Cheddar Sounds Gouda To Me
Cheese Quest Review
- # of Players: 2-4
- Ages: 9+
- Play Time: 30 Mins
- Designer: Phil Schadt
- Publisher: White Toe Games
- Price Point: $29.99
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this game to review.
The life of a mouse isn’t easy. Spending your days in search of cheese. Keeping an eye out for traps. Being stalked by cats on the prowl for a quick snack… and then you have to be wary of those other mice, who can be real rats sometimes.
Cheese Quest is a light family style “take that” board game that puts players in the role of mice scavenging for cheese. Along the way, they face devious traps, hungry cats, dead ends, and each other. All in an effort to be the first mouse to return to the nest with two pieces of cheese.
What I liked…
- Well designed
- Fairly easy setup
- Fast turns
- Quick playtime
- Modular game board
What I didn’t…
- The rulebook can be confusing in spots
Playing the game
Setup is easy. Players layout the board, selecting tiles at random, place tokens, draw two cards each, then place 3 cards in reach of all players, along with the deck. Setup is done.
During their turn, players may take up to three actions in any combination. Actions include moving, disarming traps, playing a card, and, and of course, picking up cheese.
Running The Maze…
The board in Cheese Quest is constructed randomly each game using a nest tile, and six randomly selected double-sided tiles. This means that the board changes with each session. Additionally, since the tiles have varying difficulties, each game may be easier or harder than the previous game depending on which tiles you draw, and how they are arranged. Typically the more walls and traps there are on a tile, the harder the tiles is. This may be something you want to keep in mind when playing with younger players. At least for the first few sessions.
Watch your step…
Traps are an integral part of Cheese Quest. After all, what game about mice would be complete without them? And Cheese Quest has a few.
The most common, and the one you are all but guaranteed to encounter, is the snap trap. This is the classic mousetrap, and always has cheese attached to it. If you want that cheese you have to disable the trap first. Tripping a snap trap forces you back to the nest, cheeseless I might add. This trap is unique in that it is the only trap that is on the board at the beginning of the game. The rest are placed by players during the game.
The Glue Trap is a particularly annoying trap because it prevents you from leaving the space you are on until you disable it.
The Humane Trap is exactly the same as a snap trap, with the exception of forcing you to forfeit the rest of your turn, returning you to the nest at the beginning of your next turn, and making you lose one action next turn. It’s a nice little time waster to use on a rival.
Poison Bomb is not exactly a trap, but it is just as troublesome. Mice caught in the fumes must drop their cheese, and vacate the space immediately.
Traditionally cats are the nemesis of rats and mice and what would a mouse game be without them? Cats are, at their core, movable hazards that you can use to hinder, harass and annoy your opponents. Mice who are unlucky enough to find themselves on the same space as a cat are paralyzed with fear, and must drop any cheese they are carrying and cannot pick it back up, or move as long as the cat remains. Unlike traps, cats cannot be disabled and are a Permanent resident on the board.
While traps and cats are the most numerous trouble on the board, debris also causes problems. Debris is an obstacle placed by players that cannot be traveled through. They are not traps, or cats, so once played they cannot be moved or removed. They come in very handy for slowing an opponent down, forcing them to take a longer route, or even trapping them.
While there are a lot of “take that” components in Cheese Quest, the game also offers some protection.
Prowl: This allows you to move a cat up to two spaces. Useful for clearing a path for yourself… or making your opponents nervous. It is a really good idea to keep one of these on you at all times.
Squeeze: possibly one of the most useful cards. It allows you to move through a wall, which comes in really handy for avoiding traps, cats, and bypassing debris.
Decoy: keep your little mouse neck safe by sending this little guy in to disable a trap. Any trap. It is cheaper than the normal method of disarming a trap, so this card is definitely worth getting
Every mouse for themselves…
The hazards in Cheese Quest will typically either send you back to the nest and/or force you to drop your cheese. Either outcome causes you to lose precious time and actions. Time that your rivals will eagerly use to go after the cheese you dropped or that is within easy reach. So it is a good idea to beat them to the punch, after all, you can do the same things to them.
Every time a player is forced to drop the cheese or is forced back to the nest, they essentially lose an action, or actions, since they either have to pick the cheese up again or get back to where they were. Be on the lookout for ways to make them waste their time.
Cheese Quest is not a game intended for a serious game night, except as perhaps a filler game as you wait for the main event to get going. It is, however, a blast to play with the family. Especially if you have competitive youngsters. Cheese Quest is deep enough that parents can enjoy it and won’t be watching the clock, while at the same time not being so complex that younger players will lose interest, or need you to play for them.
Cheese Quest is well thought out and put together nicely. I especially love the modular game board and varying difficulty. Not to mention the take-that components. My one complaint is the rule book. While the rules themselves are great, the rulebook was a little confusing. The first time my group played a rules situation arose that made one player almost quit the game. Once we resolved the situation, however, they fell in love with the game and have played it several times since.
Rulebook aside, Cheese Quest is an entertaining and well-made game that would be at home in any family game library. Just watch out for snap traps.