- For ages 8 and up (publisher suggests 9+)
- For 2 to 4 players
- Approximately 45 minutes to complete
- Active Listening & Communication
- Counting & Math
- Logical & Critical Decision Making
- Strategy & Tactics
- Hand/Resource Management
- Child – Easy
- Adult- Easy
Theme & Narrative:
- Bring home the cheese
- Gamer Geek approved!
- Parent Geek approved!
- Child Geek approved!
American humorist, actor, and comedian, George Gobel, said “If you build a better mousetrap, you will catch better mice.” In this game, you play as a very capable and brave mouse, focused on ensuring the survival of your nest. But be careful. Many traps and even cats are around every corner. Grab the cheese and beat little mice feet back to safety as fast as you can, or all is lost!
Cheese Quest: The Quest for Cheese, designed and self-published by Phil Schadt, is comprised of four Mouse tokens, six Cat tokens, 12 Cheese tokens, eight Snap Trap tokens, two Humane Trap tokens, three Glue Trap tokens, two Debris tokens, one Yarn token, one Hide token, one double-sided Nest tile, 12 double-sided Room tiles, four Turn cards, and 60 Pantry cards. The tokens are made of thick cardboard or solid wood. The cards are as thick and as durable as your standard playing card. The tiles are as thick as your standard game board. Excellent quality and durability.
When the Cat’s Away
To set up the game, first find and place the Nest tile in the middle of the playing area. The Next tile has two sides. Either can be used.
Second, select six Room tiles (randomly or deliberately) and connect them to the Nest tile clockwise. Soft grey arrows are on each tile that should be pointing to the center tile. Again, the tiles have two sides and either can be used. Place any Room tiles not used back in the game box.
Third, place Snap Trap, Cheese, and Cat token on the game board, matching each token to one icon. Any unused tokens are returned to the game box except for the Obstacle, Yarn, and Shadow tokens which are placed near the game board.
Fourth, have each player select a Mouse token and place it on the starting Nest space found at the center of the game board. Give each player one Turn card that matches their selected Mouse token color.
Fifth, shuffle the Pantry cards and deal two to each player. Place the remaining deck of cards face-down and within easy reach of all the players. This is the Pantry draw deck for the duration of the game. Draw the top three cards and place them face-up next to the draw deck in a row. This is the Pantry row.
That’s it for game set up. Determine who will be the first player and begin.
The Mice Will Play
Cheese Quest is played in rounds and turns with no set number of rounds per game. A player’s turn is summarized here.
Step One: Remove Tokens
If the player placed any Yarn or Shadow tokens during their last turn of the previous round, they are now removed from the game board and placed to the side.
Step Two: Perform Actions
Each player is given three actions per turn. There are five actions to choose from. The player can take any of the actions in any order, including repeating the same action. The actions are summarized here.
This action allows the player to move their Mouse token on the game board. One Move action allows the player to move their Mouse token to one adjacent space on the game board. Players cannot move their Mouse token through walls.
Pick Up Cheese
If the player’s Mouse token is in the same space as a loose Cheese token, they can take this action to collect the Cheese token. Each Mouse token can only carry one Cheese token at a time. A player cannot take this action if their Mouse is currently spooked.
If the player has less than seven cards in their hand, this action can be taken to draw any face-up card from the Pantry row. The selected card is added to the player’s hand. The Pantry row is not refilled at this time.
Play a Card
For one action, the player can play any card from their hand. Once played, the card is immediately resolved and then discarded.
Some cards allow the player to temporarily control a Cat token. Like Mice, Cat’s cannot move through walls, nor can they move into the Nest space. If a Cat and Mouse token occupy the same space at anytime (even if the Cat is just passing through the same space as a Mouse token), the Mouse is considered “Spooked”. A Spooked Mouse drops the Cheese if they are carrying any. If two or more Cat tokens occupy the same space as a Mouse token, the Cheese token is dropped and the Mouse token is placed immediately on the Nest game board space. Dropped Cheese tokens are placed in the space in which they were dropped by the Mouse token.
Obstacles can be found everywhere on the game board. An obstacle is considered any trap, cat, and debris. The player can remove the obstacle in a space adjacent to their Mouse token (or if they share a space with a Glue trap) by discarding any two cards from their hand that share the same Card type icon as the obstacle to be removed. Adjacent spaces must be free of any walls that would have otherwise blocked movement from one adjacent space to another.
- Debris: No Cat or Mouse token can enter this space, but it’s not considered a trap.
- Snap Trap: This trap spooks the Mouse, making them drop any Cheese they might be carrying, and immediately returns the Mouse token to the Nest game board space.
