Review – Quest: A Time of Heroes from Pegasus Spiele and Z-Man Games and Pegasus Spiele
Designers – Alexander Dotor and Andre Wiesler
Art – Satya Hody, Sascha Rost, Hans-Georg Schneider
Thanks to Pegasus Spiele for providing a copy of this game for review purposes
When it comes to role playing games, I’ve always been interested but never had friends who played them. I dabbled a bit but never got into them, at least until I discovered Flying Buffalo’s Tunnels & Trolls system which had solitaire modules which were good fun. Kind of like the “choose your own adventure” and “Fighting Fantasy”books, I could play them whenever I wanted to and enjoy a reasonable experience. It would never be the same as the RPG experience with friends and a game master but it was ok for me. The great advantage for me was I didn’t have to invest the same amount of time and effort to play but I could still have a strong storyline which I enjoyed and felt challenged by.
On the other side, I have enjoyed a number of fantasy boardgames from Dungeon bashes to fantasy war games, to fantasy adventure games but to be honest, none of them had the strength of narrative that came in the RPGs.
So along comes Quest: A Time for Heroes, a game for for 2-5 players, age 10+ that you can also play solitaire very easily and that’s how I approached it because it is essentially an RPG, a very simple entry level RPG, that plays like a Fighting Fantasy book, but with a number of items which gives it a bit of a tabletop miniatures game feel.
This is a pretty nice production for what it is. It is not as dramatic as many table-top miniatures games, nor as deeply filled with source material. Yet, for an entry into RPGs, it is attractive and creates an instant interest for gamers.
The components include:
1 rules booklet – well laid out, logical and set up to learn as you play which is very helpful
1 adventure booklet containing 5 adventures – each session is progressively more challenging and detailed
1 map – nicely drawn, with a parchment style look
18 cardboard miniatures with plastic bases – It would have been nicer to have actual miniatures but the artwork is very nice
120 cards (Equipment, Gifts, Heros, Innate Hero Gifts, Events, Adventures, Dark Gifts, Bad Guys, Quest Items, Rulers)
4 Hero sheets – thick card with a glossy surface for easy wiping of the non-permanent pen
3 Quest Master sheets – same
25 cardboard coins
2 10-sided dice
1 non-permanent pen
Overall, the artwork is very nice and everything looks good which brings out the fantasy theme. The rules are well written and clearly lay everything out which is particularly helpful for those new to RPGs and I suspect that this is very deliberate to attract beginning players. The Adventure booklet gives you 5 adventures of gradual complexity although they are very manageable. My one issue is that it would have been nice to have been really cool to have a more in depth story and background.
Quest: A Time of Heroes is normally played with one player as Quest Master and up to 4 players, each taking the role of one of the characters. The object of the game is for the team of adventurers to survive and defeat the baddies that the Quest Master sends their way, either across one adventure, or perhaps across the 5 adventures. Each adventure ends when the Quest Master reads the paragraph that ends the adventure. Then you check whether the adventurers have been successful or not.
The adventure booklet gives the game master everything that needs to be read out and lays out the choices faced by the adventurers. Its really a case of reading the right things at the right time.
As a solitaire player, you just need to read the Quest Master bits and then make adventurer choices. Simples.
The initial set up has the characters set out with their basic attributes (Charisma, Talent, Deftness and Strength) which are used to roll against for different type tests, as the adventure progresses.You also start with a bit of cash to buy useful stuff, an innate Gift that goes with your character.
The adventure begins with the starting paragraph, then the adventurers take actions, after which the Quest Master checks the effects. These effects determine the next action and so on until the adventure concludes.
Actions are: Change attributes, Draw Gift, Refresh/Exhaust Gift, Buy Items, Find Items, Choose an option, Roll checks against attributes, Enter combat. You can also Use Gifts, Sell items, Swap items and Use items.
The combat is relatively straightforward. You take one move and take one combat action (melee, ranged attack, Use Gift or Swap items). Combat uses a basic and fast system of measuring distance for ranged combat and comparing die rolls with the deftness attribute for the adventurer and the bad guy. Its very easy to work out and this is very good as this is not meant to be a combat game and allows you to get the combat done and move on with the adventure which is the heart of the game.
There are advanced rules to change things up and rules for creating your own adventures which I think is very useful for those who are budding writers and Game Masters.
The adventure choices have a nice variety of choices of types of activities and experiences along the path of your adventure and keeps things interesting.
The functionality is easy, works well and moves you through each adventure nicely. Essentially, this game is played by doing what is read in the relevant text, and then using the basic action, tests and combat to fulfill the choices you are faced with.
Did it work for me?
You know, there is nothing new or original at all here. Everything you come across is pretty familiar, bogg standard fantasy genre stuff. But the thing is, it works for me as a lovely re-introduction into playing RPGs solitaire. I would also say that if you want to introduce friends to RPGs, Quest: A Time of Heroes is a very useful game as it’s concise, manageable, and has everything ready for you right out of the box. I like the occasional dip into RPG’s and I know I can set it up and get into adventuring in a reasonably short time.
Replayability will be a problem as there are only 5 adventures but switching hats and being the Quest Master, and creating new adventures would add to the life of the game. This is a very good game for introducing young players with short attention spans as it gives just enough theme and story to keep them interested with them asking when they get to do stuff. That’s what we all want to do anyway, “do stuff,” right?
Quest: A Time of Heroes is not meant to set the RPG world alight. It fits somewhere between heavier RPG’s and Miniature table-top games so its a bit unusual in that way. If you are looking for a light touch, fast playing RPG , particularly as a solitaire experience or to introduce friends or youngsters, I would recommend it as a good choice.
Boardgames in Blighty rating – 6.5 out of 10
Well not for families but good to teach youngsters the rudiments of playing RPGs.