When comparing Arcadia Quest vs Descent: Journeys in the Dark, the Slant community recommends Arcadia Quest for most people. In the question“What are the best board games?” Arcadia Quest is ranked 28th while Descent: Journeys in the Dark is ranked 47th. The most important reason people chose Arcadia Quest is:
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.
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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 Blends competitive and co-operative game play in one game
The premise is pretty unique in that one player takes on the role of an overlord while all other players act as the heroes who attempt to clear the dungeon. The overlord and the heroes play against each other in a turn-based setup.
The overlord is the one responsible for controlling the monsters and other pitfalls that the heroes will face. The overlord also has access to many powerful spell cards which can be played during their turn. The heroes work together to clear the dungeon of monsters and work towards the victory condition for their quest.
Since the main evil force is player controlled, it creates some really interesting situations not often seen in other boardgames such as monsters being able to play strategically and dealing with spell effects that aren't random.
Pro Accessible and easy to learn game systems
While the actual rule book may not be the most organized manual in the world, the gameplay systems themselves are very simple to grasp, even for new players. Thanks to being both intuitive and easy to follow, anyone can join in on the fun.
Descent uses basic dice rolls for most actions, and how many actions you can take per turn are clearly defined based on your hero class. Movement along the board is handled in a grid like fashion with each tile denoting a certain distance. There is never any second guessing of whether or not you're in range to help a friend or attack an enemy. If you can roll dice, follow a tile based board, and understand a few simple rules, you can easily play this game.
Pro Engaging and replayable full campaign mode
Each 60 to 90 minute game consists of a single quest, however there is a campaign mode where heroes can take on a series of story quests while also learning new skills along the way. This is a great mode for that true epic adventure feeling. If you find a hero you enjoy, you can grow and develop this character over time similar to a standard RPG game. Additionally, no two campaigns will ever be the same. There are 8 different classes to select from, and you can pick and choose the quests you do, which adds a lot of replayability.
Pro Appealing, clean presentation
Everything is laid out cleanly on the board so it's easy to keep track of the action. Each player has their own cards with all usable actions and skills neatly presented. All heroes and monsters have game pieces that can be moved around the board, so it's easy to be aware of your surroundings and plan your next attack. The health system uses special token pieces that are used to keep track of your health. Being able to see your health physically raise and lower to keep track of your damage taken is a nice touch.
Pro Can play solo with the mobile app
There's a mobile app called "Road to Legend" that lets you play this game solo. The app works by taking over the overlord role. It even has multiple difficulty settings so you can get as much of a challenge as you crave. It's a great way to play when you have no friends available for a gaming session.
Pro Bitesized quests for quick fun
Each short gaming session consists of one quest with its own victory condition and two encounters. They are quick to play when you're looking for something fun to do for an hour or so.
Pro Lots of expansion packs to keep the fun going
The makers of this board game have added over ten expansion packs which feature new monsters, quests, campaigns, heroes, and re-balanced mechanics. Even after you've extensively played the vanilla game, there's plenty of ways to extend the fun and keep playing a game you enjoy.
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 Physical quality isn't the best
The game cards and board are flimsy and wear down rather easily. After only a few games, the wear and tear will be noticeable.
Con Disorganized rulebook
It's usually easier to find the information you need with an internet search since the rulebook itself is tough to navigate. It's arranged alphabetically by rule rather than organized in a manner that would align with the game flow.
Con Rules can be confusing
While the game systems themselves are rather easy to pick up and learn, some phrasing on the cards and within the rulebook is a bit cryptic, which may result in confusion when first starting out.
Con One player will always have to be the "bad guy"
Unless using the mobile app, which may very well ruin immersion for some, there is an evil overlord role that needs to be filled by a player. This is the player that makes decisions and takes actions for all the monsters. As such, this can be the source of many arguments. It can get especially bad when someone feels like they are being constantly targeted or singled out by the overlord.