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.

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Tuesday 13 April 2021

The Fourth Pig Made a House of Plastic:- Fairy Tale Inn

Game: Fairy Tale Inn

Publisher: CMON 

Designer: Remo Conzadori, Paolo Mori

Year: 2021

 Fairy Tale Inn is a two player tile placing game with an immediate resemblance to the classic connect four. However instead of faceless tokens, the tiles you are adding to the grid represent different fairy tale characters, each with their own abilities and uses. Your objective isn't simply to get tiles in a row, but instead to place them so that each can maximize their own unique scoring mechanism to get you the most coins.

Each turn you'll be taking one tile from the market of four to place. The first two options are free to take, while the final two will cost you a coin or two to pick. You then can drop that tile into the top of the vertical grid board. Many characters then have an immediate ability that can be triggered, for example the little pigs want to be grouped in clumps, scoring you one coin per friendly pig they are in a group with. After placing a tile you'll draw a new one from the bag and place it at the top spot of the market ready for the next player to play. Turns continue like this until there are three columns where the tiles have reached the roof of the inn. At this point the game ends, end game scoring characters are assessed and the player with the most coins will win.

Your opponent's characters are whited out, letting you easily see where your characters are, useful for Red riding hood.

While learning how to play the game is simplicity itself, deciding how to play becomes instantly more complicated. With five of eight unique characters in play each game you'll have to be flexible with strategies depending what comes out of the bag on any given turn. Positioning is important both in how best to score your characters and what you give away for your opponent. If you can pen off their pigs then you can limit their scoring opportunity, but is it worth it if in return you give away one of the bonus spaces in the inn? These give valuable extra points, or the simply priceless bonus of an extra turn.

Each character brings their own scoring mechanics to the game.

Fairy Tale Inn was full of surprises. When I first sat down to a CMON game with no minis (I guess it's the 'Or Not' game) that looks like a deluxe Connect 4 kit, certain expectations arose. Fortunately though those were mostly wrong. While Fairy Tale Inn has enough in common with its classic inspiration to make it non-threatening to new gamers, the depth of strategy during play will surprise you. Each character has their own use, such as the pied piper which lets you place a second, powerless rat, tile in the same turn. While this can't get you many coins, the ability to block off your opponent's pieces in one fell swoop cannot be underestimated! Fairy Tale Inn manages to straddle the line of being approachable and interesting with great aplomb.

However that's not to say that it's managed to become a new resident of our game shelves. The main problem I had was the replayability, with eight different characters there was certainly some, but I couldn't help but feel that a couple more would have made the game far more interesting to come back to. After having played it half a dozen times I felt that most games became shockingly similar, with some characters, such as the big bad wolf, being extremely valuable for how easy they are to use. Despite that I do believe that Fairy Tale Inn makes for a great on-boarding game, a fantastic thing to play to show a friend how games have changed, over the years, or a great board game cafe experience.


Fairy Tale Inn was a review copy provided by Asmodee UK. It is available at your friendly local game store or can be picked up at http://www.365games.co.uk  

1 comment:

  1. I really liked it. I've played half a dozen times over two sesssions and would happily go back for more - though I am hopeful that a £10 expansion pack could be produced with some more characters.