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This is my first ever review on BGG, so please bear with me...
What's in the box?
The name of the game is a bit misleading, 'cos there is no story telling nor plot in this game. You get a deck of 100 cards with a more or less anime-like-pictures (depending on the publisher)... Some hate the art, some love it, I couldn't care less... The art or even the theme isn't that big a deal in Fairy Tale - it could as well be a zombie adventure or a sci-fi game and all you'd have to do, is to rename the cards and change the art.
The cards are divided to four different types:
1. Evil-shadowy-black, with demons, vampires, werewolfs and such
2. Wimpy white with knights and old men
3. Green dragon theme
4. Red fairies
Each of 'em having pretty much nothing that separetes one color from another... Well, the white has potentiality to negate some black cards before they get anything done and the black can negate cards from other colors later on... I'll explain this a bit later.
What do I do with the stuff in the box?
The gameplay is really simple:
you and up to four other players are dealt five cards each, you pick one and pass the remaining four to the player on your left, receiving four cards from your right, pick one up, pass it to your left and...ah, you got it already. After a while you have five cards of which you'll play three and remove the remaining two from the game - if everything goes as planned, you'll pick three cards you really need and two cards your opponent might wanna get. Each player choose the first card they wanna play and the cards are revealed simultaneously with their possible effects resolved. Then the same is done for the second and third cards.
There are two states for the cards in Fairy Tale: open (face up) and closed (face down). When certain cards are played they can change the state of other cards, either from the cards that the other players revealed at same time or from the cards played previously ... Some cards close cards, others open the previously closed ones and you'd like to close as many cards from the opponent as possible and keep your own ones open, 'cos in the end, only open cards are counted for points... And points decide the winner.
So, when you have drafted five cards, played three of 'em and seen the others do the same, you'll do the same again, drafting to opposite direction and knowing something about what the opponents are planning.
Draft is repeated total of four times, so you'll pick total of 20 cards and play 12 of 'em - cumulatively getting and giving information about the game plans... With the 12 cards you'll need to make as good combination as you can, while also keeping eye on your opponent so that you can hinder their combinations.
In the end the cards give you points in various ways: some give you points on the number of the similar cards you have in play, two of 'em give you two points each, three of 'em give you three points each, so more the merrier! Some cards give you points if you have most cards of one color or type, some cards are allied together, so that if you have 'em both, you'll get bonus points and so forth.
What do I think about it?
Fairy Tale plays in about 15-20 minutes, it's pretty light, yet there is some tactical depth and it suretenly is fun to play! I've only played it with two and three players and I liked it better with two... You'll have a way more interaction and have more control of the game that way. The only problem with two players is that you'll only use 40% of the deck and there are some cards that only have one copy, so there is a 60% chance, that the card you'd wanna draft isn't even available... But on the other hand that forces you to think twice on what you'll pick...
Of course there are some downsides... There is one card that you'll pick 99 times out of 100, 'cos it's just that good - even if you have no use for it yourself (which is almost impossible) you don't want to give it to your opponent... There is only one copy of that card, but it gives you a nice edge if picked early on. The card is called "Trickster" and it can be named as any card in the end, so you can get easy points with it and even pick valuable cards that you other way couldn't use. In a balanced game there should be no autopilot choices like this one.
Some might consider the length of the game as a downside, but I like the fast phased action with quick results - at least with this game... But on the other hand the ammount of luck is highish, especially with three or more players.
I wasn't really expecting anything from this game, I bought it for ~15€ and it was unplayed for months... But when we played it on a train trip, it was really a positive surprise! It's easy to take on a such trip 'cos all you need is the 100 cards - and you can play it almost anywhere as it needs very little space. Fairy Tale is an excellent travel game or a filler and at least I really feel, that the money I spent on this one, was money well spent.
Fairy Tale on rails
Agreed - nice review! What I like about this game is its simplicity. I haven't had any games with a card drafting mechanism, so that was a pleasant new surprise.
I don't know how you managed to play the game on a train with that little amount of space. The game ends with 12 cards in play and with 2 people you still have 60 cards left in the deck and 16 cards in a discard pile. The cards in play often need to be flipped and unflipped. It is amazing you didn't have a pile of cards sliding across the train floor.
That being said I argued the game was too simple and needed a story so I created a variant (posted in variant section). However I did introduce the game as it came boxed to non gamers and they liked the simplicity like yourself. In fact one of them bought the game for him and his son to play and his son loves the game.
Overall it is a well done flexible fun little game that travels easy, but I think there are many that are put off by its out of the box simplicity.
The card drafting to me isn't that great with a small group (2 or 3) because you get to see most the cards again and again and don't have to agonize over what to keep. I think 4 or 5 is the sweet spot here.
I don't know how you managed to play the game on a train with that little amount of space.
Those little tables... are larger than they appear
IIRC (it's been almost a year since I've been on one of those trains) there's enough room for two players to play comfortably. A friend and I played Coloretto Amazonas on one of those tables.
- Last edited Sat Apr 11, 2009 4:16 am (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Sat Apr 11, 2009 4:15 am
New South Wales
Nice review, Miika. This is a very good game. It was a bit of a struggle to get it, but I'm glad I did.
Thanks for the great review. I've been interested in this game and reading good reviews is always helpful.