Recommend
39 
 Thumb up
 Hide
9 Posts

Fantastiqa» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Flying Dutchman Reviews: This Is How Refined Dragons Roll! rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Flying Dutchman
Canada
London
Ontario
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb











Introducing: Fantastiqa

About a year ago, my oldest son (who was nine at the time) read the first volume of the Harry Potter series and, like so many children before him, was completely enthralled by the brilliantly imaginative world he discovered within the pages of that book. I remember vividly how, a few days after he’d finished the book, he suddenly appeared in the kitchen with an old towel tied round his neck like a cape, wielding a stick he’d acquired from the backyard as a wand, yelling ‘Expelliarmus’ at the top of his lungs. Seeing him like this brought back similar memories from my own childhood when, after reading the Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe, I searched every closet in our house looking for an entrance to the world of Narnia! I suspect that many of us have youthful memories like this; memories where we gave way to wonder and imagined ourselves with wand (or sword) in hand and ‘itchy feet’ that were ready to see what adventures lay over yonder hill.

Well the good news is that now there’s a way to recover some of those fanciful childhood moments and to combine them with the wonderful hobby we call board gaming! In Fantastiqa, (a two to four player game designed by Alf Seegert and published by Gryphon Games) you’ll have the opportunity to harness the power of whimsy and imagination in order to go traipsing through a marvelous world filled with fairies and foes as you seek to complete magical (and alliterative!) quests winning honour and fame for yourself and, perhaps, a trusted companion, along the way. Want to know more about this fun and fantastical game? Well, read on dear friend to learn all that there is to know about Fantastiqa!


Inside The Box:

Box: Before moving on to talk about the quality and function of the game’s components,
I need to pause for a moment to say a few words about the game box. Now, if you know anything about the folks at Gryphon, then you know that they take especial pride in producing boxes that are both beautiful and durable. They did some very fine work with the boxes for Dragon Rampage and Pastiche for instance. With Zong Shi they took things to a whole new level in terms of box design and durability (as an aside, the notched box they made for Zong Shi still stands out as one of the coolest box designs I’ve ever come across). But this time, this time…well, I think it’s safe to say that, with respect to ‘toughness’ at any rate, the apogee of box design has been reached. I’m only exaggerating slightly when I say that this box could probably stop a bullet!! Well, maybe more than slightly, but the point remains: this is without a doubt the most solidly constructed box I have ever encountered! Further, from an aesthetic perspective, I loved the choice of David Friederich’s Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog (1818) for the cover art. Finally, Fantastiqa comes with a box insert that’s functional and actually worth keeping – which, let’s be honest, is something of a rarity these days. Overall, this is outstanding work all-round!



So, here’s what you’ll find when you open up this (dare I say it?), fantastic box:


Game Board: I’ll be honest with you: when I first folded out the board and took a gander at it, I was a little underwhelmed. Laying all by its lonesome on the table it looks…well, rather stark and barren. But here’s the thing, as you’ll see below, the board’s aesthetic appeal improves dramatically once you’ve got it all set up with the region tiles, the wooden statues and the creature cards – not to mention the player tokens. Ultimately, things ‘pretty up’ in a hurry once you’ve got the board properly adorned and then, I think that you’ll find, its initially stark appearance not only drastically diminishes but it’s layout and graphic design actually go a long way to ensuring that the game plays smoothly and intuitively. It’s good to remember that just as books can’t always be judged by their covers, sometimes games can’t be judged by their boards!



Player Tokens: These attractive cardboard tokens will serve as your avatars in the world of Fantastiqa – and they prove to be both functional and beautiful. You’ll chart your travels and your current location on the board with these player tokens over the course of the game.



Player Boards: Need some help to remember which character token is yours, as well as a convenient place to store your gems, tokens and whatever other goodies you’ll collect over the course of the game? Well, look no further than these fine player boards that the folks at Gryphon have so kindly provided. They’re not terribly necessary in terms of game play, but they’re made of good cardboard stock and they sure are pretty!



