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The Quest Kids Kickstarter Preview


Quick Look:

Designer: Dustin McMillian

Publisher: Treasure Falls Games
Year Published: 2020
No. of Players: 2-4
Ages: 5+ 
Playing Time: 20-45 min.

From the publisher: 
Your child's first dungeon crawler experience awaits!

The Quest Kids is a new-fantasy themed board game adventure for children 5 years old and up. In the game players control up to four of the Quest Kids (a brave team of young heroes) as they explore the magical Tolk's Cave. During their adventure the team will find treasure, scare away monsters, complete quests and discover magical items, all while helping their fellow Quest Kids out along the way. The Quest Kid with the most stars at the end of the adventure is victorious!


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TL;DR: A step up from the roll-and-moves designed for young kids, The Quest Kids can give the youngest of gamers their first experience with a dungeon crawler while introducing them to mechanisms such as hand management and trading. Relying heavily on iconography, it is accessible to different ages and reading levels. The Quest Kids uses cooperative elements in a competitive game to teach and reinforce sportsmanship. It is a game that my kids (5 and 8) enjoyed and would recommend, and their opinion should carry more weight than any reviewer's. But parents beware, your kids may wake you up at 6:45 a.m. on a Saturday to show you the game is set up and ready to play.

Review:

I take my kids to a lot of movies, and I usually do a little background check on the movie to make certain something isn't going to pop up that I am going to have to awkwardly explain later (See: Teen Titans Go To The Movies final scene).

While looking at the rationale for the rating, I often find myself reading a few reviews and I have found an interesting connection, or more accurately a lack thereof--an adult reviewer's opinion of a kid's movie is no indication of whether my kids are going to enjoy it.

I feel that with this content there is often a disconnect between the two audiences targeted in a review for a kid's movie--the customer (i.e. buyer) of the content (the parent) and the consumer of the content (the child). Most reviews are only written for the former. As the customer, I just want to know if there is anything inappropriate, not whether the jokes are original or if the talking dog looks too CGI. As consumers, my kids just care that there are jokes and a talking dog.

Like kid's movies, The Quest Kids has the same two target audiences--you, the person thinking about purchasing the game, and the kids that are meant to enjoy it. And like movie reviews, this is going to be written by someone that isn't intended to be the primary consumer. However, while I can accurately discuss the more objective aspects of the review such as is the game broken, does it have educational value, how is the component quality, etc., I am going to lean heavily on my in-house group of kid-fun experts (ages 5 and 8) for the more subjective measures, specifically the strengths and weaknesses of the game. Hopefully, by providing opinions from both audiences--for both audiences--you will be better equipped to decide whether this game is right for you.

Set Up:
Each player selects one of the Quest Kids standees and the corresponding player board. Based on the character the player selects, they will receive one power, magic, or wisdom ability card. Players also receive three health cards, and one quest card.



The dungeon tiles are separated into two groups--the gray and green backed cards are shuffled and placed in the four rooms on the left side of the board, while the red cards are shuffled and placed in the three rooms on the right side.


Place the treasure tiles in the treasure bag, and the remaining ability cards, quest cards, and kind kid cards on their respective spots on the board.

The player who last went on an adventure goes first.

Gameplay:
Players are exploring Tolk's Cave in search for treasure. They will take turns revealing tiles that give rewards such as additional ability cards for use in encounters, or treasure that gives the player stars (victory points).  

Players begin at the dungeon entrance. On their turn, a player will explore the dungeon tiles by flipping one tile over to reveal the reward, or the requirements to resolve an encounter and the subsequent reward.

The green tiles always provide a reward, either ability cards, treasure cards, or a combination thereof.

The gray tiles may include an encounter that players are required to resolve using gathered ability cards, but the rewards are higher.

The red cards may contain the most difficult encounters, but also provide the highest rewards. 

