Sometimes you need to sit down and play a slightly different board game to what you are used to and when I heard of Loony Quest, I couldn’t wait. To the weird and wonderful world of Arkadia where a grand tournament is under way to find the new ruler of the kingdom. Loony Quest is a game for up to five players to sit down, grab a pen and adventure through a crazy but colourful world all in the name of being crowned the winner. It’s a game where you won’t be rolling any dice or working out battle damage but rather following simple, but effective rules, and doing some drawing along the way. A game about having fun over anything else Loony Quest has a lot to offer and my hopes were set high. Was I disappointed? Not one bit.
Loony Quest comes packed with a lot of material in a small box to get you started with everything you will need. Inside you’re going to find twenty one double-sided level sheets, five transparent sheets, five baseboards, five pens, one game console (which is the box itself and includes the score counter). A 30 second sand timer, score tokens, character tokens and over fifty bonus and penalty tokens as well. As an added bonus everything fits back into the box perfectly which means you never have to worry about storage for Loony Quest as everything will always be in one place. Everything is also to a really high standard with materials being solid and well made with colourful artwork throughout.
Setting up for a game of Loony Quest is rather straightforward. Each player picks a character token, matching score token, a marker pen, a screen and a board to use as a base for drawing. The box should be placed in the middle of the players with the current level screen placed on top. It doesn’t matter which way round this is facing at this point because as you play you will turn the level sheet around to make it fair for every player. Next you want to stack all of the bonus and penalty tokens in a random order face down somewhere nearby the play area so that they are always within reach. Once the remaining elements such as the timer and screen wipes have been placed nearby you can then look to start playing your session of Loony Quest.
It is worth noting at this point however that each of the worlds are numbered in ascending order of difficulty. Therefore for new players make sure you are starting from world 1 and play from there onwards. This will ensure that the game doesn’t start to hard for new players and eases everyone in. Once you’re more comfortable with the rules and the game mechanics you could always start to play in whatever order you want.
Loony Quest has a really solid and core gameplay concept that is by far one of the easiest yet most enjoyable ones I’ve seen recently. The core idea is that you need to draw on your sheet a single or series of lines to complete the level goal and then overlay it to the level sheet to see what happens. It’s super fun and easy to pick up but to help explain further and in more detail let me walk you through the game’s phases.
Phase 1: Level resolution
The level resolution phase is split into three smaller steps which help to make the phase move along more smoothly. Now bare in mind that at the very start of a game this phase might not be needed but it is good to refer through the phase to help refresh everyone’s mind. Anyway, you’ll start with the Pranks which is when each player may choose to play any or all of their Prank tokens. Starting with the player with the highest score and moving in descending score order each player will play Pranks and follow the rules for each one accordingly. This can include for example the banana which is thrown onto a player’s drawing sheet and isn’t allowed to be moved until the end of the turn. This of course stops the player from drawing on that part of the board.
Next up is the mission step in which the effects of penalty tokens are activated automatically, included drawing with your other hands and so on. You’re also flip the sand timer and all players will have 30 seconds to draw the lines or shapes required for the mission on their screen. This has to be done in relation to the orientation in which the player is looking at the level sheet. There is no rotating your drawing when placing it onto the level, you place it straight up from the orientation you’re looking at. Once the time is up all players must stop drawing as scores are now to be determined. To work out the score in player takes it in turns to place their drawing on top of the level and check whether their drawing is valid and what objectives have possibly been completed.
For example, let’s say your goal is to draw a line from one side of the world to another without hitting any walls of enemies along the way. You can however, pick up the stars and tokens along the way but it is worth noting that you can only have one line. No branching off or multiple lines. It has to be one continuous line for it to count. On the edge of each world there will be some symbols to tell you how many points you get for each objective you complete or object you might hit along the way. It is worth looking at these and studying the world for a moment before flipping the sand timer.
Phase 2: The next level
In this phase you’ll start by taking any Bonus or Penalty tokens that were played during the level and placing them face down at the bottom of their respective plies. Then you’ll need to remove the now completed level and place the next one down rotating it 90 degrees clockwise when you do so. This means that at some point each player will have to draw a level from each orientation at some point during the game. Helps to keep things fair and fresh.
Phase 3: End of the game
From here, play continues in the same way until all levels in a world have been completed. At this point you will then face a boss which afterwards the player will the most experiences is declared the winner. With that, you have completed a session of Loony Quest and hopefully had a great time.
Now because the core concept of drawing lines to match up with worlds can seem somewhat boring at first it is worth noting the number of different rules and mechanics in place to help keep Loony Quest fun for multiple sessions. The type of goals you’ll need to complete include drawing a line to ‘move’ across the level or to ‘link’ between to points. Then there are ones where you need to draw rings around a number of objects and lastly there are mark goals which see you only needed to put a dot down to mark the target. With the different Bonus and Penalty tokens available as well there are a number of options for how a game session of Loony Quest will play out. It allows for a surprising and enjoyable time as you’ll find yourself laughing with friends and having a great time.
Now, I wouldn’t say that Loony Quest is a board game designed for a younger audience but it does have that charm about it. Given the bright, colourful and somewhat interesting art style it is clear that there was some focus of that in mind. None the less what you really have is just a board game that wants to have fun and enjoy it’s self. You won’t be able to help but smile when sat down with Loony Quest as honestly, it’s a nice change of a pace to the normal board game and it’s fun for everyone. Plus, Loony Quest includes a nice little poster that if you so fancy you could put up around your house because that artwork is just so much fun.
I wouldn’t’ say that Loony Quest is a board game for everyone but I would suggest that everyone at least look to give it a go. It’s a solid core gameplay system with easy rules that are all designed to allow you to have fun. You’ll find yourself laughing with friends and having a good time even if you can not draw a straight line. Loony Quest is a product of high quality and high levels of fun so if you’re struggling to find your next board game, or fancying trying something new, I recommend Loony Quest to you because it’s simply brilliant.
Loony Quest is available for the RRP of £19.99 and if you’re looking to pick up a copy then check out the Esdevium Games store locator to find your nearest retail store.
This review is based on a copy of the product provided by Esdevium Games.