Region Tiles: As I noted above, the board gets a great deal prettier when its all gussied up – especially with these beautifully illustrated region tiles. These will be randomly distributed on the board during setup and you’ll need to travel to specific locations in order to complete specific quests. Again, these are beautiful and durable components.



Statues: I am a real sucker for chunky, wooden game components and these are some of the best in the business. There are two of each of these pieces and they too will be distributed randomly on the board during setup. These tokens represent locations where beast cards can be purchased (Gyphon); where artifacts can be purchased (Tower); and where quests can be completed (Chalice). My only complaint here, is that the Gyphon token which serves as the marker for the Beast Bazaar, looks rather more like rabid squirrel than a gryphon.



Creature Cards: Moving on the board will be hindered by the various denizens of Fantastiqa who seek to waylay unwary adventures during their travels. Creatures cards will be laid on the path between the various regions and you will only be permitted to travel to the adjacent destination if you first subdue any creatures blocking your path. We’ll say more about the specific of creatures interaction later, bur for now, just note that each creature is vulnerable to a certain type of ‘weapon’ and if you have a card matching that vulnerability in your hand you can use it to subdue said creature. Doing so will add that creature card to your deck and hopefully assist you in subduing other creatures later in the game.



Quest Cards: Any hero worth their salt needs to be vying to complete a perilous quest – otherwise this would be more of hike than an adventure. These quest cards, some of which will be publically available to all players and others of which will be exclusive to you as a player, represent the main means of gaining victory points during the game. Although the quest cards differ in terms of difficulty, region and reward there is one way in which they’re nearly all the same: almost every card bears witness to Prof. Seegert’s apparent love of alliteration!



Artifact Cards: Fantastiqa is game which makes use of one of my favourite mechanics: deck building. Over the course of game, you’ll not only be adding the creatures you subdue to your deck but you’ll also have the opportunity to purchase several types of cards. You’ll have to visit the Artifact Tower and you’ll need to pay a price in gems – but these artifact cards are worth the effort and cost. They let you take special actions and they are both funny and powerful. In fact, the artifact cards are my second favourite type of card in the game!



Beast Cards: You can also purchase beast cards at the Beast Bazaar (or the Rabid Squirrel Menagerie as we like to call it). These are essentially more powerful versions of the basic creature cards you’ll encounter during your travels and acquiring one or two of these beasts can be a real aid to smooth travel.



Deck Boards: You’ll also receive a couple of totally unnecessary, but nice to have, boards on which to store these various decks of cards. Functional, durable and over-produced in the best possible way – what else is there to say!



Peaceful Dragon & Dog Cards: There are two other types of cards that might enter your deck during the game, the: Peaceful Dragons and/or the Dog cards. The Peaceful Dragon cards don’t have a function other than to clog up your hand in a fashion similar to curse cards in Dominion – although in a far more adorable and less damaging way than said curse cards. The Dog cards can be used to acquire gems for your supply – apparently, in the world of Fantastiqa, dogs can sniff out jewels like they do truffles in our own world!



Special Action Tokens: On your turn, you’ll be able to take a number of free actions . These actions include using a Flying Carpet to fly to an adjacent space (without having to interact with any creatures blocking your path), or, reshuffling your discard pile back into your draw deck via the Tent token. You’ll start the game with a limited number of these tokens and when you’ve used one, you’ll flip it over to indicate that it’s been exhausted. You’ll also receive a quest token under which you can secretly commit cards towards the fulfillment of a public quest – but more on that below.



Gems: Gems serve as a form of currency during the game, currency that you’ll use to add or remove cards from your deck. It should be noted that the colour of the gem is irrelevant – they all have the same value. These gems are very shiny and awfully pretty – which, incidentally, makes them prime targets for the mischievous ravens that occasionally show up during the game. As such, hoarding your gems for a big purchase can be something of a risk – so don’t be miser and spend your cash wisely but quickly!



