“…its making a bold statement about bringing back things that we used to value. It brings a nostalgia for a simpler time when parents more frequently stoked the flame of imagination in their children with story books and nursery tales.”
Did you have a favorite toy when you were growing up? Maybe a toy that you needed to have with you before you could go to sleep? As a child, toys can bring comfort, fun, and they can even feel like your protectors.
In Stuffed Fables, a 2-4 player, adventure story book game by plaid hat games, players take on the roles of stuffed toys as they fight to protect their owner, a little girl, from bad dreams, and evil creatures, as she sleeps in her big girl bed. So put on your onesies, stifle your yawns, and join me for a look at Stuffed Fables!
Stuffed Fables is a cooperative game, where players will play through multiple different adventures called stories. Each story has its own plot and characters, and players can play in one sitting if they have the time, or play in multiple sittings.
The main component of the game is a spiral bound story book with each page being another part of the story. When opening to each page, one side of the page is the game board and the other side of the page contains the story text that players read as they come across certain characters or perform certain actions. The text really guides the story and prompts the players to make certain decisions.
Gameplay consists of moving, searching, discovering, interacting with non player characters, and fighting bad guys.
Along the way players find new weapons and other items, gain and lose health points (referred to as stuffing) and move to new pages of the book as they complete small objectives, or make certain group decisions.
A player’s turn consists of multiple actions determined by the 5 dice the player randomly pulls out of a bag at the start of their turn. Depending on what color dice you pull, you get to take certain actions. But if you pull out too many black dice, a surge of enemies will join you on the board and you will be forced to fight.
Each adventure also contains something called a discovery deck. This is a small deck of cards that remain hidden until players come across certain parts of the story and are asked to access this deck. The deck contains special items, characters and enemies, that are only relevant to this specific story.
Once players have completed a certain adventure and deleted the bad guy, they can start the next adventure.
The first word that I can think of to describe this game is “Beautiful”. Everything about this game is stunning. When I first received the game I was absolutely blown away by the art, and the quality of the components. The color scheme used in the art is so vibrant, it pulls you in immediately and gives you a fairy tale like feeling. I had to restrain myself from flipping through the entire story book to see the art, because I didn’t want to spoil the story.
The components of the game are great, but I expected nothing less from Plaid Hat Games. The box is of a high quality material, thick, and with a beautiful glossy finish. The story book is sturdy and beautiful to look at. The miniatures are also excellent, and so engaging when added to the board during an adventure.
Stuffed Fables is brilliantly innovative. Containing the entire adventure into a story book is not only really convenient, its making a bold statement about bringing back things that we used to value. It brings a nostalgia for a simpler time when parents more frequently stoked the flame of imagination in their children with story books and nursery tales. I have fond memories of being read to by parents and grandparents, and playing Stuffed Fables brought back those memories and feelings. I can already see the Story Book style of gaming exploding onto the scene as other companies will try to mimic this game. I honestly hope that they do.
The theme of the game is so much fun. Unlike Mice and Mystics, which can be considered a predecessor to this game, Stuffed Fables immediately screams out that it wants parents to play this game with their children. The story, and the mechanics, have a great balance of being fun for adults but still very appropriate for children.
I especially love that, as pointed out by the rule booklet, the game encourages the players to make decisions, with consequences for each decision made. Some decisions will throw the players off of their current course, by choosing to help a non player character, but will give the players a reward at the end. Others give you absolutely no reward at the end, because in life, you don’t always get a reward for helping others. What a fantastic moral to teach kids!
The game also incorporates a “choose your own adventure” style into the story telling. Each decision made can send you down a completely different course than the opposing decision. Sometimes you miss opportunities to go to certain places, or get certain items, if you take too long, or if you choose to help or not help someone. I love the replayability factor here, as each time you play an adventure can be different.
The game mechanics are so well thought out and streamlined, that playing feels easy, and very natural. I love how the dice determine your actions, making turns quicker by not allowing players to choose from too many options each turn.
Compared to other cooperative games, the game is relatively easy. The minions you fight aren’t too difficult to defeat, but they hit really hard. What’s amazing is that when I played, I didn’t mind at all that the game was easy, because it wasn’t about difficulty. I found that I was playing the game for the beautiful story, and the decision making, not the difficulty. As a gamer who really enjoys a difficult game, this has been very surprising to me.
The only thing about this game that I wish was different was the 4 player maximum. I think it would have been possible to add a 5th player to the game, and I wish they would have.
I want to note that I did not play this game with any kids, and had a great time playing. This game is not only for people to play with their kids, adult gamers will still enjoy this game.
If you enjoy story telling games, beautiful art work, and a game that gives you the freedom to make story changing decisions, Stuffed Fables is an absolute must have. If you like to play games with your kids, or want to have an experience with them that you wont forget, you should not delay in adding Stuffed Fables to your collection.
Stuffed Fables is set to release February of 2018.
Play on boys and girls.