Picture this; you’re a weary adventurer, having set out on a quest that has challenged you to the extreme. Now you’re tired, short on supplies and in desperate need of a rest. Then, in the distance, you spy a sign that lights up the horizon. ADVENTURE MART! As if by magic, the store appears in front of you. There are staff willing to meet your every need by selling you supplies and items that will aid you in your onward journey.
In Adventure Mart, rather than being this adventurer, you instead take on the role of the store manager of Adventure Mart. You must ensure that you stock your store with wares and goods that will appeal to these travellers. You will also provide upgrades that will benefit you and make you a more attractive store. Of course, you aren’t the only store around and competition is fierce!
Adventure Mart is a great little deck builder from Hub Games. It has fun and quirky artwork and serves as a great introduction to the deck building genre. Set up is relatively easy, with each player receiving the same starter deck and 5 coins. The depot area, where you buy items from for your store will need to be created using the stock cards, fixture cards and staff cards, as well as a supply for guild tokens, money and discount tokens.
Finally, the town area is set up by shuffling the adventurer deck and daily bulletin deck and drawing a set number of cards. The Daily Bulletin cards dictate the rounds that will occur over the course of the game. Each of these provides potential actions for the players to perform. I did find that a reasonable amount of space should be allocated to the game to allow you to space the cards out accordingly and give enough space for players to expand their stores.
Over the course of the game, players must be wise with their coins and. They must ensure they balance their expenditure with their sales potential. Along with this, they'll make note of the adventurers that will be going to the store that day. This is as they will only buy specific goods. You also have to balance the cost vs reward of the staff and fixtures. While they may benefit you during the game, you may find your spending isn’t recovered from their use.
Fixtures will allow you to offer additional services in your store which will net you greater income when dealing with customers. Staff will let you manage your shop more efficiently and can make sales more profitable for you. Of course, the stock required for you to sell in your store, will all need to be purchased at the beginning of the day. There is a fantastic variation of stock, all the different benefits and costs but all seems well balanced.
I really like this sense of balancing risk vs reward as it meant you had to really think about what cards to obtain and how to build your store and deck. An element of competition is also introduced, with all players able to “tender” for the adventure’s business. You will be offering goods up for sale of differing quality, ensuring they match the requirements of the buyer. Other players can then offer more goods or higher quality goods, effectively outbidding the original player and winning the sale, unless someone else can provide a better offer.
Most cards will also have effects attached to them, changing up the gameplay and benefiting the player that played the card and potentially hindering others. There is a great variety of effects on all the different cards and this keeps the game interesting and limits the possibility of a “runaway leader” and keeps things fair. The better the effect, the more costly the card, as one would expect, and this balances nicely within the game.
Component Quality and Artwork
The cards, tokens, and insert are all very good quality, with a good card stock used, something that I am always wary of when playing deck builders. The cards are handled so regularly that if you have poor card stock, you’ll very quickly realise this!
One thing I really love about Adventure Mart is the artwork! It’s bright, quirky and just puts a smile on your face while playing. It certainly looks to be aimed at a more family-oriented target audience and the difficulty level certainly reflects this. If you want to take the next step in gaming with your children, then this is definitely a game to try out as it will ease them into some slightly more complex mechanics while at the same time not being too overwhelming. You have the option of removing some cards to make it easier to play and this is a welcome addition.
Overall, this is a fantastic deck-builder for all ages and one that is challenging enough for those used to games such as these while also remaining fairly accessible and easy to teach and learn. It's games like these that gain a lot of respect from me. They offer up a lot of gameplay, with various levels of thought required in regards to decisions and balancing your choices, all while remaining fairly lightweight on the surface. The design and artwork just lift this game up and make it more enjoyable!
Adventure Mart really hits a sweet point for me. It gives you just enough that you want to play another game while also playing within a reasonable time. You’ll never find yourself struggling to make a decision or overthinking what to do. The way the effects have been allocated a colour makes teaching this game a little bit easier. It's clear this has been done to boost its accessibility.
I really do love the thought and passion that has gone into Adventure Mart. It has been a pleasure being able to play it. The designer, Sam Taylor, has worked hard to create a game that doesn’t just regurgitate the same old deck-building mechanic. But instead, he presents it in a game that is lightweight and just cute! I’d buy this just for the artwork! I was really impressed with Adventure Mart and it certainly comes highly recommended by me. Especially for families looking for the next addition to their game collection!