VP Tokens: Yep, they track points – nothing more to say here!



Quest Goal Cards: Fantastiqa can be calibrated to play with two to four players and as a short, regular, or long game. These quest goal cards indicate the number of VP that needs to be achieved (depending on players and desired game length) in order to trigger the game end. The rules recommend that, for your first game, you should play a short game you can familiarize yourself with the rules before heading out on more ambitious quests.



Reference Sheet: There’s a handy reference sheet to refer to during play, so that you don’t have to constantly hunt things up in the rules. There is a turn over view on one side and a glossary of important terms on the other. I genuinely appreciate when publishers provide this kind of support, as these aids often prove invaluable during the first few plays through a game.



Reference Cards: There are also double-sided reference cards for each player that provide an overview of the turn order and what’s called: The Circle of Subduing. The Circle of Subduing is essentially a chart which will help you remember which ‘weapons’ subdue specific vulnerabilities. Again, a handy and pleasant aid to have by your side.



Rules: The twelve page, full-colour rule book has been very well written, logically laid out and nicely illustrated with helpful examples of resolving game-play situations. The rules also open with a wonderful introduction to the world of Fantastiqa – one that I highly recommend you read aloud prior to your first play of the game! Good work here too.




Game Play

Setup:
So, now that you know what’s in the box, how do you get this game up and running? Well, I’ll lay out the procedure for the standard game – but, be aware, things differ somewhat if you’re playing with four players, or, if you elect to play with the simplified rules. Things are particularly different (and awesome in my opinion) if you play with four – because, you’ll be playing as two teams of two. You can consult the rule book for setup instructions for those situations.

Begin by placing the board in the centre of the table and place one of the card supply boards on each side of the board. Now, choose a quest-goal cards that is reflective of the number of players you have and the game length you desire and set it near the board in plain view of all the players. Next, shuffle the six regions tiles face-down and place them randomly on each of the circular spaces on the board – flip them face-up once you have done so. Then, randomly place one of the wooden statues on each of the location tiles.

At this juncture, it’s time to ready the various decks of cards. The first thing that you’ll need to do, is to ensure that all the cards with a shooting star symbol in the lower-right corner of the card have been set aside. Once that’s taken care of, you need to form draw decks for the artifact, beast and quest decks. To do this shuffle these cards separately by type and place them face-down in separate stacks on the card supply boards. Things proceed differently when creating the creature deck, as the creatures become more powerful as the game progresses. To form the creature deck consult the graphic on the top of page four in the rule book and follow these steps:

(1) Separate the creature cards into distinct piles according to the arrows found in the lower-right corner of the card. Return unused creatures to the box.
(2) Shuffle each pile individually and stack them as indicated on the creature deck setup image.
(3) Place the cards face down on the corresponding space on the supply board.

At this time, provide each player with:

• One Adventurer/Player Token & matching Player Board.
• One Quest token, three Flying Carpet tokens and three Reshuffle tokens.
• Three gems – the gems can be of any colour, they’re all have the same value.
• A starting deck of nine cards which match their player marker, as well as one Peaceful Dragon and one Dog Card (all these cards should have shooting star icons on them). Here’s a look at the starting cards for the Far Wanderer deck:



It’s now time to select the start player. The rules indicate that the starting player shall be the player who has most recently conducted a ‘successful’ short symphony for the Mountain Moles of Mu. One wonders what might constitute unsuccessful symphonic conduction?! Perhaps the Moles of Mu are a particularly discriminating musical audience. If no player has recently, or ever, undertaken such an endeavour, determine a start player in any mutually agreeable fashion.

Once that’s taken care of, it’s time to distribute staring quests, artifacts and board positions. Incidentally, this process is undertaken in reverse player order. Beginning with the player to the right of the start player, each player will select one quest and artifact card (from those identified with a shooting star symbol), reveal them to all the other players and pass the remaining cards to their right. Repeat this process until all players have chosen an artifact and quest card. Then, again beginning with the player to the right of the start player, each player places their player token on an unoccupied region of the board. Finally, each player should shuffle their nine starting cards, plus their artifact, Peaceful Dragon and Dog cards together in order to form their personal draw deck. Place your draw deck on the left hand side of your player board (near the rucksack icon). The right-hand side of the board will be where your discarded cards will go (near the Rejuvenation Tent icon).

