Gloom of Kilforth: What is Fantasy Quest?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

What is Fantasy Quest?

Fantasy Quest is a card game of high fantasy with a gothic edge, where 1-4 players must adventure forth to develop their heroes and save the land from a growing evil. They will visit strange places, stranger people and overcome powerful enemies in their quest to discover mysterious artifacts and ancient treasures.
Playable in 1-2 hours.
The following is taken from my design journal but I don't want to give too much away at this stage so I hope this will suffice for now:
This game has been in development for a long time and has undergone so many permutations in the last six years that I’ve literally ripped it up and started again numerous times. From board game, to miniatures game, to proto-RPG I’ve finally settled on a format I hope will be cost effective and elegant: the card game.

Fantasy Quest sees 1-4 players taking a humble adventurer on a journey through a dark world of magic and peril and following their tale from modest beginnings through an epic story to an exciting climactic battle for the fate of the world.

Drawing inspiration from titles we’ve already seen like combat-heavy tactical dungeon crawls (Descent, D&D, etc.), condensed overland adventures concerned either with combat (Runebound) or random encounters (Talisman), games that stretch into story-telling (Tales of the Arabian Nights), cooperative games against insurmountable odds (Arkham Horror, Defenders of the Realm), and tactical adventure card games (Lord of the Rings: The Card Game), I’ve always been looking to design a game that distils the heroic story telling of an in-depth role playing game down into an amount of time that’s playable in an evening. It’s something that many of us crave as we get older and have kids and relationships and jobs and so on which preclude us from throwing all that time away on months of role-playing games.
So whilst I wanted to include all the high fantasy stuff that many of us love, and which in many ways mostly stems from Tolkien’s work, I also tried to develop new techniques of weaving them together to create story-based gameplay.

The two key drivers for the game are the Heroes' Sagas and the Politics of the Kingdom. These are both represented by card decks of the same name. The Sagas represent the tales that the heroes will tell as they progress on their journey to fame and fortune, whilst the Politics are global affairs that affect everyone living in the Kingdom.

The Kingdom itself is a perilous land filled with nefarious monsters, mysterious strangers and dangerous locations, and dominated at its centre by The Sprawl, a huge city where the heroes begin the game. Throughout the Kingdom various factions vie for power over each other, such as the supposedly noble Order of the Rose or the terrifying Doom Guard.  And presiding over the world outside the kingdom is the ever-present Overlord, Masklaw.
Here's a preview of one of the more benign locations, which offers a number of methods of interacting with the place by using the symbols - more on the symbols later:

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