Quodd Heroes is one of those games that is easy to learn the basics of, but that can be deceptively challenging to play. In short, the heroes of Quodd Heroes are cube-shaped characters and on their turn, they “tumble” onto another face of the cube and taking the action assigned to the now-top face of the character. It’s all scenario based and can be played individually, cooperatively, or competitively (in a variety of player configurations).
Pretty easy, right? Not so fast. There is nothing easy about this game once you pass those basics.
As I said, each game has a scenario and each scenario has a unique setup. Each setup has a different set of map tiles and components, as well as a potentially different set of cards. In many of the scenarios, there is also a round tracker board, that adds an extra level of pressure as you quickly run out of time. There are “World Events” that completely shake up the game every time they are revealed. There’s simply a TON of things going on beyond just the basics.
All that being said, the basics are still a good place to start. Each player has a unique player board, upon which they start the game by assigning a specific movement skill to the different sides of their character cube. The top side always features a Q logo and always gives the ability to reorganize the rest of your skills.
On each player’s turn, they start their movement by “tumbling” in any orthogonal direction. To tumble they pivot their character 90º into the adjoining space and onto the next side of their character. They then take whatever action they assigned to the side now facing the top. For example, they may tumble forward one space, allowing them to slide forward another one or more spaces.
Before and after their movement the player may use any cards they have. Some cards are single-use while others may remain in play. The cards range from additional movement to wild and powerful non-movement abilities.
Once all the players have had their turn, there is an End of Round phase, with some of what happens during this phase differing depending on the scenario. Many scenarios have board elements like moving platforms, sheep, or bombs. This like this would activate during this phase and if the scenario is timed the round tracker would also be adjusted. Characters get an upgrade tile during this phase, giving them more options during the next round.
The other thing that happens during this phase is a bit contentious: World Event cards. If you watch the playthrough video for Quodd Heroes, it is pointed out that adding in the World Event Deck is optional, but the rulebook is extremely unclear on that point. When you are first learning the game, don’t use them. If you are playing a timed scenario, don’t use them. If you are playing solo, it’s probably timed, so most definitely don’t use them. These events completely shake up the game. Maybe the map tiles get moved around. Maybe some board elements that are causing you problems disappear (yay) or maybe the board elements that you really need to be able to win disappear (not-so-yay). Just to be clear, once you get used to playing and are ready for a bigger challenge, they can be a lot of fun. But I wouldn’t put them in right away.
I haven’t played even remotely all of the scenarios, but they come in all shapes and sizes. There are solo games, co-op games, team vs team games, a single “overlord” player vs team games, and player vs player competitive games. There’s something here for everyone.
One thing to note, and this is neither good nor bad, is that this is a table eater of a game. Between the space needed for players and some of the larger map layouts, the biggest challenge can be just finding space for it. Similarly, the box is BIG. I’ve often commented about the effectiveness of various games’ inserts, and there comes a point where the best option is no option at all. Quodd Hereos went that route, with a big empty box. There are plenty of home-brew options and patterns, but the best option I’ve seen (and what I’ve done) is simply sort everything into bags. I’ve actually got the characters in individual bags and those bags kept together in the larger bag that the characters initially came in.
On the distinctly great side, everything about this game is GORGEOUS. The map tiles are well defined, the tokens are clear, and the numerous 3D components are exceptional quality. The character pieces themselves are ink washed, to give incredible detail to the sculpts, and best of all there are two of them. There is one figure to use on the board and a second one to pre-plan your tumbling-movement on, without having to touch the one on the board. (No spoilers, but you may want to keep an eye on our miniatures painting show, Slinging Paint, Sundays on our Facebook Page)
The physical size of the game, both in the box and on the table, makes this a game that is a bit tough to just bring along as a random option at a game night somewhere. But it is 100% a game I plan to play more of when I get the opportunity.