Tiny Epic Quest Review & Board Game Guide

The Mushroom Realm is in peril. Goblins are ravaging the mushroom grottos and all kinds of magical hell has broken loose.

Gather your heroes and prepare for an epic quest like no other. Although I hope you’ve been dieting. Because, ironically, there’s not mush-room...

Tiny Epic Quest
  • Tiny Epic Quest is a strategy game that is set in a classic...
  • Spend time away from a screen developing cognitive skills and...
  • The Tiny Epic Series is one of the best small box board game...

Brief Overview of Tiny Epic Quest

Tiny Epic Quest Board Game

Tiny Epic Quest is a small but hefty competitive game for two-to-four players (there’s a solo variant included in the rules, too, though).

Your goal is to score more victory points than your opponents by exploring a map, completing quests, defeating goblins, learning spells, and discovering legendary items.

Taking place over five rounds, you first use a simple worker placement system to choose what adventures you want your heroes to take on. Then, with the help of five dice, you must attempt to heroically complete them. But how far are you willing to push your luck?

Versions & Expansions

Tiny Epic Board Game Versions

I’m a big fan of the Tiny Epic games series. It’s especially impressive how, despite them all being both tiny and epic, each one is an entirely unique and independent game in its own right. Others include:

Tiny Epic Galaxies

You guessed it. Pack your space bags and prepare for a tiny, epic cosmic adventure. This time, players control a galactic empire and battle for victory points by colonizing planets and completing objectives. The gameplay in Tiny Epic Galaxies is largely based around rolling combinations of dice in order to take various actions.

Tiny Epic Galaxies
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  • 2015 Award Winning Solo Game of the Year by BoardGameGeek Play...
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Tiny Epic Western

Saddle up for a tiny, epic frontier caper. A mix of poker and worker placement, you must use wit and bluff to become the most powerful tycoon in the Wild Wild West.

Tiny Epic Western
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  • The Tiny Epic Series is one of the best small box board game...

Tiny Epic Zombies

For one-to-five players, Tiny Epic Zombies is a co-operative addition to the Tiny Epic series. You are a team of survivors in a zombie outbreak, trapped at the Echo Ridge Mall. In a strategic dice-rolling and movement game, you have to complete three objectives in order to win.

With five different game modes, you can also choose to play as the zombies or even try a competitive version.

Tiny Epic Zombies
  • EASY TO LEARN AND QUICK SETUP; Just a few minutes to setup and 30...
  • MULTIPLAYER COOPERATION OR COMPETITIVE GAME WITH 5 PLAY MODES; An...
  • NEVER THE SAME GAME TWICE; Do you collect weapons; Do you kill...

Unboxing Tiny Epic Quest

Tiny Epic Quest Board Game

Tiny Epic Quest may be small, but it packs a lot in. The components you get are:

  • 12 Hero meeples
  • 12 Legendary Items
  • 12 Treasure Items
  • 1 Item Rack
  • 4 Player Cards 
  • 17 Map Cards 
  • 35 Other Cards
  • 33 Tokens
  • 8 Markers
  • 5 Adventure Dice

Tiny Epic Quest has some great components that don’t really suffer from needing to be stored inside the small box.

My favorite bit, by far, is the meeples. They’re sturdy little fellows and can actually hold the small plastic items you pick up while playing the game! Now, I may not be the most sentimental of people, but even I have to admit a meeple holding a mini sword and shield is damn cute.

Otherwise, the map/play area is made using cards. This has its benefits in allowing you to have a different map each time you play (to an extent) and packing down nice and small. Although, it can be a bit frustrating having to realign them every time someone does a slightly over-enthusiastic impression of a horse when moving their meeple.

Otherwise, the artwork fits neatly into the fantasy quest genre. Not necessarily trying anything new, but conjuring a comforting, Zelda-esque feel that I had to appreciate.

How to Play Tiny Epic Quest

Tiny Epic Quest Board Game

Aim Of The Game

Your goal is to earn as many Victory Points as possible over the course of five rounds. There are several different ways you can do this, from battling goblins to completing quests, casting spells, or finding Legendary Items.

Each round is split into Day and Night phases. During the day you will move around, take actions, and place your heroes on the adventures they want to embark upon at night. At night, the dice come out and you must resolve your plans using a push-your-luck mechanism without running out of health.

Setup

Players all get given a player card, which tracks their health, power, and inventory, and a set of legendary items.

Then, set up the map using a semi-random process described in the instructions, and place each player’s three hero characters on their respective castle map cards. You’ll see some of the map cards also have goblin portals. Place passive goblin tokens on these.

Finally, lay out five movement cards and three quest cards face-up in the middle, and display the 12 treasure items on the item rack.

Day Phase – Moving and Quests

There are four turns in the Day phase. To take a turn, the first player picks one of the movement cards and then can choose to either make a movement with one of their heroes or do nothing.

When that player has chosen and moved, the next players can, in turn, choose to use that same movement type, too.

Movement cards include travel by horse, raft, gryphon, ship, and foot, each one representing a different type of movement (horse cards, for example, allow horizontal movement by any number of cards; foot cards allow movement in any direction, but only to an adjacent card, etc).

The map cards are all split into two regions, which can contain spell obelisks, temples, mushroom grottos, castles, or goblin portals. If a card contains an aggressive goblin portal, you must pay a power unit to move through it. 

