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Bruce Glassco
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Charlottesville
Virginia
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Since there aren't any text reviews yet, I thought as the designer I'd put up a brief description of the game so BGGers can get a sense of what it's like. I wrote this for a trade magazine originally.

As a fan of Magic: The Gathering, I’ve noticed that people often seem to have more fun trading cards and locating combos than actually playing the game itself. That observation was the inspiration behind Fantasy Realms.

The Fantasy Realms deck has 53 cards, ten suits with five cards each: Wizards, Beasts, Leaders, Armies, Artifacts, Weapons, Floods, Flames, Weather, and Lands, along with three wild cards. From these, you’re dealt a 7-card hand. Your goal is to improve that hand as much as possible before the game is over, which you accomplish by creating combos. Every card has three other elements besides its suit: a unique name, a base value from 0 to 40, and either a bonus or a penalty (or in a few cases, both). The bonuses and penalties contribute most of the strategy in assembling an ideal hand.

In general, cards with a lower base strength have bonuses and cards with higher ones have penalties. These bonuses and penalties are all thematic – for instance, the Magic Wand is just a worthless stick unless you have a Wizard who knows how to use it; the Unicorn gives a bonus to your female Leaders and Wizards; Lightning gives you a bonus if you’ve got a Rainstorm in your hand; Wildfire negates everything in your hand that’s flammable, etc. Some of the bonuses call for special situations that are difficult to achieve, like the bonus for getting the Bell Tower, Book of Changes, Candle, and a Wizard to use them all; others are simple and straightforward, like the Empress and Warlord who like to lead Armies into battle. Other cards are the Worldtree, that gives a large bonus if all the cards in your hand are different suits; the Collector, who does the opposite and wants to collect cards of the same suit; the Doppelganger wild card that duplicates another card in your hand, and the Necromancer who brings a card back from the discard pile.

The mechanics are utter simplicity: draw a card and discard a card. Every discarded card remains face up, and can be drawn by any subsequent player. So as the game goes on, there will be more choices of cards you can take to upgrade your hand. The game lasts until there are ten cards in the discard pile, and then all players score their hands.

Another feature of the game is that high-scoring hands generally have a strong theme that ties them together. In other words, the cards in your hand tell a story. Thematically, each hand becomes a kingdom, and the hand with the highest score is the kingdom that is the most strongly defended. My wife likes to add the house rule that everyone has to tell the story created by their cards: “A Beastmaster went out to seek a rare Dragon to complete his collection of beasts. He hitched a ride with a War Dirigible filled with Elven Archers, and eventually they found a Bell Tower where the Dragon he sought was guarding a beautiful Queen. Later, the two were married beneath the Worldtree.” If you play with people who like games that turn into stories, this one is for you!
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Christian K
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Game sounds fun when can I expect to find this in Europe?
 
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