From conquering distant lands in Tiny Epic Kingdoms to exploring the far reaches of space in Tiny Epic Galaxies, the Tiny Epic series of games delivers plenty of gaming bang for your buck. Designer Scott Almes’ vision of small-footprint games with high-quality playing experiences seems to get refined with each release and Gamelyn Games’ latest entry into the series, Tiny Epic Quest, may be the best of the bunch.
Like a tabletop version of The Legend of Zelda, one to four players explore the Mushroom Realm, a land filled with goblins, magic, and treasures. Along the way they’ll complete quests to score victory points and gather game-changing items to attach to the coolest meeples in gaming today, the ITEMeeples.
Tiny Epic Quest is divided into two phases: day and night. During the day phase, you and your opponents will move throughout the land to complete movement quests and set yourselves up for adventuring during the night phase. Movement quests require your ITEMeeples meeting certain location requirements, such as being in a single horizontal line or in an opponent’s castle. It’s an interesting puzzle to solve, since all players share each selected movement. You may be waiting for the raft (vertical) movement to complete a quest when an opponent selects the horse (horizontal) movement to finish it before you. Goblins also hinder movement, costing one power to pass through their map card.
After four of the five movements have been selected, the night phase begins. Here you’ll face off against goblins, make your way through temples to acquire items, and conjure magic to increase your spell power; completing each goal contributes to your final victory point total. Each player rolls the dice to accomplish all of this, but the longer you adventure at night, the more susceptible you are to damage. Stay too long and you’ll become exhausted and lose anything you’ve gained during the round. The best part comes after you’re finished questing in the night phase, since you’ll be able to attach your acquired items to your meeples. How cool is that?!
At the end of the fifth round total up your points from your completed quests, goblins killed, spell level acquired, and legendary items unlocked. The highest point total wins.
I’m a big fan of the Tiny Epic series of games. Each one is a tremendous value, with gameplay depth equal to, and sometimes surpassing, games that cost two to three times more. From the worker placement/poker mashup of Tiny Epic Western to the dice allocation/area control play of Tiny Epic Galaxies, Gamelyn Games provide plenty of fun at a low price point.
Tiny Epic Quest, however, is my favorite by far. The puzzle-like nature of the day phase provides plenty of tension as you try to complete movement quests. Will your opponent choose the movement you need to finish a quest? Can you position yourself onto valuable scoring spots for the night phase?
When the night phase begins, though, is when my dice-loving self has the most fun. It’s push-your-luck, but you can use acquired items to help you offset bad dice rolls in order to complete your quests. Wield the sword to deal additional damage to goblins, use the tome to increase your spell level more easily, or show the key to get a head start on a temple. With a total of 15 different items, there are plenty of combinations to help you along your journey.
The board is made up of 17 vibrantly colored map cards distributed randomly before each game so along with the items you unlock, there is a ton of replayability. The map cards are double-sided, too, so flip them over to the Gloomfall side for an even more difficult challenge.
Best of all, even when you can’t get together with your friends to explore the Mushroom Realm you can play by yourself since solo rules are included. It’s a nice touch, giving gamers no excuse not to put on their adventuring boots for another round of Tiny Epic Quest.
What is your favorite Tiny Epic game? Tell us in the comments! Stay in the loop in the world of tabletop games by watching Game the Game with Ivan and Becca on G&S Live!
Image Credits: Ruel Gaviola
Ruel Gaviola is a writer and educator based in Southern California. He loves board games, books, cooking, traveling, date nights with his wife, and Star Wars. He reviews games and reports news for iSlaytheDragon.com and his name rhymes with Superman’s Kryptonian name. Follow him on Twitter.