When you complete a movement, you must choose which region of the card to land on. Some will let you complete an action there and then, such as the mushroom, or the castle will let your hero heal. The temples, goblin portals, and spell obelisks will all be resolved in the night phase.

Once all players have had the chance to use that movement card, the next player picks one and the same process occurs. This happens for a total of four turns, regardless of how many players there are.

Night Phase – Adventure and Resolution

Now, your heroes must resolve their actions using five action dice. Heroes on a temple can explore for items that can provide valuable benefits; those on portals can attack goblins; while spell obelisks let you try and learn a new spell. These are called adventures. 

During this phase, you will move your health and power markers to reflect your condition. If you reach zero, then all your heroes are returned to the castle and you lose all your progress.

There are six potential symbols you could roll, resolved in this order:

  • Take damage – for each damage rolled, a consecutive player takes damage. Three damage symbols, for example, will damage you and the next two players.
  • Gain power – same as above, but you add a power.
  • Conjure magic – advance the magic token.
  • Torch – advance further down the temple track.
  • Scroll – advance further down the temple track.
  • Attack goblin – deal damage to a goblin.

Note that the final three symbols can be used by all players when rolled, regardless of who rolled them.

Rolls go round the group in turn. At some point, you will choose to Rest, locking in your progress and meaning you can’t take any more damage. However, you also can’t progress any further until the next Night Phase. Correctly deciding how far you can push your luck is the key here.

Quests

You can earn extra victory points by completing quests. Some – known as movement quests – will simply require you to have your heroes move in a specific way during the Day phase to meet the conditions. Say, having them all on a specific type of card.

Others, called Treasure Quests, start at temples and put your hero on a temple track. You must be the first player to reach the end to win it.

Game End

The game continues for five rounds, completing adventures and racking up victory points as you go. Once you reach the end of the fifth turn, you tally up all your points. Whoever has the most wins!

Your First Game of Tiny Epic Quest

Tiny Epic Quest Board Game

When playing Tiny Epic Quest, you should bear in mind that the number of players greatly affects how you should approach the Night phase. With only two players, you will find your health reducing dramatically faster than in a four-player game. This is because every time someone rolls more than one damage, you will take a hit. If you roll three damage, you take two!

This brings me to another point. Don’t forget that even when it’s not your roll, you’re still very much involved. When deciding whether or not to rest, remember you have to survive an entire round of everyone else’s turns. Not just your own. And, even if you do make it to the end of the temple track, you need to then rest in order to claim your prize. 

So, think ahead.

Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • Simple worker placement system
  • Exciting push-your-luck dice-rolling element
  • Big game, packed into a tiny box
  • The meeples can hold things!

Cons:

  • Some gamers may not like the reliance on luck

Tiny Epic Quest is a game of two halves, which helps to keep things exciting, to say the least. 

The Day phase is a strategic worker placement style system. Careful card selection and movement will be key to land your meeples in the places they’ll be able to potentially score the most points in the Night phase. Some avenues have bigger potential pay-offs, but are your opponents going to get their first? Or is there perhaps a less obvious combination that could pay out some big points?

On the other hand, the Night phase is an all-out push-your-luck, dice-rolling bonanza. While the strategic decisions you make in the Day phase can drastically affect your potential points total, there is actually very little you can do in either phase to shift the odds of success in your favor.

The result is that Tiny Epic Quest, ultimately, comes down to luck. Make as many killer movements as you like. It ain’t gonna matter if you and the players before you roll a bunch of damage symbols.

This could turn off some gamers. But it absolutely wasn’t a problem for me. The opportunity for strategy is rife during the Day phase, sure, but the tense excitement of the Night phase was too fun to want to change. The interplay between players, causing each other damage and racing to the end of the tracks, is incredibly exciting and personal.

I especially liked, too, that you can use dice rolled by your competitors. This keeps everyone deeply involved throughout, with little opportunity to divert your attention from the action happening on the table.

My enjoyment of Tiny Epic Quest is all the more impressive simply because of how small the box it has been condensed down into. While a perfect size for travel, it doesn’t feel like a travel game. All the pieces are of a good size and the amount of content it manages to jam in is crazy. And, let’s face it, the little meeples holding huge swords are just awesome.

TL;DR

A Tiny Epic game deserves a tiny, epic review. So here goes:

Tiny Epic Quest is half worker placement, half push-your-luck. It’s strategic, exciting, and deceptively in-depth. Oh, and the meeples can hold things. What’s not to like?

Conclusion: Verdict?

I had so much fun playing Tiny Epic Quest. It may be small, but there is a lot of meat on those bones. Not just in terms of components – although quite how they managed to fit so much in still astounds me – but the actual weight of the gameplay, too.

The contrast of the strategic decisions you have to make in the day phase, with the nail-biting chaos of the night phase, means it really does have something for everyone. What’s more, it’s incredibly easy to learn. Making it a likely go-to for any future gaming sessions with players of mixed experience.

The Tiny Epic series continues to wow me. And this time I ended up feeling like Zelda, so it might be my favorite yet.

Tiny Epic Quest
  • Tiny Epic Quest is a strategy game that is set in a classic...
  • Spend time away from a screen developing cognitive skills and...
  • The Tiny Epic Series is one of the best small box board game...

Have you tried Tiny Epic Quest? How about any other Tiny Epic games? Drop a comment below and let us know what you think!

Stats at a glance

Players: 1-4

Ages: 14 +

Medium

30-60 Mins

Publisher: Gamelyn Games

Published: 2017