CoraQuest is a one to four-player cooperative dungeon crawler game with an emphasis on being accessible and customisable. The game is designed by Dan and Cora Hughes, a father and daughter design team and was crowdfunded.
In CoraQuest you and your fellow players work together to delve into a dungeon, avoid traps, find treasure, fight monsters and complete quests. The quests are family-friendly and feature rescuing Gnomes from giant snakes, bringing back lemon cheesecakes and teapots as well as rescuing a tortoise named Maureen.
Each player will control a different character with all four characters being used in each game. Each character has a special ability and different starting equipment. Weapons have a simple to understand range and attack value. On your turn, you have two main actions and as many “free” actions as you want/able to perform. Actions include moving, opening treasure chests, swapping items, attacking monsters, and activating special abilities. Other actions allow you to use certain items and reveal new parts of the dungeon.
Combat is based on die rolls combining your weapon and your characters displayed die. You can become “determined” if you roll no hits, increasing the die pool for the next attack. Health points & movement value is displayed on either your character card or the enemy cards. Any hits rolled to inflict a point of damage and once an enemy reaches zero healthy, they are removed from the board. As new dungeon cards are revealed story points will be triggered and read from the quest book.
The monster's turns are very simple and involve activating twice which include moving towards the closest hero and then attacking (or attacking twice if they are already in range). If a new dungeon tile has not been revealed that round the threat track moves down and may eventually trigger the spawning of spiders on the board. The use of special abilities is tracked on this same track and moved down one space each round, effectively having a cool-down mechanism. Players will win the game if they complete the scenario requirements.
Designed by Father and Daughter duo Dan and Cora Hughes as part of a COVID-19 lockdown project, CoraQuest has gone on to be a massive crowdfunding success. Pegged as an accessible and family-friendly dungeon crawl and with art by children in the board gaming community, CoraQuest feels like a community project that has come to life.
As well as having a wonderful creation story the game is a solid hit in a genre that is overpopulated with big sprawling, campaign heavy, mini heavy, behemoths. CoraQuest is accessible, family-friendly, has a fantastic whimsical and humorous campaign, plays quick, is compact and has all the family laughing from start to finish.
A Tortoise Called Maureen
I have played through all of the scenarios of CoraQuest and although they pretty much follow a similar path of entering a dungeon to find something, there are various twists along the way. There is even a dexterity element to one of the scenarios. The storytelling is geared towards the younger audience and often had my children giggling and laughing as well as being anxious to rescue the Gnomes and Maureen the Tortoise. CoraQuest also encourages cooperation and tactical thinking. My kids just wanted to run off and get all the treasure despite being surrounded by enemies. Discussing with them how that might not be the best idea is a great way to get them thinking about their decisions and consequences.
Combat is based on a die roll and as such, there is some luck involved. What is a nice addition is that if you don’t roll any hits you become determined. Being determined means that you roll additional dice during your next combat, thereby increasing your chances of getting a hit. There is some strategy in where you move and which enemies you target and how you position yourself. Treasure can be found throughout the dungeon and may include some healing potions or new weapons. There are also certain story-specific items that can be gained depending on the scenario.
The age range of 6+ is fine if there is an adult present to help “run” the game and it is worth noting that you need to always play with four characters. So, playing solo, two, three or four players, four characters will need to be played. Controlling multiple characters is not an overly burdensome task due to the simplicity of how the game plays and the accessibility of the game. Might be a bit much for a younger child but it is still doable. There is a good selection and diversity of characters and particular attention has been paid to inclusivity.
Be A Hero, Literally
In addition to the great gameplay, CoraQuest offers a host of customisation. Upload a photo of yourself or your child(ren) to the CoraQuest website and you can create your very own character. You can play as yourself in the game. What young kid would not want to do that?
Overall, CoraQuest aims to be a family-friendly, accessible dungeon crawl game and it nails it. It is a game that my 5yr old keeps requesting to play again and again. If you are looking for something that is a little different in this genre and that is suitable for all the family then CoraQuest is worth checking out.