Rowdy van Lieshout
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A fable game from Friedemann Friese. A new gaming term, the fable game. Will it stick? It's like a legacy game with a reset button. Sort of. Lets see what I think of Fabled Fruit.

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This is a copy of an As a Board Gamer (LINK) article
(December 30th, 2016 )

You can find a geeklist of all my reviews HERE.

There are no pictures in this review, because the link to the original pictures on the site don't work properly

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A new concept from Friedemann. A game that changes, but can always return to its original state. 505 Was also a new gaming concept. An ambitious project. Too ambitious if you'd ask me. Too many components, an unclear rulebook and games that were too mediocre.

Fabled Fruit, a game that changes and can be reset as well, also sounds cool, but does it work?

The rules are pretty simple. It begins with a big deck of cards. Numbered from 1 to 59. Four of every number, except number 59, which has eight cards. The game starts with the first six locations, each in a stack of four cards face-up on the table. A location shows two things. It shows what action you can execute if you place your animal meeple on it and it shows what type and how many fruit cards you have to discard from you hand to claim one of these location cards.

Every time you have to move your meeple to a new location and choose between these two actions; you buy the card, or you execute its action. Whenever you buy a card, covert your fruit into a fabled juice, you place it face-down in front of you and place the next card from the draw pile on the table. This way more location become available to be bought and new actions are available for everyone to take.

Actions are just different ways to obtain the right type and amount of fruit cards. And you use these fruits to buy, or mix, the fruit juices. Whenever one player has bought a certain amount of juices, depending on the player count, you finish the round and the game ends. The player with the most juices wins the game.

If you want too, you can save the state of game and continue playing with same locations you ended with during your last game. This means that the location cards that the players have bought will stay in the box and you play every game with new locations.

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The Fable Game system is, as it were, Friedemann's variant on the Legacy system. However, it is not a Legacy game, because you can always reset the game state, or restart the game at any point in its history. Just make sure that you start with the right amount of cards on the table and you're good to go. Legacy games are characterized, for me, by the permanence of the changes of the game. These changes are not permanent.

The system is interesting, but is the game therefore interesting? Is it fun? That al depends on the things you do in the game. Are the changes game changing? Does the game evolve in a cool and fun direction? And that's something I question.

Let me first state that I do enjoy the game. It's a family game. No doubt about that. The rules are incredibly simple. You only do one thing on your turn. Your either execute an action, or you convert your fruit cards into a fruit juice. These actions are never difficult to understand. Some action card do add new mechanisms to the game, but they are basically variations on each other, variations on the same theme: 'How to get fruit'.

In its core Fabled Fruit is a simple set collection game with some take that here and there. The rotation of the action cards make that this game feels slightly different every time you play. Slightly. You do the same stuff, but unlike the last game you go to greengrocer H and K, instead of B and F, to get your fruits.

You might add a fruit market, a fruit thief, permanent fruit tokens or fruit cards with two fruits instead of one on them to the game.



These minor changes make me less excited by the Fable system as I was when I bought the game. You, when a new action has been added to the location on the table, never go 'Wow, OMG, that mixes things up entirely!!!!', you might think 'Oh, hey, that's well-thought-of.', but that's it. At least that were my thoughts.

The game is better with more than two players. I had fun playing the two-player game, that's not it, but some of the actions are clearly more worthwhile when you play with three or more players. There's also less blocking in a two-player game. You can mostly do what you want without paying extra.

I still think Fabled Fruit a decent family game though. I like the cute artwork and the turns go quickly. The actions are reasonably interesting, the rotation of the cards is too, and I had and will have a decent time playing the game, but don't buy it if you think it's a Legacy-light style game that will be a great addition to your Pandemic Legacy, Seafall, Risk Legacy stack. Buy it if you really like the idea of collecting sets of fruit cards in different ways and buy juices with these fruits. So, it still might be a good addition to that stack, but only because you like playing this game as much as the games above.


Rating: 3/5

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Eric Matthews
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Only been though a few sessions; and my first time was with a two player game that was crushingly boring.

Luckily i threw it in my bag when I went to a game day at a local distillery we know. Casual with drinks and conversations this game worked perfectly. Easy set up, easy to teach and wasn't disrupted by casual conversation or people jumping in or out between games.

