Fantasy Pug Quest – Tin Hat Games – Review

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Fantasy Pug Quest - Tin Hat Games - Review 1
Fantasy Pug Quest - Tin Hat Games - Review 2

Tin Hat Games

  • Cooperative
  • Official Publication Date/ Street Date: 2019
  • 10+
  • 30-60
  • 1-5

Pug Lovers Wanted

If you are looking for a cute, cooperative adventure and you are one of those hardcore pug lovers (I have a few friends like that), or if you are all those things minus the hardcore pug lover, you should give Fantasy Pug Quest a try.
Ben
Writer

In a world full of adorable pugs, evil has begun to rear its ugly influence. All of pug-kind is under a growing threat and must enlist the bravest heroes that can be found. This extraordinary team of pugs will venture through three worlds to combat and, hopefully, defeat the vile creations of the boss monster. Each pug hero has its own strengths and has learned unique skills that will help the quest be successful. Now is the time to stand up for pugs everywhere and free the worlds of the foul beasts and monsters that threaten all they know. Will the pugs come together and use their individual powers to work together to take down evil, or will it all crumble around them and they will be forced to watch their worlds burn?
Fantasy Pug Quest is a cooperative adventure game for 1-5 players. 

The basic mechanic found in Fantasy Pug Quest is set collection. In order to cast spells and perform combos, players must own the right energy cards and have their pugs in the optimal placement. Each pug has its own skill set and as they receive experience, they unlock new combos. 
The game is played over ten rounds and across three worlds. Each world has its own rules that will change how the players fight in that world. When a world is revealed it will show where enemies are placed on the gameboard, including the boss monster when the pugs arrive at the third world. Enemies and pugs have initiative scores and the highest score goes first each round and turn order is based on descending initiative. When an enemy goes, they move if possible and then perform their attack action. Players have multiple options on their turn. They can use combos and abilities which require energy cards. They can cast as many combos as they can each turn. They can also perform two actions. Either move, basic attack, draw or discard. After all cards on the game board have either been killed or finished their turns the round ends.
Pugs can move around and attack based on their weapon and how their attacks operate. So attacks hit only a single target directly in front of them, while other attacks are broad sweeping movements that hit many targets. When a player kills an enemy, they gain experience that will let them have more powerful combos and they all gain treasure that can be used to help them in their quest. 
If the players can move through all three worlds and defeat the boss monster before the end of round 10 then they win the game! Otherwise evil triumphs and the players must return home with their tails between their legs.

Fantasy Pug Quest is a fairly simple game, but it sure didn’t feel like it while trying to go through the rulebook. The rulebook is not laid out in a way to teach how the game flows. It goes through individual concepts and then moves to a different rule that is not always related to the one you just read about. I have read hundreds of rule books and this one was one of the hardest to figure out. I ended up pulling up a video on youtube and watching someone play a few turns before I said, “so that’s how it all works together.” Once we started playing it and wanted to clarify something, it was a chore to go back into the book and figure it out.
After I was able to wrap my head around the game, it was not too tough to teach. I played a two- player game with Ally and we almost made it to world three before we ran out of rounds. That told me that it was going to be tough to make it through everything in 10 rounds. We tried again and didn’t do much better. Maybe it was the combination of pugs that we tried each game or maybe we were just terrible at it.

The game has lots of cards and a paper playing mat with a few cardboard tokens. The cards are all fine. I didn’t see any issues with them or the tokens. I didn’t care for the paper play mat. You use it all the time and cards move all around on it. I really wish it would have been a normal cardboard piece. The paper never really sits flat because it has to be folded a few times to fit back in the box. Cardboard would have been a better choice and lasted longer.

This is where Fantasy Pug Quest is strongest. The artwork and character details are the highlight of the game. The wonderful pugs all look stellar and allow players to fall in love with their characters. The enemies and bosses are very fun and unique. There are wonderful puns and lots of creativity all through the art and design. The art really is the best part of the game.

What I enjoyed about Fantasy Pug Quest was the old school RPG elements that happen. Needing to have characters stacked in the best combat formations. The turns based on initiative scores feel very vintage. Leveling up and movement all remind me of old Final Fantasy games. That made for a fun experience. 
Like I mentioned above, the art was lots of fun. Exploring the game through the art was very exciting and brought lots of laughs.

The recommended age for this game is 10+. That seems like a very realistic evaluation. Since it is cooperative younger players can receive help from more experienced players. It is a great way to help them develop new skills without competition getting in the way. The game is challenging so that may be tough for younger players, but that is always a good life lesson too.

Fantasy Pug Quest had some highs and some lows for me. The rulebook did not work for me at all. The paper game board might hold up with lots of plays. Those are things I didn’t care for. Things I really liked are the classic RPG elements. The artwork! Having a cooperative game to share with the kids to help teach them more skills. All of these things were positive. So in the end I think the positives outweigh the negatives, especially since the rulebook issue can be overcome with youtube videos.
If you are looking for a cute, cooperative adventure and you are one of those hardcore pug lovers (I have a few friends like that), or if you are all those things minus the hardcore pug lover, you should give Fantasy Pug Quest a try and see how it works for you are your game group. 

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