The Adventure Guild, publisher of fantasy RPG Quest, has officially announced a new card game called Queens, along with a fair bit of detail about how it plays and when we can expect a retail launch.
The competitive card game for two to four players uses an identical deck for each combatant representing the army surrounding their monarch. These forces are arrayed facedown in a nine-card grid, obscuring the values and abilities of each unit. The goal is to reveal the enemies’ queens while protecting your own by gradually whittling down the opponents’ decks until they have no option but to field their queen in the grid.
Players take turns revealing enemy forces, turning them face-up and activating the abilities written on the card. While these effects can be devastating, a card’s most vital attribute is the number at the top; the card with the highest value among all players wins the round and gets to stay on the field. This process continues until only one queen remains and is claimed the victor.
Designer TC Sottek told Dicebreaker that Queens has been kicking around in his head for quite a while. “Long before I created Quest I had been thinking about making a mini-game for the players in my Dungeons & Dragons group. So technically the idea started when my players were trying to make contact with the accountant of an evil organisation during a card game on a riverboat,” he said.
Queens as described on the launch page reflects the mix of cunning and violence one would expect from a dangerous card shark. Remembering what cards each opponent has revealed could keep you from stepping foot on a dangerous assassin, but you might hold the perfect counter in your hand and want to eliminate that pitfall while the advantage swings in your favour.
Dicebreaker asked Sottek if Queens connects to the universe established in Quest. “I think it will be something that the characters in Quest narratives know and play as a game in their worlds. It will be like their version of poker or bridge,” he said. “It will come up in conversation, and we'll suggest that players even play it at the table as a part of the fiction of their Quest story.”
Sottek elaborated that while the team wants this new game to enhance the experience of its tabletop RPG, Queens is a “fully standalone game” that doesn’t require purchasing or knowing Quest in order to enjoy.
When asked about inspirations the designers looked to during development, Sottek specifically mentioned Stratego and Magic: The Gathering. “I really liked the idea of a guessing/memory game with some unusual mechanics and a layer of strategy,” he said. “There are lots of ways things can go wrong for you. So, you'll have to be clever about when and how you use your cards that do special things.”
The official site indicates playtesting will continue through early next year, and Sottek intimated a possible narrative layer to the card-based skirmishing: “I'm still considering whether to add an extra layer of meta where each game contributes to some larger war, like territory control on a map. That will likely be optional - there's something I love about being able to play the core game just with a deck of cards and no extra pieces.”
The Adventure Guild plans to launch a Kickstarter campaign for Queens sometime in 2021, in addition to the planned Kickstarter for a science-fantasy edition of Quest, along with supplements and additions to the core fantasy version.