close menu
The OG Dungeon Crawl Deckbuilder Thunderstone Quest is Back On Kickstarter

The OG Dungeon Crawl Deckbuilder Thunderstone Quest is Back On Kickstarter

A wizard, cleric, and rogue walk into a dungeon. This isn’t a setup for a joke and it’s not an RPG either. It’s Thunderstone Quest, designed by Mike Elliott and published by AEG, and it’s is here to put a dungeon in your deckbuilding. (If you’re not familiar with the mechanics of a deckbuilding game, it’s a system where you build a deck of cards as you play, rather than showing up at the table with an already constructed deck.)


Shortly after the success of Dominion, the granddaddy of deckbuilding games, Thunderstone arrived with a mace in one hand and a fireball in the other. Thunderstone Quest is the latest iteration of the Thunderstone series, and was massively funded on Kickstarter last year. It’s also, hands down, the best iteration making this the perfect time to jump into the dungeon since they’ve once again made the game available to gamers via Kickstarter, offering new content this time that includes cooperative and solo game modes as well as new quest content.

If you’re interested in getting a big box full of adventure, these are a few reasons you should definitely check the game out.

Intuitive Setup & A Variety of Options

starting cards 640

Despite the sprawling layout on the table, you’ll immediately be familiar with Thunderstone Quest’s setup as it’s quite intuitive. There are stacks of cards available for you to purchase: heroes, weapons, spells, and everything in between. There’s a myriad of options to choose from to prepare your deck the way you want.

I’m partial to dwarves who have a flair for physical attack, so I make sure equip my shorties with plenty of blunt weapons. If you’re more of a magic pew-pewer, you can stock up on wizards and magic missiles. Or, you don’t have to choose at all. The great thing about Thunderstone Quest is not that you are playing a character, you are building the whole party.

Action-Packed Dungeon Crawling

heroes 640

Pan to the right of the village and you’ll see a dungeon, constructed out of six tiles of three levels of difficulty. Instead of shopping on your turn, you can choose to fight monsters of varying ranks. The best part is you can do this as early as turn one. Your starting deck may be small, but it’s got enough swing to level up those lowbies in no time. With your chosen mini, you move through the dungeon, provided you have enough light from cards and tokens to venture into deeper rooms.

Yes, you’ll often come out bloodied, having to add wounds to your life track that limit how many cards you can draw on your turn. With the right draws though, you can keep the blood rage going for quite a while before needing to recuperate. There’s nothing like the thrill of drawing the perfect hand for goblin-stomping.

Level up Your Characters…or Not

marketplace 640

Once you’re flush with XP and ready to go back to the village, you can lick your wounds and level up your heroes. However, in the standard game mode, XP also counts toward your points at the end of the game. This means choosing to level up a hero or not really matters, especially when it’s a net-loss in points. The tradeoff, of course, is a more powerful deck. When do you say, “No, my dwarf warrior doesn’t need to be level 3…” and just let him hang out at level 2? For me, the answer is never, but then again, maybe that’s why I’m not my household’s reigning champion.

Of Course, There Are Quests

As for the “quest” part of Thunderstone Quest, that comes in a legacy-esque style pseudo-campaign. The quest book has a short story and different dungeon setups, providing you with ambiance before each game. As you progress through the campaign, you’ll open up new packs of cards and get to play with new heroes, monsters, and marketplace items. Though each play is still the same mechanically, it’s a fun way to get into the RPG spirit of the game.

dwarves 640

I’ve played every version of Thunderstone since its release and Thunderstone Quest has stripped away all of the excesses and kept all the good stuff. While perhaps adding a little more to the game than more conventional deckbuilding games have, Thunderstone Quest weaves together the board and card play seamlessly. Entering the dungeon is as tense as rolling any polyhedral dice. There are moments when you’re not sure if you’ll have enough attack to punch out the Cursed Centaur, but you’re going to try anyway. When it comes time to fight the final boss, a.k.a. the guardian, you get one last attempt to show off your might. Hopefully, your deck is ready. I know my dwarves are.

You can back Thunderstone Quest Back to the Dungeon on Kickstarter and get the game for yourself. Having funded in mere minutes of launching, you can expect this project to smash through stretch goals, but you only have until Wednesday August 15th to secure your copy.


Images: Grace P., Alderac
This post is sponsored by Alderac Entertainment Group.

GMs: Build Quick & Easy RPG Maps With DungeonFog

GMs: Build Quick & Easy RPG Maps With DungeonFog

Critical Role

WATCH: Critical Role – Dangerous Liaisons (Campaign 2, Episode 37)

6 Scary Board Games for a Spook-Tacular Game Night

6 Scary Board Games for a Spook-Tacular Game Night