Stats at a glance
Ages: 13 +
In Arcadia Quest, players take on the roles of guild masters and command their heroes through Arcadia in an effort to complete a series of quests. Monsters will not be the only obstacle in your way, as you’ll have to fight other guilds to achieve victory. Check out the full Arcadia Quest review below.
Table of Contents
Brief Overview of Arcadia Quest
If you’ve played a lot of dungeon crawlers with a focus on grim, horror themes, then this game could be a refreshing experience. Arcadia Quest is a lighthearted parody of the fantasy theme filled with silly characters and cartoon-like monsters.
Don’t let appearances fool you, as the difficulty of this game shouldn’t be underestimated. Up to four players take control of guilds, each consisting of three heroes they’ll command in battles with monsters, but also other players.
The campaign consists of six scenarios chosen by players, with full character progression and consequences. Every scenario has quests that can put the focus on PvE or PvP. At the end of each scenario, the guild master that has completed every quest and has the most coin, wins.
Versions & Expansions
Arcadia Quest: Beyond The Grave
Arcadia Quest: Chaos Dragon
Arcadia Quest: Fire Dragon
Arcadia Quest: Frost Dragon
Arcadia Quest: Inferno
Arcadia Quest: Pets
Arcadia Quest: Riders
Arcadia Quest: Whole Lotta Lava
Unboxing Arcadia Quest
Inside the box you’ll find:
- 1 rulebook
- 1 campaign book
- 1 campaign sheet pad
- 4 guild dashboards
- 252 cards
- 9 double-sided game tiles
- 238 tokens
- 70 coins
- 6 attack die
- 3 defense die
- 25 monster figures
- 12 hero figures
- 14 figure bases
The art style is the most prominent feature of Arcadia Quest and I was really impressed how the theme was incorporated into the components. The rulebook and the campaign book do a good job of explaining the mechanics and how the game should progress.
The cards are colorful and have really cute artwork, and even though they’re not all unique, there’s still a lot of diversity. Rather than plain symbols, tokens also feature excellent illustrations. My only criticism is that the player boards are made out of cardstock, rather than cardboard.
As with any dungeon crawler, the miniatures are what it’s all about. Twelve unique hero figures are captured in heroic, yet slightly comical poses. On the monster’s side, Lord Fang, Sisters of Pleasure and Pain, Goblins, Orcs, and other beasts are also highly-detailed.
Arcadia Quest’s miniatures are also painter-friendly. The simple color palette and goofy theme are a great fit for beginner painters to hone their skills. There’s plenty of artwork to take inspiration from, and if you mess up, it’ll only add to the charm of the game.
Overall, I think the components of the game are great. You might not be able to incorporate the miniatures into other games, but making a D&D campaign based around them would be a lot of fun.
How to Play Arcadia Quest
Those familiar with the dungeon crawlers will have an easier time with Arcadia Quests’ concepts, however, there are still a few unique elements. First-time players will have to take in a lot at first, but after a few scenarios, they’ll be able to competently participate.
Distribute the matching guild dashboards, guild tokens, and figure bases to all players. Three heroes are given out to each player, and this can be done in a number of ways to significantly affect how the game will play out:
- In a face-down draft, the stack of hero cards is split into as many groups as there are players. Then, each player takes a hero from their stack, and passes it to the player to his right, until everyone has three heroes. I highly recommended this method as it is the most balanced.
- Face-up draft in which players alternate the order in which they select the cards from the table. Players will have a chance to form strategies to either counter other players or make an optimal party.
- Deal out three heroes at random to every player. This could lead to unbalanced parties which can be a lot of fun. I recommend using this method after you’ve had some experience with the game.
Hero cards are placed on the guild dashboard, and corresponding miniatures are attached to miniature bases. Five unique starter items are given out to each player to distribute among their heroes. There are no class restrictions, aside from the maximum of four items per hero.
Preparing a Scenario
The city of Arcadia is split into 11 scenarios of varying difficulty: 6 in the outer circle, four in the inner circle, and the final scenario in the middle. The backside of the campaign book illustrates this quite well.
Players have to complete three outer and two inner scenarios to reach Lord Fang as the final boss. The replayability comes from the fact that players have complete control of which scenario they’re going to take, as long as they complete the required number.
Once a scenario has been selected, find it in the campaign book for a detailed explanation of how to set it up. In short, you’ll have to find the appropriate map tiles, opened and closed doors, portals, spawn tokens, and exploration tokens.
