Welcome to the Mushroom Realm! A place of danger, magic, wonder, goblins and well, mushrooms for 2 - 4 players. During Tiny Epic Quest players will go through five rounds of sending out heroes to search for powerful items, learn magic spells, defeat goblins and completing quests. Each round is divided into the day, where you move your heroes and maybe complete a quest and the night, where each player pushes their luck, rolling adventure dice to try and explore temples to find items, increase the magic of the Mushroom realm to learn spells, or fight the invading goblin hordes. All while keeping their health and power above zero.
Eventually, each player will become exhausted or stop adventuring as it becomes too risky. Then the next round begins. After five rounds the player with the most victory points is crowned the winner of the Mushroom Realms.
At first glance Tiny Epic Quest seems like a tiny dense box of lots of items and equally endless rules, but the game flows quickly, elegantly and logically once you get the first game or two under your belt.
Growing the Mushroom Realm
At the start of the game:
- Each player is given one coloured play mat and matching three hero meeples.
- The maximum health marker and current health markers are placed on number six across the top of the player mat.
- The maximum power marker and the current power marker are placed on number three across the top of the player mat.
- One adventure card with adventure card face-up.
- Three legendary items placed on the matching left most space on the player mat.
- The Magic card is placed with the 2-4 player side face-up, each player places their butterfly shaped spell tokens to the left of this sheet and the mushroom shaped magic token is placed on the first step of the magic track.
- The round sheet is placed on the table with the goblin shaped round marker placed on the number one spot representing the first round. This sheet also has the end of game scoring matrix along the side for reference.
Now the land map is created as follows:
- Separate the map cards into two separate decks; one with the four-player colour castles and the 13 other regular map cards.
- Shuffle the 13 regular map cards and place the first five into a cross in the centre of the play area.
- Then shuffle the player castles and place them in the corners of the cross creating a 3x3 square play area.
- Deal the remaining regular cards to the sides of this 3x3 square to form a 'wonky' cross.
Each player then places their three hero meeples on the corresponding coloured castle. A goblin token is placed on each goblin portal, passive (green) side up with the diamond connected to the diamond on the map, this represents their current health level. The rest of the goblins are put to one side for later use.
The five movement cards are placed in a row on the side of the map. The quest deck is shuffled and placed face-down near the play area. Three quest cards are then drawn and placed in a row, there should be at least one movement quest and one treasure quest, when a quest card is taken the others are moved to the right and a new third quest card is placed in play - always ensuring that there are at least one movement quest and one treasure quest. If none are drawn, discard the quests until there is at least one of each.
- Place the item rack with all 12 treasure items on it nearby.
- Put the five adventure dice in the lid box which doubles as a rolling area.
- Give the first player the first player token with the 'Q' side up.
You are now ready to adventure into the Mushroom Realm.
Each map card is divided into two halves, and each has a different feature. Each part of the map has a maximum player count who can have meeples there, denoted by the little meeple symbols.
Portals are where goblins come out into the Mushroom Realm. Goblins start the game on their green 'passive' side, but at the end of each round the goblins will become active - and flip to their red sides and also healing all lost hit points in the process. Hero meeples can move past passive goblins, but to move past an active hostile goblin the player needs to spend one power point. The goblins on your starting map or final map don't count.
During the night phase is when most of the action happens at temples (but a sometimes during the day phase too). A hero meeple must travel along the temple path at night to the end in order to get an associated quest card or legendary item.
Each mushroom grotto has a unique ability that activates as soon as someone places their meeple on it.
This is where players can learn new spells, as long as the magic level is high enough. During the night phase magic levels will increase, players can only increase their spells by the amount that the magic level is. So, if a player has the level one spell and has a meeple at the third level spell obelisk he will need to get the magic level at least two.
As the Sun Rises
Each round is divided up into a day phase and a night phase, during the day players will move their characters around the map and possibly complete a quest in doing so. So each day phase comprises of the following:
- The first player will select one of the movement cards (horse, raft, gryphon, ship or foot), each of the different types of movement lets you move one hero meeple in a specific way that is handily described on the card. Horse is horizontal along the road, raft is vertical along the rivers, gryphon is diagonal, ship is edge of the map to another edge and foot is one map card in any direction. Some quest cards are movement based and related to where hero meeples are, if this is achieved by a player, they take the movement quest card and the first player token is flipped to the Q crossed out side - no one can take another this round. Meeples can be moved in any order, and each can be moved multiple times.
- Once the movement card is selected the player will either move one of his meeples as instructed on the card or choose to idle (If he has meeples in any castle, then he can gain a health or power. This is only done once per idling not once per meeple in a castle).
- Going clockwise, the players will then choose to move their meeples according to the movement card chosen or to idle. Once all players have chosen to move or to idle the movement card is turned face-down. The next player than selects the next movement card and play continues like this until four of the five movement cards have been used.
Once this has been done, the day phase is over, and the night phase begins.
Howling at the Moon
During the night phase, each player is adventuring until they decide to rest, as shown by their adventure card. The first player takes the five adventure dice and decides if they are going to adventure or if they are going to rest. If they adventure, they roll the five dice where everyone can see them. The symbols rolled are always resolved in the following order:
- Take damage.
- Gain power.
- Conjure magic.
Once this is done the following symbols are resolved by all adventuring players, with no more than one per symbol per meeple. Torch and Scroll temple and attacking goblins. Once all dice have been resolved by all adventuring players they are passed to the next adventuring player and this cycle continues.
