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Introducing Fantastiqa: Rucksack edition

Designer Alf Seegert wears two hats. By day he's an English professor, with a PhD in literature. By night he's a game designer, with successful designs like The Road to Canterbury and Trollhalla. In 2012 he brought his two loves together with Fantastiqa, a delightful and imaginative deck-building game that draws on the fantastic, and shows literary influences of famous literary works like The Phantom Tollbooth, The Wizard of Oz, The Princess Bride, The Lord of the Rings, and many other classics. Alf wanted the game to inform and be informed by his academic research, but it turned out to be much more than that. In his own words: "Fantastiqa turned out to be quite a bit more than I had hoped for: a streamlined, fine-art fantasy adventure that melds deck building with a board, combining tough decisions and complex interactions, playable in about an hour ... It's a mix of Euro-style game mechanisms – deck-building, set collection, hand management, point-to-point movement on a board, and press-your-luck mechanisms – all steeped in a world of fantastical adventure."

In the game, players are magically transported to the otherworldly landscape of Fantastiqa, equipped with a rucksack of mundane items such as a spatula, a candle, and a toothbrush. In this exciting and imaginative world, your spatula becomes a sharp sword, your candle becomes a burning torch, and your toothbrush becomes a magic wand, as you subdue a vast array of mysterious and magic creatures, and go on quests in order to earn victory points. To bring gamers into this fantasy setting theme, Fantastiqa relies on a deck-building mechanic, but gives it a fresh feel by requiring players to move around spatially between different locations, and it's the way that this spacial element works that makes Fantastiqa feel very different than a typical deck-building game. In a constantly changing landscape with new creatures to subdue and new opportunities to explore, players must rely on sharp tactics, but there's also important strategic questions to consider, especially in deciding what kinds of cards such as artifacts and beasts to include in your deck as the game progresses. The unique game-play is backed up by components of stunning quality.

The very first edition of Fantastiqa was denoted the "Enchanted Edition", and it really was a deluxe version of the game, with outstanding components, second-to-none. Gryphon Games has been putting out some extremely high quality games in recent years, and much like they did with the International edition of Pastiche, with the Enchanted Edition of Fantastiqa they really pulled out all stops to bring gamers the absolutely highest quality production values imaginable. But all this luxury did come at a cost, and that was reflected in the high price tag of this edition. So it will come as good news to gamers that the publisher has now released a new version of Fantastiqa which seeks to bring the game to a more friendly price point. This edition still features good quality components, but the publisher has left out a few inessential things in an effort to reduce the number of components and to lower the cost. So the gameplay hasn't changed, but the end result is a slightly slimmed down edition that is more affordable to the average consumer. And that's the "Rucksack Edition" of Fantastiqa - still the Fantastiqa the people have come to love, but with reduced components, and a cheaper price.



I've already posted a detailed review of the Enchanted edition, including a comprehensive explanation of the gameplay, which you'll find here: mb Deck-building goes down the rabbit hole into a wonderful new world, and I love it! In the review that follows, I'll focus on showing you the components of the new rucksack edition, and on highlighting the differences introduced with this new edition. I'll also briefly run through the new expansions that were published at the same time, because these will be of interest to owners of both Fantastiqa editions.

COMPONENTS

Game box

While the game box of the rucksack edition features the same dimensions as the enchanted edition in length and width, you can immediately notice the difference in that the box of the rucksack edition is only about half of the depth of the enchanted editoin. And while the walls of the international edition box felt like they were thick enough to use to kill a troll in hand-to-hand combat, the walls of the rucksack edition are considerably thinner; albeit still durable and the kind of thickness you'd expect as standard from the game industry.

The cover also features different artwork, with Caspar David Friedrich's Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog (1818) now replaced with Theodor Kittelsen's Soria Moria (1881), a painting which appears to be modeled on the original work, but depicts a more youthful wanderer. I love how it captures a similar feel as the box cover artwork of the enchanted edition, yet also conveys that the rucksack edition is somehow a junior brother. A beautiful choice of artwork!



As usual, the back of the game box shows some of the game components and introduces the basic concept of the gameplay.



Box insert

The box insert is quite a change from the elaborate form-fitted plastic insert used in the international edition, and is simply a simple cardboard insert. It houses the components just fine, although you'll need to use some method of keeping the cards together after taking them out of shrinkwrap. It's evident from all the empty space that the publisher could actually have reduced the box size even further by half, i.e. to a 9x6 size similar to those of the Gryphon Games bookshelf series (see discussion here). But then again, I suppose we need room in the box for expansions too!



