If you are new to strategy games or if you are playing with children, try playing by simplified rules. Follow all the regular rules for setup and gameplay, with the following exceptions.
Setting up the simplified game
Remove the following components from the game and put them back in the box: Artifact cards, Peaceful Dragon cards, the two wooden Artifact Tower Statues, and the "Reshuffle" tokens.
Choose a Quest Goal for a shorter game, based on the number of players. If adults are playing the game with children, consider giving the adults a higher Quest Goal as a handicap.
Place a Beast Statue and a Quest Cup Statue on the top two and bottom two Regions of the playing area, in whichever order you choose. The middle two Regions will have no Statues on them.
Give each player one additional Flying Carpet token to start the game (4 total).
Each player shuffles her 9 Adventurer Cards and 1 Dog card to make her initial Draw Deck, and then draws five cards into her hand as usual.
Playing the simplified game
Each time that a player completes a Quest, she claims a Flying Carpet token in addition to the marked reward. The maximum number that a player may have at one time is 4 Flying Carpets. Flip face-down Flying Carpet tokens face-up again to indicate that they are available for use.
Ignore any "Special Powers" on Creature Cards or Beast Cards. ("Special Powers" are the symbols in the circles near the upper-left corner of the card).
Note: Dog cards still award 1 Gem when played as a Free Action.
When playing with 4 players, play as partners in two teams (two players each). Follow these rules:
Team members sit alternately around the table (no two teammates take turns right after each other).
Players' scores on the same team are added together (including penalties). If players on the same team collectively meet or exceed the Quest Goal, that team wins the game!
As a Free Action (before and/or after a Turn Action, not during) the active player may trade cards with her partner.
Trades work according to these rules:
Partners trading cards must occupy the same Region or adjacent Regions.
Both players must agree to the trade, and to which cards are traded.
The traded cards must come from the players' hands. Traded cards may not come from their Draw Deck, Discard Pile, cards committed to personal Quests, cards beneath their Quest token, etc.
An equal number of cards must be traded: players must receive as many cards as they give, and vice-versa. Players may not give or exchange Gems or Treasure Tokens.
Open table-talk is permitted. Partners may not talk secretly and may not show their cards to each other (except Quest Cards, to keep track of their collective score). Partners may not plan with each other during the opposing team's turn.