Today I’d like to introduce you a simple game that’s like a game MVP at our house – Fairy Tale . This is an easy card game to learn, and plays very quickly. And like most card games, it’s small and easily portable, as you can see below. It’s become one of our Renaissance Festival favorites to stick in our bag and carry along for playing at the tavern. In this game you are spinning a fantasy tale of dragons and fairies, demons and knights. The person that is able to compile the best collection of cards wins the game with their tall tale of a land far, far away.
Players are dealt a hand of five cards – each one pictures a person, place or story in one of four “suits.” Some cards are just worth a few points by themselves. Others, such as the Mischievous Fairy, are worth more for each one that you have – so one is worth one point, but two are worth two points each, and so on. Then there are the combo cards – where having one card (the Sky Dance Dragon, for example) makes another card (the Dwarven Warrior in this case) worth more points. Lastly there are cards that have a minimum requirement for you to score the points. For example, the Shadowking’s Tale – Chapter 1 card requires you to have the most shadow cards in order to get a big 6 points.
Now that’s all well in good, but you don’t just play the cards you’re dealt. First you use the game’s special “drafting” mechanism. Look at your hand, and pick one card you’d like to keep. Now pass the rest of your hand to the player to your left. After picking up what was passed to you, select another card to keep, and pass the remaining three to the left. And so on, until you’ve accumulated your five cards for the round. I should mention at this point that the game is played with four rounds, and you alternate drafting left and right each round (i.e. rounds 1 and 3 to your left, rounds 2 and 4 to your right).
With your drafted hand of five cards, you now have to make a tough decision – because you will only get to play three of those cards this round! And it’s not as simple as just picking any three – the choice of which to play when is a key part of the game, because a number of the cards have actions associated with them – flip, unflip and hunt. Players all select a card, hold it out at the center (as you can see happening in the photo above), then reveal at the same time.
Flip cards instruct you and/or your opponents to flip a type of card over – for example, the Vampire card means all players have to turn a fairy card face-down. This is significant, as any flipped cards are worth nothing at the end of the game! If you don’t have any of that type of card you’re all set, but it’s important to note that the card you’re playing at the moment counts. The solution, naturally is the unflip action – which allows you to turn a card back over. The Staff-Bearing Sage is a card that allows you to turn one of your flipped knights back up to its scoring position. The last type of card which can wreak havoc is a hunter. Hunt cards “attack” a specific type of card – so if another player reveals that type at the same time, it must be put face-down on the table, and any action on it is lost. As an example of this, the Fairy Queen hunts all shadow cards. It’s also worth mentioning at this point that the order of actions is always the same – hunt, unflip, flip. Non-action cards that weren’t affected are simply played to the table face-up.
After going through four rounds, it’s time to score your cards. You’ll have 12 cards on the table, most of which will hopefully be face-up! Simply add up your points, not forgetting combos and requirements, and see who told the best fairy tale.
What I love about this game is the various directions you can decide to go with your cards. Stock up on strong combinations? Corner the market on those Mischievous Fairy cards? Or hope for the right card to make that 8-point card pay off? The game plays very quickly once players understand the mechanics, and you could go through a couple of games in less than an hour. The cards are durable, and the artwork is an interesting take on Japanese anime. Fairy Tale has been a good stand-by when we don’t know what else to play; I think you’ll find this little “filler” game will make a reliable addition to your game collection. It is for players at all skill levels and is designed for 2-5 players. Fairy Tale is published in the U.S. by Z-Man Games, but was recently published in a new edition by the What’s Your Game? company.
Thanks for reading my review – and I promise to be back soon with another game review.