Component list

So here’s what you’ll discover when you open up the box:

● 1 Compass token
● 6 Region tiles
● 6 Statue tokens
● 3 card supply tokens
● 4 Adventurer Kits (standee, placard, and deck of 9 Adventurer cards in each)
● Main decks: Quests (36 cards), Artifacts (24 cards), Beasts (18 cards), Creatures (59 cards)
● Starting cards (9 Quest cards, 5 Artifact cards)
● Other cards (4 Dog cards, 16 Peaceful Dragon cards, 4 Quest Goal cards)
● Tokens (16 Flying Carpet tokens, 12 Reshuffle tokens, 4 Quest tokens, 12 Bonus point tokens)
● 60 Gems
● 4 Reference cards
● 1 Reference Sheet/Glossary
● 1 Rulebook



CHANGES

We've already commented on the changes to the game box itself, and now that you've seen what you actually get inside the box, what exactly has changed? Rather than show all the components, since the vast majority is unchanged, we'll just focus on showing the things that have changed.

Compass token

The biggest change to the game is that the main playing board has been eliminated. Does this matter? Not really, because it functioned more as a simple playmat to indicate where the six circular region tiles along with two quest cards were placed at setup. So it's easy enough to put the region tiles and cards in position without needing a board. Needless to say, given the size and durability of the original board, it seems like a sensible decision to eliminate this, given the substantial reduction to the overall cost, without having much impact on functionality.

In the absence of the board, however, the rucksack edition comes with a "compass token", which is placed at the top center of the playing area at setup. This was originally pictured on the board as an icon, and it simply denotes the place where players begin (in a clockwise direction) replenishing creature cards.



Card supply tokens

Another component change is that the place-mats for the card decks have been eliminated. These were also an over-the-top component that some reviewers of the enchanted edition considered unnecessary. Players do need to have a way of distinguishing between the different decks however (since the card backs are identical), so these large card supply boards have been replaced with three simple tokens that can be placed alongside the decks to indicate which is the Beast Bazaar deck, Creature Cards deck, and Artifact Tower deck. The Quest deck doesn't need a token, since it is easily distinguished by its artwork on the card backs. All in all, another very sensible solution to cut cost without affecting the game.



Beast & Creature cards

Along with the elimination of the main game board and card supply boards, the other biggest change in the rucksack edition is the reduction of the total number of cards from 240 to 211. Note that the cards in the rucksack edition are identical in size and quality to the those in the enchanted edition, and the only change is that some duplicate cards have been removed. So what are the 29 cards that disappeared? The Beast deck went from 27 cards to 18 cards, while the Creature deck went from 79 cards to 59 cards.

With further playing, the game's designer Alf Seegert discovered that these decks were larger than they needed to be, and while there's no problem playing with all the cards, it was also possible to trim these decks of some duplicate cards without having any real negative impact on the game. In fact owners of the enchanted edition can remove these cards too if they wish. In his words:

● Beast Cards: Remove one of each (9 total). It turns out that Fantastiqa doesn't require 27 Beast Cards; 18 is plenty.
● Creature Cards: Remove 20 cards (all from the bottom deck: remove 1 of each single-symbol card, 1 of each double-symbol card, and 2 Mischievous Raven cards). This has virtually no effect on gameplay because the ratios don't change much. I've been playing with this arrangement for many months and it works great. I also prefer it simply because I like games to have as few components possible to do the job. Also: now the end of the deck is easier to reach, so that alternate game-ending condition might actually happen (in practice it's still very rare).




Cardboard quality

The region tiles, player placards, and player standees are all identical to the ones from the enchanted edition, except that they are made of thinner cardboard, about half as thick as the original ones; also the placards now have rounded corners. They are still excellent quality, however. This is also true of all the square cardboard tokens in the game - half the previous thickness, but I wouldn't even have noticed unless I was comparing them closely. Finally, the four player reference cards were previously cardboard - these are now standard cards. Again, naturally this all helps reduce the cost, but won't be a noticeable difference for people playing the game; most people wouldn't even notice unless they owned the enchanted edition and compared the two side-by-side.



Bags & Stickers

The original game also came with bags and stickers that players could use to put their individual adventurer kits in. One of the casualties of trimming the game was the elimination of unnecessary components like this, so these bags are also not present in the rucksack edition. They were somewhat of a luxury anyway, so they won't be missed much, and it's easy enough to supply your own zip-lock bags if you wish.



