Quodd Heroes is a rather unique board game. It’s almost more of a boardgame toolkit designed to let you recreate the feel of platform and competitive video games.
Actions in Quodd Heroes are determined by tumbling your die like characters, whatever side is facing up determines how you can move that round.
Disclosure: The designer of Quodd Heroes, Ryan Iler was cool enough to give me one of his demo copies of the game after running an event at a local FLGS, no other compensation was provided. Some links in this post are affiliate links. Using these links doesn’t cost you anything extra and it helps support this blog and podcast. As an Amazon Affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
What is Quodd Heroes?
Quodd Heroes was designed by fellow Canadian Ryan Iler and self-published through his company Wonderment Games. It was successfully funded on Kickstarter in 2017 and is listed as being published in 2019 on Board Game Geek.
It is worth noting that there is only one version of Quodd Heroes, the one that was funded on Kickstarter. There is no separate retail edition. Everything that was unlocked on Kickstarter is included in every copy of the game.
Quodd Heroes is a modular, scenario-based, adventure board game inspired by the gameplay of classic video games. It plays with one to six players depending on the scenario and can be played cooperatively, competitively, in teams or one versus many. Gameplay length is very dependant on the scenario played, the number of players and the amount of AP (analysis paralysis) those players have during the game. I’ve finished games in under half an hour while others have taken closer to two hours.
The box for Quodd Heroes is rather large, two or three times your standard Ticket to Ride sized game box and that box is completely packed with stuff. Due to the fact that I received a demo copy of the game, I wasn’t able to record one of our usual unboxing videos. If I had recorded one, it probably would have been our longest video yet as you get a ton of stuff in this box.
Most striking are the twenty-two hero miniatures, two for each character. These are rather large solid cube-shaped miniatures all of which have been treated with a black ink wash that really makes the features stand out. You get two because one goes on the board while the other is kept in hand for planning your move, which I think is a brilliant inclusion. Each character also has a set of five double-sided skill tiles, six upgrade tiles, a player board, a reference card and a buddy/character reference card.
Additional miniatures include twelve chunky crystals in three colours and ten sheep in three colours. The sheep, which are square and incredibly cute, also feature an ink wash.
There’s a set of custom dice, which includes a special D6 with a Q where the six should be and a D8 showing the eight compass directions. You will also find ten special bomb dice, these are D4 dice that look like little bombs. The first player token is a square two-sided metal coin.
Quodd Heroes comes with nine double-sided full-sized player boards, four two-sided start zone boards, a time/round tracker, a compass board, a number of double-sided moving platforms and accessory boards and well over two hundred double-sided counters.
There is one main rulebook, plus a scenario book. Both books are large, with large font and a ton of examples throughout. The rules are twenty pages long, with the basic rules only taking up the first eleven of these. An icon reference and more detailed rules for some game elements take up the latter half of the book. The scenario book contains twenty-five scenarios which range from a solo campaign to a six-player battle royal.
Finally, there are two drawstring bags. One for the dice and one for the sheep.
The demo version of the game I own also includes some add on items. One is a set of dice in each of the different player colours and the other is an expansion called Fringe Underground.
The Fringe Underground expansion contains eight new cards, sixty-four new tokens, and three new large double-sided player boards, plus a new scenario book featuring rules for these new components and three new scenarios.
How is the board game Quodd Heroes Played?
While the actual gameplay elements in Quodd Heroes will greatly depend on which of the twenty-five included scenarios you play, the basics of gameplay remain the same. Ryan included three tutorial scenarios in the scenario book that are great for onboarding new players to the game.
Each round starts with the first player and going in clockwise order players, in turn, go through four phases with one player completing all the phases before the next player goes. After all of the players have gone through all four phases there is an End of Round sequence that must be followed.
Phase 1: Power Up – The active player can play cards that affect their movement or the board.
Phase 2: Move – The active player first tumbles their hero into one orthogonally adjacent space. After tumbling, the side of the character that is face-up determines how the character can then move. At the start of the game, players assign one of their movement skills to five of the six sides of their characters, which is tracked on their individual player board. Movement types include further tumbles, sliding orthogonally, sliding diagonally, dashing in any direction and jumping. In addition to five movement sides, each character has a side with a Q on it. Having this Q side face up allows the player to use their characters Q power, an ability that is unique to each of the characters.
While moving, players will interact with various board elements and can do things such as pick up objects or drop them. There are a wide variety of board elements, including things like fast-moving water that can push a character or cause them to turn in place, pits the characters can fall into, teleporters, springs which bounce characters around the board, walls that block movement and more.
Phase 3: Recovery – The active player can play any other cards they wish before the end of their turn.
Phase 4: Exploration – The active player is able to draw cards, the number of which is based on the number of exploring symbols they have on their player board.
Cards come in four types. Food cards are single-use and often give a bonus to movement. Runes are also single-use and will often give players a way to interact with the board by adding or removing board elements. Pets are permanent upgrades that give characters new abilities (each character can only have one pet). Items are also permanent upgrades, giving a character new abilities (each character can only hold one item). Finally, there are Tools, which are single-use and include powerful game-breaking abilities.
