On the face of it, this is a simple set collection card game with a 'push your luck' element. The cards represent various treasures and antiquities, with art by Apryl Stott. On their turn, players will pick up cards (either two cards drawn from the facedown draw deck or all of the cards in the discard pile) and they lay down to their tableau sets of matching colour antiquities or sets of treasures. You can lay sets with just three cards but only completed sets of five cards score. What they score depends on whether they are standard or 'perfect' sets - the latter comprise five unique cards (ie: no duplicates). As an example, a standard set of five antiquities (five colour matching cards but incorporating duplicates) scores 500 points whereas a perfect set (no duplicates) scores 1000 points. A set that mixes antiquities with treasure cards is worth only 250 points. Players must always discard a card at the end of their turn.
If you've ever played any rummy style card games like Kalookie, you'll know there's an advantage in holding onto sets that can be modified by adding extra cards. That's certainly true in Antiquity Quest. If you play an incomplete set of three or four antiquity cards to your tableau, there's a risk that an opponent will 'complete' your set with a less than optimal card (for example, tossing in a treasure card so that the completed set is worth only 250 points rather than the 1000 you were hoping for if you could manage to 'perfect' it). There's no hand-size limit so you'll be tempted to hold onto cards and never play to your tableau anything less than a standard antiquity set (500 points).
To make this more of a game, however, publishers Grandpa Beck have introduced a second hand of 10 cards. These are dealt out to each player as a cache that is left face down. You can't look at it until you've exhausted your main hand. Once a player picks up and starts playing their cache, the game rapidly accelerates: the game ends when any players 'goes out' (has played his cache and has no cards left). In addition to a 500 point bonus for being the player to 'go out', any cards left in opponents' hands or untaken cache score them negative points. This means that, once any player takes their cache, there's a sudden panic to get cards played out into tableaus even if you have to lay down incomplete sets.
Antiquity Quest is an enjoyable light family game for 2–8 players. The slow build up before players make a dash for their cache makes for a longish card game. Even with just two or three players, we found each play often took up to 30 minutes. That's fine, except that the game encourages you to play out three rounds...
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