Kickstarter Tabletop Alert: ‘Quests of Valeria’

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Quests of Valeria

The world of Valeria is expanding, and there’s a lot to be done: battles to be waged, places to explore, and secrets to be passed along. Become a Guild Master, assemble teams of Citizens, and complete Quests of Valeria.

At a glance: Quests of Valeria is a game from Daily Magic Games for 2 to 4 players, ages 14 and up, and takes roughly 45 minutes to play. It launches today on Kickstarter, with a pledge of $17 (plus shipping) for a copy of the game, or $8 for the premium Print and Play. I think the game could be played by younger kids if they have some experience–probably 10 and up would be fine, though there are some Quest names like “Investigate Suspicious Death” or “Assassinate the Double Agent” that may be a bit much, depending on your kids.

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Components

  • 24 Quest cards
  • 68 Citizen cards
  • 6 Guild Master cards
  • 4 Reference cards
  • 2 Action tokens
  • 6 Tavern tokens

My review is based on a prototype, so the component quality is not final. However, this is the third title in the Valeria line from Daily Magic Games, and the artwork is again done by Mihajlo “The Mico” Dimitrievski, so the illustrations will be in a similar style. The icons will also be familiar to those who have played other Valeria games: gold, strength, and magic are the three resources; Citizens come in four different types; and so on. There are a few new icons, and I have to admit that some of them aren’t immediately intuitive, but overall the game is fairly easy to interpret.

The Quest cards all have (tiny) flavor text on them, just to add to the theme of the game, and each one has a unique illustration.

Quests of Valeria Guild Masters
Your Guild Master card awards bonus points for two types of Quests. (Prototype shown, artwork may change.)

How to Play

The rulebook and a free print and play version are available to download.

The goal of the game is to score the most points by completing quests.

To set up, shuffle the Guild Masters card and give each player one face-down. You should look at your Guild Master card and then keep it secret from the other players–it shows which two types of quests will give you bonus points.

Quests of Valeria
The Tavern setup. (Prototype shown: the Tavern card will be replaced with 6 Tavern tokens.) Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

Shuffle all the Citizen cards together and deal 3 to each player. Then deal 6 in a row on the table, forming the Tavern. The Tavern tokens are placed above the cards to indicate the cost of hiring each Citizen. (My prototype did not have these tokens, so they are not pictured.) Shuffle the Quest cards and deal 6 face-up below the Citizens. The rest of the Citizen cards and Quest cards are set nearby to form two separate decks, with a space for discard piles next to them. Pick a starting player; play will proceed clockwise.

On your turn, you get 2 actions from the following (you may repeat actions):

  • Draw: Draw 1 card from the Citizen deck.
  • Hire: Hire 1 Citizen from the Tavern or from your hand.
  • Reserve: Optionally discard all Quests from the Tavern and refill from the deck, then take 1 Quest from the Tavern and put it in your hand.
  • Complete a Quest: Complete 1 Quest from the Tavern or your hand.
Quests of Valeria Citizens
There are some familiar faces from previous Valeria games, as well as some new Citizens. (Prototype shown)

To hire a Citizen from the Tavern, you discard cards from your hand equal to the cost shown on the Tavern token, between 0 and 3. To hire a Citizen from your hand, it costs 2 cards. When you hire a Citizen, you immediately get the bonus printed on the bottom of the card, if any. Hired Citizens are placed on the table, forming your tableau (also called your Guild).

Reserving a Quest means that you are the only person who can complete a particular Quest. All Quests in the Tavern may be completed by any player.

To complete a Quest, you must have the correct resources required for the quest in your tableau: usually you will need some number of resources, as well as a particular number of specific types of Citizens. These Citizens are then discarded, and you place the Quest card face-down in your completed Quests area on the table. You also receive any bonus printed on the Quest card. Quests come in four types: Commerce, Battle, Adventure, and Subterfuge.

Quests of Valeria Quests
There are four types of Quests: Subterfuge, Battle, Commerce, and Adventure. (Prototype shown)

At the end of your turn, you refill the Tavern–slide all Citizens into the empty spaces (toward the “0” cost space) and then draw new Citizens from the deck to refill. Quests are also refilled if there are open spaces.

The game end is triggered when any player completes their fifth Quest. The game continues until the end of the round–that is, everyone will have the same number of turns.

Add up all the Victory Points in your completed Quests, and add any bonus points earned from your Guild Master card. The highest score wins. Ties go to the fewest Citizen cards in the Guild, and then to fewest Citizen cards in hand.

The Verdict

Quests of Valeria is the third in the Valeria line of games from Daily Magic Games. Although each game is set in the fictional world of Valeria and has similar artwork and icons, they are all quite distinct from each other and not really related when it comes to the gameplay. Quests of Valeria uses a combination of tableau-building and set collection. It actually reminds me somewhat of Lords of Waterdeep, except that it’s a card game instead of a worker-placement game. Instead of using worker actions to acquire all of the necessary resources for a Quest, in this case you usually get them by hiring the right Citizens.

Some of the strategy in Quests of Valeria comes in figuring out how to string together card effects. Hiring this Citizen will give you a bonus Hire action, which gives you enough gold to complete this Commerce Quest as your second action, which then allows you to draw another card. Since you only get two actions per turn, getting those bonus actions can be a huge boon.

Another part of the strategy, of course, is ensuring that your opponents don’t get the resources they need–for instance, by hiring the Citizen you know they really want. The way the Tavern pricing works, the Citizen in the lowest slot is free, and the most expensive one costs you 3 cards. But if you take the freebie, then that means some other Citizen will slide down into the free slot for the next player. So you have to decide how many cards you want to invest in a powerful Citizen, or how likely it is that nobody will hire it and you can hire it for less on your next turn. I do like the way that the costs are structured–rather than having different prices on individual cards, the game lets the market decide on the price. If nobody wants a card, it will move down until it is free; but if a valuable card appears in the Tavern, somebody may decide it’s worth spending 3 cards to ensure that nobody else gets it.

Quests of Valeria
Playing Quests of Valeria at Gamestorm this year. (Prototype shown.) Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

The game is fairly easy to learn–aside from a few of the less common icons, everything is straightforward and pretty simple to pick up. I’d say it’s a medium-weight game: it won’t be too difficult for less experienced players, but has enough to it that your more experienced players won’t be bored. It may not scratch your heavy-strategy itch, though.

As far as the other titles from Daily Magic Games, Valeria: Card Kingdoms was funded last year and delivered earlier this year (as estimated); Villages of Valeria was funded at the beginning of March and is expected to deliver in August this year. They did run into an issue with some cards that curled slightly for VCK, but they had replacements made and are sending those to affected backers at no additional cost. I feel pretty confident in their ability to get the games produced and delivered as promised. They actually had considered adding this as a stretch goal during the Villages of Valeria campaign since the game was already designed, but decided to wait and keep it separate.

For this campaign, they do not have the high-pledge levels to get a custom portrait as one of the characters–I know there are some folks who are disappointed, but it does mean that the artwork is mostly complete already. (Full disclosure: since I’ve been a fan of the previous Valeria games, I was offered a slot as one of the Guild Masters: you can see me as “Ho-Kai the Collector” on the components graphic.)

I think Quests of Valeria is another solid title in the Valeria line. It’s like a compact version of Lords of Waterdeep, and if you like the idea of building up a Guild of Citizens to complete Quests, I recommend checking it out. For more information, visit the Quests of Valeria Kickstarter page.

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