Double Review: Arcadia Quest Expansions: Pets & Chaos Dragon

Forget the price, and embrace your new chameleon…

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Having reviewed Arcadia Quest Inferno recently, we were also lucky enough to take a look at a couple of new expansions for the base games. So right here we have a double review, taking a look at some cute creatures to help you along the way, and one truly bat-poo crazy creature which is going to totally mess your game up. Intrigued? Read on.

Arcadia Quest: Pets

Pets is a pretty sizeable expansion, bringing a new quest line into your games consisting of 6 very enjoyable missions which are compatible with both the original Arcadia Quest, or the Inferno base sets. The missions follow on from each other and as such don’t give the same flexibility of order when compared to the base games, but that’s not entirely a bad thing – the storylines follow on nicely and seeing how things progress is pretty cool.

And by “things” I mean your adorable pets that this expansion gives you.

As if the name wasn’t enough of a giveaway, this expansion gives you pets, a choice of 12 very cute little animals ranging from a small kitten to a baby dragon (called Puff, rather brilliantly) which will accompany you through both these new quests and those in the base game as well if you choose to include them. The included rule book breaks down the new missions and those from previous games, and clearly dictates exactly where the pets can be used in order to get the most out of them; it’s a great touch to be able to implement these into your standard Arcadia Quest or Inferno games, and certainly makes you feel better about the surprising price tag that this comes with.

You’ll start off by selecting a pet to tag along with your guild, but by capturing and taming a wild animal from the board (basically one of those not selected by players) you can end up with two pets helping you out. Each one has abilities which improve as they level up, and while they won’t be directly attacking any bad guys or other players the abilities and equipment they can carry certainly offer some very handy extra tricks for your guild members. It might be forcing another player to take damage when attacking you, reducing the number of dice they can roll at certain points or simply just nipping round the board and opening doors ahead of you. Whatever your pets are doing, chances are it’ll be far more useful than standing around sniffing lampposts.

You’ll also get two new hero characters, and some new monsters. At first glance it looks like they’ve been a bit tight on the monster count, but a read of the rule book shows why – you’ll be using monsters from your base game as part of these missions; these new bad guys are simply there to make your new quests have some originality in them (as if a lion pet isn’t original enough for you).

The pets themselves then are great to include, certainly make you care about them over the course of the 6 missions, and can even be killed by the opposing guilds if they’re becoming a nuisance. There’s two things that make such an occurrence more devastating than it might’ve been – firstly, you’ll probably start to really like your pets, and after spending time improving them to have someone come along and wipe them out is pretty heart breaking. But it’s also totally uncalled for; the pets won’t attack anyone, and won’t get in anyone’s way, they’ll just make life a little awkward in certain situations. It takes a whole new rank of git to go out of their way to kill a pet which, incidentally, gives no reward whatsoever other than infuriating another player.

But for £60, is it enough to have a few extra missions and some pets which, ultimately, are only giving your guild a couple of extra perks throughout the game? As I mentioned before, you can drop these into your normal games if you want to and add their extra features throughout longer campaigns, there’s the new tiles, new characters, new bad guys and new cards… and while I really liked using the pets I’m not sure everyone will have felt quite as impressed if they’d spent so much on it. You can get entire new games for this price which makes it harder to stomach, but here’s the thing that makes me think that doesn’t matter when all is said and done: chances are if you’re considering buying this, it’s because you’ve played and enjoyed Arcadia Quest or Inferno. And if you’ve loved that to the point of wanting to buy more things for it, then you’ll love this as well. And you won’t care about the price, because it’s more of what you really enjoy doing.

And that’s the crunch part. If you enjoyed playing one of the base sets, and you’re after something cool to add on, then this is it. Forget the price, and embrace your new chameleon.

Arcadia Quest: Pets
Available Now, RRP £59.99

 

Arcadia Quest: Chaos Dragon

The Chaos Dragon expansion offers something a little different, and sits alongside the other dragon expansions for Arcadia Quest in providing an additional battle for when you’ve finished the main quest line in one of the two main Arcadia Quest games. If you’ve played through Arcadia Quest or Inferno and felt like they stopped a little short, or you’re just feeling pretty hardcore and want to stand up against some of the tougher bad guys on offer, then the dragon expansions are for you; they’re big, they’re brutal, and the Chaos Dragon has the potential to cause… well, chaos. And lots of it.

The dragon itself is huge, far bigger than even the biggest miniatures from Inferno that we reviewed recently, and will need clipping together in order to see it in its full glory. It’s got a whole set of cards to control its movement and various abilities, and it’s here that things can really go a bit bonkers. Portals can appear on the map which have the ability to teleport characters to other areas of the map suddenly, and if you’re teleported to a busy spot on the level (in other words there are two other characters already there) the usual rules of your movement being blocked no longer apply – you’ll be sending one back the other way through the portal to where you came from. It doesn’t sound like much on paper, but when playing it can really screw things up if you’re unlucky.

Not as much, however, as the chaos tokens. Through various means your characters will probably end up gaining chaos tokens, and once you get four of these a “chaos swap” occurs where all of your player cards are moved to the right on your guild sheet, changing their weapons, abilities and inheriting other character’s weaknesses. Suddenly your badass guy with the heavy armour and big weapons which you’d sent to fend off some demons suddenly has all that whipped away, and is now armed with not much more than a bendy twig and a healing spell. It’s a cruel but very cool feature which can totally put your team, which you’ve nurtured and finely crafted over hours of gameplay, into total disarray.

To counter all of this you get some Level 6 equipment cards, letting your team equip some slightly meatier gear to take on this beast of an enemy. There are also rewards for beating the dragon over the two stages (you didn’t think it’d be a single fight did you? No siree…) and while that sounds a bit odd to be rewarded with powerful weapons after beating the end of the game, you can also tag on additional dragon fights after this one, so it’s actually more worthwhile if you’ve picked up (or are likely to pick up) some of the other dragon expansions. The other extras provided here, which include a whole new tile to include in your games, work with both the original game and Inferno thanks to the double-sided nature of the tile and the maps in the mission guide showing layouts for both styles. It’s great to see the developers recognising the fact that players could be coming to this from either of the two main games, and until they bring out another standalone expansion like Inferno all of these dragon add-ons will work brilliantly with either system.

For a smidge under £30 this isn’t too bad in terms of value, especially if you’ve recently aced the main game and want to take your fights a bit further. It integrates nicely into wherever you’re coming from, gives you some new toys to equip your characters with and the chaos elements are fantastic for switching things around. Coming at the end of the campaigns you won’t want this if you only dip in and out of the opening couple of missions in your original games, but for an extra challenge it’s very good indeed.

Arcadia Quest: Chaos Dragon
Available Now, RRP £29.99
Find your local stockist here

 
 

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