It was pretty great at 4 and 5 players, going for three games in a row with the progression through the cards. I actually think it will be great with kids, but of course it shouldn't be taken too seriously. A single game of it also worked fine at 6 players btw and I suspect with some minor tweaks the whole progression will be fine at 6 (we just threw in a single extra card/space for 6 players to relax crowding. People really liked the game more as it evolved and that element is what drove us to want to play through more.

It's mechanics are not by any means revolutionary, but the progression form game to game really does trigger a kind of emergent curiosity for many people-- "Oh what happens in the next game".
One could do the same type of thing as a creative variant to work through repeated games of any Dominion style deck builder for example (and Fabled Fruits can definitely be played with random set ups or favorite card set ups like Dominion as well).

Ultimately it was more fun than we thought it would be and is a totally different game at 4 players than it is at 2.

Essentially it is a super light worker placement, set collection game that tries out a bunch rule changes as a kind of evolution from game session to game session.
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Trevor Schadt
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Ganybyte wrote:
But it was more fun than we thought and is a totally different game at 4 than it is at 2.
Yes, this is definitely a completely different game at 2. The plethora of available action spaces makes blocking almost a non-issue, and first-player advantage becomes huge, simply for momentum purposes. Unless the first player makes a bad mis-step or the second player gets extremely lucky, I would guess that the first player would win about 70-75% of the time.

Perhaps if the total number of cards in play were dependent on the player count, that would alleviate the problem, but that would take a lot of testing and examination of the action card sequence.
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Eric Matthews
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ryudoowaru wrote:
Ganybyte wrote:
But it was more fun than we thought and is a totally different game at 4 than it is at 2.
Yes, this is definitely a completely different game at 2. The plethora of available action spaces makes blocking almost a non-issue, and first-player advantage becomes huge, simply for momentum purposes. Unless the first player makes a bad mis-step or the second player gets extremely lucky, I would guess that the first player would win about 70-75% of the time.

Perhaps if the total number of cards in play were dependent on the player count, that would alleviate the problem, but that would take a lot of testing and examination of the action card sequence.



It's a casual game, but I think it really is just a 3-5 player game that publishers insisted on adding that 2 player. That first set up is definitely assuming more than two players as two cards in the initial set up are much better with more players. Personally I assume any game thats marketed for 2-X players is normally actually for 3-x minus 1 players.

In our series at the distillery we played 4 games and the same person won each time; (he also went first 2 of the 4 games).

None of us really felt it was unfair despite losing 4 games in a row to the same person, but this is also a super casual more tactical than strategic game. None of us cared about more than having a fun time.



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David Jones
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rvlieshout wrote:
505 Was also a new gaming concept


Are you referring to 504 perhaps??

Quote:
These minor changes make me less excited by the Fable system as I was when I bought the game. You, when a new action has been added to the location on the table, never go 'Wow, OMG, that mixes things up entirely!!!!', you might think 'Oh, hey, that's well-thought-of.', but that's it. At least that were my thoughts.


I think the issue here is that its not always obvious what the effects of new cards until you see how they interact with the other cards on the table . I can't think of the specific example right now, but we've had a couple of games where one player will do something that seems particularly clever, but then the next player is able to use a new card to take advantage of the situation in a way previously not possible. In a limited sense it reminds me of a feature of Dominion where the game often rewards the first person who spots (or lucks into) the best combo on the board. Our games have had quite a few "oh, I hadn't thought of that" moments, but admittedly not quite up to the "Wow!" level you are looking for.
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Evan
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davypi wrote:
[q="rvlieshout"]
I think the issue here is that its not always obvious what the effects of new cards until you see how they interact with the other cards on the table . I can't think of the specific example right now, but we've had a couple of games where one player will do something that seems particularly clever, but then the next player is able to use a new card to take advantage of the situation in a way previously not possible. In a limited sense it reminds me of a feature of Dominion where the game often rewards the first person who spots (or lucks into) the best combo on the board. Our games have had quite a few "oh, I hadn't thought of that" moments, but admittedly not quite up to the "Wow!" level you are looking for.


Here is where the subtle beauty of the game lies and why it has become such a favorite of mine. Admittedly, however, these considerations only work at higher player counts. The game becomes far less interesting when played with two or even three players.

