Quartifacts is the latest expansion for Quarriors from Wizkids and brings a new mechanic, called Questing to the gameplay. The story goes that powerful Quartifacts like the Holy Quail, are lost and you and your brave quarries, which you'll be capturing from the wilds, are questing for them. Will you achieve your goal and gain glory or will you be thwarted by a challenger to your brave questing party? More importantly, is this a good addition or a bad addition to a game that is already a highly dividing game.
I say dividing as almost everyone I know and/or have played with either loves or hates it. It is, after all, a completely dice rolling driven game; some people like that (and are attracted to the quantity, feel and look of the dice) and quite frankly, some people don't. So how can a mechanic where you roll more dice, that are available less than the others, be good? Let's grab our adventuring gear, our Quiddity, and find out!
Quarriors relies on spending Quiddity, the base resource, to acquire "quarries" from the Wilds. The Wilds are the main center area, available to all players, and consists of basic cards (brown border), spell cards (white) and creature cards (black). Quartifacts adds a gold card, Quest cards. When you choose a Quarry to acquire, you gain one of the available dice representing that spell or creature. It is placed in your used pile, and later, can be drawn from your dice bag, much like a deck building game works with acquiring cards to your discard pile, just in Quarriors, you roll the die, instead of playing a card. The quest dice bust be achieved by completing a quest and aren't available to "acquire" as others are.
When rolled, one of the 6 sides will represent either gaining quiddity, potentially locking a die (a mechanic from a previous expansion; think "enchantments" that stay in play) or a spell or creature that you can summon. Before Quartifacts, you simply had a "ready" area you summoned your creatures to, attacked your opponents and scored glory for when your turn began and they were still in play. Quartifacts though adds a new mechanic with questing to the game, which provides more choices on how you gain Glory (the victory points needed to win) and more choices on where and when you'll summon your creatures.
In Quartifacts, you have three quests you can embark on, and depending on the number of players you play with will determine how many quests there are in a game. In a 2 player game there is only one quest for a Quartifact, Exqualibur. In a 3 player game there are two quests for Quartifacts, The Holy Quail and the Tri Clops Skull. In a 4 player game, all three quests for the three quartifacts are used.
It's good to know though, that similar to how you have 4 versions of spells that can be chosen at set up, there are 4 versions of each quest card as well in Quartifacts. You'll have the choice of "The Expedition for...", "The Search for...", "The Hunt for..." and "The Quest for..." each Quartifact. This offers a lot of replay value as each version of the quest cards has different in game effects when the quest dice are rolled.
Completing a quest and questing overall is fairly simple. When you summon a creature you have rolled, you can choose to send them on a quest or leave them in your ready area. If no one is on the quest already, then they are considered questing. Some creatures in this set have bonuses for questing together even! If another opponent has characters questing, then a battle ensues. The attacker can gain bonus glory for killing opponents characters, however, last man standing gets to stay at the quest.
To complete a quest, when you begin your turn, you must have characters on the quest, and their levels must add up to, or be greater than, the quest level. So in the examples above, if I sent two level one characters after Exqualibur and at the beginning of my next turn, they were both still there, I'd have completed it as Exqualibur is a level 2 quest. If one of my characters didn't survive, I wouldn't complete it though, and my character would go to my used pile, scoring me nothing.
When you complete a quest, you immediately roll the associated quest die, which is slightly oversized from the main dice, and you will gain one of three Quartifacts (hey, just because you went questing doesn't mean you got what you went looking for!) or one of three immediate bonuses. Each card shows what each symbol means, with all of them having an option for a portal type affect as well, drawing more dice and rolling them.
Questing in groups is a good thing and there are new characters to help you with that. Squires for example are a new basic card that have a high defense, helping to hold off would be attackers. Yes, even Quarriors has "Red Shirts" now! Additionally, there are Guides that will boost other party members when questing together.
The new characters, although only five in number, are great! Their in game abilities not only help with questing, but are just as powerful and fun outside of using the quest mechanics, if you prefer to just add to your "pre-Quartifacts" Quarrior fun! There are minotaurs, pixies, knights and war pegasus characters awaiting to lay down the pain on your opponents... provided you can roll their character faces!
That last statement is exactly why Quarriors, in any flavor, is a "two sides of a coin" type game. If you like luck driven games, Quarriors is right up your alley. There are strategic choices to make, but they are few and far between and more often than not, Quarriors comes down to rolling well and getting fat creatures to the table. Questing is a great addition, and in my opinion, makes this the best expansion thus far to the game.
The choices you'll be forced to make, on sending characters to quest or keeping them in your ready area, are great. Should I send my two level one characters to get Exqualibur, or is my opponent about to pull out a minotaur and potentially attack them if I leave them in the ready area... or beat them down in the questing area? Questing, at its core, is about risk vs reward, and they pull it off very well. The rules are flexible enough that you can ramp up the difficulty by using more quests than asked for in a multi-player game, or less for a big challenge! One quest out in a 3 player game for example results in a whacky good time!
However, if you are someone who doesn't like luck based games, and wants as much control over their investments in a game, then Quarriors is more than likely going to leave you with an empty experience. You can make all the right choices, and still not roll what you need. This can leave many strategic players wanting more... more control and more manipulation. Those we played with that are big time war gamers for example, constantly wish this had more manipulation affects to pre-determine some dice results. Thankfully, there is a spell in this set that allows that, but it still needs to be rolled before you can take advantage of it.
It's because of the divisive nature that I feel compelled to make this statement when reviewing and rating Quartifacts; If you like and own Quarriors, this is a Crit of a game! Questing adds a new mechanic that will provide a lot of great gameplay choices and the new characters and spells are well designed. However, if you don't like luck based or dice based games, this will be a total Miss of a game for you. A game like this will either be a rolling good time at a table or a game leaving people wanting much more, and it's best to know that going in, for you, and your play group!
We have had a great time playing Quartifacts, personally. I don't mind the luck and "bad rolls" at all, as I go into it knowing it's like that. The dice are colorful, the new quest dice are great in feel and look, the art and characters are lively, and the laughs are a plenty. That all said, I can neither confirm or deny that several versus of Monty Python's "Brave Sir Robin" were sung around our table when questing with a Squire, but I will say, if you do those type of things, Quarriors provides many opportunities to test our your "inner rock star"... or I guess I should say, "inner roq star".
Final Score: (Crit, His or Miss):
For casual gamers, or gamers who don't mind luck/dice driven games:
For more strategic gamers, or gamers who don't like luck/dice driven games:
This game was provided to Crits Happen by Dragon's Lair Comics & Fantasy in Austin Texas. Check them out online at http://www.dlair.net for all your comic and gaming needs!