It’s no secret that Kickstarter has featured some biggest board game releases of the last few years. Thanks to the platform creators are able to create games that are even bigger and better than ever before. Because of this, backers are rewarded handsomely for helping provide the necessary funding numerous months before the game is released. Unfortunately there are far too many Kickstarter campaigns nowadays to be able to back them all. This is why I’m so glad that Game Grid participates in retailer pledges. Doing so allows gamers like you and me a chance to hold onto our hard earned cash, as well as earn in-store credit and add valuable points to our accounts. Speaking of hard earned cash, you may want to start setting some aside because Game Grid should be getting their Kickstarter pledges of Altar Quest later this month. Let me tell you a little more about the game.
One of the first games that got me into the hobby was Sentinels of the Multiverse. It’s a cooperative game, with players teaming up to take down a super villain. What made the game unique was the massive amount of replayability. Not only did each player get their own hero to play, complete with a unique deck of cards, but then you would choose a villain to fight as well as an environment full of events where the battle would take place. I ended up moving on from the game because it started to feel overly fiddly and a little too mathematical. But I had always been on the lookout for something similar because the concept was just so solid. Then about two years ago I heard about the game Street Masters.
It was Blacklist Games flagship title. It had just fulfilled it’s first successful Kickstarter and was running a campaign for an expansion and massive storage box. The concept sounded solid. Each player chose a fighter (each with a unique mini and deck of cards), then you selected an enemy (also with it’s own deck of cards and various minis), and then a stage for the battle to take place (once again with it’s own deck of cards and a board). Basically it was Sentinels but with minis and a map adding in a new tactical element. It just so happened that the designers were also none other than Brady and Adam Sadler. In case these names don’t sound familiar, they are twin brothers that had been working a fair number of years at Fantasy Flight contributing to the design of games like Descent, X-Wing, and Warhammer Quest: The Adventure Card Game. So I took a chance and pledged for nearly everything Street Masters. And I gotta say, it’s pretty much all that I had hoped it would be.
Altar Quest will be the latest game in the MDS (modular deck system) line of games that Blacklist Games and the Sadler Brothers have been working so hard on, preceded only by Street Masters and Brook City. So, like these titles each game will feature players choosing from various decks to create a completely new and exciting experience. Unlike the other two games, Alter Quest is a “dungeon crawler”. Players will select a hero deck and mini, choose an enemy deck and minis, then a villain deck and mini, and finally a quest deck which gives players their main objective. The base game alone includes 4 heroes, 3 enemy groups, 3 villains, and 6 quests. The sheer number of combinations available in the base box will create a massive amount of replayability, but like most Kickstarters the game comes with a TON of awesome stretch goals. Look at all the extra content added to the game:
Like any good dungeon crawler players will need to carefully navigate their way through the dungeon, fighting monsters, looting treasure, and doing their best just to survive. As stated previously, each hero will come with it’s own unique deck and play style. Players will use a combination of both cards and dice to not only attack enemies but also perform skill checks. The game also utilizes a unique set of altar dice that players will have access to in order to augment their various abilities, rerolling them after use. They must be careful though, because certain enemies will also benefit from particular faces showing on these dice. There should be no shortage of excitement given the amount of dice rolling coupled with clever card play.
Aside from the things previously mentioned there are two one big selling points for this game that I think is very much worth mentioning. I am a big fan of dungeon crawlers. They are thematic and do a marvelous job and telling a story. Unfortunately, this usually comes with a cost. Nearly every dungeon crawler I have played requires a ton of set-up. You’ll spend nearly as much time finding dungeon tiles and populating them with all sorts of cardboard tiles as you will actually playing the game. And don’t even get me started on the tear down and storage. Altar Quest uses a single board, already divided into various rooms. When a player opens a door to enter a new room a card is drawn indicating what kind of room it is and the predominant feature found in that room. A miniature is then placed on an indicated space that will affect the room and allow heroes to interact with it. Many have found this a nice call-back to the classic crawler Hero Quest.
The other gripe I have with most dungeon crawlers is that they are only really meant to be played as a campaign. I have never really had much luck getting a campaign of anything going with my game group. Luckily Altar Quest not only has great one-off scenarios thanks to the modular deck system, but it also comes with the option to play through a campaign, complete with character upgrades and overarching story. I appreciate the designers trying their best to cater to the play styles of all gamers and not just those who usually gravitate towards the dungeon crawl genre.
When I backed the game on Kickstarter I was not aware that Game Grid was also going to back it. But I guess this is good news for you, because I am one less game you will have to worry about buying one of the 6 available pledges Game Grid should be receiving later this month or early next month. If this sounds like a game you need in your collection then I’d recommend talking to someone at the store and seeing how soon you can preorder your own copy. Below is a link to the Kickstarter page for more info on the game as will as the contents of the pledge.