Mysterious islands from the bottom of the ocean, I am sure they are perfectly safe. 


Quests and Cannons Cover

Quests and Canons: The Risen Islands
Designer(s) Eric Geller, Shannon Gellar Artist(s) Name Publisher

Short Hop Games

1-6 14+ 20-120m

You are on a quest to discover new lands to live on and for resources to keep your people prosperous. The Risen Islands are a recent discover that happens to have both plenty of land and resources for the taking. However, your people are the only ones in search for new lands. You will need to be quick and smart when traveling on the seas to avoid sinking to the ocean floor due to enemy attack and poor sailing conditions. Will you make your people proud or will you be sunk. 

Box and Components Quests and Cannons 4

The game I received is a prototype so I won't be commenting on the quality of components; I will discuss the types of components and how they add to the game. What I will say is this, the game is very heavy; there is a lot of cardboard components, which will make for a very long component listing. 

The game includes the following components:

  • 6 Player Ship Boards
  • 6 Action Point Trackers
  • 9 Kingdom Champion Tiles (3 Dwunny, 3 Porc, and 3 Delf) and Character Standees
  • 6 Score Trackers
  • 6 Traveler's Dice (six-sided)
  • 54 Ammo Dice (six-sided)
  • 50 Resource Tokens
  • 39 Coins
  • 6 Wooden Player Ships
  • 96 Ship Feature Tokens (18 Sails, 24 Cannons, 24 Cargo Covers, 30 Hull Damage Tokens)
  • Terrain Tiles (21 Tri-Hex, 15 Individual Hex, 3 Trading Posts)
  • 18 Island Feature Tokens
  • 3 Starting Kingdom Tiles
  • 3 Outposts Tiles
  • 45 Quest Cards
  • 18 Map Clue Cards
  • 45 Loot Cards 

Each player will have a player board, which may vary slight based on their character. All boards will have spaces for common components such as Sails, Cannons, Cargo, Ship Hull Health, Action Point Tokens, Ship-Equip Cards, and dice. Each board will also come with a unique Champion ability as well as some unique stats for their ship. There is also a +1 and +2 space that will be discussed with the Treacherous Sea space. 

Throughout the course of the game, you will obtain the three types of cards that will help you gain prosperity needed to win the game. 

  • Quest Cards will have some flavor text for the story and then will provide you the objective you need to complete and the reward for doing so. 
  • Map Clue Cards are like mini-quests that simply ask you to go to a certain location and spend an action point to solve the clue; You are rewarded with one of two awards. Also, you get a bonus prosperity if you return the completed Map Clue Card to your Starting Space. 
  • Loot Cards provide you perks based on their ability. Some are powerful perks that are only useable once while others can be equipped to the  ship to be used over and over while equipped. 
    • One-Time Use Cards typically provide you the scenario when it can be used and the perk provided. Once it is used, the card is discarded.
    • Ship-Equips Cards require a payment as shown on the bottom of the card to be paid before it may be equipped to one of your available Ship-Equip slots on your Player Ship Board. Follow the instructions on the Ship-Equip Card to use it provided perk. 

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The goal of Quests and Cannons is to have the most prosperity at the end of the game. There are different triggers for the end game depending on the mode played. I will focus on Free for All rules (15 prosperity), but there are solo, 2/3 player co-op, 2vs2, 3v3, and 2v2v2 team rules as well. 

Setup Quests and Cannons 5

First off, the map is the most variable part of the entire setup. The game provides some recommended setups, but once you have played the game a bit, you are welcome to build your own map based on the guidance provided in the rules to ensure there is still balance to the board. 

  1. Setup the map. 
  2. Players select their champions and take the associate player ship board and character standee as well as a player ship, 5 ammo dice, 3 coins, and 1 traveler's dice. 
  3. Based on your ship board, collect the necessarily sails, cannons, and cargo tokens. 
  4. Select one of the 9 start ship spaces on the board to place your ship. Player should space themselves out a bit. 

The player who selected their champion last begins play. 

Player Game

Players will have three action points to spend on their turn and may repeat actions. The actions are:

  • Move one space in any direction into any hex (empty or not). Once a player begins a move action, they may flip over their available sails to move one additional hex per sail flipped without spending additional action points; however, if a move is interrupted by a non-movement action, an additional action point must be spent to move again. Sails refresh at the beginning of player turns. 
  • Gather resources from the island your ship is at. An island may offer multiple resources, and players are free to take as many of those resources as they have cargo room for. Players may opt to discard existing cargo to make room for new cargo. This all costs a single action point until you say you are finished gathering resources for that action. Resources include canvas, metal, lumber, gems, and spice. 
  • Attack enemy player ships when they occupy the same space as your ship. Similar to movement, spending a single action point will allow you to fire as many cannons as you have flipping each cannon as it is fired; cannons refresh at the beginning of player turns. Roll an ammo die for each cannon fired; divide the result by four rounding down to determine the amount of hull damage (or one hull damage for every four pips counted). The damaged ship will record the hull damage with hull damage tokens placed on their player board. If the attack deals any damage, the attacker receives one prosperity; if the target ship is destroyed, the attack receives an additional three prosperity and half of the defeated ships coins rounded up.  Ammo dice used are returned to the collective reserve; ammo dice can be purchased at outposts and starting spaces. 
    • The sunken ship lose all resources on their ship, may keep one ship-equip currently equipped (more on this later), and returns completed map clues to the bottom of the map deck. The ship returns to one of the starting space with a minimum of five ammo dice (if they didn't already have more than five). 
    • Self Damaging Sunken Ship: In the event another player is not responsible for sinking your ship, you instead lose three prosperity, all resources, all completed map clues, half their coins rounded up, and one ship-equip. 

