Fairy Tale, review

Tomo did a shopping order to Japan and I on a whim I ordered a Japanese micro that seemed be one with the least language requirements: Fairy Tale.

Fairy Tale, final scoring. Mass combos on my side

(Turns out it has an English version through Z-Man. Heh)

So this is a drafter, in the vein of Sushi Go or even more like Tides Of Time if you’re familiar with that one. You draft 5 cards in each of the 4 turns, after which you will play 3 of them and discard 2. Which if nothing else is very mathematically pleasing: 5 4 3 2.

The cards are used in 2 ways, the first being complicated scoring methods, just like other drafting games. This includes normal linear cards (“2 points”), exponential cards (“1 if 1, 4 if 2, 9 if 3”), conditional cards (“9 points if you have most dragons”), and ‘friend’ cards (“3 points for each bard you own”). The game is nicely balanced in these, but that’s not super groundbreaking.

The other layer to this game is that as cards are ‘played’, meaning added to your side, they have effects that fire. This includes flipping other cards face up or face down, or possibly intercepting cards before they hit the table and disable their powers early. This adds an element of combat to the game as players will often draft cards that they don’t intend to play just to make sure others can’t use those cards against them. Remember, you get to discard 2.

For example, in the game above I drafted every single demon card that flips human cards face down to avoid losing my combo cards. Two demons would have cost me two homesteaders and about 12 points, a third of my score.

As a bonus, I was pleasantly surprised to learn the cards used English words for “you” and “all” which made things easier, and came with a translated instruction manual to boot. Also, the design has that Japanese doujin-game style to it, which has it’s own unique charm. The only downside is unfortunately the paper it was printed on was kinda flimsy, but nothing a bit of penny sleeves can’t fix.

It’s a good game fun lightweight and a steady entry in our medley of “lunchtime at work” games, as it can easily be ran through in 45 mins. We’re fans of it here.

7 Wonders: Duels review

Went to store to get one last present, left with present and 7W:D.

7 Wonders: Duel. Pretty much perfect for us

It’s a card builder and a variation on the drafting formula. It’s 2 player, has multiple ways to win, contains strong strategy, and plays in 30 mins. It’s basically perfect for us.

The game is comparable to a simpler 7 Wonders, or a more complex Sushi Go, but instead of drafting (which is always awkward with 2 player, Tides of Time excepted), you pick the cards, solitaire style, from the table, as long as there’s no other cards on top.

About half those cards are face up, and half are face down. As they become available, the face down cards flip up, which prevents perfect knowledge (and the accompanying paralysis). The result is an interesting dynamic between choosing the best card for yourself, taking the best card for your opponent so they can’t have it, or playing towards the unknown and hoping nothing amazing comes up before your next turn.

7 Wonders: Duel. An early metropolis

The game is at its heart a “buy cards, use cards to pay for bigger cards” style game, with a few complexities like money, a war tracker, scientific research, and the titular wonders that everyone competes for. Cards can be sold for money, money can be used instead of resources, and certain cards ‘chain’ so that owning it can pay the cost of a different card later. And it’s all modified by the rule changing scientific research and wonders.

It’s also a good example of design where there’s a lot of long term strategy, but only a few choices available at any single moment (only so many cards that can be picked up) so there isn’t much decision paralysis. Makes the game interesting without being stressful as there’s less you juggle in mind as you play.

It’s really a quite neat game. We’re liking it a lot.

Epic Card Game review

Our kickstarter of Epic Card Game arrived, and it got played a good few times.

Exactly one of which was played with the correct rules.

Epic Card Game: 4 Moon Moons and a crap hand
Epic Card Game: 4 Moon Moons and a non-synergic hand

The rulebook needs help. There’s going to be an improved online one soon, as well as how to play videos, and both will help a lot I’m sure. If nothing else, before playing, make sure you understand how dealing damage works. Oh, and make sure you get that “You can attack multiple times per turn” and “You get mana on your opponent’s turn” are rules. Those two in huge red letters would have saved us a good chunk of time.

Huge bonus for teaching (and playing, in my opinion), is that there’s no stack, in the MtG sense. Every action always happens as intended, though there might be a reaction after. Reaction though, not interruption. Also, getting rid of mana was a very good decision. The game does not feel more shallow for it, much like I never thought to myself that Hearthstone is poorer for not having to worry about drawing lands.

The cards themselves are very interesting. The “You win if your deck is empty, but opponents have cards to recycle you graveyard into your deck” is a very interesting mechanic and leads to a lot of hard choices (in a good way).

Flipside, the default mode of “Pick 30 cards and go!” really doesn’t highlight the strength of the game. Feels very random and would be comparable to just playing Star Realms by drawing random cards until one player wins. I definitely recommend either constructed play, or draft.

Overall I like it, though word of disclosure, Angelica is not nearly as excited about this one as me, heh.

Tides of Time review

first game we played after getting home from GenCon: Portal’s Tides of Time.

Tides Of Time, last round
Tides Of Time, last round

A drafting 2-player game that’s very cut-throat without feeling overly so. The best I can describe it is as a super weaponized Sushi Go where “card counting” isn’t just required, it’s a natural part of the game. Every card gets used every time, so after the first drafting switch off, you know exactly what’s going to be played and what isn’t.

Playtime is about 15 minutes from set up to end of scoring. A very strong “lunch game”.

I also appreciated how much effort went into the lore of the game, with both the art and the place names. I wonder if Portal will end up doing more in that setting.

GenCon: The library featuring Galaxy Trucker review

The GenCon library was probably our best use of tickets of the entire con. Giant collection where we checked out some stuff we were considering (Abyss) and played some stuff just for plain fun, including Robo Rally and Galaxy Trucker

GenCon library, playing Galaxy Trucker at that moment
GenCon library, playing Galaxy Trucker at that moment

CGE’s Trucker, if you don’t know it, is a cute ship tile “drafting” game with a mini low-interaction adventure afterwards. Good game when you’re running on 4 hours of sleep and have an hour to kill.


Lunch game of the day, Ghooost! from some little known Richard Garfield fellow

Ghooost! hand. Still lost. By a lot.
Great Ghooost! hand. Still lost. By a lot.

Good lunch game for here cause it runs like 20m after everyone is caught up. Rules take surprisingly long to teach for how simple they are: there’s a lot of special cases.

The above hand should in theory have guaranteed me, if not a win, then a “not-win” by the person playing after me, but his ghost house ended up playing a 13 on my 13, a 14 on my 14, and when I attempted to play my ghost house to stop him, I drew a Skeletor GG.