Rulebook

The rulebook corresponds closely to the one of the enchanted edition, i.e. it consists of 12 pages. You can download a copy of the new rules from the publisher here or on BGG here.



Rule changes

A few small changes have been made to reflect the reduced number of cards and the fact that the game board and card supply boards have been replaced with other markers. The rules themselves are unchanged, aside from the following corrections and clarifications:

1. Setup: open quests begin with a +1 bonus token at setup (this rule was accidentally omitted from the enchanted edition, see discussion here and here).
2. Passing: it is explicitly stated that players may `pass' and perform no turn action (another rule accidentally omitted from the enchanted edition).
3. Discarding cards: players no longer have to wait to the end of their turn to discard cards into their discard pile as Free Actions.
4. Bestowing cards: players no longer have to have moved on their turn to place a card into the discard pile of an opponent, but may do so on any turn where they end their turn in the same Region as an opponent.
All of these are good changes.



Overview of Changes

So just to summarize, what has all changed?
● shallower box, with cardboard insert instead of plastic, and thinner box sides
● main game board removed, and replaced with a single compass token
● card supply boards replaced with card supply tokens
● 18 beast cards instead of 27
● 59 creature cards instead of 79
● halved thickness of cardboard region tiles, player placards, standees, and game tokens
● player reference cards changed from cardboard to regular cards
● no more stickered bags for adventurer kits
● a few minor rules corrections/changes and simplifications



EXPANSIONS

Because the quality and size of the cards from the enchanted edition and rucksack edition are identical, the expansions are fully compatible with both editions. Note that Alf Seegert is committed to producing games that don't require expansions to be best enjoyed, so none of these should be considered essential. Nevertheless these optional extras do enhance the base game by adding new elements, and while none of these drastically alter the main game, enthusiasts of Fantastiqa will enjoy exploring what they have to offer. There's a great deal of customization that is possible, given the sheer number of expansions and add-ons available for the game.

Earlier expansions

Several small expansions were originally released in conjunction with the first kickstarter campaign, and have been available for some time already.

Kickstarter bonus cards

These two cards (Ravenous Raven and Beast of Burden) were provided as an exclusive to Kickstarter supporters.



Expansion set #1: Fantastic Events

Fantastiqa: Fantastic Events Expansion adds 24 Event cards that can be mixed into the Creature deck and work similar to the Mischievous Raven. They introduce a variety of effects, and simply help spice things up, so you can use a selection of them according to your preference. For example, the Fairy Ring adds gems to the board that can be claimed by players moving there, Market Day lets players trade with each other when it shows up, and other cards give opportunity to get extra artifacts, beasts and quests.



Expansion set #2: Special Delivery

Fantastiqa: Special Delivery Expansion adds 18 cards and extra bonus tokens to enable you to become an "Adventurer for Hire". You each start the game with a Special Delivery card, which is effectively a "mission" - you earn a gem when you end a turn in the region on that card. Three such completed Special Deliveries will earn a bonus +1 Quest point.



Expansion set #3: Treasure Hunt

Fantastiqa: Treasure Hunt Expansion comes with 12 Treasure Map cards, 14 Mystery tokens, and extra bonus point tokens; you'll use the maps and your dog to dig for treasure! Your Dog card lets you dig in a region corresponding to the Treasure Map quest that is presently face up, to get extra bonus points as well as special Mystery tokens with benefits like gaining extra artifact or beast cards, or assisting with movement.



New expansions

Some new expansions were announced at the same time as the rucksack edition, and they consist of several mini-expansions, available together as different sets.

Expansion set #4: A Wild Goose Chase, Espresso Dragons & Exclusive Artifacts

Fantastiqa: A Wild Goose Chase, Espresso Dragons, & Exclusive Artifact Expansion consists of three different mini-expansions which add extra interaction (and caffeine) and artifacts to the game.

a) A Wild Goose Chase: This gives you 4 Goose tokens and a Goose standee which you can use to frustrate your opponent by sending him on a wild goose chase.
b) Espresso Dragons: This adds 6 Espresso Dragon cards and 12 Espresso tokens, which are energizing treasure tokens you can use to get extra actions.
c) Exclusive Artifacts: This set of 14 Artifact cards gives you a new array of artifacts to add to your Artifact Tower.



