AlderQuest by designer Ryan Ward and Mike Gnade of Rock Manor Games is full of surprises. I recently got my hands on a copy at PAX Unplugged 2022.
Notice: Quarrel card specifics will not be discussed in this review to avoid spoiling them for first-time players. This review will be spoiler-free!
AlderQuest is an area-control/tile placement duel game with a match-3-based resource collection. The game is advertised for 1-4 players aged 10 or older. Although it includes variant rulesets, it is best played with two players. In the game, players battle each other, choosing from guilds of pirate ninjas, porcupine monks, avian rogues, and vicious rangers.
Players will steal acorns and recruit animal combatants to join their cause in a quest to be named Preservers – wardens of the realm. The game is played over a series of rounds, with players taking turns until the game ends with winter’s arrival or when four or more Snowflakes have been matched. The winner is the player who has collected the most acorns.
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AlderQuest is made unique by its excellent fusion of strategic game mechanics. Additionally, dropping new lines from the game’s Rune Pouch is thrilling, and plenty of special circumstances can occur. AlderQuest has a ton of variety, both through the randomness of the tile-matching and the sheer number of minion, quarrel, hero, and relic cards.
Furthermore, the hero cards stand out as their art is filled with character, doing a great job showcasing the distinct members of each guild. I really enjoyed matching runes and the mental planning that results from trying to collect rune matches. Moreover, using them to play quarrel cards and summon minions helped to keep the tournament field feeling alive.
Another aspect of the game that stands out is its modular nature. There’s actually another expansion pack available for the game I hope to try soon.
Quarreling with Rules
My friends and I found it difficult to get acquainted with the ruleset for AlderQuest. The game is deceptively complex and takes some time to get started. Thankfully, there are video aides provided to help learn the game. Additionally, learning the specifics of the board and field phases feels more akin to learning a competitive card game than a party game. Therefore, for newcomers, I would definitely recommend playing without the quarrel cards your first time around.
Despite my frustrations with learning the game, AlderQuest is a title that has a lot to offer. Although it’s not the easiest game to start, its versatility and innovative mixing of match-3 and tile placement give it a ton of strategic depth. In conclusion, I recommend this game for competitive dueling enthusiasts looking to outsmart their opponents in the quest for acorns.
|Excellent artwork||Difficult to learn|
|Supports up to 4 players||Inefficient box for cleanup|
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