Saturday, May 21, 2016

Arcadia Quest and The Builders: Middle Ages

Fg and my brother are both downsizing their boardgame collections, and it devolved on me to hold their unwanted games until I can find a home for them. I took the opportunity to look through some of the games to see if I wanted any.

Anyway, when fg came over to drop his game off, we played a couple of them.

The first was Arcadia Quest, a chibi dungeon crawl game, which fg brought. As with the more well-known Super Dungeon Explore, which it resembles, the gameplay is inspired by console games.

Now boardgames based on computer or console games are always difficult to design and sometimes play: the mechanics of the game such as combat, finding and using treasure, and leveling up as all part of the experience, but can be labourious when performed "by hand" - which is why we employed computers for them in the first place. But while Super Dungeon Explore struck me as being repetitive and labourious, Arcadia Quest seems to hit just the sweet spot, with combat that offers some choices, is challenging (the monsters level up as your party progresses in the campaign), and a skills system that is easy to understand and track. The scenarios are also short, which means we managed to play three of them in an evening, taking us halfway through the campaign. We liked it enough to keep a record of our parties' progress, and plan to complete the campaign another day. 

The next game we tried was The Builders: Middle Ages. The game looks really nice, with a custom tin box, cute artwork, and nice plastic silver and gold coins. Unfortunately, it belongs to that category of games which I hate: one where there is little or no interaction between players.

The game is a resource-allocation game where you have a limited number of actions to take on building contract/s, recruit, and deploy workers. For every contract you complete, you gain victory points based on the size of the project. The game ends when one player reaches 17 victory points, so in theory the players are competing against each other. However, as there is no real way you can affect the other players' actions, in reality you are just playing solo, against a time limit.

Perhaps it will appeal to people who like to compete but not in a confrontational way, like maybe doing the same jigsaw puzzle as your friend and seeing who can complete it first.

No comments: