Recently I was given the opportunity to check out an upcoming new game. I received a play test copy of the game along with rules for play. This is my thoughts and opinions on the presented materials. Enjoy!
Quest for the Open Tavern is a game by David Thompson, published by Digital Capricorn Studios. It is for 2 players. In this game, players will take one of two different roles, either as a party of adventurers known as the Wayfarers of Devastation or the Governor of the town of Hommlette known as Xaggy. One will be trying to party with lots of chaos, drunkenness and vandalism while the other is trying to keep the town safe. Also in the mix will be hordes of undead zombies, dastardly demons and drunken wizards that will lay siege to the town as well causing an uneasy alliance between the Wayfarers and the Governor. The player that can reach their objective first will be declared the winner.
To begin, the four Hommlette cards are placed face up in the middle of the table to build the town. The Adventurers, Governor and Encounters decks are shuffled separately. One card is then removed from each deck and set aside, not to be used in this game. The Adventurers player receives the 3 Adventurers cards while the Governor player receives the 3 Governor cards. The Encounters cards are placed face down near the town. The Adventurers player receives 1 three character token, 2 two character tokens and 2 one character tokens. The Governor player receives the remaining tokens of 1 three character token, 2 two character tokens, 1 one character token and 1 bluff token. The Devastation, Booze and Oppression cards are placed face up with a wooden cube used to mark the level. Play now begins.
The game takes place over the course of a night and consists of 6 game turns. The Adventurers will begin the odd turns and the Governor will begin the even turns. Each turn consists of 4 actions; reveal an encounter, place a card from your hand into play, place characters and resolve contests. The first action is to reveal an encounter. This is done by drawing an Encounter card and placing it face up beside the town cards. Each consecutive Encounter card will replace the previous Encounter card.
The next action is to place a card from your hand into play. To do this, the active player will place a card from their hand face up by the town cards. However a player does not have to place a new card. If they already have a card in play, they can choose to keep that card instead.
The third action is to place characters. To do this, the active player will place a token face down onto an empty space on one of the cards in play in their corresponding space on the card. The other player then is able to place a character token. This continues back and forth until both players have run out of tokens to place.
The final action is to resolve contests. To do this, players flip over the character tokens according to the order on the card. The number of characters on a card are counted up. The player with the most characters on the card wins that contest and receive the reward shown on the card.
The game continues back and forth until either the end of the sixth turn or one of several different milestones is reached. If the Devastation Level is 10 and the Booze Level is 5 at the end of a turn or vice versa with the Booze at 10 and Devastation at 5, the Adventurers win. If the Oppression Level is 10 or more at the end of a turn, the Governor wins. If both players reach their goals by the end of the same turn, the Adventurers win. If none of the win conditions are met by the end of the sixth turn, the Governor wins.
The game comes with some very great looking pieces. The cards are really nice and have some great artwork on them. The only problem is with the iconography on the cards. Thankfully there’s a really great explanation in the rules for understanding what everything means. The character tokens are really thick and durable and look nice as well. There are even some wooden cubes for keeping track of the different win conditions of Booze, Devastation and Oppression. Everything looks really nice and works together really well. I love the art and how well designed the cards are. Overall the components are great.
8 out of 10
The rulebook is currently on two sheets of paper but should be smaller and more in line with the box upon production. There is already some great pictures and examples of gameplay and setup. The iconography is explained really well. All of the different card types are explained in great detail as well. There’s absolutely nothing that is difficult to understand or read. Everything is really straight forward and easy to learn. I expect that the look of the rulebook won’t change that much. Overall I’m already happy with the design.
8 out of 10
This game is really easy to learn and play. It has a very simple worker placement style mechanic in a blind bidding kind of way. Most of the game, you will be watching the different town conditions to try and keep your opponent in check while trying to get your own goals accomplished. Learning which locations to bid high on so that you can increase your levels is a real struggle as you will find your opponent begins to predict your moves quite well. You will have to really learn the fine art of bluffing and misdirection to accomplish your task. The game plays really quickly and usually lasts no more than about 15 minutes. There is some real strategy to the game but it’s not so heavy that you will begin over analyzing every move. The game is quite family friendly. My son enjoys the design of the game quite well. All in all, the game is really light and a great design.
8 out of 10
Quest for the Open Tavern is a light card game of bidding with a worker placement feel. The game is very easy to play. It has a little bit of strategy to it but not enough to paralyze your choices. The game is rather quick with most sessions lasting no more than 15 minutes. Fans of bidding games like For Sale or light worker placement style games should really enjoy this. The cards are very unique as is the iconography used on them. This is a really great design and is quite fun. The game is family friendly and can be played with little help apart from the explanations for the icons on the rules sheet. I really enjoyed this game and look forward to playing it a lot more. I definitely recommend giving this one a try.
8 out of 10
For more information about this and other games, please check out Digital Capricorn Studios at their site.