When playing a four or five player game, you are often asked to exchange cards with other players due to various cards that come out in the game. Often, you have 6-7-8 cards in your hand and choosing which cards to discard is often easily dismissed and the choice can seem rather inconsequential. However, at higher player counts, there are often limited open spaces on the board and choosing which spot you want to go to is very important if you want to win. Often, you have a recipe for multiple fabled juices in your hand and discarding cards will force you to choose one recipe over another. If you know that a card will free up due to player movement, or if there is a less desirable card on the board, often I will choose to keep the "recipe" for that card over another, figuring that no other players will want to go there and I won't have to hand over a fruit card to my opponent to take that action. For example, there is a card that comes out pretty early in the game that allows you to show the rest of the table what is in your hand. If they take a card from your hand, you get two from the deck. Well, nobody wants to go there because they don't want to show the table what they have in their hand. Therefore, if you know that, it becomes easier to keep cards in your hand that allow you to buy that card later on, rather than trying to create a mix of cards that will purchase a more popular (and therefore expensive) destination. Yes, this game is super light, but there is more going on here than meets the eye and in my experience, rounds seem to be won by the same players over and over again. I don't think that's an accident. There is more strategy here than one might think.
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Rowdy van Lieshout
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davypi wrote:
rvlieshout wrote:
505 Was also a new gaming concept


Are you referring to 504 perhaps??



yes, typo.
 
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Rick Teverbaugh
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I really have to wonder if all the people complaining about the 2 player experience are playing the same game as my wife and I. The 2 player game is great fun and more strategic than playing with 3 or more. The game is more tactical at the higher player counts because too much can change between your plays with 3 or more. But it isn't boring at all and in the majority of my games (slim majority) the player who goes second has won.
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Evan
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rickert wrote:
I really have to wonder if all the people complaining about the 2 player experience are playing the same game as my wife and I. The 2 player game is great fun and more strategic than playing with 3 or more. The game is more tactical at the higher player counts because too much can change between your plays with 3 or more. But it isn't boring at all and in the majority of my games (slim majority) the player who goes second has won.


How is it more strategic? After a few cards are purchased, you can have as many as 9-10 action spots on the board. In a two player game, that means you can go to 8-9 spots without penalty. No fruit cards have to be passed to your opponents, so you really don't have to think much at all. Once you have the right mix in hand, you simply go to an unoccupied card and pay for it. But in a five player game, I often have to have more cards than the necessary mix because I know that I'll have to give one of those cards to my opponent and still have enough left over to create the appropriate mix. Plus, I have to worry about what four other players do before it's my turn and I know I will have a high probability of losing cards that I need to pay for the card that I want. I don't doubt that the game is fun with two players, but I cannot see how it can be viewed as more strategic at a lower player count.
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Eric Matthews
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rickert wrote:
I really have to wonder if all the people complaining about the 2 player experience are playing the same game as my wife and I. The 2 player game is great fun and more strategic than playing with 3 or more. The game is more tactical at the higher player counts because too much can change between your plays with 3 or more. But it isn't boring at all and in the majority of my games (slim majority) the player who goes second has won.


I think many people just have different expectations and preferences. For example even at 6 players, which should have been game breaking, board conditions absolutely did NOT change too fast. It's not like entire spaces/cards were being removed from the game every turn- it takes a while even with 6 players to remove an entire set of 4 cards.

For us at 2 it was just so crazily open for a worker placement game, with no real blocking whatsoever, while always having some spaces that were just inferior because they safe better spaces with more players. And we never had the need/opportunity to use rule of taking the same space as someone else- which happened constantly in. 4+ players and became a real consideration.
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Tim Royal
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rvlieshout wrote:
davypi wrote:
rvlieshout wrote:
505 Was also a new gaming concept


Are you referring to 504 perhaps??



yes, typo.


Ah, yes, the dreaded "off by one" error.
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Derek Long
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Auzette wrote:
rvlieshout wrote:
davypi wrote:
rvlieshout wrote:
505 Was also a new gaming concept


Are you referring to 504 perhaps??



yes, typo.


Ah, yes, the dreaded "off by one" error.


Or else he found the legendary 505th way to play the game. A collection of rules so secret that even FF himself concealed it by excluding it from the count.
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Karl
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Ah, the mysterious game with the boat :-P
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Mike
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I think what I enjoy about the game is the way it changes as you're playing. The game can't be broken because the locations that were available in one game won't be there is the next game. And even if you come up with a solid strategy built around the cards in play, it will only work until those cards are bought and removed. So players have to keep coming up with new strategies as the game progresses.

That said, the game is quick. There's usually minimal change in a single game. You have to play a series of games to notice the effect.
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