The Quest Kids & The Trials of Tolk the Wise
Gather around fellow adventurers, for today you are going to take on the roles of a brave team of young heroes – the Quest Kids! The Quest Kids is a semi-cooperative dungeon crawl for two to four gamers age five and up. A game takes about 30 minutes to play.
We’ll take a look at both the base game and the campaign expansion: The Trials of Tolk the Wise! How does this game work for players so young, and does the campaign still work for such young ages? Let’s channel our inner adventurers and find out!
The main board has icons for every card type. Put the decks on the matching icons for the Quest, Life, Kind Kid, and Ability decks.
Put the green and grey dungeon tiles on the spaces on the left and center sections of the board. The red tiles go on the right side, furthest from the cave entrance.
Each player chooses an adventurer and takes their player board, three health cards, and one quest card. They take a single ability card (based on their character) and begin.
If you need more help setting up, the rulebook provides many pictures to assist.
The primary mechanics in The Quest Kids are simple. On a player’s turn they move their character to any accessible dungeon tile. There are some walls that block players, and players cannot skip over or walk on/over tiles.
The player flips that tile over. If it shows resources, collect them! The resources could be Power, Magic, or Wisdom cards. It’s also possible the dungeon tile gives players the opportunity to draw a treasure from the Quest Kids bag. These treasures offer victory points, unless they’re cursed! Cursed treasures deduct points at the end of the game.
Sometimes the dungeon tile won’t be resources or treasure at all, but an enemy. If so, the player may discard the resource cards shown on the enemy to scare it away. Then they get to keep the tile as their victory point prize!
If the player doesn’t have the necessary resources to scare the enemy, they can ask their fellow adventurers for help. Other players can offer their resource cards; for each one they spend, they get to draw a Kind Kid card in return. These cards offer special benefits to the player like extra turns, extra health, or many other perks.
If nobody can help the player scare away the enemy, the tile remains face-up and the player loses a health. Ouch! If a player loses all of their health, they skip their next turn and get one health back.
Each player also has an optional quest card. If they meet its conditions, they complete it and draw a new quest card at the end of their turn.
Players continue clearing tiles until they’ve emptied Tolk’s cave! Players tally their stars from their remaining life, defeated enemies, treasures, Kind Kid cards, gems, and quests. Whoever has the most stars at the end wins!
The Trials of Tolk the Wise
The gameplay section above describes how to play The Quest Kids. This fun, simple to understand dungeon romp is great, but these days, story and content are king. So, the team at Treasure Falls Games released a five-part campaign add-on called The Trials of Tolk the Wise.
The campaign is driven by a 57 card deck of Story Cards detailing the five quests within the campaign. Most of the gameplay during the campaign is identical to the base game, but there are some small changes.
Each quest-specific setup has clear instructions and reminders of required changes. This usually includes removing specific base game cards. Each quest setup page has a picture of the board with setup changes.
The base game doesn’t really require reading once the players know the rules, but the campaign absolutely does. There are many cards filled with story in the campaign deck. Of course, this story is filled with the same kind of spoopy, silly adventures that characterize the game’s style.
We don’t want to ruin any of the story for you, but we will say you’re in for a treat. You’ll find new enemies, new allies, and some unexpected twists. Players will even have the chance to upgrade their characters with new abilities as the campaign continues.
As much as we never want to admit it, there are always concessions made to create a game that truly works for the youngest gamers. I wasn’t sure how well The Quest Kids was going to work for our two boys.
When we first played, they were seven and eleven. I made the decision be the “game manager” for their playthroughs of The Quest Kids. I knew the game didn’t require anyone running the show – even for the campaign – but I just wanted to be sure.
As it turned out, it wasn’t necessary at all. Even our eight-year-old could completely manage this game on his own.
For our eleven-year-old, the game started to feel same-y after the second or third play. This made me very glad for the campaign content.
And what a delight the campaign is. The team at Treasure Falls did a great job maintaining the core mechanics of the game while mixing in some new ideas for each quest. So far, none of the quests have been the same. There has been some sequencing, basic puzzle solving, some chasing of moving enemies, and more. We’ve nearly finished the campaign and the next quest is different still.
I didn’t realize it was important to tally player scores at the end of each quest and keep those scores around. Players level their characters with new abilities by hitting certain point thresholds, and it’s going to take a few quests to get there. Keep a piece of paper with cumulative scores around for your next play!
The game has a bit of whimsy to it, and the campaign has a Magic Treehouse vibe, which works well. The Quest Kids is a game for kids to play as kids. It knocks that ball out of the park.
The art style perfectly captures the feeling the team is going for. However, there are a few missteps I want to mention so you’re aware of them. I found the wall markings on the board to be difficult to see, especially in any kind of low light. The contrast wasn’t as good as I would like – purple walls on a brown background. There’s also a yellow glow around the “doors” of each section that, when the board was covered with tiles, are easy to miss.
I also found it awkward to move a player standee onto a tile, then to remove the token to flip the tile, then put it back down. My boys obviously short-cut this by picking tiles up first. Of course, this led to them being lazy and not moving their standee at all, which sometimes got confusing. When the board is full of tiles, there’s really nowhere to put characters near them.
Finally, although I love this game for this age range (especially the younger end), it is a little pricey. At $50 on Amazon, it just feels a little high. I would love to see it at $40, or, better yet, bundled with the expansion at this price.
The Quest Kids is an inspired dungeon romp for the 5-8 year old age range. The campaign add-on is a virtual requirement as well. It adds a wonderful story without significantly increasing the complexity. Although the price tag might make you wince, this game is an absolute home run for the right age range. With the giving season just around the corner, The Quest Kids makes for an excellent gift for the primary schooler in your life.
Treasure Falls Games provided a promotional copy of The Quest Kids and The Trials of Tolk the Wise to The Family Gamers for this review
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The Quest Kids and The Trials of Tolk the Wise
Age Range: 5+
Number of Players: 2-4
Playtime: 30-45 minutes