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    Awards

    Rating

    • Artwork
    • Complexity
    • Replayability
    • Player Interaction
    • Component Quality

    You Might Like

    • The strategy involved.
    • Great for travelling.
    • It's easy to learn.

    Might Not Like

    • Limited player interaction.
    • Potential for long waiting times as players think about strategy.
    • Limited choice of cards.
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    Fantasy Realms Review

    Fantasy Realms Review

    The simplicity of Fantasy Realms means that anyone can pick this game up pretty easily. When playing a game for the first time I always consider whether or not my parents or in-laws would understand the rules, and Fantasy Realms is definitely one they would understand. Designed by Bruce Glassco and published by WizKids, this is definitely one of my favourite games.

    Playing Fantasy Realms

    The rules for Fantasy Realms are simple, in fact the instruction booklet consists of only eight pages, which includes a more in-depth look at terminology, a double spread example of scoring and a full list of card names.

    With a starting hand of seven cards you can either pick up a card from the discard area or draw a new card from the deck, then discard a card to the discard area, ensuring you always have a hand of seven cards. As soon as there are 10 cards in the discard area the game ends and the player with the highest scoring cards wins the game.

    Sounds simple enough, but factor in to account that every card has either a bonus or penalty which can drastically alter that card's scoring value. Each bonus and penalty is dependent on the other cards in your hands, some penalties even ‘blank’ other cards in your hand so that they score nothing, of course there are ways around penalties and huge bonus points if you can get the right combination of cards in hand.

    This makes the game very strategic, however there is still a certain level of luck to this game, if you are holding out for a specific card to complete a combo, it may never appear in the current game. With only one copy of each card, you need luck on your side to complete one of the trickier combos, and hope that none of the other players have the card you need in their hand.

    Two and Seven-Player Variants

    The box for Fantasy Realms may say this is a 3-6 player game but there are a couple of variations to the way it can be played, allowing for a two-player game or a seven-player game.

    The two-player variant begins with neither player starting with a hand of cards. Instead, on your go you take a card from the discard area or draw two from the deck and discard one. Once you have seven cards in hand, gameplay then continues as the original rules. The game ends when both players have seven cards in hand and there are 12 cards in the discard area. I find this variant just as fun, however it seems a lot harder to get your hands on the cards you really want, due to fact that not as many cards are being revealed and the discard area tends to just fill up with the cards neither player wants. Having said this, looking at my scorebook, it certainly doesn’t seem to affect the overall scores.

    The chaos realms variant for 3-7 players is done under a time limit and players have the ability to trade cards with one another at a one-for-one rate during this allotted time to make their hands as best they can. I have yet to try this variant, tending to stick to the basic rules when seeing friends, mostly due to the fact that it is their first time playing.

    Theme

    The theme, as the title of the game suggests, is fantasy; with 11 different suits and only one copy of each card every player will end the game with a completely different theme. You will have to choose more than one suit throughout the game as there is a maximum of five cards in each suit, I tend to look at what I have in my starting hand and build on what I already have.

    The suits consist of: Army, Artefact, Beast, Flame, Flood, Land, Leader, Weapon, Weather, Wild and Wizard and are clearly named and colour coded down the left hand side of the card. The colour coding makes it easier to see how many of a specific suit you have at a quick glance if your aiming to complete the requirements of a card. Again, the text in the requirement is also colour coded.

    Player Interaction

    There is not a great deal of player interaction within Fantasy Realms, only the cards in your hand affect your final score, it doesn’t matter what other players hold, unless of course they have a card you want. Some players may ultimately take a long time deciding what to do on their turn as they can not make up their minds on what card to discard, slowing the game down a bit as other players wait their turn.

    The only real interaction comes with the typical “I wanted that card” when someone picks a card up from the discard area that you were hoping to get yourself. The chaos realms variant does however sound like a lot more interaction with other players will be had due to the nature of having to make trade agreements.

    Final Thoughts on Fantasy Realms

    Fantasy Realms is quick to learn and play, even for those family members who are not gamers. Packaged in a neat little box, it is perfect for travel and does not need a huge space to set-up, meaning you can play practically anywhere. The score pad has room for seven names along the top and allows you to break down the score on each card, before adding up the final score. I always find it interesting to see what the other players have managed to obtain and what card combos they have used.

    The one thing about this game that can be confusing is the wild cards, they have the ability to copy other cards, but as a beginner it is hard to know what the other cards are unless they have already turned up, therefore making it difficult to plan how best to use these cards. I tend to suggest to new players that they ignore these cards in the first few games until they have a better idea of what cards they may like to copy.

    Zatu Score

    Rating

    • Artwork
    • Complexity
    • Replayability
    • Player Interaction
    • Component Quality

    You might like

    • The strategy involved.
    • Great for travelling.
    • It's easy to learn.

    Might not like

    • Limited player interaction.
    • Potential for long waiting times as players think about strategy.
    • Limited choice of cards.

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    Zatu Games is rated 4.86 based on 13918
    Reviews

    Always guaranteed sales whatever time of year.... love this shop. One of the very best around!! A++++++

    Always guaranteed sales whatever time of year.... love this shop. One of the very best around!! A++++++

    I have used Zatu Games for some time now, and have always received first class service from them. There delivery service is excellent and their range of games immense. On the few occasions I have had a query, this has been dealt with quickly and effectively. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend Zatu to anyone who is interested in games. They really are high-class!

    I have used Zatu Games for some time now, and have always received first class service from them. There delivery service is excellent and their range of games immense. On the few occasions I have had a query, this has been dealt with quickly and effectively. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend Zatu to anyone who is interested in games. They really are high-class!

    This isn't your normal review, as the item that was sent out to me, a small over the shoulder bag, had a different print on it it to what I ordered (mistakes happen) but .......... I cannot fault the customer service. They were very apologetic, emailed me a free returns label and I had a very quick refund. Very easy to deal with. I would not hesitate to order from them again.

    This isn't your normal review, as the item that was sent out to me, a small over the shoulder bag, had a different print on it it to what I ordered (mistakes happen) but .......... I cannot fault the customer service. They were very apologetic, emailed me a free returns label and I had a very quick refund. Very easy to deal with. I would not hesitate to order from them again.

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    Great range of games, fast shipping.

    Great range of games, fast shipping.

    Brilliant speedy service every time. Prefer to give my money to a genuine board game company over generic online resellers any day of the week. Also guaranteed a genuine copy of the game. Thanks Zatu, great job!

    Brilliant speedy service every time. Prefer to give my money to a genuine board game company over generic online resellers any day of the week. Also guaranteed a genuine copy of the game. Thanks Zatu, great job!

    I recently placed my third order with Zatu. They have a great range at reasonable prices and are so efficient. I especially appreciate the order updates and the gift wrap option, especially since the recipient of my recent gift order commented on the neatness of the wrapping!

    I recently placed my third order with Zatu. They have a great range at reasonable prices and are so efficient. I especially appreciate the order updates and the gift wrap option, especially since the recipient of my recent gift order commented on the neatness of the wrapping!

    Ordered on Saturday night and was dispatched on Sunday morning. Actually impressed with that. All in all very happy with the service and I would order again.

    Ordered on Saturday night and was dispatched on Sunday morning. Actually impressed with that. All in all very happy with the service and I would order again.

    A great selection of games, great value for money and very quick delivery

    A great selection of games, great value for money and very quick delivery

    Great service - games received very swiftly and well packaged.

    Great service - games received very swiftly and well packaged.

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