Expansion set #5: Curious Companions & Rarest Relics

Fantastiqa: Curious Companions and Rarest Relics Expansion consists of two mini-expansions that work well together. The Curious Companions are added to the Beast Bazaar, while the Rarest Relics are added to the Artifact Tower and have more powerful (and costly) effects than regular artifacts.

a) Curious Companions: These 18 cards and 1 token give you companions you can hire at the Beast Bazaar, each of which has two symbols for use.
b) Rarest Relics: These 7 cards and 1 token give you more powerful options to buy at the Artifact Tower than the standard artifacts.



Expansion set #6: The Abandoned Abbey

Fantastiqa: The Abandoned Abbey Adventure Expansion consists of 18 Abandoned Abbey cards and 4 Abandoned Abbey Quest Goal cards, and lets you explore the eerie Abandoned Abbey. These cards are used instead of regular quest goals, and require you to acquire a number of Abandoned Abbey cards.



Forthcoming expansions

These next expansions have also been announced in conjunction with the Kickstarter, but are still in the process of being delivered to consumers; there haven't yet been reports of them being available, but my understanding is that they should be arriving soon.

Expansion set #7: Fantastiqal Landscapes

Fantastiqa: Fantastiqal Landscapes Expansion consists of three interlocking mini-expansions. This provides components that adds a new set collection mechanic to the game, where the six different colours of the gems you collect become important. Find more information in this thread (cf rules).

a) Cloud Crystals & Gem Bags: This adds 8 cloud crystals and a gem bag.
b) The Castle in the Air: This adds a new region tile, and a new Exhibit Quest card.
c) Dragon Artistes & Fantastiqal Landscapes: This adds 4 Dragon Artiste cards and 24 Fantastiqal Landscape cards.



Expansion set #8: Six Extra Characters

Fantastiqa: Alternate Characters is a special add on offered by the publisher, which gives six new and alternative characters to use in the game. Each comes with 9 playing cards, a placard, a character standee, and is compatible with both editions of the game. Further details and images in this thread. The six new characters are: #5 The Greenwood Fairy; #6 The Master of the Satyrs; #7 The Rucksack Wanderer; #8 The Dashing Cavalier; #9 The Minstrel; and #10 The Enthroned Child.



Expansion set #9: Audacious Artifacts

Fantastiqa: Audacious Artifacts Expansion consists of 18 new artifacts, to stretch your your Fanstastiqa experience even further. Many of these cards include a tongue-in-cheek homage to prominent BGG reviewers and others in the game industry. Personally I'm quite partial to "Ender's Tollbooth of Never-Ending Adventure" (also a reference to The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster, one of the excellent works of fantastic fiction that inspired the game), but then again, I am biased!



Combining expansions

The nice thing about the Fantastiqa expansions is that you can mix and match them in various ways, to customize the game how you like. I haven't had a chance to try them all yet, but designer Alf Seegert has posted a very helpful guide, with recommendations about the best ways to combine them here.

As to which ones are the best, Alf himself says he always plays with Fantastic Events, Special Delivery, Espresso Dragons, Wild Goose Chase, Exclusive Artifacts, and Curious Companions & Rarest Relics. If he'd choose only three, he recommends Fantastic Events, Wild Good Chase/Espresso Dragons/Exclusive Artifacts, and Rarest Relics & Curious Companions. You can read more details of his thoughts on the individual expansions here.



What do I think?

Reducing cost: The uber-high quality of the box and components of the enchanted edition justified the price, but the price point also did put the game out of reach for many gamers. The nice thing about the rucksack edition is that it makes the game available at a price that's within the budget range for many people who otherwise might want to play the game, but could not afford to. So the real appeal of this edition is indeed this lower price. Certainly the enchanted edition was a luxurious and deluxe version of the game, but it has to be admitted that some who were interested in getting it would have found it somewhat prohibitive due to the higher cost. The rucksack edition brings the price of this game into a much more affordable price bracket, and hopefully the result will be that more copies of Fantastiqa end up in the hands of gamers.

Retaining beauty - components: Reducing the cost did require the publisher to take some cost-saving measures, but in my opinion these were all very sensible, and none of the changes really detracts from the game. The thinner cardboard used for the tiles and tokens will go entirely unnoticed by all but the most fussy gamer, and the board and card supply mats will only be missed by those who have played the original game with them; eliminating them has to be a good move given that the MSRP made a huge drop from $70 to $40. The cards themselves are exactly the same quality, and their slightly reduced number doesn't affect gameplay at all. So overall the component quality of the rucksack edition is still very high. When measured beside the enchanted edition, to be sure it's a step down. But bearing in mind that the production values of the enchanted edition were over-the-top to begin with, then the rucksack edition still compares very favourably alongside many other games being published today.