The open quest spaces on the board now need to be filled. Shuffle up the remaining starting quest cards, draw two of them and place them in the appropriate locations on the board.

You are now ready to play Fantastiqa!

Flow of Play:
Beginning with the aforementioned start player, play will progress clockwise around the table. On your turn, you’ll carry out these three phases in order:

(1) Replenish the Board.
(2) Perform ONE Turn Action.
(3) End of Turn

Let’s say a few words about each of these phases:

Replenish the Board: The first thing to be done in this phase is to ensure that the board is restocked with creature cards. Draw creatures cards one at a time from the creature deck and place them face-up on each open road space between regions. In terms of placement, begin at the compass symbol at the top of the board and proceed clockwise – filling the center space last. If, and this is unlikely, you are unable to draw and place any creature cards, the game ends immediately and you’ll proceed to end game scoring. It’s also possible that you’ll draw an event card from the creature deck. If you do, perform the action indicated on the card and remove that card from the game; draw another creature card and place it as above.

If you draw a Mischievous Raven card, the player(s) with the most gems in their supply loses half (rounded down) of their gems. If the player with the most gems has fewer than four gems, they are unaffected by the Raven card. (If you draw a Raven card while filling up the board at the start of the game, simply set it aside and finish filling the board; then draw ten cards from the top of the deck and shuffle the Raven into those cards and replace them on top of the creature deck.)

Having replenished the creatures, now move on to replenish any empty quest spaces on the board. Draw the top quest card from the deck and place it face-up in the empty space on the board. Additionally, place a +1VP token on each new open quest.

Perform One Turn Action: Now, you’ll have to choose which one of the following three actions to carry out: (1) Go Adventuring, (2) Visit a Statue, (3) Complete a Quest. Additionally, you may perform any number of Free Actions that you wish – but more on those actions later.

If you elect to ‘Go Adventuring’, you’ll be able to move your adventurer to any adjacent region space, but only if you can subdue any creatures occupying the space between said regions. To subdue a creature, you’ll need to play cards from your hand, whose symbols (in the upper, left-hand corner) match the symbols at the bottom of the creature card. These symbols must not only match in kind, but also in number for a creature to be subdued. So, for instance, a troll card can be played to subdue an enchantress, or, an enchantress can be played to subdue a knight. To indicate that a creature has been subdued, lay the card you’ve played directly across (at right angles) the creature that you’ve subdued. It’s also important to note that you may substitute any two matching symbols in the place of any single symbol as a wild card so to speak. (Some cards may allow you to to use special powers when you go adventuring – but we’ll say more about that when we consider the free actions.) You may travel, in a continuous line, to as many regions as you would like (and are able) to. You may freely move through and stop on region spaces, even if they contain another adventurer. Any cards that you subdued while adventuring are added to your face-up discard pile, along with any cards that you used to subdue those creatures. Finally, any gems that you acquired by subduing creatures are added to your personal supply.

So what happens if you choose to visit a statue as your action? Well, in this instance you have several options: You can either: (1) Draw three statue cards; (2) Release up to three card from your hand (or discard pile) at a cost of one gem per card; or, (3) Teleport to a region with a matching statue token. Let’s start with drawing statue cards. You will be able to draw three cards from the deck matching the statue on the region space where your adventure is located. If you visit the artifact or beast tower, you may buy as many (or none at all) cards as you can afford – paying the cost indicated on the card in gems. The cards you purchase are placed into your discard pile; unclaimed cards are placed face-up under their respective decks. If, however, you draw quest cards, you must claim at least one of the cards that you draw, placing any claimed quests face-up on the table. Be careful, however, as any incomplete quests will score penalty points equal to the number of cups on the card at the end of the game. Alternatively, you can spend gems to release (read trash) cards from your hand and/or discard pile, at a cost of one gem per card. You may not release peaceful dragon cards, however. Finally, you could also choose to teleport to a region tile with a matching statue.

