Muddling Through the Perilous Tower in Maiden’s Quest

June 4, 2021 | Sessions | 4 comments

Descend a tower and overcome obstacles with a wide variety of attire and objects in Maiden’s Quest.

Alright. How was I supposed to resist picking up a few small and low-priced games at a board game swap?! My collection might be exploding in size on a weekly basis, yet there are some things one simply needs. Ha ha! The small box for Maiden’s Quest caught my eye and I recalled reading a little about it. $8 USD? Definitely worth trying it out!

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

Fancy dresses? Don’t let those fool you! There is a maiden in need of rescuing here, yet she finds her own way to make it out of the tower and beyond her captor. A unique dress provides benefits, yet there is a multitude of items that may be used to overcome obstacles. Watch out!

Selecting from a Range of Smart and Useful Attire in Maiden's Quest
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

Intriguing Ladies

The game takes the stereotypical damsel in distress and puts her in a position to save herself. A variety of maidens are included, each with her own unique icons and ability.

This was the part where I quickly started to get lost. Many comments warn about the rulebook. Roughly 30 pages? Sure… Must just be a lot of great examples. So wrong!

I considered myself in distress over the initial reading. Might as well have made a character card for me. Ha ha!

Luckily, though, I figured I would still give the game a chance. Bad rulebooks can sometimes lead to good games.

A Range of Powerful Characters to Choose from in Maiden's Quest

Turned Around Saviors

In the classical sense, the set of saviors would probably be the ones to save the day. Here, they provide some benefits but can be positively cumbersome. Move along!

As double-sided cards, they can be left behind or saved. I see what was done here… The saviors need the saving.

Upgrading cards is the main way to improve a deck and be able to use more icons in the selection of drawn cards.

But I digress and feel like I’m explaining things like the rulebook! The fundamentals are simple, though there are a lot of edge cases. Hence my initial confusion.

Bumbling Along with Questionable Saviors in Maiden's Quest

Obstinate Obstacles

Building the initial deck comes down to the maiden and her captor. These cards provide the instructions for specific cards and a set of randomized options for variety.

The obstacles range from locked doors to some positively difficult opponents. It’s not at all easy to match symbols!

As I was soon to learn, these cards were not going to shuffle nicely. Maybe it was this gently used copy, so it’s hard to fault the game. I ended up with lots of duplicates.

After re-reading several sections of the rules, I was decently confident that I had my starting deck correct!

The Different Kinds of Obstacles During the Escape in Maiden's Quest

Light to Dark, and Back

As the day wore on and shadows appeared for some fun photography, I was utterly lost. My confidence slipped away as I made obvious mistakes right from the start.

When was I supposed to shuffle the deck? What started this so-called fan of cards? Why did all of the obstacles stick together when shuffled so my deck was all weird?!

I muddled through my first play and would dare to say this was one of the games I disliked the most. Yikes.

But I wasn’t about to give up. I could see some hints of fun mixed in there, so I reshuffled the deck and started over.

A Long Day of Battling in Maiden's Quest

Maxxing Out Min

As Min, I had the ability to use magic icons to my advantage. She could also upgrade cards. I assumed she was a talented magical craftswoman. Go, Min!

Yet the evil Jeliasta was simply… Jealous? I sensed a play on words that went over my head. Close enough. Ha!

At the easy difficulty level, I simply had to survive through the 4th level of the tower. Which basically meant I had to go through the deck a few times with leftover health.

Things started to make sense and I saw some of the fun, especially when Min escaped! Still, though, luck was huge.

An Interesting Tale of Hero and Villain in Maiden's Quest

Checking Out the Rules

I wasn’t alone as I kept checking various sections of the rulebook. A large group of Calico Critters perused the tome while I played. I needed almost no table space, actually.

When I finished another play and felt like time had dragged on, I looked over at my tiny tabletop companions.

Oh, my! There was confusion all around and a few utter losses of consciousness. No injuries were reported, though! I didn’t blame anyone for getting so muddled.

A good rulebook doesn’t need to be perfect and can have a few ambiguities. But this… Definitely like a captor itself!

So Many Questions and Confusion with the Maiden's Quest Rulebook

Session Overview

Play Number: 1-4
Solo Mode: Included in the Base Game
Play Details: Easy Difficulty Level
Outcome: 2 Losses and 2 Wins

So… I won twice. The final play was a lot more interesting as I upgraded the cards a lot. Note that I didn’t go over much of gameplay in this session report because… I don’t honestly know if I got it all correct. I really liked how a card could be up to 4 different things depending on upgrades and downgrades. Yet the reliance on luck and nicely shuffled cards still put a bit of a damper on play.

A Cat to the Rescue and a Very Large Spoon in 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)

  • An entire play can happen in hand since the deck never needs to be put down, so table space isn’t a concern.
  • Only a small portion of the cards make up a deck, leading to a great deal of variety and unique combinations.
  • Different difficulty levels allow the game to be tailored a little bit both in the challenge and length of play.
  • The theme is different and flips the typical damsel in distress situation around to empower female characters.
  • All of the cards fit in the box, which is also very compact and doesn’t require a lot of shelf space.
  • Nearly every card includes flavor text that adds a good bit of humor to the experience from start to finish.

– Cons (Negatives)

  • The rulebook is unnecessarily lengthy, text-heavy, and confusing to the point that it doesn’t explain much.
  • Although I still say this may be due to having a used copy, the card quality is sub-par and shuffling is tricky.
  • Luck plays a significant role in drawing the right icons at the right time, which is dependent on card shuffling.
  • Certain elements are somewhat fun, yet each turn typically doesn’t involve a lot of meaningful decisions.

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

Have you played Maiden’s Quest? What are some of your favorite aspects of gameplay? The rulebook certainly didn’t set me up for success, although this simply might not be the right game for me. Even with a complete understanding of the phases, luck can be frustrating. At the same time, I kind of want to play again as another character… Ha ha!

4 Comments

  1. The second edition rulebook is in BGG’s files section for the game (“Maiden’s Quest Revised Rules”), and it makes a lot more sense – I didn’t really get the game until I read that version, and I’ve fought through a lot of bad rules. In particular, I found the “Encounter Timing” section on pp. 30-31 vital for working out how things are meant to fit together.

    Beyond that, well, there are a lot of games that take the form “tweak your deck and try to get enough of the right icons in your hand”, but I’ve had fun with this one.

    Reply
    • Thanks! It looks like I have the second edition rulebook, but this seems like a game that gets better as you experience it a little more and understand what’s going on. Ended up playing a couple of times today… And suffice to say I’m definitely enjoying it more as I go on!

      Hence why I try to give honest first impressions, yet point out how a lot of it might just be me reacting to things I don’t quite grasp. Games are very subjective! So it looks like I may not end up loving this one, yet I want to play some more. That should say it all. Ha ha!

      Reply
      • The other thing I’d recommend as a learning tool is a playthrough video – I used the Beyond Solitaire one. (I don’t normally do videos for learning, but it worked for me.) I’d love to rewrite the rulebook for this, the way I do with many games, but all those special symbols make it technically difficult.

        I played this for my 10×10 last year and I enjoyed it, I’ll play it again, but if thieves broke in and stole my copy I might well not replace it.

        I talked about this more in the first episode of More Games Than Time, so I’m changing the link behind my name to point there.

        Reply
        • Excellent recommendation! I, too, enjoy rewriting rulebooks to learn certain games. Might need to go back to that, although it’s always nice to have a lot of different tools available. Thanks for sharing the link!

          Reply

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