Fairy Land is a game by Luca Iennaco, published by Elfinwerks. It is for 2-4 players. In this game, players try to score the most points by collecting sets of flower and animal cards. The player that can collect the most and avoid the goblins and ogres best will be declared the winner.
To begin, all cards will be separated by their card backs and by color. Each player is given a set of 8 House cards that range in number from 1-7, plus they are given a Fairy Crest card. The gold backed Queen’s Court cards are shuffled and the top 9 cards are placed face down on the table while the others get set aside. The green backed Forest cards are shuffled and the top 9 cards are placed in a stack to form the Druid deck. The rest of the Forest cards are set face down and they form the Forest deck. The top 3 cards of the Forest deck are placed face up, forming the 3 Clearings. Play now begins.
Play is divided into 3 phases: Dawn, Day and Sunset. In the Dawn phase, new things appear in the Clearings. This is done by drawing the top 2 cards from the Forest deck and placing them face up in 2 different Clearings. If a goblin or ogre appears, they must be placed in a Clearing with the least amount of evil creatures. Other than that, the cards drawn can be placed wherever the player would like.
The next phase is the Day phase. During this phase, one of four actions are taken. The player can explore a Clearing. This is done by the player choosing a Clearing. The player to the left and continuing in order bid fairies from their hand or pass. The active player always gets to bid last. The highest offer then plays the cards from their hand with the combined total of their bid. They then take all the cards in that Clearing, placing them in front of themselves. If there is a special fairy in the Clearing, it goes in the players hand. Special Fairies have special abilities that a player can use. If there’s an ogre present, it causes the player to discards two animal or flower cards they have. Another action that can be done is to ask for an audience with the Queen. This is done by playing any number of Fairy cards. The total value is added and then the player draws a number of cards equal to one less than the total value from the Queen’s Court deck. The player examines the cards and chooses one to play face up in front of themselves. The rest are returned to the bottom of the Queen’s Court deck. These cards are items that give special abilities. The next action is to visit the Druids. Again Fairy cards are played, added up and then one less than the total is drawn from the top of the Druid deck. These cards are inspected and one card is chosen to be placed face up in front of the player while the rest go back to the bottom of the Druid deck. The final action is to use an item. A player may use their Fairy Crest or any other item they have received from the Queen’s Court that is marked “usable”. The item is then discarded after use.
The final phase is the Sunset phase. During this phase, any Clearing that has 6 or more cards in them is emptied and discarded from the game. Play now shifts to the next player. This continues until the Forest deck runs out of cards. At this point the game is over and scoring begins. To score, the player with the most of each kind of animal will score points base on the type of animal. Flowers are scored based on number of a particular color and number of variety. The player with the most Goblins loses 2 points each. Some items will give points based on their text. Fairies in the player’s hand score 3 points if that player has the highest total score of Fairies still unplayed. The player with the highest total score is the winner.
There are lots of beautiful looking cards in this game. As a matter of fact, that’s all the components to this game. It doesn’t matter though as that’s all you really need. Well, you might need a calculator or a scoring pad and pen, but that’s not a big deal. I’m absolutely blown away at the beauty of this game. The artist did an amazing job on these cards. They are bright and colorful and easy to separate based on the backs. They are a little of an unusual shape, more like a tarot card than a normal playing card but that’s kinda cool. There was even an extra set of French text cards included with my copy. I’m guessing it’s an international verison. That’s another cool factor.
9 out of 10
This game comes with two rulebooks, one in English and one in French. Like I stated earlier, I’m guessing it’s due to being an international version. The rules are very easy to read and understand. There are pictures showing how to set up and play the game. There are also lots of examples to help you understand the rules. It’s not a big book, being only 8 pages long. I have to say that it works really well and looks nice.
9 out of 10
The game is really simple and not hard to learn. It plays rather quickly. With repeated play, I’m sure it can be played in about 30 minutes. The theme is nice and doesn’t feel forced or just painted on. It actually works. The auction mechanic works well in either helping the player get the Clearing cards they want or by making them pay out the nose to get them. That makes for a really nice take that aspect of the game. I like the bidding and the special items. Not knowing which one you could possibly get from the Queen deck makes the game interesting and very replayable. All in all, the game is really nicely done.
9 out of 10
Fairy Land is a light game of bidding and set collection. It is a fun game that everyone should love. Die hard gamers might feel a little bit weird playing it at first, but once they have, they will ask to play it again and again. The artwork really draws you in and the mechanics work really well to craft a very beautiful game. I recommend playing this one for sure. Don’t let the name fool you. It’s not a girly game even though it is pretty. It can be very cut throat when bidding for Clearings. Scoring is fun. Comparing what you have to other players and just missing winning points by a card or two, that’s fun and lots of laughter will be had during this time. There might even be an “In Yo FACE!” moment at that time. It’s all in good fun. The bottom line is that the game is fun and pretty. Just buy it and you’ll agree with me.
9 out of 10
For more information about this and other great games, please check out Elfinwerks at their site.