The final action you can choose, is to complete one quest card. To complete a quest card, you’re adventurer must be located in the region indicated on the quest card and you must discard the required number and type of cards from your hand (potentially supplemented by cards you had committed to the quest as a free action). The quest you complete may be either a public or private quest and, once completed, take any rewards (gems or VP tokens) awarded by that quest and place it face down on your player board. Then check your total score to see if you have met or exceeds the quest goal (including of course any penalties for incomplete quests). If you have met the quest goal, congrats, you’ve just won the game; otherwise play proceeds to the end of turn phase.

End of Turn: First of all, if you have any free actions that you wish to perform after your turn action you may play them now. Then, place any cards you’ve played this turn face-up in your discard pile. In addition, you may discard any unused cards from your hand to your discard pile. Also, if you moved to a region tile this turn, and there is another player on that tile, you may discard one unused card from your hand into their discard pile – say a Peaceful Dragon perhaps! Now, if you have fewer than five cards in your hand, you draw up to five. If your draw deck ever runs out when you need to draw, shuffle your discard pile to form a new draw deck. Play now passes to the player on your left.

There are a number of free actions that you can take during your turn and I will cover them, brief here – consult the rules for full details. These free actions can be performed both before and fter you turn action – but not during it. As far as free actions are concerned you can:

(1) Commit/withdraw) cards to/from a quest: You may commit cards to either a public or a private quest. If it’s a public quest, you may commit cards (to a maximum of five) with at least one symbol matching the requirements of a private quest, face-down under you quest token. If it’s a private quest, you may freely commit cards from your hand that have at least one symbol matching the requirements of the quest, face-up onto the table and tuck them beneath your quest card in such a fashion that they’re visible to all players. You may commit extra symbols to a quest, but only if all the requirements of that quest have first been met. You may also withdraw cards that you have committed to quests on earlier turns – although these cards are placed in your discard pile, not into your hand.

(2) Use a treasure token: You can expend a flying carpet token to fly to a to an adjacent region – without having to encounter the creatures on the paths in between. Or, you can expend a reshuffle token in order to shuffle your discard pile back into your draw deck. Flip these tiles face-down to show that they have been used.

(3)
Use a card’s special power: Some cards have special powers indicated in a circular symbol near the upper-left corner of the card. As a an example, a Peaceful Dragon symbol will let you draw a Peaceful Dragon card and place it in an opponent’s discard pile. A key symbol will allow you to visit a statue in your region as a free action. There are more symbols, but you can learn about them from the rules. They key thing is that you can play cards from your hand if they have these special powers – instead of using them for their main ability. As an example, here’s the Gryphon card (appropriate give the publisher I felt), which can be used for the special action of flying via carpet to an adjacent region.

(4) Use an artifact card: Play an artifact card from your hand and carry out the instructions on the card – pretty simple, yet fun and often very powerful.

End of Game:
The game ends immediately when any player has succeeded in equaling or exceeding the Quest Goal – that player is the winner. In rare instances, the game can end if you are unable to replenish the creature cards on the board. In such a case, the player with highest score at this point will be declared the winner.



Thoughts & Reflections:

Components & Aesthetics: Well, if you haven’t already figured it out, I’m pretty impressed with the production quality of this title. From the box to the cards, no corners have been cut (although some have been rounded) and everything has been constructed from top-notch materials. Now, I understand that the artwork won’t be everyone’s cup of tea (haha), but I really enjoy it. In my estimation the game’s artwork truly evokes the theme of the Narnia-esque world of Fantastiqa. And, hey if it doesn’t work for you, well, worst case scenario, you could break the box down and use it as body armor!

