Swords and Sorcery in a Cartoon World: Arcadia Quest Review

So we broke out the game Arcadia Quest the other day, put together trio squads of cartoonish eleves and bashed Orcs and Trolls by throwing dice.  So yeah, it was loads of fun.  Here’s a review:

Overall Feeling

Arcadia Quest completes its own quest of putting you in the middle of an action sequence, with colorful (when painted) heroes slaying foul monsters in full 3D by throwing good old dice.  What more do you want?  The feeling is more cartoony than gritty, but it pulls it off well.

Neat Mechanics

This isn’t a game with a lot of mechanics, nor very interesting ones, nor a whole lot of strategy for that matter.  Still, there are fun abilities for each character, and getting the right combination can make it easier for you to accomplish the party’s goals.  You’ll have to strategize on how and when to use your three heroes, and where you’ll use weapons and/or spells, but I wouldn’t say any of these decisions will matter as much as the dice you roll.  The game comes with its own custom dice for offense and defense, another fun component, as there are plain “hits” but also “critical hits” that trigger another roll of the die.  Even including the dice, the game is pretty simple and the mechanics are straightforward.

Components

Important caveat here is that you have to paint your stuff, but if you’re willing to do that, the components are probably the best part of this game, as you’ll battle it out in full 3-dimensional splendor complete with accessories such as swords, axes, bows, even fireballs and books of magic, all settled with custom dice that provide “critical” rolls.  The hero designs are unique and interesting, and the game makes you feel like you’ve got a unique squad to do battle with, and pretty unique monsters to battle.

One side’s heroes
Other side’s heroes
Monsters

Game Play

This is a section I’ll expand more in the future with more plays, because we were kind of fumbling our way through our first game.  In short, though, you have some objectives which basically involve going around the board and picking things up, as well as the objective of killing monsters, killing 3 monsters first would give you bonuses.  There are also bonuses for “killing” opposing characters, which really only knocks them out temporarily anyways, so it’s all in good fun.  There are pretty simple combat rules for melee and for range on a 3D map.  You go around and can trigger attacks from monsters, or you can engage them yourself.  When you do, you select a weapon and throw the dice seen on the weapon.  Some heroes have some advantages with certain weapons for example, my Legolas-like character “Greensleeves” had a bonus with critical dice, doing extra damage with ranged weapons.  This makes him an obvious holder of any ranged weapons you find, and an effective ranged combatant for your team.  Then you put a melee type and magic type in your party and go.

Theme

The theme here is cartoon fantasy and swords & sorcery.  The components provided are high quality, but you have to paint them on your own, not an impediment to this group.  Once this is done, the theme is executed to the highest degree.  You hear the grunts of the orcs and the clang of swords and feel the heat of the battle.   You’ll cheer as your heroes do heroic things to save one another and achieve goals.  These are unique 3D characters with their own character cards so it’s hard to not get into.

Do-something-ability

Perhaps there’s more to the game, but what I saw was little more than a monster-bashing fest, without the building or exploring like you might in some other games.  It’s actually akin to Epic Duels in that way, you get on a map and do battle, but here you’re mainly dealing with third-party NPC villains in addition to some opponents.  You might pick up some other goods along the way in the form of cards and cardboard chips, treasure chests and weapons and the like.  Unlike Epic Duels, it’s more of a campaign-y game, so you’re not necessarily accomplishing a ton in a single scenario but as you complete several and gain items along the way, your team starts to take on its own personality.

Verdict

Arcadia Quest is tons of fun, if you’re willing to do the paint job to make it a fully immersive experience, and you’re just looking to bash some skulls.  There’s nothing to not like about putting together a team of unique heroes, then using them to slay monsters and other heroes alike.  If you’re looking for a deeper game, more of a multiplayer strategic game, though, this isn’t it and it doesn’t try to be, but I can see there will be navigation and heavier tactical planning in future scenarios.  This is mostly fighting and questing at its simplest, but perhaps its finest.  Will play again for sure.

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