In order to keep my audience informed of the latest and greatest games, I am embarking on a new route for reviewing games. Today, I am reviewing a game that won’t be available until 2017, but is currently on Kickstarter. It is entitled Quests of Valeria, and it is produced by Daily Magic Games. Quests of Valeria is the third game in the Valeria series, with the first two being Valeria Card Kingdoms and Villages of Valeria. It is created by Isaias Vallejo and the illustrations are by Mihajlo Dimitrievski (also known as The Mico). It is designed for 2-4 people, ages 14 and up. (The age recommendation is more due to the content of a small minority of the cards than actual gameplay. For example, some quests deal with death and assassination.) The cost of the game is $20 on Kickstarter ($17 + $3 shipping), but it will retail for $25.
1. Shuffle the Guild Master cards together and deal one face down to each player. This is your secret role/goal that will guide you on what types of quests give you the most points.
2. Shuffle the Citizen cards together and deal three to each player face down. Deal another six face up in a row below the Tavern. Place the remaining cards face down to the right of the Tavern to form the Citizen Deck.
3. Shuffle the Quest cards together and deal the appropriate number face up below the row of Citizens at the Tavern (four for two players, six otherwise). Place the remaining cards face down to the left of the Tavern to form the Quest Deck.
On your turn, you can perform two Actions from any of the four below, including the same one twice:
1. Draw: Draw one car from the Citizen Deck.
2. Hire: Hire 1 Citizen from the Tavern or your hand.
3. Reserve or Reset: Reserve one quest from the Tavern and place it in front of you or discard all Quests from the Tavern, refill the Tavern with new Quests and then reserve one Quest.
4. Complete a Quest: Complete one Quest from the Tavern or one that is in front of you.
Each Quest has its own requirements to complete. For example, to “Bless the Town Well,” you need a Citizen who is Holy. (Other Citizen roles include Worker, Soldier, and Shadow.) You also need three Gold and two Strength, which can be found on the Citizens you hire. (The other resource is Magic.) The game ends when one player completes their fifth quest. You add up the total number of points that your quests gave you and the person with the most points wins!
The beauty of this game is its complex simplicity. For starters, the game is more or less a deck of cards. There is no board to play on, dice to roll, or tokens/pawns. Even the rule book was able to fit on a card. So why do I call it complex simplicity? To put it simply, each action can have a huge chain reaction. For example, let’s say the Summoner card was in spot 0 at the Tavern. You hire him for a cost of 0 and then his card lets you perform two more actions – draw one card and hire one Citizen. Since cards in your hand are either potential hires or currency, this increases your flexibility. Continuing the example. if the Monk was in spot 1 at the Tavern, you could choose to hire him for one card and his special ability lets you draw two cards. So for just on of your two Actions, you were able to hire two Citizens and increase your hand size by one.
The artwork is also stunning to behold. I own other games which The Mico illustrated, and like those games, this one did not disappoint in visual appeal. The game is also portable, super fast to set up, and quick to play. All that for only $20 makes this a steal on Kickstarter. Most games that end up on Kickstarter feature a lot of exclusive content that is impossible to get once the game hits retail. With this campaign, there is only one exclusive card, so I always appreciate that. Kickstarter is supposed to be about making games available and making them better for everyone, not making games better for a select minority. So if you are looking for a game that is gorgeous to the eye, heavy on theme, and won’t break the bank, then consider backing Quests of Valeria.