they just follow numbers on card of his attacked hero. Or one of the participants in the game will take on the role of defending monster. Icons that have been rolled determine, if it was a hit (both types of attack have their own symbol, which makes a ranged attack less likely to succeed). Defender may parry some of them with rolled symbols of shields, but only those, that are not critical (explosion icon). Damage counters are then placed on the card or next to creature.
Attack is also closely related to other skills cards, which each have teir own text and different types of activation. And by doing combat, we get to rewards. Not only does the hero gets coins for killing some monsters, but he is rewarded also for murder of another fighter. But what is more interesting is income for all other guilds in the event, that any of the warring heroes fall. Any such murdered warrior is marked with death token.
But death is not final in Arcadia. Instead of activating the hero, players can choose to rest. During this turn, they can not carry out movement, but are allowed to exchange objects between their heroes, revive fallen and only at this moment also refresh their cards. This means, that each player must use this action from time to time, because otherwise, he will have no ability cards to choose from.
And what about the monsters, you say? This time, their positioning on the plan is final and they only serve as guards past which players have to sneak. They awake mainly, because someone passes around them. But of course, it is also possible to attack them. Monsters stick together, so that attack on one can start revenge from others.
Heroes strive to meet dealt cards of tasks during each scenario, whether they are related to interaction with environment or attacking other races. For the first, that completes each task is prepared a special reward. And once someone completes three of them (and at least one of both species mentioned) becomes the winner.
Arcadia Quest follows in the footsteps of successful games such as Descent (review) or Super Dungeon Explore (review). All the more surprising for us is, that it plays absolutely fresh, fantastic and offers an experience, that is sufficiently different from the others.
It’s first of all due to the fact, that every hero is just for himself. This ensures a very high level of conflict, because players must attack each other openly to fulfill conditions of open quests. In this game, you can not tread softly and sneak to victory on your tiptoes. That attack simply has to come sometimes, otherwise heroes can say goodbye to their chances of winning.
Arcadia Quest at the same time proves, that monsters and their accounting may not be the main element. Now players versus player fights have such importance, that it is not desirable to move monsters and disturb them from punching into each other. Players do not have to focus on anything else but their heroes and it surprisingly helps overall atmosphere of the game.
We are used to fact, that campaign is usually the biggest attraction and this game follows this rule. Because in Arcadia, no heroes die, they all pass through the game from beginning to end. And as time goes by, they get better and find better equipment, that others will envy. Battle will become even harder and more interesting.
And still, the biggest attraction comes in the meanplay between the scenarios. Here, players can upgrade their cards and purchase new abilities for their hoarded coins. Selection of these new weapons and skills is done using draft. And what result does death of the hero in the previous scenario have? They simply get a curse, that must be included among their gear and will do them harm, until they get rid it with healing potion.
But the campaign is linked to one drawback. If players are not completely balanced and are lucky enough, you may encounter a runaway leader problem. And once they are better, they will have keep improving, having only to watch their back for rest of the game. It happened to us only once, but we must mention, that there is this possibility. Moreover, in many scenarios, you will have a surplus of gold coins.
Individual scenarios are not somehow extremely long lasting and move around one hour time. And yet, their connection to campaign creates that epic impression, that we are looking for in these games. If you have more time, you simply play more scenarios. You will not have feeling, that this is just levels linked together, because it is held together by levelling phase. Good news is the fact, that game is working well in all numbers of opponents.
Problem with the game might perhaps be its sales model. In the box, you get enough components, but you still can be missing a lot of pieces, that Cool Mini or Not published sideways. Characters and heroes, that further enhance the game. And what is the worst: majority of them already can be bought only on auctions from people, who kickstarted this game. Big disappointment for collectors. But even without these new miniatures and stuff, Arcadia Quest remains a great game, that will hold onto you and will entertain you for a lot of time.
Processing is very precise and truly perfect from start to finish. Although you can succumb to the impression, that miniatures are only for decoration in this game (but is some game, where they arent?), the overall look of the game will get to you. It is one of the best looking games, that we had on our table.
Arcadia Quest is distilled entertainment. Although we mentioned some shortcomings, these are only small things on an otherwise perfect game, that is sufficiently different from all other dungeon crawling experiences. This colorful box can honestly surprise. Arcadia Quest is one of best ways for brave heroes to go.
Review: Arcadia Quest – day and night joined into one
Arcadia Quest at first glance looks like a repetition of what was already there many times. But in reality, it is otherwise. Heroes go for each others throat, because their quests are not only about classical fetch here and there, but there are also tasks, that make players turn against each other. And without their fulfillment, you can not win! Additionally, monsters are handled very cleverly as they stand still for most of the time. And heroes improve is special phase between the scenarios during the campaign. Game offers a gorgeous atmosphere and all this while maintaining reasonable game time for individual stories. It all looks absolutely amazing. And yet, this box can get quite expensive (you do not receive entire game for your money) and from time to time, luck may be involved in meeting a runaway leader problem. But all of these are only a minor scratches on Arcadia Quest, an extraordinary experience for every true hero.