Find the relevant monster cards and place them face-up. Monsters have their own power level that depends on how far you’ve progressed. The first scenario of the game has monsters of level 1, the second and third have monsters of level 2-3, and so on.
Now you’ll have to take the PvE and PvP quest cards required for the scenario. If a quest grants a reward card, pick it out of the reward deck and place it near the board. Only take those PvP quests that have the matching player in-game.
Place the spawn tile, wound, death, and coin tokens near the board, as well as the attack and defense die. Shuffle guild tokens of participating players, and place them in order on the specified starting locations. As only two heroes can occupy one space, players will have to split their heroes between the two adjacent tiles.
And that’s the setup! Now let’s take a look at how the game is played.
During their turn, players can do one of the following actions:
- Activate a hero and allow it to move, interact and perform attacks.
- Rest their guild to refresh cards, reorganize items, and resurrect heroes.
An active hero gets 3 movement points and 1 attack per turn. An attack can be the first action, but if you start out with movement, be aware that attacking will immediately end your turn.
Movement points are spent on entering portals, opening doors, and of course moving. Going through walls, closed doors, and diagonally is prohibited. Heroes can either move into or walk through spaces occupied by one character.
If space is occupied by two characters, it is full. Players cannot move through full spaces unless one of the heroes belongs to their guild, and they have enough movement points to reach a free space. This can lead to interesting situations where guild members are blocked by monsters or other guild members.
By spending a movement point in a space containing a portal, your hero can move to any other space with the matching portal color, but keep in mind that the occupancy rules still apply. If a hero is in a space directly adjacent to a door, they can spend one movement to either open or close them.
Exploration tokens require no movement points to pick up, but if a monster is occupying the same space, you must defeat it before collecting the token.
To attack, choose one of the active hero’s unexhausted cards, then check if they can reach the target. If all of your cards are exhausted, then the hero cannot attack. A hero can perform one of the two types of attack depending on the chosen card:
- A ranged attack can hit any target in the line of sight, even diagonally and regardless of range. Closed doors, walls, missing tile pieces, and two characters (unless one or both are from our guild) are all considered blockades and can’t be shot through.
- Melee attacks can only be performed in the space occupied and adjacent, non-diagonal spaces that are not blocked.
Once you’ve locked on the target, place a guild token on the card to mark it as exhausted. Now take the number of black attack dice specified on the card, including any additional bonuses.
Defender hero cards specify the number of defense dice to roll. Unlike the attacker, additional bonuses can be gained from cards exhausted cards. Only some of the stronger monsters get defense dice, while the feeble ones are completely defenseless.
Attack dice have three symbols on them:
- A bow for ranged attacks.
- A sword for melee attacks.
- A crit symbol for either type.
After rolling, put the crit dice on the side and for each one, roll an additional die. If you roll crit again, separate that die and repeat the process until the group consists only of swords and bows. Then, count up the symbols corresponding to your type of attack, plus all of the crit dice to get the power of your attack.
Defender dice have a shield, a crit symbol, and blank sides. Rolling works the same as for the attackers, and in the end, shields, and crit, symbols are added up for the power of the defense.
The difference between attacking and defending power is how many wound tokens the defender gets. If it’s a hero, place them on their hero card, and if it’s a monster, place them beside the figure on the board, making sure you move them with the monster. If the defending character wins, nothing will happen.
If the monster dies, whoever landed the killing blow gets the number of coins specified on the monster’s card. When a hero dies in PvP, then the killer receives one coin. However, when a hero dies to a monster or environment, then every other guild takes a coin. The dead hero gains a death token (explained below).
Guard & Payback Reactions
Monsters do not stand idly by and instead will react to what is happening around them. A guard reaction is activated when a hero attempts to move from a space that is within melee range of one or more monsters.
Then, the player seated to the right of the active player rolls the dice for monsters, while the hero must defend. If a player chooses to attack a target other than the monster within melee range, then guard reaction is triggered after the first combat is resolved.
Payback reaction is what we would commonly refer to as “aggro”. The attacked monster has the ability to move but the commanding player gets to decide where the monster goes. If the monster comes within range of the hero that provoked them, then they can attack.
Rather than activating a hero, the player can rest the whole party to receive benefits. First, all of the exhaustion tokens are removed from the hero’s cards, so that they can be played again. Cards and tokens can be fully rearranged among the party, with the exception of the quest tokens.
