At our weekly game night at the brewpub, we blew through a decent amount of new games. In addition to playing the new Matt Leacock game Chariot Race (read our review here), we also ticked some games off the old “List of Shame” – games I’ve resolved to play before buying anything new. Check out our write up of The Grizzled and Fairy Tale below.
The Grizzled is beautiful. It’s a wonderful example of board games as art. Players take a band of brothers-type role in World War I, helping one another through difficult trials to survive the hardships of war. It’s a cooperative game wherein the team must discard all of their cards in a strategically orchestrated effort to not overwhelm each other with too many like hardships. Occasionally, you will have to play status effects on yourself or others and the decision to hurt another solider for the group’s collective benefit is never easy to make. Subsequent phases have you silently working to support each other and rid the table of harmful statuses and overwhelming odds.
The artwork is honestly what initially drew me to this game – I didn’t expect I could get many friends on board with theme, but it’s so far been a hit. Tragically, the artist for the game, Tignous, was killed in the Charlie Hebdo shooting in 2015. The components are fairly sparse: character cards, trials, a few tokens and that’s it. It sets up quickly, has a fairly low learning curve, and plays in about half an hour (or shorter, if you absolutely bomb from the onset). I will caution you that the game is thematically pretty heavy, as it deals with the struggles World War I, and it is also punishingly difficult (as was World War I). We did win the second of the two games we played, but Logan admitted that he had only won one of seven games he’d played previously, and Logan is a man I credit with picking up new strategies very quickly.
Anyway, highly recommend this game. I’ll definitely be keeping this in my collection.
The second game we played was Fairy Tale, a coincidentally also a game of set collection, except this time the goal was to finish the sets instead of avoiding them. In a nutshell, players each draft one card from their hand, pass to the left, and then draft another, repeating this until all but two cards are drafted. The goal is to obtain a spread of cards that work in tandem and accrue the most points.
Shane taught this one, and at one point I stopped and remarked “either I’m missing something or this game is easier than I think it is.” Turns out, it was dead easy. Super simple and not much room for interpretation. It’s certainly a good gateway into how to strategically use the drafting mechanic for your benefit and for the downfall of others, but not much substance beyond that.
Also, the theme (one of the things that initially drew me to the game) is absolutely pasted on and the artwork is kinda corny. The game could really be about any other theme and the mechanics could work exactly as they do. That’s always a bit of a bummer.