When comparing Arimaa vs Arcadia Quest, the Slant community recommends Arimaa for most people. In the question“What are the best board games?” Arimaa is ranked 27th while Arcadia Quest is ranked 29th. The most important reason people chose Arimaa is:
Arimaa is a game suitable for both young and old, it was made to be intuitively simple but with a lot of depth. Even the setup follows this premise - you set up the figures in two rows like in chess, but you can place them in any way you like. The rules are simple – in your turn you have four actions. You can either move a figure four times, move four figures one time, or do any combination in between. All figures can move forwards, backwards, and sideways apart from rabbits who can’t go backwards. You can use two actions on a stronger piece to push or pull your opponents’ weaker figures. These stronger figures also “freeze” adjacent weaker pieces, preventing them from moving unless there’s a friendly piece next to them. If a figure happens to walk into one of the four trap squares or get pushed/pulled into one without a friendly piece next to it, then it is removed from the game. The first player to get a rabbit to reach the opposing side wins. The game can also be won by removing or immobilizing all your opponent’s rabbits.
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Pro Easy to learn
Arimaa is a game suitable for both young and old, it was made to be intuitively simple but with a lot of depth. Even the setup follows this premise - you set up the figures in two rows like in chess, but you can place them in any way you like.
The rules are simple – in your turn you have four actions. You can either move a figure four times, move four figures one time, or do any combination in between. All figures can move forwards, backwards, and sideways apart from rabbits who can’t go backwards.
You can use two actions on a stronger piece to push or pull your opponents’ weaker figures. These stronger figures also “freeze” adjacent weaker pieces, preventing them from moving unless there’s a friendly piece next to them. If a figure happens to walk into one of the four trap squares or get pushed/pulled into one without a friendly piece next to it, then it is removed from the game. The first player to get a rabbit to reach the opposing side wins. The game can also be won by removing or immobilizing all your opponent’s rabbits.
Pro Active online community
The official site of Arimaa is quite lively and features reviews, downloads, the latest news, an active public forum, and much more. There’s even an online gameroom, so you can play Arimaa against computers or other people in either turn-based or real-time games. There are many people online, so it shouldn’t be a problem to find a game.
Pro Can be played with a chess set
In case you don't want to purchase the gameboard made by Z-Man Games, you can use the components of a regular chess set. It also helps if you have four coins to mark the trap squares. You probably already have the equipment you need.
Pro Fluid gameplay
The 4 moves per turn gives Arimaa's tree of possible moves a very high branching factor. (It was invented for AI programmers as a game more difficult to program for than chess, but easier than Go). You can't think several turns ahead like chess (the space of possibilities is too big), instead you have to think in terms of distances and capabilities, giving Arimaa a very fluid feel.
The game will most definitely lead to more future plays because of the huge number of variables. In the base game there are many characters and equipment cards available, so players will get different combinations and use altered strategies. All scenarios except for the last one can be played in different orders, which influences their difficulty significantly – a scenario that was easy on your first playthrough might be very different the next time around. Because of this every campaign will also play out differently.
In addition to that, there are plenty of expansions that add new scenarios, enemies, heroes, and mechanics. There is also the possibility to create custom scenarios or find them online.
If you can’t or don’t want to play the campaign, you can also choose to play a separate scenario by quickly creating guilds, choosing the level, and dealing upgrade cards to everyone. The player with the most gold coins wins.
Pro Easy to teach
The game is not difficult at all, since even children can easily play it. On your turn you can either activate one of your three heroes or rest your party. The heroes can move three spaces and attack or do it the other way around. Combat is done by choosing a weapon and rolling the amount of special dice shown on the weapon card. After that the weapon is exhausted and you must rest to use it again. Resting also revives any dead heroes.
To finish scenarios players must complete quests. There are both PvE quests that require you to kill monsters or escort characters and PvP quests that make you slay heroes from other guilds. The first player to complete three quests, one of which is a PvP quest, is the winner of the scenario and may choose the next scenario to play. The winners of scenarios receive additional bonuses that come in later in the campaign.