Retaining beauty - gameplay: As for the gameplay, that's essentially unchanged. Owners of the enchanted edition will want to note the four rule clarifications/simplifications, which you can easily get by downloading the new rulebook. But those very minor adjustments aside, the rucksack edition is exactly the same game as the enchanted edition, and no corners have been cut to the game-play. And given the excellence of the game-play and uniqueness of Fantastiqa to begin with, that's a good thing! Retaining the excellence of the gameplay while managing to decrease the price by such a significant amount is a commendable achievement.

Increasing mileage: As for the expansions, I love the fact that these give players a wide away of tweaking their Fantastiqa experience, without altering it drastically. Those who are familiar with Alf Seegert's designs will know that he makes games that don't require expansions for optimal enjoyment, but that the expansions he does come up with offer small changes that retain what we like about his games while injecting some new ingredient that sufficiently adjusts the experience to make it fun in a slightly different way. All of these expansions offer that, and there's lots to choose from.

Increasing reach: So who would buy this edition? Obviously if you already own the enchanted edition, there's no need to get the rucksack edition, because it's effectively the same game. Then again, perhaps you might want to buy this lower-cost edition to give away as a gift to another gamer! Clearly the rucksack edition is geared to getting Fantastiqa to more gamers, and at a lower price point it should do that. The publisher took a bold but very successful step in seeking to produce a cheaper edition of the game, making cuts where necessary, but without really hurting the game itself at all. The end result is that the game itself is unchanged, the bits are still superb, but the price is slashed. To me it seems like a win/win for everyone.



Recommendation

Is the rucksack edition of Fantastiqa for you? As I noted in my review of the petite edition of Pastiche, in most cases, a decision to downgrade the component quality or reduce the number of components of a game would be a crazy idea. But the reality is that in the case of Fantastiqa, the components of the enchanted edition were so outstanding, that it was possible to eliminate some of them, without changing the game-play at all, and still resulting in a game with high quality production, and more importantly for many of us, a more friendly price. I welcome anything that might help bring this attractive and fun family game into the hands of more gamers, and so I can only applaud the publisher for having the courage to make a quality edition that is much more affordable, and yet contains the content that made this game win my heart in the first place. Retaining beauty while reducing cost - bravo!

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Peter Schott
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Excellent review as always. The lower price point was definitely a major factor in my choice to back the Kickstarter campaign and I find that the reduced components are not really missed. The original board really was more of a playmat and the boards to hold the cards really aren't needed. The insert was pretty useless once you took the components out of the packaging or added any expansions. It was the first thing I recycled.

To those who buy this edition, I highly recommend the excellent Tuck boxes in the files section here. The "creature" one is a little too big now, but the rest are great for organizing and storing your cards. The art and text on the boxes match the game well and I'd love to see some for the expansions.

I also wanted to note that the three cards shown for the "Audacious Artifacts" expansion were KS stretch goal cards. They're available to purchase, but those who backed the campaign got them without getting the rest of that expansion. (future purchase for me, probably, but enjoying the base game quite a bit for now)

I just wish I'd added Special Delivery to my purchase at first - the alternate way to get trophies would be quite helpful in addition to quests.
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Daniel Kearns
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Fantastiqa is a very interesting and enjoyable game. The theme and styling is so unusual and yet somehow immersive. We've only played with the base set so far and that has been plenty. Tons of expansions to try but honestly, the game is also rather tricky so we are trying to get better with the core concepts before expanding.
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Andrew MacLeod
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And when, exactly, are we playing Churchill again?
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paschott wrote:
The insert was pretty useless once you took the components out of the packaging or added any expansions. It was the first thing I recycled.


Wow! The Enchanted Edition's insert is one out of only about half a dozen inserts that I have ever found useful!
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Peter Schott
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amacleod wrote:
paschott wrote:
The insert was pretty useless once you took the components out of the packaging or added any expansions. It was the first thing I recycled.


Wow! The Enchanted Edition's insert is one out of only about half a dozen inserts that I have ever found useful!

