Welcome to The Game Shelf!

After getting into the board game hobby at the end of 2014, we've decided to share our thoughts on the games we're collecting on our shelves. The collection has certainly expanded over the last few years and we've been making up for lost time!

Sometimes our opinions differ, so Amy will be posting reviews every Tuesday and Fi will post on Thursdays. We hope you enjoy reading some of our opinions on board games - especially those for two players.

Get in touch by emailing thegameshelfblog@gmail.com

Sunday, 24 June 2018

The Game Shelf Reviews:- Fairy Tile

Game: Fairy Tile

Publisher: IELLO

Designer: Matthew Dunstan, Brett J. Gilbert

Year: 2018


Fairy Tile is inspired by your classic fairy tale story. Knight meets Princess, Dragon flies over castle, Knight fights Dragon in the mountains, Knight keeps a close eye on the Dragon and the Princess, Knight slays Dragon my the long river, Princess and Knight live happily ever after.

This particular fairy tale may not make a lot of sense, but each player is equipped with a 'book' and on its pages are snippets of the classic story. If you can achieve all of the scenarios you are asked to, then you will be the victor in Fairy Tile.

Fairy Tile is a competitive tile laying game for 2-4 players. It drew us in with it's eye-catching art style and pre-painted miniatures, but how does the game work?


Gameplay

At the start of a game of Fairy Tile you will evenly deal out all of the story cards to form each players hand, or book. Each player can look at only the top card of their book, which instructs them on what needs to happen for them to discard the card and continue to the next. For example a card may require the princess and the dragon to meet while standing on a mountain. The game is won by the first player to discard their entire book.

On your turn you may either play a tile, move a character or turn the page. When you play a tile you add a new set of 3 hexes to the game board, opening new opportunities and hopefully making it easier to complete your objectives. Moving a character allows you to pick one of the three characters to move along the board. The dragon moves in straight lines until it meets the edge of the board, the knight moves two spaces at a time while the princes can move only 1 space, but is able to teleport across the board from castle to castle. If your objective has been met after playing a tile or moving a character you can discard the card and move on to the next.


If you choose to turn the page then you move your current card to the bottom of your book and reveal the next one, not only does this give you a new, hopefully easier, objective to complete, but it also charges your magic token, which you can spend to move characters twice on a future turn.

Amy’s Final Thoughts

Fairy Tile is a simple game, with a great name, that makes for a beautiful filler or a game for a younger audience. The focus on one card at a time makes it hard to plan for the long term, while you can save cards for later and hopefully prepare for when they re-emerge generally it is a game of staying on your toes and being flexible as each objective appears.

Not every objective is equal, and of note any of the dragon objectives tend to be harder than the others, particularly once the map has grown to a large size. It can feel like a 3-4 turn puzzle just to get him where he needs to be. This is difficult enough with two players, but as soon as you add more the odds that someone else will interfere with your careful movement increase exponentially. Another flaw of the game with 2 players is one of stubbornness. On the rare occasion where you both need to move the same character in opposite directions the game will just stall until one of you decides to give in and let your opponent have the advantage. Of course as soon as there is a third player then there is someone using that wasted time to complete their own agenda and everything works out well.

The game itself is extremely well presented, while the minis don't stand up to intense scrutiny they are bright and colourful enough to help tie the game together. The tile laying gives me a familiar feeling to Carcassonne as you slowly unveil this fantasy landscape complete with mountain ranges and rivers. Fairly Tile isn't really designed with gamers like us in mind, but it manages to still be an enjoyable experience and would be great for a gamer family to play with their kids.

Fi’s Final Thoughts

Fairy Tile is a nice new twist on a tile laying game. Some of the movement and the hexagons remind me of the gardener and panda in Takenoko, which is no bad thing! I particularly enjoy the bitesize puzzles that the game offers, some of which are simple and others of which are much harder to pull-off, requiring multiple moves and the hope that someone else doesn't totally undermine you.

This lack of ability to ensure the same board state by the time your next turn comes round can be slightly frustrating at two player, and I'm honestly a little apprehensive of trying Fairy Tile at a higher player count for this reason. With two players, there can certainly be a tug of war between the characters, but it's ok to turn the page and move on and hope that two consecutive moves are enough to help you complete something in a late turn.


There's no doubt in my mind that there's some luck involved in the game. Some of the pages are just harder that others to complete, given a certain board layout at the time you draw the cards. Because the map is variable in each game, there's no one card that I could point out as being super easy or super hard, but sometimes one player will just have an easier time, no matter what the puzzle solving skills of each player. On the positive side, this means that the person who is best at spatial puzzles won't always win a game of Fairy Tile. There's also certain cards that make better late game cards - those requiring large areas of land or a long river, so drawing those early in your book can delay you in getting started.

With all that said, a game of Fairy Tile with two players lasts just 15 minutes, so a bit of luck is really not a concern to me. I enjoy the mechanisms and the artwork is charming and will definitely draw in younger players. Fairy Tile is definitely a great game for younger families and yet still one I think that we will continue to play with two players when we just need a relaxing, quick game to play.

You Might Like...
  • Fairy Tile is really light fun and we find it to be a really relaxing game to play. Any frustration with another player ruining your moves is always lighthearted.
  • There are a very small number of rules to the game, making it a really quick game to teach and introduce new people to.
  • Fairy Tile is a game of lots of small puzzles. There's nothing taxing to figure out, but the dragon movment in particular gives you something to scratch your head over.
You Might Not Like...
  • Some cards are harder than others, and you may just get stuck with a run of very difficult cards whilst someone else runs away with the game.
  • The game is very basic, and possibly too basic for most gamers, unless played as a filler between longer games.
The Verdict

6.5/10 Fairy Tile is a very light game, but it's one we're finding we return to when we need a guaranteed fun, quick game that is relaxing to play.

Fairy Tile was a review copy kindly provided to us by CoiledSpring Games.

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