When comparing Arcadia Quest vs Heroscape, the Slant community recommends Heroscape for most people. In the question“What are the best board games?” Heroscape is ranked 18th while Arcadia Quest is ranked 29th. The most important reason people chose Heroscape is:
The game includes all kinds of well-designed figures, a various terrain tiles, and a bunch of different terrain accessories that make up the big 3D landscape. The characters are a blend of fantasy, sci-fi, history, mythology and all kinds of other genres. Terrain tiles can range from grass to swamp, to lava, to snow and other types. What’s more, they can be stacked on top of one another to create hills.
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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.
Pro Good design
The game includes all kinds of well-designed figures, a various terrain tiles, and a bunch of different terrain accessories that make up the big 3D landscape.
The characters are a blend of fantasy, sci-fi, history, mythology and all kinds of other genres. Terrain tiles can range from grass to swamp, to lava, to snow and other types. What’s more, they can be stacked on top of one another to create hills.
Pro Play time decided by the players
The play time highly depends on the scenario chosen and the size of the playing surface, but since the game encourages customization, players are free to choose a scenario that's easy and quick to play through and construct a smaller battlefield to accommodate it, for example, "last team standing " on a small surface.
Pro Can be built to fit any group
Heroscape can make both a decent 1v1 or 2v2 tournament and a massive party attraction. Although the game is best balanced to be a game for 2-4 players, if you have more sets you can create a map that can potentially scale up to any group.
Moreover, all ages are welcome, so it can be a great family game as well.
Pro Simple rules
This is one of the games that fits the description of “Easy to learn, hard to master” quite well.
The basic gist is quite simple - in their turn the player chooses an army card, moves the pictured figures and attacks with the figures. Movement is done based on the “Move number” on the card and attacking is done by rolling the attack dice based on the “Attack number” on the card. Players alternate turns until the game is over. The win condition is chosen by the players
There are a few more detailed mechanics, but they are very easy to understand, because they link to the physical aspect of the game. For example, an enemy is in line of sight if the figure is "able to see it" from its position - if there's a huge dragon figure behind a mountain and its head is poking out, then the soldier further back on the hill has line of sight. Another example - if a figure physically can't fit somewhere, then it can't move to that tile - a dinosaur figurine won't fit under a small bridge over a river, so it can't go there.
The basics of the game are not hard at all, the rules are simple enough even for children, it’s suited for ages 8+.
Pro Great customization possibilities
The game offers a lot of customizability both in terms of playing surface and the game itself.
Since the playing surface is fully customizable, you can either create it from instructions (found in the game guide or online) or arrange the construction pieces however you want. Because of this every game can be different in some way – you can, for example, relocate a hill, place a river and do much more.
Though the game offers a scenario booklet with some basic scenarios, that doesn’t mean you can’t get creative and make up your own objectives, manipulate some of the rules or add house rules.
Pro Well-made materials
The game materials have a relatively high production quality.
There’s no need to worry about game components not being able to sustain normal wear and tear or an accidental drop here or there - the hexagonal pieces and the painted character figurines are made out of durable plastic. The character figures are also quite flexible - bending swords, legs and hands of figures doesn't leave a lasting problem.
The paint job of the pieces is also well done and paint won't wear off even when rigorously scraped.
Pro Active community
Despite the printing of the game being discontinued in 2010, there’s still a very active community at https://www.heroscapers.com/ that are keeping the game alive. There are forums for custom units, local gaming events, online Heroscape games and more.
Since sets and accessories tend to cost a lot of money, some dedicated fans even banded together to create https://www.allthingsheroscape.com/, offering a selection of, as the name suggests, all things related to Heroscape – figures, terrain sets, expansions, etc.
Pro Can be visually impressive
Some fans of the game have even gone out of their way to design huge and beautiful battlefields, spanning many tables. A lot of great creations can be found on the internet - some examples.
Pro Fun to set up
The setting up of the game is another game itself and it makes for a good family / friend activity. It could be compared to LEGO construction – you attach the hexagonal pieces together to create whatever playing surface you want or just follow an instruction.
The pieces smoothly link together and don’t accidentally come apart, so there's no need to worry about a small accident ruining your hard work.
Since the playfield is quite big, everyone can join in creating the landscape. Some people could even get more excited to play while seeing the battlefield grow and imagining how fun the nearing game could be.
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.
Con Takes up a lot of room
The landscapes tend to get quite big and, unfortunately, there is no convenient way to store the tiles and character figures unless you spend some extra cash on boxes or other forms of storage.
Con Long set up and take down times
Depending on the scenario, the setup might take as long as the scenario itself. A basic setup could take anywhere between 20 and 40 minutes. This is because of how big the playing surface can be and how many pieces and accessories it consists of.
The sets, expansions and accessories tend to cost a lot of money mostly due to the game being out of print since 2010.
Con Out of print
The game has been out of print since 2010.
Con Inconsistent theme
The terrain is customizable enough to create a running theme, but units are more difficult. Some people might enjoy the idea of heroes from all kinds of genres clashing in one big game, others might be thrown off by historical characters like samurai and cowboys battling alongside werewolves, robots or vampires.