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Arcadia Quest - Drew's First Impressions
Recently, I got the chance to try out Arcadia Quest with a friend of mine. While overall I really like this game, the experience left us with some mixed feelings. If you haven't heard about Arcadia Quest before, the basic concept of the game involves the players making their way through a fantasy town, collecting treasures, and defeating the enemies. Although many games are built around this same premise (to the point where some think that it is overused), I think that there are still many games that put enough of a spin on the old conceits of dungeon crawling to make them worth playing (Zombicide and Gloomhaven, just to name a couple off the top of my head).
Now, I have only played one game of Arcadia Quest, so this piece is only meant to represent my first impressions. In Arcadia Quest, you take on the role of "Guild Leader" in one of four guilds (Panda, Lion, Fox, and Eagle) and a group of three adventurers that you use to take on quests. As they progress through the campaign and earn money, these adventurers can upgrade their equipment, cards, and abilities, making them more effective. This basic core gameplay loop (explore dungeon-slay monsters-progress your characters-repeat) should be familiar to anyone who has played other dungeon crawlers such as Gloomhaven.
Where Arcadia Quest differs is in its implementation of inter-player combat, a thing that is rather rare among the current crop of dungeon crawlers. To give you an idea of how this changes the dungeon crawling dynamic: In our first game, I decided to go with two heavies and one spellcaster, while my friend went with mostly spellcasters. After he attacked and killed one of my guild members (and left another one to get killed by an orc marauder) I decided to send my second tank out on a mini quest to get my revenge. After an epic clash, I managed to pull out a win with one tank and a spellcaster (who didn't move at all through the entire game).
But after the game we found ourselves thinking, "Didn't this game go by too quickly?" Excluding the hour of figuring out the rules and setting all the tiles and figures up, the main game had only lasted about 20 minutes. Maybe the game would have turned out longer if you played with more than 2 people, but the 2 player experience left us wanting more. 3 or 4 people would likely make the game a little more challenging and result in longer sessions.
Overall, I would highly recommend Arcadia Quest. If you enjoy playing Gloomhaven and Zombicide and like the mechanics that those games entail, Arcadia Quest manages to capture a similar vibe but with the added excitement of player versus player conflict. Plus, with a ton of expansions available, the fun should continue on for many years.
Good luck, guild leaders!