I wrote a review of Fairy Tale in Finnish.
Fairy Tale is a drafting game with a very superficial fantasy theme. There are four rounds: in the beginning of each, five cards are dealt to the players. Each player takes one card and passes the rest to the next player. Of the four cards they receive, players keep one and pass the rest, and so on, until all players have five cards selected and none left in hand.
Then comes the second part of the round: players play three cards, one by one, revealing their cards simultaneously. The two extra cards are discarded. This is repeated four times, leaving the players with twelve cards played . The player with the most points win. So far so good!
Of course, it’s not that simple. The cards have more than points. There are four suits, three of which are practically identical. The cards build up on each other: each suit, for example, has a card that has a value of n, where n is the number of those cards you have in play. There are cards with the value of n*3, where n is the number of certain other card.
Advanced cards bring even more options in the form of conditional cards. With those, you can score large amounts of points, if you can fulfill certain conditions: have most cards in a suit, have certain cards on the table and so on.
It’s not that simple, however. You are not guaranteed to keep all your cards! Some cards close other cards: a closed card doesn’t score any points, unless you can open it somehow. The fourth suit, shadows, is particularly full of cards that close cards from each player. These cards bring some player interaction to a game that is otherwise fairly solitaire-ish.
Quick and fun
Fairy Tale is a reliable game: unless the players are really, really slow, a game’s over in 15 minutes. There’s a fairly hefty dose of luck involved and some of the decisions are pretty trivial, I’d say, but it doesn’t really matter. There’s at least an illusion of control and it’s enough. I always have a good time playing the game and choosing my cards. I don’t care about the lack of interaction: I’m happy when I’m able to keep an useful card from an opponent every now and then.
I haven’t yet tried the game with two players, but the game definitely works with three, four or five players. Many people prefer the partnership game, which is good, but I like the game both ways. Fairy Tale is a perfect opening game while you’re waiting for more players to arrive and a perfect end for a session when you have only fifteen minutes left.