Thunderstone Quest by Alderac Entertainment Group – Review

Thunderstone Quest has so many things that I like in a game. In fact, it has my trifecta of board game awesomeness. 

Theme and What is it?

It is time to gather your party and explore the area surrounding Thunderstone Keep. Gather your supplies and set off on an adventure as you enter the nearby dungeons. 

You will want to recruit the best warriors and make sure you have all the supplies that you will need as you start to delve into the dungeons and earn glory for yourself. You will need to fight off the monsters that infest the dungeons and travel deeper in order to collect the keys that will unlock the final monster. Do you have what it takes to beat this dreaded beast? That all depends on how you have prepared.

Thunderstone Quest is a deck building game for 2-4 players.

Gameplay Mechanics

Thunderstone Quest revolves around classic deck building mechanics. All players have a starting deck and work to improve that deck round by round. Over the course of the game, cards will be added and removed from the player’s deck. Thunderstone Quest does add some great game elements on to this mechanic. The players hand size is based on their hit points and there is a market and dungeon area. These all add some great depth to one of my favorite mechanics.

Thunderstone Quest has a market board and a modular dungeon area. Players enter the town market and purchase new warriors and items, weapons, treasure and spell cards to build a custom deck. As they are building their deck, they can start to explore the dungeon area. Here they will find monsters that they must fight. As they defeat these foes. they gain resources and victory points. 

Eventually after exploring the dungeon, the players will find a certain number of keys that will unlock the final boss and trigger the final round of the game. All the points are added up and the player with the most points win the game.

Initial Impressions

Deck building is one of my favorite mechanics. I was very excited to try Thunderstone Quest. I liked that they kept the basics of deck building and added to them. I also was excited to see how the story mode for the game operated. 

The initial setup took some time. There were a couple of things in the rulebook that were not correct, but I was able to figure out what I needed by doing a quick review on Board Game Geek. Once set up was complete, I taught the game to Ally and after a couple of practice rounds, we were up and running. 

The first game was very long. We started late at night and had to leave it set up to finish it the next day. It took extra time to figure out how everything worked and make sure we were doing everything correctly. 

We really enjoyed the first play through. We were a bit nervous of the length but that turned out not to be much of an issue once we knew what we were doing. The rounds move quickly and there is plenty going on to keep everyone’s attention.

The story or quest mode are pre-constructed decks with a story in a special quest booklet. The game plays the same as a normal game and once you open the quest deck you can add the cards as options to be played in normal games.

Game Build Quality

Thunderstone Quest is built like a tank. The box is beefy, the cards are beefy. The insert that manages all the cards and components is fantastic. I have not seen much higher quality in a game. It is up there with any of the Stonemaier releases and those are as high of quality as I can find in the industry. AEG did an amazing job with production. 

Artistic Direction

The artwork runs right along with what you would expect for a game with a fantasy theme. Thunderstone Quest does a great job at taking a well-developed artistic style and creating their own vibe. The art feels familiar without feeling like it is a carbon copy of the genre. 

The artwork really let us feel like we were part of the Thunderstone world. It allowed us to suspend our disbelief and enjoy the moment because it was done very well.

Fun Factor

What makes Thunderstone Quest a fun game is the aspect of adventure. You are building an expedition party and you have to keep improving that party as you explore deeper in the dungeon. Even if you play a normal game, not a story quest, you are still on an adventure. You travel back and forth between the town and the dungeon. The market has various outlets to build your deck and the dungeon has multiple level to explore. This keeps the game feeling fresh and exciting.

I also love that you open new decks when you begin new quests. This makes you want to explore further and it also helps build your options of new cards when playing normal games. It is a win-win in my book.

Age Range & Weight

AEG has an age recommendation of 14+ for Thunderstone Quest. I have not tried playing it with my kids. I have a feeling my ten-year-old daughter would be able to keep up with it, but I have only played with adults.

There may be some frightening elements on some of the cards. It depends on the sensitivity of the child who is looking at them. But my guess is that 10 or 11+ would be an acceptable age range for this game. If young players have experience with deck builders that range may decrease a year or two.

Conclusions

Thunderstone Quest has so many things that I like in a game. In fact, it has my trifecta of board game awesomeness. Over the top component quality, fantastic artwork and game play that keeps me wanting to get it back to the table as often as possible. Pair the trifecta with my favorite game mechanic and we are starting to enter a new dimension of consciousness!