After the rewards are gathered or the encounter resolved, the tile is removed from the board. If the tile rewards the player with stars, it is kept on the player's board for end game scoring. If the tile only provides treasure or ability cards, it can be discarded aside from play. Once the card is removed and appropriately placed, the player moves their standee into the newly empty space and it is the next players turn.

Subsequent player movement is limited to tiles that are adjacent to previously explored tiles. So players can move from one room to another during their turn. However, spaces separated by walls are not considered adjacent, and must first be accessed by going through a door space.



Some players may explore tiles that include encounters that they cannot resolve. In this case, one of two things can happen:

First, the active player can ask their opponents to give them the ability cards necessary to resolve the encounter. When a player gives an ability card to an opponent, they will receive one kind kid card for each ability card they give. The kind kid cards provide rewards or bonus actions. The active player can use the newly received ability cards to resolve the encounter and gain the reward.



However, if a player chooses to not give any ability cards to their opponents, or if they do not have the specific ability cards necessary for the active player to resolve the encounter, the active player loses one health card and leaves the dungeon tile face up on the board and it is available for another player to resolve and gain the rewards, and it is the next players turn.

During the course of the game players will meet the condition of their quest card and are rewarded with stars. At the end of their turn, the player will announce the completion of the quest, save the card for end game scoring, and draw a new quest card.

After all of the tiles have been resolved, the game is over and the player with the most stars from dungeon tiles, remaining health cards, and treasure, quest, and kind kid cards wins.

Campaign mode (spoiler free)
There is a campaign mode that introduces a narrative, new dungeon tiles, new baddies (with special rules), puzzles, and variable player powers.


The overall mechanisms of the game do not change, but it does add some variance to the game.


Theme:
The Quest Kids is a very kid-friendly introduction to dungeon crawler type adventures. Players are searching for treasure and will encounter various "baddies" that they will need to scare away.

Artwork and Components:
I am reviewing a prototype copy, so the artwork and components are subject to change. That being said, there are a few items of note: 

The game relies on some intuitive iconography and is 99% language independent (the exception being a few of  the kind kid cards such as the ones that allow the player to take another turn and peek at an unexplored dungeon tile). The iconography and colors make the game accessible and enjoyable for players that may have not yet fully developed their reading skills.


The other thing is there is good representation in the Quest Kids characters--equal numbers of girl and boy characters, different races, etc.

Finally, I did get to see one of the fully-articulated Quest Kid action figures at BGG Spring and it was pretty cool. I'm pretty sure my oldest would play with the action figure outside of the game as much as she played with it in the game.

Based on the what I saw at BGG Spring and in the prototype copy I received for review, I do not have any concerns over the quality of the art or components. 

Strengths and Weaknesses:
As described in the introduction, I think that it is important for The Quest Kids, as kid's content, to be reviewed for strengths and weaknesses from both a customer (parent) and consumer (kids) viewpoint. So I'm bringing in the experts (my kids). I will ask for their opinions on differing things that I viewed as strengths and weaknesses as well as give them an opportunity to include their own thoughts on whatever their minds go to. I'll designate the differing thoughts as Parent (my thoughts), Kid 1 (8 year old female) and Kid 2 (5 year old male). I will edit their thoughts only for clarity.

Strengths:

Parent: One of the best things about this game is how it uses the iconography and color schemes to make the game accessible to younger players. Aside from the two kind kid cards mentioned under game play, there isn't a reading requirement for players (campaign mode notwithstanding).

Kid 1: The pictures (iconography) make the game easier, because you know which tiles give you ability cards and which ones cost you ability cards.




Kid 2: The pictures (iconography) say how to beat the Goblin Girls and you give the yellow, red, and purple cards (magic, wisdom, and power).

Parent: The Quest Kids teaches cooperation even though it is a competitive game. The kids quickly understood that the kind kid cards were very important to winning the game and were looking for opportunities to help each other out.

Kid 1: The kind kid cards give you more stars and you get them by helping other people.


Kid 2: You can get help when you fight the Goblin King and they (kind kid cards) give you stars.


