ARRRmada and Build-A-Robot are two expansions for Starcadia Quest, from publisher CMON. Designed by the likes of Thiago Aranha, Guilherme Goulart and Eric M. Lang, these expansions add new monsters for crews to tackle, new map tiles and new quests across new branching campaigns. From space pirates to robots, all in the chibi miniature style, these sound like they should match perfectly with the base game. However, is this just more of the same or do they take Starcadia Quest to the next level? Let’s find out!
ARRRmada is all about the crews fighting their way through Boneheads and Jolly Jocks, before eventually coming up against Wet Willy himself. Like the original campaign this takes place over 4 scenarios, though there are only 2 versions of the 2nd and 3rd scenarios – so slightly less playthroughs can be unique. Players can fight through Crabby Meg and Dog Watch with two new heroes, utilizing a range of new upgrades, attempting to complete the same style of objectives as the base game. Again, these are all designed for players to converge into the same areas, be bottlenecked into high density monster areas and fight each other.
Changing things up from the regular experience though the standard monster board is replaced by the pirate ship board. This has fewer spaces for troopers but includes a space for the Pirate Assault deck. This small deck of cards will screw with the players whenever a quest is completed. Ranging from characters near portals taking wounds to all gadgets being removed from the board, none of these are beneficial to players. The latter effect is only made more noticeable as none of the three new pirate map tiles feature gadget spawn spaces.
Build-A-Robot introduces another campaign, this time against the villain Bulldozer. As with ARRRmada the campaign only has 2 versions of the 2nd and 3rd scenarios – again always ending with the same scenario 4. Unlike the ARRRmada expansion, there is only 1 trooper and 1 villain included. This results in players using a lot of troopers from either the base game or from other expansions. Taken individually this could be seen as the expansion not adding much variety, though it’s not robot monsters this expansion focuses on.
Build-A-Robot can easily be compared to the Pets expansion for Arcadia Quest, though this time around players will be using multi-part miniatures. Clipping together the robots come in body and head pieces. Each piece has its own card, which features an ability part. Combining a head with a body in terms of the cards reveals the full ability that robot has: for example “When a close ally performs an attack” joins onto “change the colour of a portal with X spaces”. X in this case is the robots level, which upgrades the robots ability, health and defence. The robots level up as players overkill monsters and kill each other. When leveling up the player also draws a robot part card, with the opportunity to swap in the new head or body for the old one.
The new map tiles included in the expansion feature gadget spawns, however only one includes spaces for the regular gadgets – most of the spots are for robot parts. For fans that have played the base game numerous times these additions are easy to pick up, with the few additional rules surrounding robots leveling and actually choosing parts not increasing the overall complexity. For new players it may not be best to start here though, as it’s just one additional thing to remember, as robots aren’t just another hero nor a companion that offers a buff.
One of the instant feelings from owning the base game was wanting more. More troopers, officers and villains to take on, with it possible to add them into any of the original missions where random monsters were required. These expansions not only add in new unique monsters, they come with their own quests – giving the original monsters a new lease of life. The new monsters, such as Crabby Meg, in the ARRRmada expansion bolster the rooster more and aren’t overly complicated either. Gamers can comfortably use them straight away with first time players. Combining the fact there are only two monsters included in Build-A-Robot, with Y-Shot needing robots to be in play, it’s slightly harder to recommend the expansion on a monster front.
In both of the expansions the majority of the content, from upgrades to heroes, can be used regardless of what other content is in play. It’s rare that they mention specific expansion content and aside from being new twists to the base game formula there isn’t much that couldn’t be thrown into any Starcadia Quest game you play. Of the two ARRRmada works minutely better with brand new players, with no change in complexity. Build-A-Robot adds that little extra for players to think about. This is great for fans but for some playing for the first time it may distract from the fun of the core experience. Regardless, for fans of the base game, both ARRRmada and Build-A-Robot will only extend your enjoyment and offer new monsters to kill and quests to complete along the way.
(Editor’s Note: Starcadia Quest ARRRmada and Build-A-Robot were provided to us by Asmodee for the review. The expansions are currently available from local board game stores! Find your local store here.)