When comparing Space Alert vs Arcadia Quest, the Slant community recommends Space Alert for most people. In the question“What are the best board games?” Space Alert is ranked 23rd while Arcadia Quest is ranked 28th. The most important reason people chose Space Alert is:
The combination of several CD tracks along with variant card combos and action options ensures that no two games will be the same, making the game widely replayable. If you run out of the official CD tracks, then you can also download the [Space Alert Mission Generator](https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.boarbeard&hl=en_US) to get some random scenarios, or you can browse the internet for custom missions.
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Pro Each game is unique
The combination of several CD tracks along with variant card combos and action options ensures that no two games will be the same, making the game widely replayable. If you run out of the official CD tracks, then you can also download the Space Alert Mission Generator to get some random scenarios, or you can browse the internet for custom missions.
Space Alert is a cooperative based game, something that is not always the case for board games and can be a refreshing change.
Pro Varying difficulty
Various options can be selected to alter the difficulty level of the game, such as the power of internal and external common threats and serious threats. This makes, for example, the monsters you encounter much stronger, adding a whole new level of required teamwork.
Pro Strong theme
Space Alert has a sci-fi theme to it, and the game executes it perfectly. From the aesthetic look of the game to the actions you take, there’s plenty of science fiction – aliens, spaceships, robots, etc. The soundtrack playing in the background during the planning phase also adds a lot to the immersion. For those that are into more of a science fiction game, Space Alert could easily fit that bill.
Pro Good humor
While slightly morbid, the humor contained in the game and gameplay is quite amusing. The resolution phase is also full of humorous moments as the players watch their actions unfold or fall apart. For example, the tutorial book states that the captain must remember to do the “C” action that represents pressing the spacebar on the ship’s computer to keep the lights on.
Pro 1 - 5 players
Can be played as a single player game, or with up to 4 friends, dividing roles accordingly. If you don’t have a full group of 5 players, then the missing characters are androids, which can be controlled by any player.
Pro Simple rules
The very basics of the game are quite simple. Every player has a role assigned to them – the captain, the communications officer, and the security officer. The players take 12 turns in 10 minutes pre-planning actions while listening to a soundtrack that explains all incoming threats. The action phase is divided into three further parts, each of which has a separate deck of action cards. The soundtrack calls out the threats, the endings of phases, data transfers, and communication disruptions, and you must act accordingly.
After the 10-minute soundtrack is over, all the actions the players planned and coordinated are resolved. If the ship is still alive after that, then the game is won.
Pro Fast gameplay
The game takes around 30 minutes to play through, 10 minutes of which is the intense planning phase with the soundtrack blasting in the background.
Pro No analysis paralysis
Turn speed is dictated by the CD, avoiding some players procrastinating on their turns / keeping the gameplay flowing.
Pro Ranked highly on board game geek
With an average score of 7.5 out of 10 and a rank of 155, Space Alert is a positively reviewed board game.
Pro No alpha-gamer issue
Space Alert effectively evades the popular quarterbacking issue of cooperative board games. There’s simply no way to communicate enough useful information to other players in the 10-minute timeframe, so nobody can control absolutely everything. Everyone must efficiently work together and say what they’ll be doing to take care of the looming threats.
Pro Good components
The components of the game should hold up to multiple plays and regular wear and tear. There are a lot of good quality wooden tokens, and the cards are made of durable cardstock. The gameboard and the tracking boards are also quite thick and should endure well.
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 Steep learning curve
Space Alert is not very beginner friendly, and if you don’t properly understand how the game works when you start it up, then you’ll have visible difficulty keeping up with what’s happening in the frantic 10-minute action phase. You’ll also be dragging down the other players because there really isn’t enough time to explain rules when the game is already in progress.
It’s worth reserving an hour to play through the well-designed tutorial book that slowly introduces the complex aspects, so you’ll be ready for the real deal.
Con Requires CD player with speakers
Space Alert is only playable with the included audio CD or downloadable MP3's, without them the game is impossible to play.
Every action you take highly impacts what happens to the rest of the crew, and one tiny misstep can make the whole plan fall apart, which can be frustrating to some. Teamwork and good communication is completely necessary to win.
Con A lot of setup
Space Alert has a lot of pieces to sort through, cards and decks to shuffle and place on the gameboard. It’s not so bad if you decide to play more than one game, but the actual games are very quick in comparison to the amount of setup/takedown time.
Con Can’t be stopped once in progress
Once you press “play” on the 10-minute soundtrack, there’s no interrupting it – no pauses, no rewinds, etc. It’s important to stay focused, not engage in casual banter, and make sure there are no distractions in the background, which can be difficult to manage sometimes.
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.