Hidden Gem - AlderQuest by Mike Gnade and Ryan Ward

Hey folks!  Welcome back, to Hidden Gems!  This week we're taking a look at AlderQuest, a set-matching game for 1-4 players where the objective is to collect acorns matching your animal guild’s colour and playing cards employing special abilities to give you an advantage.  Incorporating elements of bag building/management, area control and the aforementioned colour matching mechanism, AlderQuest provides a rewarding game experience that should be familiar to anyone who has played games such as Azul, Spirit Island or Carcassonne to name a few.  

The theme of AlderQuest is simple.  The game takes place in the fantastical world of Aleron where the High Council have summoned all the houses to take part in the first four-seasons tournament under the shadow of Great Tree Aiyana. Players each control one such house and compete for area control.  The house with the most acorns at the end of the game, wins.

The first aspect of AlderQuest to catch the eye will likely be the colourful box, adorned with lavish art work by Lawrence Hugh Burns, the cover itself tells a story on its own, as woodland creatures engage in frenetic battle under the Great Tree while trying to complete their objectives.  The gorgeous artwork continues inside the box as well with cards, boards and player aids all featuring the characters, items and locations of the game in the same engaging style.

Once set up the game gains its most distinctive feature, the Great Tree Aiyana itself.  Much like in Everdell, these woodland critters love them some giant trees!  While not quite as grandiose as the Evertree, the Great Tree provides great table presence and keeps players’ focus at the centre of the action. The acorns that fall beneath its branches onto the game board are tempting targets for players as their final score will be based on how many they collect, but balancing out the area that they control vs. where their opponents are can mean potentially giving up a short term gain for a more uncertain long term one.

Overall, AlderQuest is a fun, well thought out experience that offers a solid gameplay experience.  While it may appear to be a small box game, it should be noted that games are estimated to take between 60-90 minutes, so be prepared to make an evening of it!

It’s great to be back and we look forward to bringing you a whole heap of new gaming news, reviews and industry knowledge in 2022. If you have any thoughts to share or gaming related topics you’d like to see us cover, by all means let us know!  You can share your ideas in the comments below, over on our Game Kings Gamers page or email me at Brian@gamekings.co.nz.  Until next time, play games!

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