Every hero on his adventure will sooner or later encounter situations, where he has to descend down into the unexplored dungeon. At first, there are one stairs, then another one and suddenly, he finds himself standing in hell. Welcome!
And let’s just come down as well if we want (and we want to!) continue in the adventures, that Arcadia Quest series of games provides. The new game from this series has subtitle Inferno and has been prepared for us by the same team of authors: Eric M. Lang, Fred Perret, Guilherme Goulart and Thiago Aranha. The game, of course, was released in 2017 via Kickstarter under the flag of Cool Mini or Not (CMON) and distribution of Esdevium Games.
Box shows again a scrum of heroes and monsters fighting body on body in the hellfire. And everybody who wants their company will not only get rulebook and scenario book, but also a lot of cards – tasks, heroes, improvements, monsters, but also cards of angels and sulfur. But there are also miniatures (heroes, enemies and angels), various tokens (exploration, wounds, portals, spawn points, but also damnation tokens) and, above all, nine double-sided game boards divided into squares.
Do you still remember your past adventures? So you recall scenarios connected into a single comprehensive story. Players have every one tasks with a team of heroes. They can gradually improve between adventures, but foundation is a battle. Not only with the monsters that appear in the new rooms (and move in a search for you), but also among themselves. And the battle of black and white dice decides on the outcome of each battle. During exploration, you can come across different treasures. And whoever gets goals done first, wins.
There are twelve stories in this new fire box. But only six always create a complete story, in which the heroes fight their way through the hell circles from their edges to the center with terrible coronation hall. In each game, players will determine their path at the start and record it in a notebook. And thanks to this, players enjoy a different story and experience every time they play it from the beginning.
New box has to come not only with new environment and miniatures (by the way, both great!), but above all with new concepts. And when setting up the game, you will meet the first one – sulfur cards that are shuffled and some of them placed on the map on special gray framed areas. Once hero arrives in the room, where the card lies, player can spend one movement point for revealing it.
Fortunately, heroes arrived in the underground ready to face their damned enemies and know the rituals of hell. They can then use them in their advantage and to harm others. Once the sulfur card has been revealed, player has to immediately follow the text. Result is never certain, but it will not be bad for him – either player will have some benefits for his hero or the possibility of harming opponents.
The cards thus bring even greater level of gloom. Arcadia Quest is by its very nature very conflicting game, full of fighting. Getting your enemies down is a way to win. The situation in the following games gets even better for the winner, who gets the chance to improve his hero and thereby transfer his victory advantage to the next match. But this rule also comes with the risk, that the loser will have a much more difficult situation in trying to win next time (and that is true).
And then there are damnation tokens, that mark hell forces attempts to find weak spots in hearts of the heroes. The more damned the hero gets, the more the gates of hell are opened for him. These tokens are awarded for falling over to temptations, that are offered by powerful items rolling in the dark corners of the room. But damnation can also be received from fighting monsters.
And once the player has it, it does not bring anything nice. Not only are sulfur cards more damaging towards damned hero, but the monsters are more powerful against them as well. But the most ruthless in this focus is the end of the game, when the heroes draw one curse card for every two damnation tokens. Interestingly, it is not possible to get rid of these tokens during one match, so the player has to consider very well, whether it pays him off signing up with hell for a one-time advantage.
Damnation offers great temptation throughout the whole match, that will not let you sleep. Sometimes a stronger effect is worth this high price, sometimes not. It is purely the decision of the player and no one forces him. This novelty in the game is quite unobtrusive and remains pretty fresh.
During their adventure, players meet angels and can save them. However, it is not mandatory. If they decide not to do this, they can return in future scenarios as terrible enemies. Players should think clearly about whether to do, what they are asked to do. Motivation is even higher because winged characters can even join the player’s side as strong allies (instead of one existing hero).
And while setup and teardown of the game is getting slower due to the new components, the first few new scenarios generally have a faster flow. This has a very good effect because players will improve their hero sooner and enjoy one of the best things about campaign gaming. And with regard to conflict, it is definitely a better game with a higher number of players. With two players, victories (and improvements) at the end of the scenario seem powerful, thus leaving the losing player behind.
If you are watching Arcadia Quest world, then you’ve certainly noticed, that we shoul also mentioned new minor expansions to Inferno. But we will not. This is because we will deal with them in separate (shorter) articles in the coming days. Look forward not only to pets, but also new enemies – huge dragons!
The game remains very random. That does not change anything at all. Dice, monsters, everything is driven by luck. But players are fighting against other people, so chances are always there. Items themselves act very strongly, which can be perceived positively as an effect that could spoil the experience. But we did not feel the influence on the game from treasures gathered so vital, that we would reduce the rating.
Arcadia Quest: Inferno is a great selfsustaining board game (though it can be seen as an expansion), which is probably best game in the Arcadia world until now. New elements nonviolently add new things, extend the possibilities of conflict and add new angel miniatures. The theme is interesting and different enough and the story is nice and fun. Even replayability is very solid, because scenarios are never used to the fullest. Arcadia Quest: Inferno is a great addition to already great world of Arcadia games.
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