Fairy Tile Review
Back in our childhood, fairy tale is a very common thing for us children. It had driven us mad with curiosities, interests and loves. The idea of a brave knight in shining armor goes on a quest to rescue a beautiful and ill-fated princess on some tower held captive by a fiery and evil dragon really embodied in our mind and soul. It’s a true definition of fairy tale if not all. So with children as it’s major market, Iello published a board game with that spirit and called it Fairy Tile (designed by the duo Matthew Dunstan and Brett J. Gilbert who made their names from Elysium, Pyramids, Prof. Evil and the Citadel of Time, Pioneer Days and many more) okay they made pun out of its title but that’s okay, “tile” because it’s using tiles for playing. So lets go jump into the pages from the fantasy book and know the game more.
First of all, they (Iello) surely know how to attract people with their awesome beautiful-looking artworks and nice-looking components. The illustrations are truly gorgeous (the cards, tiles and even character figures) and it is hard to resist the appeal of it. The first thing which made me want the game is the cover, full of deep rich green and yellow colors. It didn’t sell me right on, but it made me look the game components and behold the cards really destroyed my wall of resistance (of course, it’s Miguel Coimbra’s work of art, who can resist?). Illustrations from the cards are straightly taken from a fairy tale book, lots of beautiful and captivating scenes. And then you also get three nice-looking pre-painted character figures. Well, way less detailed than miniatures from Blood Rage or Mythic Battle Pantheon, but hey it’s good enough for a children game (and to be honest, there are many games that have worse minis than this).
The game comes in a small square box, with nice insert to hold the cards, tokens, tiles and figures in their place. There are wooden tokens for players, naturally colored (unpainted) with an etching of a star painted in gold (nice touch). The cards are nice, though it would really make the illustrations even better with linen finished quality.
So what the game is about? They presented the game in a story book manner where there’s a story that involves a knight, a princess and a dragon. You see that right there? Now the game can be played from 2 up to 4 players and surprise, surprise… a figure is not assigned to a player but can be controlled by anyone. The goal of the game is for a player to finish their story first and win the game. The story is represented by cards, dealt at the start of the game based on number of players. This cards will form a player’s deck and kept in a face down pile. At the start of the game there are 3 starting tiles with figures on them. Each player then draw one card from their deck, this card is their active story to complete. During their turn, each player can choose one of the two actions, Develop Story or Turn a Page.
Develop Story means that players Go on an Adventure by moving a character or adding a land tile. And then check to see if they can recount the adventure. These are done in order to fulfill the objective shown on the cards. Moving a character is different based on which character they move. The knight must exactly moves two spaces away from its location, while the princess must move exactly one space away. Meanwhile, the dragon moves in a direct straight line until the last map tile on its path. Adding a land tile gives player room for figures to explore. This is needed to complete the objective from terrain and location aspects. Recount the adventure is optionally done once a player has taken an action as a chance to complete the objective, they place the completed card aside in a face up file and draw another card from their deck.
Turn a page is done when a player doesn’t want or cannot complete the objective on their card at this moment. They place the card on the bottom of their deck and draw another one. And then they also flip their magic token face up if it’s not in the upside position. This magic token allows player to get an extra action which it is possible for a player to take two actions in a row, which is often very powerful to complete the objective.
The truth to this action-point-movement-system and tile-laying game is that the game is a racing game. The first player to empty their draw pile wins the game. It looks simple, clean rules and very suitable for children. But behind all of that, it hides the true nature of take that and tug of war game where players pulling the characters to complete their objectives. There are only 3 characters and all objectives require one or more characters to be in specific condition or location. This truly problematic since mostly each player can only take one action in his turn (except using a magic token) but need several actions to fulfill an objective conditions. It’s inevitable that players will hinder others in their quest. It could be a tiresome ordeal to fight over these characters and lead to a frustrating end (more players means more conflicts). So though I have not play this game with kids, I am not sure they will always enjoy this kind of game, but it’s definite that I did not enjoy all my plays, though for less serious play it’s still within tolerable level.
Once the game ends, players can sort (in ascending order) their completed cards based on the numbers shown on the bottom of the cards. And they said (the rules) you can recount (read) the flavor texts and those will form a story. I did that and to be honest it’s hard to see how it could be possible and to be honest, it’s just a lame attempt on connecting the story telling aspect of the game with the theme. While you can connect each sentence with another from card to card, there is nothing real in the story that could make you feel that you’re building that story in the game.
Sad to say, this is not a very good game for me. Though you can introduce your younger ones into board games with this and they could enjoy this better than I did. It has cool aspects when it comes to introduce tile laying, action point movement and other in-game rule set application such as when you can apply the magic token and how you complete your objective with several options in front of you and etc.