Monday 14 May 2018

Stuffed Fables Game Review for Asmodee (age 7+)

Stuffed Fables is a co-operative adventure book game for 2-4 players. It takes you on a journey through a child's dream, in the nightmare-laden world that is The Fall. The book is all-important. It is where you find the story, your guide and your playing board for the amazingly detailed character pieces to play out the scenes from the story. This is also one of the most beautiful games I've ever had the opportunity to play.

There are many components. Everything is packaged in a sturdy box and fits back inside for storage. You know you have something special even before you begin to read the rules. You'll be delighted to know that gameplay doesn't disappoint either - Stuffed Fables is an all-round winner here.

The main item is the Adventure Book itself, which is illustrated so richly that I'm dying to go through it page by page. You can't really though, as it must be followed in order to travel through the story - get ahead and you can spoil the ending for yourself. There are 7 complete stories to play through.

Likewise there is a Story Deck and these cards must only be read in order when you are prompted to do so. They give the details of the story and only make total sense when read at the correct time.

There are many characters and playing pieces, a huge bag of dice in various colours (plus a drawstring bag for storage and blind selection) buttons and card packs. Don't be deterred, it seems a lot, but makes sense as you begin to play.

The character and other playing pieces are amazing. Stuffed Fables suits 2-4 players and there are 6 Stuffie characters for you to choose from, each with their own qualities and bonuses, and a character card to remind you.

There are also playing pieces for the enemies your Stuffies face along their journey and they are incredibly detailed and well made. The game is worth it for these alone.

Before first play allow 5 minutes to press out cardboard tokens representing hearts (good deeds), gameplay accessories such as furniture and a train, and other items including a black dice tally (or 'Threat Track').

I think that's everything.... except a large playing surface. You need about 3 1/2 times the width of the book to fit everything in line. Our table is only just comfortable at 2ft x 3ft (60cm x 90cm) - although we soon realised we didn't need all the playing pieces out, we just wanted to look at them.

Each player takes the part of a 'Stuffie', one of the little girl's stuffed toys who has sworn to guard her. They are a little bit 'horror movie' and Stuffed Fables has a quite oppressive feel to it, however it isn't actually scary because the players are responsible for all battles. Encountering an enemy can initiate a fight, which is completed in a polite, turn-based manner and results mainly in your Stuffie falling over if defeated. The age 7+ guidance is spot on.

When you start it seems really daunting, but the book and the cards will tell you what to do next. Each player plays in order each round, and a turn includes:

  • Drawing 5 randomly selected dice from the bag (depending on the number of players).
  • Using any white dice to 'search' for stuffing for repairs (health)
  • Placing black dice on the battle tally to see if there will be an encounter.
  • Using other dice to perform movement and/or actions - e.g green dice for climbing and ranged attack, red dice to melee attack, yellow to search, white to assist another player. Purple dice are a 'wild card' and can be given any chosen colour's attribute, therefore can move over any terrain.
  • You can reserve a spare dice on your card until the next turn, or donate to another player
  • Discard any leftover dice
  • Check the threat level

A turn can also include tasks, group tasks and many other random events and encounters when a character lands on a special space on the board.

Once the total of the black dice on the Threat Track equals of exceeds the number of minions in play, it is activated and each minion takes a turn. They attack the nearest Stuffie, if any are in range. Minions and Minion Bosses each have a given amount of health.

The novelty of playing 'in the book' is quite special, especially as it is so beautiful. It plays out more like a computer game than a traditional board game, as scenes unfold and the storyline progresses. You don't always win, we didn't complete the first time, but we were all keen to replay and there are 7 full stories in Stuffed Fables.

Stuffed Fables is an exciting game that is incredibly tactile and beautiful, and it has an interesting storyline and brilliant atmosphere that pulls everyone in. It seems daunting because there are so many different parts, but you don't need to learn the game before you can play, the book walks you through it.

We played with our 8 and 9 year olds. They had no problem following the gameplay and loved it. We also loved it. Stuffed Fables is a great game. Suggested game length is 60-90 minutes, it'll likely be longer the first time you play, especially if you play with youngsters, but once you get underway, the story flows along. A fantastic game for families, gamers and an ideal gift for the Grandparent who already has everything. A good all-rounder.

Stuffed Fables is devised by Jerry Hawthorne and made by Plaid Hat Games, distributed in the UK by Asmodee. Available to buy now rrp £64.99 from independent games stockists instore and online, including Amazon, where at the time of typing, it is currently reduced to £56.66 (affiliate link*).

I was sent my game for review as I'm part of the Blogger Board Game Club. *The Amazon link is affiliate, which will never make me rich, but earns me a few pence if you buy through my link, while costing you no more. 

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