Friday, May 9, 2014

Fairy Tale: The Card Game

Fairy Tale
by Satoshi Nakamura

Fairy Tale is a rare kind of card game where the gameplay is based upon "Drafting" a hand of cards to play.  To give a history, "Draft" gameplay began with Magic the Gathering.  You would buy several booster packs and pass them around the table.  Everyone would open a pack, choose a card and pass the pack until everyone had a pre-determined amount of cards to build a deck from.  The skill was in the knowing and utilization of the entire expansion's set of cards, and a little luck.  Fairy Tale emulates this.

The players draw a hand of 5 cards from the main, randomized deck.  Each turn they take 1 card and pass the hand to the next player.  Everyone does this until they have 5 cards.  The more players you have, the more mystery surrounds what everyone is playing.  The cards in the deck work together to perform point accumulating combos.  There are 4 colors, three of which are identical and 1 that focuses on forcing the other colors to flip their cards, or having you trade points for desired effects on your own set of cards.  It takes a little while to figure out how things work, but it is somewhat simplified in that 3 of the colors work virtually identical  to each other.

Fairy Tale is a game that can be played and enjoyed by 2 people.  I do this a lot, as I tend to play a few games with my girl on Sundays after breakfast while we relax outside.  There is less "set up" time than other card games, and much less complication to have at an outside table.  As I said before, upping the player count ups the mystery.  In a 2 player game, there is only one card per round you have no idea about, but with more there are more cards flying around, and you're not sure what you'll be getting back as cards rotate around the table.

Fairy Tale has an added complication that is both genius and confusing.  The game originally was released in Japan and all the cards had all the rules on them, but that meant they had to produce a different set for each language the game was released in.  The newest edition changes almost all text into symbols and numbers that are more universal in interpretation.  Through the use of this, they can reprint the rule book in the native language and use the same cards virtually everywhere.  It adds a little bit to the confusion of learning the game, but ultimately serves the game well.

Another cool aspect is that the cards can tell a story if you read into their artwork and their motives.  The story progression is actually a time progression and you can reveal it by looking through the artwork.  It does not serve the game very much, but its a neat little easter egg if you take the time.

Once everyone knows their stuff, its a quick game to play and quick to tally up at the end.  Its smaller on the player interaction between cards, but if you play black you CAN mess with the other players. It can be had fairly cheaply on Amazon, you might want to get some card protectors.  The cards are better than Munckin and Fantasy Flight quality, but nowhere near as nice as Flying Frog's card stock.  If you loved Draft in Magic the Gathering(as I did), you'll love the mechanics.  Also it is self contained, it is not a collectible card game, you do not need to buy expansions.

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