Theme: if I were to describe the theme of this game in one word, it would be: whimsical. As I noted in the introduction, it called to mind my childhood memories of reading the Chronicles of Narnia. Now, again, while I know that this won’t appeal to everybody (what does?) I found it endearing. From the outset, I appreciated Prof. Seegerts imaginative choices; indeed, the minute I realized that the spatula represented a sword and that the tooth brush was a wand, I knew I wanted to play this game. Throwing a pail of water on the witch to subdue her – that’s just good stuff! Tea drinking dragons and treasure sniffing dogs – sign me up! (I must confess to remaining a bit befuddled by the turkey leg symbol – but whatever.) Additionally, the game play genuinely provides the feeling of questing through this mystical world – as others have noted, it is, in some ways, evocative of an RPG style adventure. Overall, I loved the theme and the game’s aesthetics and mechanics really did support and evoke that theme in substantial ways.

(As an aside, I adored the Peaceful Dragon cards! And that’s saying something because I utterly loath the curse cards in both Dominion and Thunderstone – not to mention my hatred of the wound cards in Mage Knight. Yet, for reasons that aren’t entirely clear even to me, I never really minded when the Peaceful Dragon showed up in my hand. Quite honestly, they were my favourite cards in the game. He’s just so sedate and contented looking – and the warm tea seems so inviting that all I really wanted to do was to slather some jam on a scone and join him at him for ‘elvenses’.)

(Aside #2: My second favourite cards were the artifact cards. Now, I recognize that beast cards are pretty integral to a winning strategy, but they aren’t nearly as cool and fun as the artifact cards – my favourite of which was the double espresso card. I spent way too much time acquiring these cards and trying to make cool combinations occur when last I played. Ultimately, I may not have won, but my deck did some cool stuff!)

Mechanics: Well, I’ll preface these comments by confessing that deck building is tied with worker placement as my favourite mechanic – so I might be a bit biased here. Further, I should note that I’ve really come to appreciate games which make use of the deck building mechanic, but which also employ a board in meaningful ways (A Few Acres of Snow and Copycat are example of such a games). In this respect, Fantastiqa delivers. The building of your deck and your actual movement around the board, as well as the interaction with the monsters meshes together very nicely and in logical ways. That is to say, the board is not ancillary to the activity of deck construction – it’s both related to and important to the game as a whole. Having said this, I am not entirely confident that (with the exception of the long game), Fantastiqa is really a true deck builder. It seems to me, that it’s more of ‘deck shaper’ or a ‘deck tinkerer’ if you will. Sure, you can buy new cards and you can assign cards to quests to help streamline your deck; and you could, a considerable cost, pay gems to ‘trash’ cards from your deck. But, in my opinion, you don’t get the feeling that you’ve really optimized or personalized your deck in the way that do in say Dominion, Thunderstone, Copycat or Mage Knight. This isn’t, by any means, a knock against the game – it’s just a personal reflection on the degree, or extent, of the deck building that the game offers.

Accessibility: Is this a family style game – yes, it is. Is it a gateway game – no, I don’t think so. To be sure, Fantastiqa certainly isn’t a terribly complicated game in terms of rules, but there are a fair number of options to consider during your turn. Also, as it’s trends rather more towards the tactical (at least in the short/regular games) rather than the strategic, making decisions about the optimal way to carry out your turn will take some thinking. Overall, I would rate this game as being the next step up from traditional gateway games such as Ticket to Ride and, as a result, I would be inclined to say that 10+ is probably the right age to start introducing this title to you young’uns.

Players & Play Time: In my experience, Fantastiqa played well with two or three players – and particularly well with four. I must say that I loved the team play option, if for no other reason than that, the ability to trade cards with your partner, meant that I had fewer difficulties travelling and completing quests was made that much easier and quicker. The ability to partner a parent with a child and play off against another parent/child duo is also a real bonus. In fact, if I were to pick my preferred way of playing the game it would be with four. In terms of play time, you can of course set the game up to play a short, regular or long game – but in general I would be inclined to say that the game takes somewhat longer than you might think. I would be inclined to bank on the hour-and-a-half mark rather than the advertised sixty minutes. It doesn’t feel long, however, and that’s the most important thing.