The amount of damage rolled is totalled and distributed clockwise evenly among all adventuring players starting with the player who rolled the dice. Each roll is one point of damage that comes off their health. Players have the option of using two power to prevent this damage. At higher magic levels each damage symbol rolled increases the amount of damage dealt as indicated on the magic level sheet. Certain items that players may gain during the game may change how they take or prevent damage, for example the shield legendary item lets a player use only one power to prevent damage instead of two.
If a players health reaches zero then they become exhausted and must flip their adventure card to rest, all their meeples are returned to their castle (not completing any of their quests and the players health is set back to six and power to three (no matter what their current maximums are).
Once all damage has been taken the Power symbols are totalled and like the damage, is distributed evenly around the players clockwise starting with the first player. At higher magic levels power symbols do not count for gaining power.
For every conjure magic symbol that is rolled, advance the magic level by one step. There are four magic levels all denoted on the magic level sheet:
- Level 0 - No one can learn spells and all dice are resolved normally.
- Level 1 - Players can learn spells one level higher than their current spell, and all dice are resolved normally.
- Level 2 - Players can learn spells two levels higher than their current spell. All damage is now -2 and power cannot be gained by the dice.
- Level 3 - Players can learn spells three levels higher than their current spell. All damage is now -3, power cannot be gained by the dice, and conjure magic symbols now cause -1 damage.
Once these three symbols have been done the torch, scroll and attack symbols are resolved by all adventuring players as if they rolled the symbols for themselves.
For each torch symbol rolled a meeple can be advanced along a temple track with torches (two are required on the indicated spaces) and likewise with scrolls. It is possible for a player to spend two power to conjure an extra torch or scroll to advance along the track, this can even be done in conjunction with the symbols as rolled (for example, you need two torches to advance; you only rolled one but you can spend two power to conjure another and advance the meeple).
The attack symbols allow one meeple per player, per symbol to injure goblins that their heroes are attacking, by turning the goblin clockwise. Once the goblin turns so the top diamond on the map is in conjunction with the skull on the goblin token it is dead and the player takes the goblin token.
Resting, a player can choose to rest before it is their turn to roll the dice. A player who rests does the following:
- Heroes on goblin portals return to their home castle, on returning the player may gain one health or one power.
- Heroes on obelisks return to their home castle, again on returning the player may gain one health or one power to the maximum. If the obelisk the player just left was a spell that was within the magic levels above his highest spell he learns that spell and moves his spell token to the matching symbol in the magic library.
- Heroes on the last space of a temple track return to their home castles, again the player can gain health or power and may take any quest card and item that the temple is linked to and/or advance a legendary item on their own player board to the next level, if this was the final step for the legendary item they take that item and equip it. Any other items they gain from the temples must also be equipped, meeples can have only two items at a time.
- Heroes that are on any other temple track space, castles or mushroom grottos must remain there until the next day phase when movement is chosen again.
Once a player is rested, they no longer participate in the night phase and are not affected and cannot use any dice that are rolled by others and do not roll dice themselves. If a player is reduced to zero health while adventuring, all of their meeples are returned to their castle and are unable to complete any temples or obelisks.
When all players have rested or become exhausted the resolution of the round begins.
- The magic token is placed back on the first step of the magic track.
- All passive goblin tokens are flipped to their Aggressive red sides.
- New passive goblin tokens are placed on any empty portals.
- All movement cards are flipped to their active sides.
- If the first player token shows the 'Q' side then the right most quest card is discarded, the other two are moved along and a new quest card is put in play, always ensuring that there are at least one movement quest and one treasure quest.
- The first-player token is passed to the next player clockwise.
- Finally, the round marker is moved to the next round.
This sequence of play continues until the end of the fifth round when scoring begins to determine the victor of Tiny Epic Quest. At the end of five rounds the players total their scores with the aid of the score matrix based on the number of quests they completed, the number of goblins defeated, the spell level they attained and any legendary items they found.
In the event of a tie, the most quests breaks it, followed by the most goblins defeated, the highest spell level and finally the most items found (including treasure and legendary items). If it is still a tie, then the players share victory.
There are two sides to the map, once you have a few games under your belt you might want to try the gloom side of the map, it is darker and more challenging, but does not bring any new rules to the game.
Becoming the King of the Mushroom Grotto
Tiny Epic Quest is a game of strategically manoeuvring your heroes during the day, getting them into the places you need to acquire quests, items, spells and killing goblins. Not forgetting any special abilities of the Mushrooms Grottos which can affect all of those things to your advantage. In the night time adventuring the strategic manoeuvring is replaced by how brave you are at pushing your luck to get what you want from your hero meeples.
To maximise your score, you must diversify at least a little, because of how the scoring is calculated you need to have at least three spells, completed two quests and killed at least one goblin to score. Goblins score higher faster, followed by Quests and finally Spells. Another way to maximise your points is to try and combine actions to achieve more than one goal. A great way to do this is to get your legendary items from the appropriate temples while there are treasure cards at the same temples, then you are achieving the legendary items and the treasure quest card in one go, but of course this comes down to luck, how much you push your luck and the other players.
Management of items will also be significant and make sure that meeples with items that cause extra damage to goblins are hunting goblins, meeples with items which help progress through temples are at temples and the same with learning spells; and not to mix items that cannot function together at the same time.
There is a single player variant in Tiny Epic Quest, the rules are mostly the same as the multiple player version, with a few adjustments; the magic track is double-sided, a solo side and a multiple player side. What the dice do at the different levels is shown in each. The other difference is how the movement cards are chosen in the daytime, four are chosen, one after the other randomly always leaving one that is not.