Tiny Epic Quest - Board Game Box Shot

Tiny Epic Quest

| Published: 2017
9 3
A world of peace has been torn asunder by the opening of a vile portal from the goblin kingdom. Nasty goblins pour into the peaceful groves and villages of the elf world, setting the realm ablaze. Now you, the heroes, must quest in order to right this wrong. There are two paths to victory: closing the portal or slaying all the goblins. Which one will you choose? Either way, your quests will be aided by the help of the surviving mushroom folk — and by the epic items that have been lost in the realm’s deep dungeons. The world is ending quickly, so you must act fast to save it, but you also need to know when your luck will run out….

Each round is broken into two phases: day and night. During the day, players travel far and wide, visiting villages to acquire quests, monuments to learn powerful spells, mushroom groves to seek guidance, and treacherous locations in search of artifacts! Acquiring artifacts empower the heroes with unique abilities; this may improve a heroes’ movement or combat, or their ability to learn spells or mitigate harmful dice rolls. Heroes must travel by foot, by horse, by raft, by boat and by gryphon to get to everywhere they need to go to satisfy their quests — or to position themselves for what night brings.

As each type of movement is different, and limited, players need to take careful consideration when traveling, and how they travel, if they wish to accomplish all of their goals. During the night, players must face the challenge of their quests, and decisions, by rolling dice, hoping for fortune, and knowing when to quit. Will you press on? Or is it time to save your progress and rest? Tomorrow is another day.

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“A Truly Epic Game!”

Tiny Epic…an oxymoron if there ever was one. I’ve played Galaxies, and Defender, and Kingdoms. I’ve liked them each to varying degrees, but the sheer concept of a game that’s not just a filler game being able to fit inside a small box is intriguing to me on the face of it. It’s nice being able to carry several big games at once, and there are definitely some games in my collection big enough that I ask if anyone wants to play it before taking it out of the car. So, how was this one?

In four words, Zelda in a box. I know, I know, pretty much [b]EVERY OTHER[/b] reviewer has made this comparison, but only because it’s true…to a fault. Even the icons and symbols and characters. The artwork is great, but it does seem like they tried to get themselves as close as possible to Zelda without getting sued by Nintendo.

What about the game itself? Even that reinforces the theme. The day and night phase are nicely divided into moving and questing. The random board set up increases the replay value infinitely, and prevents any one super strategy from taking hold to allow one experienced player from being able to automatically win almost every game. It may just be difficult for one player to reach something, meaning they’re better off just foregoing that route this game. I’ve played plenty of other games with the lead and follow mechanism, and it’s a nice challenge that a player may not be able to do something this round simply because the combo move they need to make to get to a spot either doesn’t get picked at all, or at least not in the right order. That leaves some nice decision making as one has to decide “do I focus on this objective this turn, knowing I may not make it, thus wasting a whole turn?” Plus, the follow mechanism keeps everyone engaged, in both planning one’s moves and actually following the card when their move comes around. Having quests based on movement also gives players something else to shoot for if all the temples they need are occupied to capacity. It’s also nice to get the quick boost from them. The only problem there is that the movement quests are useless in round one since you’re already topped off for energy and life.

The night phase is when things get really interesting. It’s nice to have a number of methods of scoring points so that everyone isn’t going for the same thing at the same time. Some others have said they don’t like having negative points in the track, but I like this method of forcing players to diversify. Obviously, the goblin killing is the most points, but the other methods are necessary. The various quests give other advantages to your meeples which carry over to the spells, movement, replenishing stats, or combat, so those are attractive options. And the mechanic of passing the damage again involves you at all stages. It also means that it’s not super devastating to roll lots of goblin heads, but that can also come back and bite you when the player before you is well powered and you’re near death, it’s no skin off their nose to keep pressing the die rolls, but that could be the end of you, although most of the time it seems everyone finishes their tasks at the same time. Also, everyone is kept involved because [b]everyone[/b] gets to use the scrolls, torches, and fists to complete their quests. The lack of downtime is excellent! And the temples are thematic! With several different temples, there’s always something for a player to chase, whether it be a quest, or their Legendary equipment. That being said, this is one of the few sore points to be had. I have seen games where the scrolls and torches just don’t come up, and so several turns are wasted in a temple, and there are only 5 turns. It’s also incredibly frustrating to take a shot at a temple and someone else beats you to the end and so you have nothing to show for it, and I’ve seen in the forums here that lots of people are frustrated that having to cycle quests out to have at least 1 of each quest type has resulted in a quest someone has been working a couple of turns for just disappears!

Of course, no discussion of this game would be complete without talking about the components of the game, and the star component is the Item meeples! Yes, they’re awesome! It’s fun sticking the little items into the holes on them! They could have very easily just had us use the quest card for reference, or had us put the plastic pieces on our player board, but this is way cooler! It even draws new players in! I’ve played this quite a bit at the local shop, and two of the regulars love to play this game just because of those little pieces, and they kind of go “SQUEE!” when they hear I have the game with me. I love how Gamelyn Games has said this is just the beginning, with possible back mounts and head mounts on future versions. Indeed, while I feel this is a great game in its own right, this one component has been a huge part of the game’s success!

Regarding the rest of the components, they’re all pretty good. The map cards are excellent, with the texture having a nice feel and seems like it can stand up to quite a bit of use. Having two sides is awesome, and allows for a bigger challenge once one feels ready for it. I also like the inclusion of the first expansion in the box to add some more flavor and variety. The rest of the cards are of normal quality as well. Some of the chits feel a little fiddly, and it is a chore at times making sure not to drop them. I like having a designated area to roll the dice so you don’t have to risk the board or find an area. It’s also nice having the order of resolution [b]everywhere[/b], although by the end of one round I had it down pretty good. My only major complaint about components is the item rack. It’s cute, but not really practical. I’ve gotten pretty good at setting it up fast, and I really don’t feel like wasting the time putting them in it. One time when I played, another player decided to put them all in, and then when he had to get an item out, it was a blast crawling around on the floor when it got fumbled. It wouldn’t be so bad if you could store the items in the box in the tray, but to be able to properly close the items have to come out. I’ve also heard in other places that if the item rack is used regularly, they become loose in the holes pretty quick. I didn’t throw out my item rack, but if I lost it I wouldn’t be too upset.

In closing, I’m not even going to pose this as a question…I love this game! To me, it’s easily the best and deepest of the Tiny Epic series. While I’ve been happy with all the games, it does feel on some others that they have to shrink down some gameplay to be able to fit the game into a small box. This game is different. While there are other games that cover this type of theme more in depth in bigger boxes, this is the first game where they didn’t seem to”miniaturize” the gameplay itself to make it Tiny Epic, or at least not noticeably so, if that makes sense to anyone. The modular board also increases the replayability, meaning one should get plenty of plays out of this game! Check it out!

 

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