Probably, but the Rucksack Edition insert (as shown above) really is there to hold the base game in place. Once you break things apart or want to add an expansion, it's pretty useless. I looked at my expansion cards/bits, looked at the insert, and tossed it. What it does well is keep the box from being crushed while keeping the bits secured - props for that, but not for usefulness once you want to play the game.
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Andrew MacLeod
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paschott wrote:
amacleod wrote:
paschott wrote:
The insert was pretty useless once you took the components out of the packaging or added any expansions. It was the first thing I recycled.


Wow! The Enchanted Edition's insert is one out of only about half a dozen inserts that I have ever found useful!

Probably, but the Rucksack Edition insert (as shown above) really is there to hold the base game in place. Once you break things apart or want to add an expansion, it's pretty useless. I looked at my expansion cards/bits, looked at the insert, and tossed it. What it does well is keep the box from being crushed while keeping the bits secured - props for that, but not for usefulness once you want to play the game.



Sorry, sorry, sorry: I totally misunderstood! I thought you were saying the original insert was pretty useless. Contextually, that's how it looked.
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Daniel Kearns
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Strategy tip: subduing monsters is a lot of fun! But, you win the game by completing quests not making a huge deck. [learned this the hard way]

Strategy tip: The neutral quest is a great place to sequester cards from your deck even if you have no interest in completing the neutral quests!
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Ike
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Now let's see if I have any luck finding this in Europe...
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Ikehouserock wrote:
Now let's see if I have any luck finding this in Europe...


Or in Asia...

I like this game a lot! Even though most people playing this didn't "get into" the game because of the language (as few as there are) barrier.
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As an Enchanted Edition owner, I'm disappointed that Eagle/Gryphon weren't more up-front about the thinner cardboard of the tokens, placards and standees from the newest wave of expansions.
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FreedomGunfire wrote:
As an Enchanted Edition owner, I'm disappointed that Eagle/Gryphon weren't more up-front about the thinner cardboard of the tokens, placards and standees from the newest wave of expansions.

I'm also surprised they weren't more up-front about the Fantastiqa stretch goal and that it was only for 6 of the 18 cards from the Fantastiqa: Audacious Artifacts Expansion. They did say the stretch goal was for 6 cards, but I don't remember them ever mentioning that there were 12 more cards in the complete expansion. I only found out about the other 12 cards after browsing their online store last month and saw the pre-order listings. Fortunately they offer the expansion in both a full 18 card set and a 12 card set for those who got the Fantastiqa stretch goal.

Other than that, I am very pleased with the game. My family is having fun with just the base game so far, but I'm looking forward to trying all the expansions.
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Dave Anderson
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So, my wife and I just played a game that took 2 hours and only ended when the creature deck ran out. Our final score was 4-1. It was terrible! It was only our 3rd time playing, so we are still learning the strategies, but wow, it was a grind. Has anyone else experienced that?
 
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davethevenerable wrote:
So, my wife and I just played a game that took 2 hours and only ended when the creature deck ran out. Our final score was 4-1. It was terrible! It was only our 3rd time playing, so we are still learning the strategies, but wow, it was a grind. Has anyone else experienced that?


Hmmmm...... Sounds to me like something likely went very wrong in the rules-observation department. Did you make sure to put personal Quest cards in front of you (not in your deck) and tuck cards beneath them as you went along to make it easy to commit cards to each Quest? And you made full use of the 5 spaces beneath the Quest Token for Open Quests and to remove some unwanted cards from your deck? I can't fathom why the game would take so long or grind so much.

Please check out FAQ here if you haven't seen it.

My only other thought is to ask if you spent the whole game accruing lots of cards by Adventuring? It's best to be selective if you can. Subduing any and all available cards can create a needlessly cluttered deck and slow down the game.

Does anyone else have thoughts on what might have gone wrong here?
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alfseegert wrote:
davethevenerable wrote:
So, my wife and I just played a game that took 2 hours and only ended when the creature deck ran out. Our final score was 4-1. It was terrible! It was only our 3rd time playing, so we are still learning the strategies, but wow, it was a grind. Has anyone else experienced that?


Hmmmm...... Sounds to me like something likely went very wrong in the rules-observation department. Did you make sure to put personal Quest cards in front of you (not in your deck) and tuck cards beneath them as you went along to make it easy to commit cards to each Quest? And you made full use of the 5 spaces beneath the Quest Token for Open Quests and to remove some unwanted cards from your deck? I can't fathom why the game would take so long or grind so much.