At the end of each round, elements on the board activate. These can include things like bombs moving, sheep wandering, pits opening, and more, all dependant on the scenario being played. A world event card is also revealed and whatever is on the card will affect all players. These world events can be both positive or negative. The time tracker is advanced at the end of the round for any scenarios using one.
The most interesting action taken at the end of each round is that all players get to upgrade their heroes. Each character comes with a unique set of six upgrade tiles and players will select one of these at the end of each round and add it to their player board unlocking more movement, new abilities or the ability to explore more cards.
Finally, the current start player passes the first player coin to the player on their left.
Play continues like this, round after round, until the game end condition specified in the scenario is met. At that point, the winner is declared, again based on the scenario being played.
The scenarios in Quodd Heroes really run the gamut. There are rally races that play out similar to programmed movement games like Robo Rally where players win by being the first to hit a series of checkpoints placed on the board. There is a PvP video game style capture the flag scenarios where a crystal is placed in the centre of the board and teams have to rush to grab it and bring it back to their own starting zone. Just the other day I tried Sheep Soccer, a silly game where sheep spawn at the end of each round and you earn points by getting them over to the opponent’s starting zone.
Each scenario features its own rules for set up, any gameplay changes or additional rules specific to that scenario, as well as any time limit and, of course, the victory conditions.
My thoughts on the modular board game Quodd Heroes
I first learned of Quodd Heroes through the designer Ryan Iler who contacted me on social media thinking that I owned one of the local game stores. Ryan was looking to do run some demo nights to get practice for Gen Con and would be stopping into Windsor on his way to the con. I hooked him up with Jeremy and Ian at The CG Realm and they worked out a good weekend for Ryan to run some games.
At this point, I didn’t really know what to think of Quodd Heroes. Looking over the Kickstarter for Quodd Heroes, it looked a bit like one of those overproduced games with lots of flash and potentially not much substance. While I have to admit the whole tumbling mechanic sounded pretty cool I worried it was nothing more than a gimmick (and I’m very pleased to say that I was completely wrong on that front).
I first got to see the brilliance of Quodd Heroes during that demo night at The CG Realm. During the event, Ryan and some helpers had four different tables going, and everyone seemed to be having a great time. At this point, I had already agreed to take home a demo copy for review purposes and due to that, I skipped out on playing that day to allow other people to check it out.
When I finally got my copy to the table, it was at home with just Deanna and I. We played through the three intro scenarios over two nights and we were both instantly smitten with the game. The tumbling mechanic really is brilliant but that’s not all Quodd Heroes has to offer. The gameplay is very tight and solid, the onboarding is great and the component quality is top-notch.
After our first couple of plays, it was Deanna who suggested giving our kids a shot at playing Quodd Heroes and that’s where this game really started to shine for us. While both kids enjoy the game my oldest daughter is in love with Quodd Heroes. It’s her favourite game out of all of the games we’ve taught her. Every game we’ve taught her since first introducing her to Quodd Heroes get’s compared to it, and so far nothing has measured up.
My oldest daughter loves programming and coding and is a huge fan of games like Robot Turtles and Robo Rally. While Quodd Heroes isn’t actually a programmed movement game I personally find that it really feels like a programmed movement game. I think it must use the same part of your brain or the same skills that programming does and that’s what my daughter really loves.
If I had to find fault with Quodd Heroes it would just be that it can be fiddly. Due to the sheer volume of components that you get in this box finding the right tiles, markers, and tokens for each scenario can take some time. This is made a bit worse by some of the double-sided tokens having different things on each side so that not every tile is the same. This has obviously come up before with fans of the game as the designer has even included a file on BGG showing his preferred method of bagging and storing the components so that they are easier to find.
Due to both the setup time and the takedown time, we often set up Quodd Heroes the night before we plan on playing it with the kids and when we are done playing let them head off to do whatever, leaving it to be cleaned up when we have time later.
Along with the fiddliness of all of the various components, there is also some fiddliness with the rules. There are a large number of powers and abilities, and icons used to indicate these powers and abilities, which can be overwhelming and sometimes difficult to find between the rules and the reference cards. In almost all cases the rules for everything are there somewhere, it’s just a matter of finding them. In addition to this, Ryan has produced a very solid Quodd Heroes FAQ coving some of the more often missed or misunderstood rules.
Overall Quodd Heroes has been a huge hit in our household. This game has a lot more going for it than some cute cube-like characters and a neat tumbling mechanic. Top-notch components are combined with excellent engaging standardized gameplay that features added variety due to the number of different scenarios and scenario types. This is a game that can be just as fun playing through a campaign solo as it is playing a four-player game of sheep soccer.
I know most people have probably overlooked Quodd Heroes and that’s a shame. I really think that everyone should give this game a try. The huge range of gameplay types and options for player count means there’s something here for everyone.
I personally think Quodd Heroes is a Kickstarter success hidden gem. This is a game that not nearly enough people know about and that more people should be talking about.
What is a Kickstarter hidden gem that you love? What Kickstarter game that funded do you think more people should be talking about? Let us know in the comments.