After the scenario is complete, players can use the gold coins they’ve earned in the scenario to purchase new gear. All heroes who died during the scenario receive a corresponding amount of death tokens. The player must then draw the same number of cards from the “Death Curse” deck and take the card with the highest value. These cards weaken the hero in the next scenario and are removed after that scenario is finished.
Pro Light-hearted and funny
The game can’t be taken very seriously because of the art style and the way it plays. This makes Arcadia Quest a good game for all ages and settings – children, adults, families.
Arcadia Quest is very cartoony, and the cards are often quite humorous, for example, a possible “Death Curse” players can draw can be a “Severe nosebleed” card.
The game is full of memorable and hilarious moments as you and your friends battle through the campaign competing with monsters and each other. The quests you receive will make you hunt down heroes of other guilds or try to somehow block them off, preventing them from completing the monster hunting quests. The rolling mechanic can also lead to some comments - players face off hoping to get lucky with critical hits.
Pro Good component quality
The components should hold up very well to regular wear and tear. The gameboard consists of large and thick cardboard tiles, the cards and player boards are made from durable cardstock, the miniatures are made of good quality soft plastic, and all the small cardboard tokens are also tough.
Pro Great aesthetics
Arcadia Quest has a very nice family-friendly cartoony art-style that suits the light-hearted theme of the game. Both the heroes and the monsters have oversized heads that add to this nature. All the components are very detailed – cards, game tiles, tokens, and especially the plastic figures. Since the figures are all white you can also get creative and paint them.
Pro No gamemaster
Unlike many other dungeon-crawl games, Arcadia Quest doesn’t require a designated player to become a gamemaster, so everyone can join in on the fun. This is because of the monster mechanics. Monsters get to attack players in reaction to their movements and attacks. The player to the right of the active player takes control of the provoked monster – moves, rolls dice, etc.
Con Requires constant engagement
Arimaa can get out of hand quickly because there’s pretty much no way of predicting how future turns will play out. This is because it’s significantly harder to pinpoint four actions that your opponent might do as opposed to one action in similar games to Arimaa. Due to this the game requires the players to continually pay close attention to what they’re doing, which isn’t inherently bad, but can be a bit problematic for people with shorter attention spans or for people who don't want to take the game too seriously and just play it for fun and socialize meanwhile.
Con Quite long to play
A game of Arimaa is very unpredictable and can often lead to a very long session. The time can vary between 15 minutes and 2 hours, so it’s not great if you’re looking for something that you can quickly grab and play through.
Con Potential runaway leader problem
A player might become too powerful in the campaign by getting the right gear on the right character and get a huge lead on others, which makes them the most likely to win scenarios, get even better equipment, and reinforce their lead. There is no real way of preventing this because there is no catch-up mechanic that doesn’t involve luck. Ganging up on the powerful player isn’t very effective either.
Con Requires dedication to finish
Getting the same group together to finish the campaign can be a struggle sometimes. This is a popular issue with campaign-based board games. The full campaign is going to take a pretty long time – up to six hours.
Con Needs storage space
The box of the game contains a lot of stuff. Chances are, you won’t be able to squeeze it all back once you’re done with the scenario, so, as is common for games with a lot of components, getting separate containers might be a good idea.
Con A lot of setup
Before you can start delving into the abandoned city of Arcadia you need to dig through tiles and set up monsters, doors, walls, portals and the whole scenario while constantly consulting the manual for the correct pattern, so the first ten minutes or so can be a bit frustrating.
Con Not everyone will enjoy combat
The combat in Arcadia Quest requires you to roll special dice that features a critical hit mechanic, which can influence results a lot. You can attack with a ranged attack or a melee attack, and you need to roll the corresponding icon or a crit. A crit is a guaranteed hit and a re-roll. The same idea applies for rolling defensive dice – you need a shield or a crit. Basically, this means that you could theoretically kill someone or escape death by rolling one dice repeatedly if you keep getting crits, which can be very frustrating for others.
Con Quite expensive
The price ranges from $70 to $99, which can be quite the investment.