Before I begin, I was sent a prototype of the game, and may receive a production copy should it fund, in exchange for an honest preview. This is not a paid preview. If you would like to see a video of this review you can check it out below. Learn more here.
I love me some pirates. Not the real kind of pirates, the ones who were murder-y, rape-y, and pillage-y. That stuff is real, and horrible. No, I like the romanticized fun kind of pirates, the ones they make cartoons about, the ones that are fun, the ones that are actually heroes. Those kinds of pirates are great! I also love me some anthropomorphic animals. So when I got the chance to preview a game in a world with Anthropomorphic animals pirating all about, I was all about it!
Quests & Canons is, at its core, a relatively simple pick up and deliver game. You will move your ship around the board from hex to hex discovering resources on different islands. You will upgrade your ship allowing you to carry more goods, shoot more canons, or sail further each round with those resources. You will also use those resources to turn in quests for points.
Not very pirate-y I know. However, you can always eschew the idea of collecting resources on your own (that is so much work after all), and instead go shoot your opponents ships until they give you what they have…sort of. Let’s be real, mostly you are blasting them so they sink and you have an advantage over them.
That first player to meet the points threshold wins, and there is also a solo and co-op version that you can check out.
So what do I think?
I really enjoy the art and the world of this game. It is well fleshed out, and the art has that whimsical vibe that I love in games. I also find the upgrading of the ships, and the variable player powers, and load-outs to be just the amount of asymmetric play I want in a light game like this.
This is a pick up and deliver game, and while it is fast enough that it does not suffer, in my opinion, from some of the receptiveness that many pick up and delivers suffer from, you are doing the same thing over and over again in the game. I felt like the length of the game was just about right, and just as it was starting to feel like I was rinsing and repeating the game ended. That, however, is entirely based on my tolerance, so you may go either direction on that.
The game is light, light, light. One of the reasons it works is that it is very easy to play, learn, and understand; at the same time that means there are not a ton of options to it. I think this game would benefit greatly from some small modules that slightly changed how things worked, or offered new options to keep things feeling fresh, and increase the replay value.
While I appreciate the board set up, I found it fiddly and slow to set up based on the diagrams in the rules, and eventually quit trying to do that, and just did random set ups.
Bringing it all together
Quests & Canons: The Risen Islands is a fast and fun pick up and deliver game. While it is not breaking the mold the timing of the game is so dialed in that it gives me the parts I like from a pick up and deliver game, without ever overstaying its welcome. The co-op and solo modes work well, but I am looking forward to seeing their further development. This is a game that I hope will see the addition of modules or mini expansions in the campaign to really make it pop.
I spy long-windedness off the port bow!
* Cool world, and art
* Very light game, which gets you playing quickly
* Mostly this is about the picking up and delivering, the combat is less frequent, and not the focus of the game
* Because it is so light, if you are craving deep strategy you are not going to find it here
* Quite satisfying to customize your ship, and master your specific race and player powers