Final Recommendation:

So what are my final thoughts on Fantastiqa? Well, as Tom Vasel is sometimes wont to say: I don’t think that this is a great game – but I think it’s a very, very good game. Further, if I were to limit the scope of comparison exclusively to the category of family style games, Fantastiqa’s ability to provide an experience that is accessible to younger players, yet remaining genuinely challenging and fun for adults, means that it sits near the top of my family game rankings. Overall, in terms of components, theme and mechanics I thoroughly enjoyed the game – especially the four player experience. So what keeps it from entering the ranks of the great? Well, as a base game, I have some concerns about its long term replayability. It seems to me that (and I know that my friend Andrew will at least mildly disagree) that the game proves a bit linear and “samey” after a few plays. After a couple of games, I found myself thinking that, while I certainly wanted to play the game again, I didn’t necessarily want to do so right away. By comparison, after my first game of Terra Mystica (and, yes, I realize this is comparing apples and oranges), I dreamt about it that night (actually, I woke my wife up round about 4:30am complaining that I didn’t have enough gold for the next round!) and spent the next few days trying to shuffle my schedule in an effort to free up another night to play as soon as possible. In my mind that’s the difference between a great game and a good game. Ultimately, Fantastiqa is a game that I enjoyed playing as team with my wife, which I look forward to teaching to my children and which I will be quite happy to play on a semi-regular basis – even if it didn’t leave me with that desperate need to play it again immediately. By way of conclusion, Alf Seegert is to be congratulated on producing a very fine game and I thank him for helping me remember the days of yore – when Narnia was but a shifted closet panel away!


Thanks For Reading!

31 
 Thumb up
1.03
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Another solid review, for a solid game! I'd love to hear some more feedback from you about the 4 player "team play" game. In the review you wrote:

jtemple wrote:
Things are particularly different (and awesome in my opinion) if you play with four – because, you’ll be playing as two teams of two.
[snip]
I must say that I loved the team play option, if for no other reason than that, the ability to trade cards with your partner, meant that I had fewer difficulties travelling and completing quests was made that much easier and quicker. The ability to partner a parent with a child and play off against another parent/child duo is also a real bonus. In fact, if I were to pick my preferred way of playing the game it would be with four.

I'm curious to hear more from you about how this partnership form of the game makes travelling and completing quests easier and quicker.

Having not yet played with 4 players myself, I take it that the game must have a very different feel with this configuration! Does it also present new challenges?

Also, how long did you find a four player game took, compared with 2-3 player games?
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
James Cheng
Taiwan
Taipei City
n/a
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmb
Nice review! It's very detailed, and clearly tell us what's good and what's not so good about the game.

From my personal experience of 1 3p game and 1 4p game, I'll say the 4p game is very interesting, in that you can trade cards with your partner, thus making completing quests more easier.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Michael F
United States
Albany
OR
flag msg tools
My job is not the day shift or the night shift, it's the always shift!
badge
I will chop your head off!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
This was a terrific review! I felt the same as you did in a lot of instances, though it seems like the theme was much more engrossing for you than it was me. I wanted to point out a few points that stood out to me:

jtemple wrote:


(As an aside, I adored the Peaceful Dragon cards! And that’s saying something because I utterly loath the curse cards in both Dominion and Thunderstone – not to mention my hatred of the wound cards in Mage Knight. Yet, for reasons that aren’t entirely clear even to me, I never really minded when the Peaceful Dragon showed up in my hand. Quite honestly, they were my favourite cards in the game. He’s just so sedate and contented looking – and the warm tea seems so inviting that all I really wanted to do was to slather some jam on a scone and join him at him for ‘elvenses’.)


