I want to talk to you about a wonderfully wacky game that has spawned from what is essentially a kid’s drawing game. While it had always been on my radar, I never had the urge to get it due to me believing it was still geared toward younger players. How wrong I was!
Introducing Loony Quest…and if the name alone doesn’t intrigue you, let me tell you from the off that this game is quite simply fabulous family fun!
Before we get into it, I must confess; I had no intention of writing about this game for Tabletop Tales. I never actually owned this game until a month ago and only bought this game by sheer chance after I had to use an old voucher before it expired. After selecting a few titles I was keen to get my hands on, I was left with £15.90 and lo and behold Loony Quest was on sale at exactly that price – so I added it to my order.
When it arrived and I got to see it close up, I was mesmerised by the superb artwork and production. On last week’s Tabletop Tales I mentioned just how beautiful King of Tokyo was to look at. I can make a solid case that Loony Quest is even better. This got me intrigued and given the game can be played relatively quickly, I decided we needed to get in on the table and check it out.
Loony Quest was released in 2015, designed by Laurent Escoffier and David Franck and published by a few smaller publishers before being picked up by Libellud. The game is an evolution of Doodle Quest from the same designers, which was targeted at kids as young as five. While the Loony Quest is labelled as eight and over, I think younger kids could still play this game. Without doubt, this is targeted at the younger generation, but folks like my good self who very much embrace their inner child will revel in this title every bit as much as a ten year old.
Loony Quest is essentially a drawing game for two to five players. Everyone studies a level board (with a total 42 levels in the game, broken into seven worlds of increasing difficulty) and each player takes a transparent screen and one of the erasable markers and follows the action of the level. These actions include drawing a single snaking line, circling certain items, adding multiple spots or drawing multiple lines. It can either be played simultaneously, or much more easily, individually. The later gives each player a total of 30 seconds (checked by the included sand timer) to draw on their sheet using the level board as their visual clue. Once all players have taken their go, they take it in turns to place their transparent sheet over the level board and score according to the level rules. The first to a certain score or the leader after playing a set amount of levels or worlds is the winner.
While I don’t expect that to completely excite and entice you, Loony Quest comes into its own with the addition of power ups and penalty tokens that can be collected during levels. The lightning bolt power-ups reward one of five bonuses which can be played to hamper your opponents or boost your own score. The banana is tossed onto an opponent’s transparent sheet as an additional obstacle to draw around; the mosquito must be balanced on the end of a players pen as they draw; the broom can deflect penalty tokens onto other players; the shield can cancel the negative effect of any traps hit on a level; and the XP token can be spent to gain two additional points when scoring.
Penalty tokens are a whole different kettle of fish and can greatly hamper a player, with one of five punishments coming into effect for the following level only. Cramp forces a player to draw with his arm flat on the table; claw requires a player to hold the pen with their thumb and little finger only; vortex makes the player board be flipped to the very distracting coloured side; switch demands you draw with your weaker hands; and cyclops makes you close one eye as you draw.
While the variation of the levels is excellent, it is these heaven and hell tokens that really make the game. They are fantastic, they are random and they are evil. It brings a great hilarity and competitiveness to the game that all ages can embrace and enjoy.
Loony Quest: The Lost City was the first expansion released earlier this year and brings 32 new levels over five new worlds. Loony Quest’s one downside is with regular play you learn the levels and they become repetitive and stale and this expansion breaths more life and variation into the game. Not only that, the expansion introduces portals in levels that allow obstacles to be bypassed and a new power up and penalty token; X marks the spot allows the player to place an “X” on their screen as its laid over the level map before they start; and the curse token is traded in immediately for two additional tokens – should another curse be drawn, the process is repeated. If that all wasn’t enough, the “pyramid ship” has been introduced that is placed over the level map making it harder to visualise. While the rules state this pyramid is only used with one of the worlds, there is nothing to stop you using it on all levels to provide a more challenging game. All fantastic additions, and priced under £10, The Lost City is fantastic value for money. For me, its a must-have addition to the game.
I have developed a habit of discussing very family orientated games on Tabletop Tales, I guess it’s because the majority of That’s Not Current readers won’t be familiar with modern board gaming and I always want to show them an all encompassing and appealing way into the hobby. Also, I like board games that appeal to everyone. For me, they have a certain prestige over the very heavy strategy games, that while brilliant, alienated a lot of people. King of Tokyo, Jamaica, Funemployed and Terror in Meeple City have all been featured over the past few weeks and are all great family friendly games.
Taking everything into account, in my honest opinion, Loony Quest deserves to be top of that list.
In fact, Loony Quest is probably my favourite family friendly game I have ever played. Not only is it spectacularly unique, it is entertaining, eccentric and engrossing. A user-friendly fantastic family fun game! I’m struggling to think of a game on the market that will have the same inclusive appeal as this.
Last week I told you King of Tokyo offered best-bang-for-your-buck going – but I think Loony Quest puts that claim to the test. Readily available under £20, I challenge anyone to find something that offers more enduring value for money. It simple can’t be done! Not only that but the components and the artwork are all outstanding. Kids will absolute rejoice in its style and humour, as will every single “grown up” still in touch with their inner child or just with a decent sense of adventure.
If you have kids, definitely buy this game!
If you don’t, still buy this game!!
And then immediately buy the expansion!
NEXT WEEK: I will be taking a step back from looking at individual games to focus on Kickstarter and its role in the gaming world, with a few previews of successful campaigns coming soon to retail.