The third option is to resurrect dead heroes, removing wound tokens, and place them in either starting locations or next to another guild member.
Every scenario has specific quests and whoever is the first to complete three quests (one of which has to be PvE), immediately wins the scenario. While everyone can finish the same quest once, the first person to do it will get a coin.
Some quests provide a limited number of reward cards, so it’s important to get them before other players. Even if you miss out on the reward card, you can still complete the quest.
Once the scenario ends, players get as many coins as they have completed quests, and also turn in their treasures for more coins.
End of a Scenario
There are a few things to do before putting the pieces back and setting up the next scenario. First, any death curse cards your heroes were afflicted with are now removed. For each death token a hero received, draw the same number of death curse cards, then remove all death tokens.
The more a character has died during a scenario, the more death tokens they will accumulate, and as a consequence, draw more death curse cards. The good news is that you only keep one of the cards, but the bad news is you have to take the most severe one.
Death curses will negatively affect your next scenario and could occupy an item slot. If the hero’s inventory is full, you can place the curse card over one of the items, but you will not be able to use it in the next scenario.
Spending Your Loot
Now it’s time to spend the coins earned in the dungeon on new equipment and items. Take the upgrade of equal level to the scenario you’ve just completed, and deal out six cards to every player.
Take two cards that you like the most and put them face down in front of you, then pass the remaining four to your left. You’ll also receive four cards from your right, so take two of those and repeat the process one more time to get a total of six cards.
These cards are your upgrade options and you can buy as many as you can afford. Keep in mind that you can only carryover one coin into the next scenario. As each hero can only carry 4 items, no more than 12 total, and if you do, you’ll have to permanently remove some of them.
Once the winning player picks the next scenario, the current one is officially over. You can use the campaign sheets to keep track of scores and achievements during each scenario.
Your First Game of Arcadia Quest
There’s a lot to remember in regards to the rules and mechanics, but don’t pressure yourself with the most optimized moves. Try to keep your characters alive and pay attention to the actions other players take.
Choose the right moment to attack as final hits are usually the only thing that matters. Weigh your probable attack against their defense and if you see players trying to take down a PvE monster, try to sneak in and steal the kill, but mind the payback reaction and opposing guild!
Don’t get tempted by closed rooms containing a graphical representation of loot — this is just cosmetic and only the tokens placed represent valuables. Only two characters can participate in any given combat stage, so you can use that to your advantage to kill a strong enemy attacker. Just watch your back!
Pros & Cons
- Unique theme
- Refreshing spin on dungeon crawlers
Just the fact that you don’t have to deal with spooky vampires or disfigured monsters for once is a reason enough to get Arcadia Quest.
Having to control three characters is something that is rarely seen among dungeon crawlers, as well as hero resurrection within 2 turns. It definitely brings something new to the table, which makes it worthy of at least trying out.
- Not for serious collectors
- Balancing issues
Most expansions for this game are all about adding new minis, but lack of mass production and limited editions have seriously inflated the prices of these expansions. Beyond the Grave does add a lot to the gameplay, but it’s still quite expensive.
The balancing issues aren’t really about the game — they’re about the players. Teaming up, betraying, or being a lone wolf all work well when other players are of a similar skill level.
However, when there’s a skill gap, it can lead to frustrating situations, in which players might not act swiftly to prevent someone from winning. If you’re the type of player that doesn’t like relying on others to control the flow of the game, I suggest only playing with a group you know well.
Arcadia Quest Review (TL;DR)
Arcadia Quest is a campaign-based dungeon crawl, miniatures board game for 2-4 players that will charm you with its art style and keep you around through engaging gameplay and a well-written story.
I can honestly say that Arcadia Quest has grabbed my attention and is not letting go. Within the first few scenarios, you’ll get attached to your heroes, and keeping them alive won’t be just about achieving victory.
The campaign can be played multiple times and through mixing up heroes and scenarios, you’ll get a different experience every time. If you’ve enjoyed this review and decided to get Arcadia Quest, let us know in the comments how your first session goes!
When I first got into the hobby some 10 years ago, my friend circles didn’t know that board games went further than Monopoly and Risk. Now everyone I’m close with is into board gaming and my collection really has something for everyone.
My favorite games are Terraforming Mars and Lords of Waterdeep and I’m a fan of Euro, strategy, and engine-building games in general. I also enjoy the Warhammer 40,000 universe, which pulled me into the miniature painting hobby.