A mysterious range of islands emerge from the seas of Miraheim; irrevocably altering the ecosystem; placing the three prominent races on a collision course with each other as each moves to colonize and prosper on the newly christened Risen Islands. Take the helm of the flagship of your chosen kingdom, forge new alliances & fight for prosperity in Short Hop Games’ Quests & Cannons.
Quests & Cannons is a competitive, sandbox style, adventure game for 2-6 players as you explore the islands, uncovering map clues, completing quests, upgrading your ship, finding loot, and trading cannon fire with rival explorers as the fate of your people rests on your shoulders.
Preparation time for first time players is around the 20 minute marker although will be possibly up to 30 minutes for those who are not as au fait with larger tabletop games. The main board needs some assembly every game and is made up of a number of hexagonal tiles depicting a collection of possible locations including open sea, treacherous sea, islands or trading posts which each have their own align mechanics.
The hexagonal makeup of the main board interior is very easy to connect and although the guide offers several pre-arranged maps to follow its very easy to make up your own map following some basic principles which can drastically alter the follow of the game and as such massively increases Quests & Cannons’ replay factor
The edges of the board illustrate the homeland of one of the three playable races with a number of key ports and strongholds separating them. These strongholds are generally the final point in any sort of merchant quest and as such plotting the most efficient way to each based on the quests needed to complete is fairly important.
Players have the opportunity to choose their avatar at the start of each game but must also decide if they wish to forge an alliance with other players and play a team based game rather than going it alone in the Risen Islands. The outcome is still the same however and players compete to fill their prosperity meter and ultimately win the game.
Each faction in Quests and Cannons has its own reason for fighting, whether it be the Dwinny – fighting for their sacred tree or the Porc — looking for a new sustainable food source. Each character card gives a bit of background to the avatar you finally select to play as but the character boards also lay out the specific conditions under which each faction or avatar can play. The starting statistics for each character in addition to the maximum allowed statistics after upgrades are also show so upfront you can decide if you want to concentrate toward higher maneuverability, cargo space or firepower
Each player takes their turn spending action points to both move through the map or to undertake a number of activities to assist in the completion of quests or the solving of map clues. You are never really short of either since there are a good number of locations and quest cards can be collected at the end of each turn if you finish up on certain tiles. Quests and Map Clues reward gold or the all-important prosperity so it is your choice at any time how to spend your time, do you take the cash to upgrade your vessel or go straight for the win early.
It’s also possible to sell map clues at any time so should you find yourself floating around aimlessly with a handful of cards and no cargo you can always trade them in for coins and make a purchase to help out. Cargo spaces, sails and cannon all cost gold but each also requires an amount of raw materials which can also be mined on the islands or traded for other materials.
Turn length is around the two minute marker although can be extended slightly with younger players and in turns where quests need to be turned in or multi hop, more complex maneuver are attempted. This usually happens toward the end game however as multiple ship upgrades have allowed for more complex and time consuming strategies
Even in its pre “final retail” condition the package is pretty substantial. Not only has the time been taken to choose the right materials for a game with plenty of replay value but it looks great. Whether it’s the main map or the character cards, each is intricately illustrated with care and attention. Rather than simple counters Short Hop have; in many instances; opted for illustrated variants. As is the case with the character pieces, a more interesting ship token has been used upon which to mount your avatar.
Even as a fairly complex looking tabletop monolith the quality of the gameplay mechanics shines through quickly, so quickly that my eight year old daughter was devising her chess like strategy for around four to five moves ahead in order to maximise her loot and close out a few quests. Quests and Cannons feels and looks great, has high replay value and some deep strategy mechanics hidden under some beautiful unique artwork. Every character plays differently and it’s easy to find your playstyle changing massively depending who you pick.
With a number of stretch goals including bonus champions and a potential quick play neoprene printed mat for each funding goal, Quests & Cannons officially launches its Kickstarter campaign on 21st September 2021