I felt the exact same way. Honestly they seemed like cheap "take that" cards that didn't really do anything. I wasn't annoyed by them or totally pleased with them showing up. It was just like, okay, one less card. Not a big deal. It's not like they were curses from Thunderstone or anything.

jtemple wrote:


Having said this, I am not entirely confident that (with the exception of the long game), Fantastiqa is really a true deck builder. It seems to me, that it’s more of ‘deck shaper’ or a ‘deck tinkerer’ if you will. Sure, you can buy new cards and you can assign cards to quests to help streamline your deck; and you could, a considerable cost, pay gems to ‘trash’ cards from your deck. But, in my opinion, you don’t get the feeling that you’ve really optimized or personalized your deck in the way that do in say Dominion, Thunderstone, Copycat or Mage Knight. This isn’t, by any means, a knock against the game – it’s just a personal reflection on the degree, or extent, of the deck building that the game offers.


I tried to convey this in my review, but I think you hit the nail on the head here. I feel like this game is almost a "lite" deck builder versus a "true" one.

jtemple wrote:

...as a base game, I have some concerns about its long term replayability. It seems to me that (and I know that my friend Andrew will at least mildly disagree) that the game proves a bit linear and “samey” after a few plays...I will be quite happy to play on a semi-regular basis – even if it didn’t leave me with that desperate need to play it again immediately.


I felt the exact same way. Something about it made it appeal to me in wanting to play it again, but I can't see getting a ton of mileage out of the game in the long term. Still a very very good game, as you've said

Thanks for your review!
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Andrew MacLeod
Canada
London
Ontario
flag msg tools
designer
badge
And when, exactly, are we playing Churchill again?
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
To borrow Tom Vasel's phrase that you also borrowed, Jeff: a very, very good review!

The most important thing about it was your identification of Fantastiqa as NOT a deck-builder, but a deck-shaper or tinkerer! I grow weary of the criticisms of Fantastiqa based on it being something that it ain't. Criticize it for what it is, people! (As you have done, O Flying Half-Dutchman.)

I would like to echo the comments of the Great Green Guy: please say more about your four-player experience. I actually find it more difficult as a team game, given that the quests penalize you collectively if unfulfilled, and it requires a fair bit of precise, mutual understanding between partners about who is doing what...which also can cause a good number of restrictions on possible actions! As for the ease in getting the cards you need from your partner, you do need to be in the same general area to do so, which can tie one half of the team down for a time.

So please: say more!

2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Andrew MacLeod
Canada
London
Ontario
flag msg tools
designer
badge
And when, exactly, are we playing Churchill again?
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
And furthermore!:

In response to Michael's comments about Fantastiqa being a "lite deck builder": I find Dominion to be the lighter game. It can easily be introduced to an eight year old. Not so Fantastiqa (at least using the full rules). Certainly, Fantastiqa could be described as a lighter deck-builder....but as you have pointed out, O Flying Half-Dutchman, it's a deck-shaper if anything, not a deck-builder.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
amacleod wrote:
I would like to echo the comments of the Great Green Guy: please say more about your four-player experience. I actually find it more difficult as a team game, given that the quests penalize you collectively if unfulfilled, and it requires a fair bit of precise, mutual understanding between partners about who is doing what...which also can cause a good number of restrictions on possible actions! As for the ease in getting the cards you need from your partner, you do need to be in the same general area to do so, which can tie one half of the team down for a time.

So please: say more!

The silence is deafening...
3 
 Thumb up
0.05
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
jtemple wrote:
Deck Boards: You’ll also receive a couple of totally unnecessary, but nice to have, boards on which to store these various decks of cards.

Just a small correction to the above statement in the review - it's not quite the case that the deck boards are totally unnecessary. As seen below, the artwork on the back of three of the decks is identical (for obvious reasons; you should not be able to identify which cards are which once they are in your personal deck). There needs to be some way to distinguish these decks when they're face down, and that's where the deck boards come in.

5 
 Thumb up
0.05
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.