Adventurers, unite! There are treasures to find, and baddies to scare in Tolk’s cave, and it’s up to you to explore it all! Your fellow quest kids can help you out when you’re in a bind with a monster, but friends can’t help you when you find special items, so make sure you’re always stocked up on abilities! Collect treasures, and complete quests along the way too for more stars! Now go forth towards adventure, and have fun!
What Is It?
A light dungeon crawler for 2-4 adventurers great for kids and / or casual gamers of all ages! Players each take on the role of a quest kid exploring Tolk’s cave for treasures, gems, monsters, and more. Players must collect ability cards to have a chance at scaring bad guys away and collecting special items, but can also often help each other out. They can complete quests along the way, and earn Kind Kid cards when helping others out, which can grant them more points and special bonuses (health, treasures, extra turns, et cetera). Once the cave has been completely explored, players score their findings and successful scares, and the quest kid with the most stars wins!
Who Is It For?
- 2-4 players — works at any player count
- Kids / families, or anyone who wants a very light and simple exploration game
- Ages 5+ — younger players will likely need an adult to guide them, but ages 8+ could likely navigate it pretty well themselves
- Players who don’t mind luck
- Players who don’t mind helping others out during the game, even when it is not cooperative
Components / Quality
For heroes has both sturdy cardboard standees, which have nice art, and miniatures, which are big and chunky with nice detail. Player boards are thick cardboard, laid out nicely with a spot for everything.
The board is big and nice quality. There’s a spot for everything that goes on it, though once the dungeon cards are all out, it can be hard in some spots to see where walls are. One weird thing was the entrance door was the only one not highlighted in yellow, so we weren’t sure at first if we were supposed to use it. Cards are average quality across the board; a few different shapes and sizes. Everything fits into their spots well, and all iconography is clear.
Gems are big, chunky, translucent – absolutely love them. The treasure bag is nice quality with a soft, velvety feel. The treasure tokens are thick cardboard tokens. They are color-coded for characters, and have character faces on them, but I thought character initials might have been more useful, since the images were so small, and I thought the negative point tokens were quite hard to read overall – easy to miss the negative symbol.
The score pad is big and cute designed as coloring sheets, which I love, and it’s set up to make it easy for kids to calculate their own scores! The rules are easy to learn from, well-written, and the box is a good size for what’s in it, with a nice insert.
The expansion adds in more cards, which all match the quality of the base game, so it integrates seamlessly. Again, the rules / campaign guide are easy to follow, and the box fits everything well.
Expansions / Variants
Advanced Scoring – A small change to incentivize players going for different things while playing – having the most health, most Kind Kid cards, et cetera – and rewarding bonus stars at the end. Simple, but allows players to go for more varied strategies to work toward these in addition to in-game quests.
Expansion – The Trials of Tolk the Wise is a 5-quest campaign adventure that takes players through a story and introduces new mechanics along the way to advance the game a bit. I don’t want to spoil the campaign specifics, but overall I thought it was a pretty interesting story, and it added some neat things, like memory, special abilities, and more. The downsides for me was some quests having a bit too tedious upkeep of the new mechanics, a lot of reading, and in one campaign, the possibility of many lost turns for certain unlucky players. It is a nice addition if you’re a big fan of the game, for sure, but there’s just a few small things to keep in mind before diving in.
- Nice art / production
- Easy to learn / play
- Great for a group of kids or families alike
- Mechanic of helping other players to earn Kind Kid cards is a nice incentive that works well with the rest of the game
- Plays quickly
- Small areas of decision making (i.e. take ability cards vs treasure) give players more control
- Clear iconography on cards
- Score cards are big and fun, and give kids a fun way to calculate their own scores
- Depending on who’s playing, you can definitely have games where players are less willing to help each other, which defeats that whole part of the game
- Negative treasure tokens felt out of place and unnecessary to me. It was disappointing to earn a treasure and then it be negative, and it didn’t add to the game
- Not a ton of space for meaningful decisions, a lot left up to card luck
- A few cards in the expansion weren’t labelled as well to easily separate from everything else
- I wish there were more quest cards available. Even in 2 players they often ran out, and they are a fun element, so I wish there were more to go through
Overall, I thought this was a super cute / light kid and family game. I’m not much into big heavy dungeon crawlers, but found this to be an enjoyable 30-40 minute game that fit that theme really well. It’s definitely luck heavy with the randomness of dungeon cards, treasures, and quests, but it’s still a nice introductory dungeon crawler. I really love the production of the pieces, and the table presence too; one look at it would convince most kids to give it a shot, I think! Definitely worth trying out with the family, or gifting to a kid who likes board games and wants something they can play with just their friends.
My Final Ratings:
Overall Game – 7/10
Expansion – 6/10
Replay Value – 6/10
Aesthetics – 8/10
Difficulty – 3/10
Designer – Dustin McMillian
Artist – Apolline Etienne
Publisher – Treasure Falls Games
Game MSRP – $49
Expansion MSRP – $19
*I was provided a copy of this game to do this review*
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