End Game

When a player reaches 15 prosperity (more if on teams), the round will end once all players has had an equal number of turns finishing out the round. The player with the most prosperity wins! If there is a tie, the tied player with the most money wins!

Types of Hex Spaces

Moving into each hex costs just one space unless specified otherwise.

Calm Sea: No special actions for this hex.

 Stormy Sea: Difficult spaces to move 

Impassable Terrain: This hexes cannot be entered.

Treacherous Sea: This space is a risky space to travel through. Once a player enters the hex, they will roll their traveler's dice. A result of 4-6 will allow safe passage with no additional action point cost to leave the hex and still counts as part of the movement action (can use sails to continue movement after entering the new hex). A result of 1-3 will cause 1 hull damage to the ship and will require an action point to continue moving. Additionally, failing a roll on treacherous seas will build a Traveler's Bonus for future travels into Treacherous Sea (+1 for each failure up to 2 stored); the Traveler's Bonus can be can spent on future Treacherous Sea.

Islands: This hex can be explored to draw cards from the Quest Deck. The first player to Explore an island receives a coin.

Outpost: Players can upgrade/repair ships, buy ammo, sell resources/loot/map clues, and complete some quests.
Trading Posts;This space has many of the same functions as an outpost. Players can trade, repair ships, sell resources/loot/map clues, and complete some quests.
Starting Spaces: Each player (or team) has their own starting space that only they can enter into. This space has many of the same functions as an outpost but not all. Players can: repair ships, buy ammo, sell resources/loot/map clues.


Ship Repairs/Modifications and Trade

On certain spaces listed above, you may trade the necessary resources to upgrade your ship (sails/cannons/cargo slots), repair the ship, and sell resources. The limit of your upgrades is listed on your Player Ship Board. The options you have for upgrades are:

  • Add Sails by trading in a Canvas Loot Token and three coins.
  • Add Cannons by trading in a Metal Loot Token and three coins.
  • Add Cargo Slots by trading in a Lumber Loot Token and three coins. 
  • Repair one hull damage by spending three coins. 
  • Buy ammo at a one coins for two ammo dice rate. 
  • Sell the following resources:
    • Metal, Canvas, or Lumber for one coin
    • Spice or Gems for two coins
    • Loot card or map clue for three coins.  

Variant Rules

This game offers plenty of ways to play beyond Free for All. If you have a small group of 2 or 3 players, you can team up and play in co-op mode (or solo if by yourself). The setup is a little different, and you will add in enemy AI ships.  There are specific rules with how the enemy ships act and rewards for taking out their ships. Also, players will need to be from the same kingdom and will have an additional objective beyond the prosperity requirement. There is also a 15 round time limit to complete the objectives to win. 

Player vs Player Team mode works mostly the same as the Free for All but the setup is slightly different with teams needing to select the same kingdom (similar to co-op move). 

Final Thoughts

There is a lot to this game. Not only is there a lot of physical components, there are a lot of potential modes and replayability based on the tile arrangements. While the game is targeting 14+, I truly could see older children/pre-teens playing this game. There is a lot of strategy to the game, but not so much that it prevents new players from jumping in. Even new players could partner with veteran players to have a great experience. 

The rules probably could use some revisions though. Movement and sails were written a little strangely and wasn't entirely clear. The page numbers disappear after 14, but again, this is a prototype of the game so I fully expect this will be addressed. Speaking of rules, the book is huge. There will be few issues for people with poorer vision and their ability to read these rules. I almost feel like they could really be shrunk down a little bit. What is very nice about the rules being large is how many examples they are able to toss in.

I found Quests and Cannons to be a well designed game that I fully expect will be a great game in its final form. I love the unique kingdoms and creatures and love just how much game is offered in this large box. If you enjoy games with a lot of variety/replayability and pick up/deliver mechanics, be sure to check out Quests and Cannons: The Risen Islands while it is live on Kickstarter until October 15, 2021.

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Quests and Cannons: The Risen Islands Board Game Geek Page

Publisher Product Page

Quests and Cannons: The Risen Islands Kickstart Page


We received the product in order to write an honest review; all reviews reflect the honest opinions of the writer.