A couple months ago I had a chance to play the game Fae where you’re playing a fae creatures who are trying to get the most druids matching their color to complete successful rituals. It’s a fun pretty light weight game in terms of your actions, but has a fair amount of strategy to it, and has hidden scoring that makes it an interesting game.
This is a very pretty game as you try and get rituals started. The board has a ton of colors on it and while that can make things look busy on the board some times, in this case it helps keep things clear. There are also a lot of druid figures in the game that work very nicely in the game. Oddly enough, the fae creature artwork might be the best artwork of the game, but that artwork is hidden for the game because you don’t want people to know what color you want to get points.
There are a few interesting mechanics in this game. The first being the interaction of the hidden roles with scoring in the game. In a lot of games with hidden roles you score based off of that role and you’re trying to make it not that obvious who you are going for, and because the scoring happens for every color in a ritual. If you think that someone might be a certain color you could try and cut them out of rituals, and that guessing aspect is part of the game. But you’re also trying to hand out points evenly enough that people can’t guess which color you are. Also, if you can cause rituals to happen, you get points for kicking off the ritual.
Along with that part of the game, the action that you can take on your turn is interesting. All you do on your turn is move a druid from one location to another location until a group of druids is separated from the rest of the druids, and that’s when a ritual happens. However, things can go poorly in the ritual for the druids depending on certain conditions. If every color is present for the ritual you remove one druid of each color, so you have to think about that, but the more druids in a ritual, the more potential points that you can get. It’s a balancing act of giving out as many points as possible, creating the best rituals for your color, and trying to keep your opponents from scoring points on a good ritual.
Beyond that, with rituals, you have to think about where you are completing your ritual. There are certain bonus cards for rituals that you go through in order that adds points into the ritual. So you can add additional points to the ritual itself if it’s on the favored terrain, or bad things will happen if it’s on the cursed terrain for the various point cards. Those cards also give you more points at the end of the game, so you are trying to cause rituals to get a number of them, but you don’t want to cause rituals to happen that could potentially be bad for you.
For me, this game hits a nice balance of strategy and randomness. Because you, especially at the start of the game, don’t have any idea what color people might have, you can start out rushing for completing rituals to get the point cards, but you can also accidentally be setting someone up with that. And as you get further into the game, the turns take longer as your thinking through what might be happening and how to maximize your remaining points so that you end up ahead. The game has a good balance of pushing your color ahead while also causing you to give points to other colors at the same time.
Overall, I think this is a very well done game and one that is quite pretty to look at. The only thing that I very odd about the look is that the board wraps, and I don’t mean that the board goes the pacman run from one side to the other, I mean that the paper on the cardboard on two sides doesn’t have a border to show the edge of the board, but instead wraps around the edge of the board. It made me feel like it was missing another board or so. Beyond that, though, the game has a nice blend of strategy and deduction to it. If you can figure out what colors other people might have, then it becomes purely strategy, but really, you’re going to have a best educated guess. When I played it, both the other person and I thought each other was the same color so that adds to the fun of the game, trying to guess. I also like this game because there aren’t that many rules and while it could be an abstract game, the theme doesn’t add much to the game play, but adds to the look of the game. This game ends up being one that is easy to sit down and learn or easy to pick up and teach to people who might not be heavy into board gaming.
Overall Grade: B+
Gamer Grade: B
Casual Grade: B+
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PS. I should mention that this is a re implementation of Clans. Basically the same game.