Rodents of Unusual Size (ROUS)
In previous Updates we talked about Monsters and about the Dungeon.
Today we are going to focus on a feature of the game that brings those two things together – the Wilderness.
In Thunderstone Quest, like most deckbuilding games, your starting cards are not going to be good enough to fuel a deck to victory. You will obviously need to buy some extra cards, but the other thing that really helps is if there is some way to improve the cards in your starting deck.
(Art and game mechanics not final and subject to change)
The Wilderness is a room that exists in every Quest at the start of the Dungeon. In this room is a low level monster, with just 4 health, the Giant Rat. The Giant Rat itself gives you no experience points, but the Wilderness has a Spoils reward that allows you to level up one of your starting deck heroes for no experience point cost (a Spoils reward is something that happens when you successfully defeat a monster). When you earn these Spoils, you level up an Adventurer from your hand (the lowest level starting Hero that begins play in your deck) by removing it from the game and replacing it with a Level 1 Hero from the Village at no cost. The Level 1 Hero goes into your discard pile to be drawn and used in a future turn.
This makes a trip into the Wilderness a very worthwhile early game strategy in order to improve on your starting Heroes. It is a sort of training adventure that really only benefits those starting Heroes. Your level 1 and higher Heroes will not really benefit from the Wilderness much, they need to graduate on to more challenging monsters in order to get the experience they need to keep getting better, but you may, from time to time, find innovative ways to get benefit from a trip to the Wilderness, based on cards that you have gained during the game.
Alternately you can avoid the Wilderness and take your chances in the Dungeon proper, relying on luck or strategy to let you defeat monsters and win XP with your starting Adventurers, leveling them up while your party is in the Village as in classic Thunderstone. The Wilderness route is quicker, but the rewards of the dungeon are greater. Sometimes you may return from the Dungeon with wealth and XP, other times you may return with little to show but Wounds.
You can only level up one Adventurer per turn in the Wilderness but you can stay in the Wilderness for as many turns as you like. And multiple players can be in the Wilderness at the same time, each reducing the ROUS population on their turns.
Of course the ideal early game is when you have the opportunity to go to the village and visit the Wilderness, and there are ways to do that – a strategic discussion for a future Update!
— Mark Wootton
Thunderstone Quest Project Lead