I actually played a demo game at GenCon 50 a while ago, so this is more like my second impression. Loved the game then and loving the game now. I’ve played through the tutorial scenarios and the first few solo/co-op scenarios.
In a nutshell, you are playing an adventurer in a fantasy land of cube shaped folks that was devastated when a rain of destruction came down from the heavens. Up popped some mysterious crystals that you need to investigate; so, off you go on an adventure… Not a great novel, but enough to get you into Quodd Hero mode.
Your adventurer is a cube shaped hero that has different movement skills for each facing. You start your movement turn by tumbling over one direction and then activating the movement skill that is now on the top facing. Over time skills are upgraded so you can move further, change directions or develop powers such as changing the landscape, tunneling, improving exploring powers, etc. Exploring gains you cards which you can in turn use to increase your skills, give in one-shot abilities or other various effects. World Events happen each round that provide a random helpful or hurtful conditions or actions. Add to this a ton of landscape features and varied terrain and you have a wonderful variety to gameplay.
Solo play is a timed (by number of turns) affair; your character trying to achieve an objective in a set amount of time. The scenarios are varied and fun. Solo is a puzzle-y style game, with the needed ability to react to the random elements that come up in both the World Events and Exploration Deck.
Co-op is similar to solo with the added benefit of some added synergy between different characters and the ability to help others via moving them, well placed aid items like teleporters or tunnels.
Multiplayer makes the game less puzzle-y and more of the “how can I mess up my friends” while accomplishing the set goals.
There is also Overload scenarios (1 vs all others) but I haven’t looked into them at this point.
Components are varied and very good. The board is very colorful. The Hero and Sheep cubes are really nice. The instruction books are very nice looking, plenty of examples and I appreciate the scenario booklet is separate from the instruction book. I am finding I really like the creativity of this game. It’s just different than anything I’ve played. The scenarios make sense and provide a story that act to keep your interest up. Solo/Co-op has the right amount of difficulty and can be managed in under an hour. Multiplayer scenarios will take more like an hour and a half.
Only fair to note there are some issues and possible negatives for some.
- As with many complex games these days, there are some rules that aren’t clear in the rule book. Luckily, the game creator, Ryan has been active online to answer questions that come up. I also feel the questions that are coming up (and I’ve had a few of those) are ones that you can easily play around until you get an “official” answer. I’ve never felt I was lost to the point I couldn’t make a decision and play through it.
- Randomness does come into play with both which Exploration Deck cards come out and which World Events cards get played. This affects solo most of all. Personally I think these add a perfect amount of randomness since I like games that make me deal with problems that come up. I know others don’t like any randomness, so this may be a point they don’t like.
- Character choice can make a big difference in how hard or easy a solo/co-op game plays out. Some characters could be a bit over-powered when playing certain scenarios. Again, not a problem for me as I feel you can use that to vary the difficulty.
- If you have a tendency towards “analysis paralysis” ; you may have issues with this game (or any programming style game for that matter). Not a problem for me, but even I spend a good deal of time thinking out my initial movement skill placement.
Overall, I’ve been having a great time with this one since it arrived.
Quodd Heroes is build to be a sandbox game with a ton of potential for both "official" add-on scenarios/content as well as the inevitable fan created content which I look forward to seeing (there are a lot of talented folks on BGG!)
While I normally play mostly solo (or solo co-op), that’s my main focus right now, however I am looking forward to getting this out for those times I do play multiplayer and the mechanics seem like they would be a lot of fun for even my “barely gamer” friends.