Please check out FAQ here if you haven't seen it.

My only other thought is to ask if you spent the whole game accruing lots of cards by Adventuring? It's best to be selective if you can. Subduing any and all available cards can create a needlessly cluttered deck and slow down the game.

Does anyone else have thoughts on what might have gone wrong here?


Thanks, for the reply! I do think we over-adventured, but we could not get the cards we needed. My wife needed swords to fulfill her quest, and I needed wands. So we were trying to turnover the creature cards to find them. I also tried buying from the bazaar, but could not get the third wand that I needed. It was like I got the swords she needed, and she got (or did not buy and thus discarded) the wands I needed. I had 5 quest points, but could not fulfill a 4 point quest card that needed 3 wands because I could not get three wands until the game was almost over.
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Peter Schott
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davethevenerable wrote:
So, my wife and I just played a game that took 2 hours and only ended when the creature deck ran out. Our final score was 4-1. It was terrible! It was only our 3rd time playing, so we are still learning the strategies, but wow, it was a grind. Has anyone else experienced that?

Sounds like over-adventuring to me. I did that in my first learning game. Hitting the Beast Bazaar usually, but not always, helps. Tucking cards for quests can help quite a bit and then using witches as carpets to avoid taking cards can help. There are obviously a lot of strategies to follow, but it's easy to over-adventure when you're just starting out and then you have a ton of cards in your deck.

Don't forget that you're allowed to look through your discard pile (good way to see what you might have in abundance for culling). You can also flip your discard pile into your deck and shuffle if you get a card that's useful. And don't forget that you can use the key and +S abilities to visit a tower for free and draw more cards, respectively.

Not going to go into a lot of strategy talk here - that's something you can pursue elsewhere. (besides, I'm hardly an expert - just got the game myself) I do know I fell into the same thing, as did my daughter the first time she played.
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Yep. same thing happened to us. ran out the deck. Our first game we completed practically nothing.

I had an aha moment when I realized there were 9! suits. You don't need all of them!

We're still not great at it but we now finish with quests. I'll just repost these two tips again.

dkearns wrote:
Strategy tip: subduing monsters is a lot of fun! But, you win the game by completing quests not making a huge deck. [learned this the hard way]

Strategy tip: The neutral quest is a great place to sequester cards from your deck even if you have no interest in completing the neutral quests!


EDIT: one more useful one. It is easy to overlook the totem option to move from one totem to the other. Movement without picking up cards is important.
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paschott wrote:
I also wanted to note that the three cards shown for the "Audacious Artifacts" expansion were KS stretch goal cards. They're available to purchase, but those who backed the campaign got them without getting the rest of that expansion. (future purchase for me, probably, but enjoying the base game quite a bit for now)

Thanks for mentioning that Peter. Who could resist cards like these?!

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This is an excellent review.

Fantastiqa has been on my radar for a while, having played it once.

The rucksack edition brought me closer to pressing the button, but on reading this review I'm glad I didn't dive straight in. Almost everything that has been done in this version is a big negative to my taste. Removing the board and making the cards half as thick? Ugh... Thin cards are one of my biggest gripes in current production trends. I hate sleeves and simply won't use them.

I'm also concerned about the compatibility of expansion cards with the different editions and also combining expansions of the early/late varieties.

So, once again, the enchanted edition is back on my radar, but I'm still concerned about expansion compatibility.
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philmcd wrote:
The rucksack edition brought me closer to pressing the button, but on reading this review I'm glad I didn't dive straight in. Almost everything that has been done in this version is a big negative to my taste. Removing the board and making the cards half as thick? Ugh... Thin cards are one of my biggest gripes in current production trends. I hate sleeves and simply won't use them.

I'm also concerned about the compatibility of expansion cards with the different editions and also combining expansions of the early/late varieties.

Expansion compatibility isn't really an issue. I've played Fantastiqa with cards from Fantastiqa: Alternate Characters, which have a smoother finish (i.e. less of a linen finish feel) than the cards from the Enchanted edition, and combining these in a deck with the standard cards really wasn't a problem, functionally or aesthetically.

And do realize that it's not the cards that are half the thickness, it's the region tiles, player mats/standees, and tokens. The original ones were much thicker than they needed to be anyway, so unless you're physically comparing with the Enchanted edition, I don't think you'd be unhappy with the quality of the Rucksack components. From memory I don't think the cards are much different between the two editions.
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