- Glue Trap: This trap stops all Move actions. Other actions can be performed, including playing cards that would allow the player’s Mouse to move.
- Humane Trap: This trap spooks the Mouse carrying any Cheese. The Mouse token and the Humane Trap token are then removed from the game board. On the player’s next turn, they take their Mouse token and place it on the Nest space. The player can only take two actions (not three) this turn as a penalty.
Step Three: End Turn
The player’s turn is now over. The Pantry row is now refilled to three cards by drawing them from the Pantry draw deck. If at any time the Pantry row has three identical cards, take the cards in the Pantry row, shuffle them into the Pantry draw deck, and draw three new cards.
The Pantry draw deck is never refreshed. Once the Pantry draw deck is depleted, no additional cards are placed in the Pantry row for the duration of the game.
Players’s score points by returning Cheese tokens to the Nest space. If they do so, they take the Cheese token and place it on their Turn card to be scored. When a player collects their second Cheese token, the endgame is triggered. All players now take their final turn, ensuring that all players have the same number of turns per game. When all the players have completed their final turn, each player counts the number of Cheese tokens they have collected. The player with the most Cheese tokens wins the game. Ties are broken by adding up the point value of any Pantry cards the players have in their hand, with the player with the highest total winning.
To learn more about Cheese Quest: The Quest for Cheese, visit the game’s website.
The Child Geeks had a blast with this game, running the gauntlet and picking up cheese. According to one Child Geek, “I really like moving my mouse around, but I like even more moving the cats!” In this game, which is really all about playing “cat and mouse”, moving not only your pawn, but also the Cat pawn, is very important to strategic game play. This was not lost on the Child Geeks from the very start. Nor was the need for thinking several moves ahead. According to another Child Geek, “You see everything in front of you, which makes the game easy to play and to think about. I always knew what I wanted my mouse to do.” When all the votes where in, the Child Geeks gave Cheese Quest their full endorsement.
The Parent Geeks also had a blast, both with their families and with their peers. As one Parent Geek put it, “This is a game that works great on my family table and at a friend’s table. I’ve played this while drinking apple juice and coffee as well as a few spirits with adult friends. In both cases, the game was well received and loved.” The only aspect of the game the Parent Geeks did not enjoy was the lack of space. According to one Parent Geek, “I wish the game board was larger. I think we could just add more tiles, but I don’t know if that would do it. Honestly, what I want here is more of the same, which I think is a great compliment to the game.” When the last morsel of cheese was safely returned to the nest, the Parent Geeks voted and fully approved Cheese Quest.
The Gamer Geeks, being elitist, were much more critical of the game (which is exactly what we expect and want). According to one Gamer Geek, “The game is well designed. Excellent production quality and the rules are well documented. While I would never say this is a bad game – because it isn’t – I don’t think this is a game for true gamers. Nothing really new or challenging here. Good for gamers who have non-gamer friends, but that’s about it.” This point of view was not shared by all the Gamer Geeks. Another elitist said, “I think this is a great game to bring to my table when I want a lighter game that still requires thinking and strategic game play. I like how the cards are used on multiple levels and how everything in the game is both visible and tangible in game play. Great game, in my opinion. Very entertaining.” When all the votes were in, Cheese Quest made the cut, being approved by the majority of the Gamer Geeks.
Cheese Quest is one of those games you’ll be able to get to the table again and again. Setup is very fast and the modular game board with random setup always ensures you have a different game on the table. The rules are easy to follow and the flow from turn to turn keeps the game focused and energized. My only criticism is that I wanted the game to include some sort of “First Player” marker so as to help players keep track of how many players have had their full turn when the endgame is triggered. This is a simple fix, however, and one that can be done by players with nothing more than putting some sort of marker in front of the first player if the need is great.
All of our players enjoyed the game, with the only negative comments coming from Gamer Geeks who have been playing games long enough to have “seen it all” (their words, not mine). In truth, Cheese Quest, for those who have played lots of games will find this title to feel familiar. Not a bad thing by any means, but for those looking for new games with different experiences to add to their collection, they might very well find that this game just doesn’t bring much that is new to the gaming table. Which should not suggest that Cheese Quest is a bad game. It isn’t. I think it’s a very entertaining game.
Do try this little gem when time allows. The game play is fast, entertaining, and best of all, engaging. The majority of our players liked it enough to ask for it again. I think, in the end, the best compliment any game can have is that a player, once they have finished putting the game away, immediately want to bring it out again. Expect repeats.
This game was given to Father Geek as a review copy. Father Geek was not paid, bribed, wined, dined, or threatened in vain hopes of influencing this review. Such is the statuesque and legendary integrity of Father Geek.