From So-So to Great: An Evolution of Playing Maiden’s Quest

June 8, 2021 | Sessions | 4 comments

Enjoy a surprising turn of events with a tower escape made possible by high heels, a guinea pig, and more in Maiden’s Quest.

The first few times I played through Maiden’s Quest resulted in a rather negative initial reaction in my previous post. I mentioned how first impressions aren’t always everything, though! Something told me there was more to it. For a low initial rating, I should have put it away. Yet I found it calling to me and with it so easy to play… Might I actually like it?

Game Overview

Game Name: Maiden’s Quest
Publication Year:
 2018
Designer:
 Kenneth C. Shannon, III
Artist:
 Lindsay Archer
Publisher: WizKids
Solo Mode: Included in the Base Game

At its core, this is a game about matching symbols and making the most of a randomized deck. However, the upgrades and downgrades must be done strategically. Most cards have 2-4 different sides. Is it worth it to go for extra symbols, or find a hidden exit? Lots of choices!

Playing as the Main Character on the Maiden's Quest Box
R

First Play

May 28, 2021

Complexity

2

Latest Play

May 28, 2021

Expansions

0

Setup Time

5 Minutes

Lifetime Plays

10

Play Time

30 Minutes

:

High Score

N/A

1

Game Area

8" x 6"

;

Low Score

N/A

Another Mrs. Claws

I delicately set myself up for a mediocre play experience. A new deck would tell me if I was just confused, or if the game simply wasn’t for me. One never knows at first!

This time, I played as Jenavieve from the box art and went up against Mrs. Claws. That’s not Mrs. Claus, mind you!

Alright. Part of me was very annoyed at the standard difficult level where I shuffled through the deck over and over on level 4. It was endless at times. But then…

I looked at the cards. There were definite strategies. And then I won with the help of a self-folding chair. What?!

An Interesting Selection of Winning Items Against Mrs. Claws in Maiden's Quest

Iconic Icon Sets

It all started to come together. Each deck consists of roughly 50-60 cards. Objects, health, encounters, and more add a lot of variety to each hero-boss combination.

Encounters all provide ways to upgrade or downgrade cards, depending on the outcome. It’s actually good to lose from time to time, either by running or actually losing.

Why? Downgrading some cards removes their usefulness, yet others get more powerful or even turn into exits!

It isn’t a case of simply racing to upgrade every card to its gold side. Many are beneficial, yet downgrading is vital.

Making the Most of Different Cards and Symbols from Maiden's Quest

Fighting Footwear

I overlooked something important when I muddled through the rulebook. Every card isn’t just a set of icons. There are all sorts of items, and many are hilarious!

Take this victory over a goblin. I won with a war censer, stiletto heels, and hard-toed boots. Think about that.

I pictured a censer being used to generate a smokescreen. Curious and choking, a sudden flurry of footwear flew through the air to knock out the goblin. Success!

Granted, I don’t think this is a game that lends itself to deep narratives with the way it plays. Yet it is fun!

A Winning Combination of Footwear in Maiden's Quest

A Fancy Way to Win

If it isn’t clear, I went on to play with a new deck because I was suddenly having a fantastic time! This time, I was Pricilla… Not Priscilla, mind you. I needed a reminder.

She defeated this goblin in a different way. All dressed up, she looked less than dangerous with hair extensions and a pearled clutch. Sofia?! Golden Girls reference. Ha ha!

The goblin was likely intrigued by the fancy dress. Then… WHAM! Knocked out by the clutch and tied up with hair.

Many encounters played out similarly, only with less drama and more of a focus on the individual icons.

Getting All Fancy for Battle in Maiden's Quest

Meet Mr. Marrow

Pricilla may have been prepared, but her captor was far from easy. Mr. Marrow was more annoying than anything!

When he appeared, he flipped up to 2 defeated enemies. So she had to battle the same foes multiple times. How rude, Mr. Marrow! No relation to Mrs. Claws. Maybe?

I ended up losing several times. The win condition required 1 sun icon and 11 other icons. Yikes!

Perhaps my early mistake was not checking which cards in my deck could turn into exits after being downgraded. It was very difficult to directly go up against this captor!

