The Desert Temple has humidity that makes it hard to breath. After taking hits from the goblins along the river banks, there was no way I could turn back now. Just a couple more chambers and I’ll have my hands on that Legendary Sword that would bring me sweet, sweet victory. Will I roll enough torches to earn my precious prize or will I stay in this musty tomb for another round?
Tiny Epic Quest is the latest in the line of Tiny Epic games from Gamelyn Games. This series packs big games into really small boxes which we love because it means we have more room on our shelves. Tiny Epic Quest is packed with creative mechanics and gives you options as you adventure through the land.
The game board is made up of rectangular cardboard tiles that keep to a general layout but the tile positions are random for the most part. This random layout is nice but it doesn’t make a big difference in the play of the game. The map is small enough that you’ll be able to access most everything you need from round to round.
There are 5 ways to travel around the map during the “Movement” phase. You can travel by horse (horizontally), by raft (vertically), by foot (adjacent tile), by ship (to an outside map tile) or by griffin (to a corner tile). The first player will choose a type of travel and move one of their 3 meeples according to that specific rule. Each player then gets a chance to move a single meeple using this same movement rule. Each player gets to choose a movement type till 4 of the 5 have been chosen.
Players can complete quests, explore dungeons, fight goblins or learn spells during the “Adventure” phase of the game. This is one of the things I like most about Tiny Epic Quest! There are lots of ways to earn points in the game and each player can go about this in different ways. If a player doesn’t want to learn spells, they don’t have to, but they’ll also take a couple negative points at the end of the game for this decision.
Being well rounded in all these areas is great but not required. Erin has beaten me by focusing on completing quests while I’ve beaten her by working on upgrading my spells. The game gives you the flexibility to play the way you want to.
During the “Adventure” phase, players will roll a handful of dice in turn order. These dice cause damage to players, allow players to advance on the spell tracker, allow you to attack goblins or help you to explore the dungeons. This mechanic brings an element of randomness that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Players can off-set damage and explore dungeons quicker by using their available power. Upgrading your team will really pay off when trying to keep your team alive during these die rolls.
Players can choose to “Rest” after they meet their goals during this phase or they will be forced back to their home castle if they lose all their available health.
I’ve seen people who have been critical of this mechanic but I’ve honestly enjoyed this part of the game. Yes, I have died and lost progress because of a couple bad rolls. On the other hand, I’ve pushed my luck and accomplished far more than I should have! There’s an element of risk/reward that keeps you at the edge of your seat when those dice are rolled.
Each time the dice are rolled, every player has to pay attention and this keeps players from taking turns in isolation. After all players have ended this phase, you move to the next round and you start the “Movement” phase again. The whole game takes place over 5 rounds.
Not Your Father’s Meeples
Each player controls a team of 3 adventuring meeples, but these aren’t just some ordinary wooded meeples with a splash of paint. These are IteMeeples®! No joke, these little plastic pieces are really cool and add a lot of character to the game. IteMeeples have a hole in each hand that allows them to use the plastic accessories that come with the game. Finishing quests and earning “Legendary” weapons will allow you to add these little plastic accessories to your adventurers.
Earning these items is probably the best reason to complete quests. Some quests are completed by clearing a specific dungeon or by placing your adventuring meeples at certain locations on the map. At the beginning of a round there will always be 3 quests available for players to compete for.
Each item your meeple is carrying gives them a perk which can make your adventuring a little easier. Players can clear dungeons on their player boards to earn the Legendary Sword, Shield or Scepter. At the end of the game, each of these “Legendary” items that are earned give you an additional 4 victory points.
Big Game, Little Box
We’ve been so impressed with the size of the game that fits into this small box. Yes, there are far bigger and grander adventure games out there. Tiny Epic Quest fits into that perfect 60-75 minutes worth of gaming that keeps players engaged the whole time.
I find myself taking pride in my little team of adventurers every time we sit down to play. I love that I can approach the game slightly different each time by focusing on different ways to earn victory points. I feel like this game could be taught to a newer gamer and they could grasp the mechanics after a couple minutes.
Tiny Epic Quest isn’t without its issues. Due to the small box, there are some items in the game that have suffered. The spell tracker is small and can be really confusing for new people. I wish the player boards where slightly larger. There is a lot of info crammed onto this card. The super small tokens are aggravating for a person with larger hands like myself.
The game itself takes up a lot of space once it’s on the table so keep that in mind when you choose where you play the game.
None of these issues keep this game from being a great adventure that I get excited about every time it hits the table. Be sure to plan about 10 minutes to set everything on the table because that box has lots to unpack.
If players are looking for a tougher adventure, flip over the map to visit the world of Gloom Fall. This side of the map is more difficult and is great for players who have a couple games under their belt.
Tiny Epic Quest is a great buy for adults and older kids that are looking for an adventure game that won’t occupy your entire night. The game works great at all player counts and also has a solo mode for those lone adventurers. Gamelyn has set a new standard for the Tiny Epic series and I can’t wait to dive back in with my team of adventurers.
You can pick up Tiny Epic Quest from the Gamelyn website, on Miniature Market or on Amazon today.
Check out our discussion about this game on One Board Podcast episode 8.
- Excellent components and graphic design
- Multiple ways to score victory points keep things fresh
- Plays great at all player counts
- Map is double sided for a tougher challenge
- Game takes up a lot of table space
- Very small components can seem too small at times
- Not a great choice for players that struggle to make decisions