Parent: I like the theme and how it was adjusted to a younger audience. Instead of killing and looting bodies, players scare away "baddies" and discover treasure. Even the characters seem to mirror D&D classes with a barbarian type, a fighter, a wizard, and a ranger. The characters, both good and bad, seem to be the most memorable part for my youngest. He remembers the names of some of the baddies and the name of the character that he always chooses.

Kid 1: I like how the characters have different colors and they have the different stones on the cards. Skylar has the purple stone on her axe and it looks really beautiful. Ivy has a green gem on her bow and arrow. On Crash's stick he has a yellow stone. Noah has a blue stone on his sword. And that represents all their colors. I like that there are girl cards so girls can choose to play with girls and don't have to play with the boy characters.

The baddies try to get you, like the Goblin Girls, you have to have the ability cards to beat them.



Kid 2: You fight the bad guys, like The Goblin Girls. And you are the good guys, like Crash.

Parent: I enjoy the game because the kids enjoy the game. As a parent, I am constantly looking for entry-level board games that I can play with the kids that they genuinely enjoy. I have found a few, and The Quest Kids is one of them. In fact, they woke me up at 6:45 am on a Saturday to show me that they had set the game up and were ready to play.

Kid 1: I like The Quest Kids because they are brave and they try to scare off the monsters. I like when you land on the green tiles they give you something good, the gray cards can be good or bad, and the red cards can be really, really good or really hard.


Kid 2: I like the kind kid cards and the Goblin King. The yellow player is named Crash. I don't know the purple, or the green, or the blue names (Skylar, Ivy, and Noah). I like playing with dad and sister. I like the gems.



Weaknesses:

Parent: The base game does get repetitive. At its core, the mechanisms are move, flip, resolve, repeat. That being said, it doesn't bother the kids and I think they enjoy the familiarity of the mechanisms. The repetitiveness seems resolved in part by the campaign mode as it adds some puzzles, different baddies with special abilities, etc.

Kid 1: I like everything about it.

Kid 2: (Very defensively) I said that I liked it.

Parent: Also, your kids may try waking you up entirely too early on Saturday morning to play this game.

Kid 1: (Laughing) Remember when you said "butt-crack of dawn"?


Final Thoughts:
I enjoyed this game for the theme and accessibility to the youngest of players. The iconography makes the game simple, and easier to teach.

One thing that I really appreciated about this game is how it simplified a genre for very young players, without losing the soul of the source material. It was made simple for kids without being completely mind-numbing Candy Land type experience for adults.



I can definitely see this hitting the table frequently, especially with the inclusion of additional campaign story lines. I just hope it isn't hitting the table at 6:45 on a Saturday morning too often.

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More News: I just got an email from the designer that the game will include coloring scoring sheets that will help the younger players add up their score and serves as a coloring sheet afterwards. This game keeps scoring more points for kid-friendliness and educational value. You can see more information on the coloring/scoring sheets here. 

Also, it's been a few weeks since I penned this review and the kids are still interested in getting it to the table. 

Players Who Like: Dungeon crawlers, "My First" versions of board games, Having fun with their kids.


Check out The Quest Kids on:

https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/274075/quest-kids   https://www.treasurefallsgames.com/game   https://www.facebook.com/QuestKidsShow/    https://www.instagram.com/thequestkids/   https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSs1mX4MTQJSoWYGWBthitw 

Coming to Kickstarter September 24, 2019.


Nick Shipley - Reviewer

Nick is a compliance consultant by day, a board gamer at night, and a husband and father always. When he is not bringing a game to the table, he is running (most often to or from his kids) or watching the New York Yankees. Nick lives in Oklahoma.

See Nick's reviews HERE.
The Quest Kids Kickstarter Preview The Quest Kids Kickstarter Preview Reviewed by Nick Shipley on September 13, 2019 Rating: 5

1 comment

  1. Thanks for the great preview, Nick! Also, sorry again about the too early weekend gaming session.

    ReplyDelete

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