Weathering the Storm of Mr. Marrow as Pricilla in Maiden's Quest

The Best Kind of Draw

After back-to-back losses, I thought I saw the way ahead. Indeed, I did! I upgraded a lot of cards not only to increase my hand size but to look ahead at the next 5 cards.

So it all came together when I drew this beautiful fan. I arranged the cards as I needed them and was able to choose a set of 4 extra cards to benefit me the most.

The pearled clutch was, in truth, a clutch player! Even with all of this, I barely made it with 13 extra icons and 1 sun.

Easy? Not at all! Yet I reset and played with the same deck, this time escaping through a hidden exit. Bye, Marrow!

An Exciting Way to Beat Mr. Marrow in Maiden's Quest

Session Overview

Play Number: 5-10
Solo Mode: Included in the Base Game
Play Details: Standard Difficulty Level
Outcome: 3 Wins and 3 Losses

See? Pricilla was excellent in the footwear department, which helped her in unexpected ways! The funny thing is the description for the knee-high boots: “At least they’re not high heels.” Interspersed with heels and stilettos, of course. Ha! And don’t ever forget Sweetie the guinea pig. She was integral to success! This game was painful to learn, yet I’m absolutely thrilled to have it now.

All Sorts of Useful Items from Maiden's Quest

%

10 Plays

Affordability

Price & Value

9

Functionality

Challenges & Mechanics

9

Originality

Design & Theme

5

Quality

Components & Rules

1

Reusability

Achievement & Enjoyment

7

Variability

Distinctness & Randomness

8

+ Pros (Positives)

  • Each card has multiple uses and can be best upgraded or downgraded, depending on the overall deck strategy.
  • The humor in the object names and flavor text adds a lot to the experience, even if only for a single encounter.
  • Although the choices and decisions may not be obvious at first, every card plays a role in some way.
  • Play time may be a little lengthy, yet it’s simple to pause at any point and resume at another time in the future.
  • It’s possible to play with the deck entirely in hand, although if table space is desired, only a tiny area is needed.
  • A lot of variety is present with the way a deck takes shape during setup, leading to almost endless combinations.

– Cons (Negatives)

  • Spelling mistakes are a little too common in the flavor text, taking away from the humorous immersion.
  • The card stock seems rather underwhelming for a game where the cards are handled and reshuffled constantly.
  • Gameplay can drag on near the end of the standard difficulty level when it just comes down to the right cards.
  • Figuring out how to play takes a lot of effort since the rulebook is so confusing and may turn some away.

More Maiden's Quest

Explore related posts about Maiden’s Quest!

Victory Conditions

Complete the Difficulty Requirements

  • Overall Goal Progress 100% 100%

Goals and Milestones

R

Win at least 1 game against Jeliasta Jones.

R

Win at least 1 game against Mr. Marrow.

R

Win at least 1 game against Mrs. Claws.

R

Win at least 1 game as Jenavieve of Joyeux.

R

Win at least 1 game as Min the Gnome.

R

Win at least 1 game as Pricilla of Icehold.

R

Win at least 1 game at the easy difficulty level.

R

Win at least 1 game at the standard difficulty level.

Continue the Conversation

How has your experience changed with Maiden’s Quest? My rating jumped significantly and although I can’t say it’s going to end up in my top games, there’s certainly something special here. Do you have a favorite object? It’s amazing that I didn’t pick up on the jokes initially! I suppose I was so focused on learning how to play. This one is a lot of fun!

4 Comments

  1. I really like this game for its flexibility and portability. I lucked on one day to a deck order that provided a really challenging game. I think it would be good to go back and write down all the card numbers for that deck order (sort of like a deckbuilder) to share with others.

    Reply
    • That sounds like a great idea! Sharing card numbers to make custom sorts of challenges works quite well with this format. Although I definitely haven’t kept track yet, I may look at this in the future when I end up with an interesting deck. Thanks for sharing!

      Reply
  2. Hurrah! I haven’t played this since the 10×10 games last year, but now I feel like giving it another try…

    Reply
    • I figured you would be excited to read this, Roger! The game is packed up so I can enjoy some others, yet I’m already thinking about it again. So glad I got past the hurdle of learning it so I could enjoy the game itself. Much better than I originally thought it was going to be!

      Reply

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