𝘈 𝘳𝘦𝘷𝘪𝘦𝘸 𝘣𝘺 𝘈𝘎 (𝘈𝘥𝘶𝘭𝘵 𝘎𝘢𝘮𝘦𝘳), 𝘕𝘎 (𝘈𝘥𝘶𝘭𝘵 𝘕𝘰𝘯-𝘎𝘢𝘮𝘦𝘳) 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘓𝘗𝘎 (𝘓𝘪𝘵𝘵𝘭𝘦 𝘗𝘳𝘦-𝘎𝘢𝘮𝘦𝘳)
AG: Well, this is a game which promises to satisfy LPG. It might even be on NG's level!
NG: Not sure... but awesome cat on the front...
LPG: She loves cats!
NG: Yes, and the art is all very fairy-tale and colourful, all well drawn; the girl on the cat makes me think of you LPG, leading the way.
LPG: Yup, I'd also choose that character, with the cool powers! It all looks very adventurous and mythical.
NG: Yes, but it also looks like one of those games AG likes that no-one understands.
AG: Au contraire! It is solidly aimed at kids.
LPG: Hey! I’m not a little kid! I like adult games!
AG: Well, the name is made for adults to know it's for kids, by which I mean, young adventurers.
LPG: Hmpf. I guess maybe I can try this game too.
AG: As was being said, this is a game for younguns, even enticing them with all sorts of QR Code shenanigans to scan with your phone/device, which feed into the app, which tells the story.
NG: Oh, combines an app. Interesting!
AG: For reals, and it's all really easy to set up: unfold the solid and well-illustrated gameboard, set aside one deck of characters, one deck of items, and that's it. All components have a QR code on them, and the story goes...
LPG: Bet the winter empress is going to destroy the summer kingdom!
AG: Not quite, for it's quite a gentle story. There are two kingdoms (on either side of the gameboard). You're an apprentice to Merlin and need to find the eponymous moon stones to become fully fledged magicians. The whole story is told via the app, and you'll be interacting with locations on the board, characters and objects by scanning them, just like in Lucky Duck Games' distinctly adult Chronicles of Crime games, which were from the same designer (David Cicurel).
To find characters and objects, you'll need to explore each location: whenever you move into a locale you scan it and a view of it will appear on your screen. You can then look around by swinging yer device wildly, spot what you can see, and grab the relevant card from the deck.It's a clever concept, and if say you're talking to a character, you can scan another already revealed character, or an object in your treasure bag, to do something; be it interact or talk about it.
NG: It's cute. I like the interaction and that it's simple to follow, but sweeping the phone about (AG: we did discover towards the end that one can alternatively finger scroll) is impractical, and quite gimmicky. Most fun was doing the voices!
LPG: I love whooshing about, it's really fun! And doing the voices, that was the best!
AG: Absolutely, but a missed opportunity: there's no voice acting in the app so it's all done by the players. Granted, it would have likely pushed the budget quite high, but had that been present and elevated ones involvement, I'd be more inclined to forgive the shortcomings.
Oh yes: for all its reasonable charm, Quest for the Moon Stones is a rather easy and quick experience. It is aimed at 8+, but even then the connections and puzzles were extremely easy, to the point of needless. It might as well have been an interactive novel. The 1-4 player mark I suppose is so more brains can puzzle it together but it's just too simple for multiple people's involvement.
As for the length, then considering it's a one-and-dusted experience, six missions each at 30-45mins tots up to just 3 to 4.5 hours: a rather meagre offering if you ask me.
And speaking of the app, I'm unsure whether it's a boon or a curse. It's awesome being able to save where you are in the story (a quick photo of the gameboard and cards saves the physical aspects), but this whole game feels like it could just as easily be all app. So, which is the gimmick - the boardgame, the app, or is it just not enough of either?
Perhaps it's best ask its intended audience rather than this jaded beast. What's your take LPG?
LPG: It's gone! I really like it, and I like thinking where I need to go next and what to do, so why did it end so soon? I'm sad!!
AG: Yes, I think that about sums it up: the last mission introduces various new mechanics and it's the most involved (although bizarrely, there's a suddenly darker tone at one point), so just as you're finally interested and want more, it's all over.
Will more arrive? Perhaps: being app based and considering its thoroughly expanded Chronicles of Crime predecessor, one can expect more missions in the future, and it was only released recently. But with no announcements as far as my googling can see, it's unclear whether the spell necessary to lift LPG's sadness will arrive any time soon...
(Review by Stefano Ronchi)