It’s weird. All year long I brag about how January is the best time to shop for used games at thrift. It’s been my experience that people clean out their closets to make room for opened gifts. Unplayed games are usually the first thing to go. This hasn’t been the case this year. The shelves are empty, weeks after Christmas. I did manage to find one game I didn’t have in the collection – Fairy Tale by What’s Your Game?.
Fairy Tale was originally published in 2005 and subsequently picked up by other publishers due to its popularity. Comprised of one hundred standard size cards, Fairy Tale supports up to five players. Setup is extremely quick. The randomly chosen dealer simply shuffles the deck of cards and places them in the middle of the table.
A typical game of Fairy Tale is played over four rounds, with the object being to have the highest point total at the end of the game. Each round you will add three new cards to a personal tableau, which may or may not increase the value of other cards you have collected. More detail in a moment.
Each player is dealt five cards. Everyone picks up and looks at their cards without showing them to other players. They each choose one card and place it in front of them face down on the table. The remaining cards are passed clockwise. Another card is chosen by each person and the rest are again passed to the left. This continues until each player has five cards in front of them and no more in their hands.
Everyone then picks up the five cards they’ve kept. At the same time, each player selects one card and places it face down in front of them. These are revealed simultaneously, and all possible effects are applied (as listed on each card). These effects might affect only the person playing the card or to all players and vary by card category (Shadow Kingdom, Dragon Valley, etc.) and action (Hunt, Open, Close). For the most part, these will cause cards already in play to be flipped face down or back to face up.
From the five kept cards, this selection process will occur three times. The remaining two cards are discarded. The three played cards will be laid out on the table in a row. Additional rounds are played, going in the opposite player order, until each person has a tableau of twelve cards (three per row in four rows).
At the end of the fourth round any cards which are still closed (face down) are removed and the rest of the cards are scored. Scoring details are listed in the rules and symbolized on each card. Some will score only if another paired up card is in the tableau. Others are worth points when multiples of them are owned by the same player. Becoming familiar with the scoring is key to playing a successful game of Fairy Tale.
For a simpler game, it is suggested to remove twenty special cards, marked with a special symbol. This makes the game a little quicker and easier to resolve. It’s probably best to play this version the first few times through!
It doesn’t appear that Fairy Tale is currently in print, but there are several affordable examples on eBay. Because of its popularity, I would expect to see used copies pop up at thrift occasionally. You might also consider seeing if your local game store has a used game sale. Many have this type of promotion yearly and there’s a good chance you’ll be able to pick up a copy for a few bucks.
What’s the game situation look like at your thrift stores?