Publisher: Z-Man Games
Game Type: Abstract Strategy, Bluffing, Deduction, Area Control
Designer: Leo Colovini
Initial Year of Release: 2018
Artist: Atha Kanaani
Artist: Bree Lindsoe
Artist: Dan Gerlach
Artist: Samuel R. Shimota
Theme and What is It?
Fae is a re-theme of the game, Clans. I have never played the game, Clans, so my review will not be a comparison but only on the gameplay and art, etc. from Fae.
In the game, two to four players are secretly guiding lost druids together to complete sacred rituals that will honor the mystical creatures of the Fae in order to survive the astonishing realm.
The game board consists of twelve regions that contain five spaces. There are five different druid colors that represent the five spirits of the Fae. One of each color starts out in a space within each region. Every player is dealt one of the five colored spirit cards and their color is kept secret until the end of the game. There is one remaining color that is considered a neutral player which is placed back into the box unseen.
Players take turns moving the druid pieces to different spaces. Druids cannot move into empty spaces and once a space contains 7 or more druids, that group of druids can no longer move, although more druids can move into that space with them. After a player takes a turn, if all neighboring spaces next to any druids are empty, those druids perform the sacred ritual. At this point, the top ritual card is checked. The druids could be standing on blessed terrain or cursed terrain depending on this card. Disruption is then checked. If the druids are standing on cursed terrain, they are immediately removed and no scoring takes place. If all five spirit colors are present, then any sole druids are removed, then the rest of the druids score. Druids score extra if standing on blessed terrain. Regardless if the ritual was disrupted, the player that caused the ritual, receives the ritual card for additional points at the end of the game. The game ends when all ritual cards have been scored or there are no possible moves left for druids on the board.
A game will likely attract me in one of two ways – artwork or components. With Fae, it was definitely the artwork. However, the gameplay mechanics must be equally appealing before a purchase can be made, in my opinion. Now, having played the game, I can say that it fits both of my criteria.
Game Build Quality
There are not many components to the game, which I like. It makes for easy setup and take down. The cards and board are good quality. The druids, which are made from a hard plastic and are about an inch high, are unique components for the game.
I LOVE games that are easy to explain, yet hold a lot of depth. Fae is one of them. There are many approaches for individual gameplay. My favorite was using a manipulative tactic that made other players make my moves for me. I never once initiated a ritual, but made sure that when other players did, my secret spirit scored a lot of points. Another interesting aspect of the game is that it is entirely possible that the neutral color wins the game!
The artistic direction taken with Fae was my initial attraction to the game. The box art is beautifully done and indicates nothing of what the game is about. I love a box that leaves an inquisitive mind. The terrains on the board are a pastel color that coincide with the box art. The artwork is fantastic on both the spirit and ritual cards.
Difficulty and Age Range Suggestion
The company, Z-Man Games, gives this a 10+ for age suggestion. I would definitely agree with the minimum age for initially comprehending the gameplay mechanics, but more maturity is needed for learning deeper strategies.
Fae is a solid game. If you are in search for a game that is just above the “filler” category but not something that is going to take an hour or two, this is it. I loved that it took us about thirty minutes or less to play and if we wanted to just play it again, we could. Plus, the artwork is gorgeous!