Fancy Feathers is a two player game that can be expanded to up to six players… if you buy three copies. What is this madness? Does it make sense? Is the game any good? Well, lucky you! I’m here to answer all your questions and more in this award winning review.
Fancy Feathers is from designer Friedemann Friese who likes to name his games with the same alliteration as his own name. Whether he comes up with the name or the game first will be forever shrouded in mystery, but he must surely be running out of F words?
At its core Fancy Feathers is a set collection game with a lot of variety built in. You will only use 6 of the 12 types of cards provided each game. At the start of the game players are assigned a playing token and the 6 sets are shuffled. The top five cards are dealt out in a path face up.
On a players turn they place their token on any card they want, either in front or behind or on top of other players. Making sure there are always 5 cards in front of the player that is furthest forward. If you are moving your token from a card and you are the last token left on that card you take it and all the cards behind that haven’t been claimed, adding them to your sets, before you move. The next player to act is always the furthest back.
Of course not all cards are desirable. Each set has its own scoring rules, some rewarding collecting multiple cards, some punishing you for collecting too many of a type, and pheasant farts which always score negative points. Others may allow you one off powers, or multiply their scoring potential based on other cards you have collected.
Which is all fairly standard stuff when it comes to set collection. The way you get cards is a really nice mechanism though and I always enjoy games that let you move as far as you want but then have to wait for everyone to catch up. It creates this nice decision of jumping ahead to get something you really want, at the risk of missing out on things and being ditched with a load of pheasant farts. They are in the game – honest!
Stitching up others is always on the table as you have to take all the unclaimed cards behind you as well as your chosen card. In games with more than two players this often means stacking up on the back player can be a real life saver, delaying your decisions without having to take any cards. Of course if everyone does this it can cause a mid game stutter which is quite noticeable in a game of such a short length.
When it comes to rating Fancy Feathers I’m having a really hard job because of the way it is packaged. Because as a two player game it isn’t very compelling. Add more players in and it’s a great experience though, but that means buying at least two copies, at which point you could have brought a more complex and rewarding game.
If you like set collection with some good decision space then this might be worth doing, but you might just end up resenting the fact you are having to pay twice to get the ‘full’ experience. As a two player game I just can’t recommend it over games like 7 Wonders Duel.
As a two player game it’s fine – you do have a little more control over what you collect but you lose a lot of the fun and threat of more players. So add 10% to my final score if you are playing with more than two.
Fancy Feathers is a fun quick game of set collection with an interesting card selection mechanism, that is ultimately held back by its format and decision to sell as a two player game. Were it released as a four player game from the off it would be a lot easier to recommend. As it is I can only advise picking it up in a sale or if you are a die hard set collection or Friedemann Friese fan.