Fluttering Souls is a beautiful looking card game based on the Japanese legend of The White Butterfly. The legend of The White Butterfly is based on a story about a merchant called Takahama. He fell in love with a woman called Akiko. Prior to them being wed, Akiko tragically died. This left Takahama so distraught that he gave up his career as a merchant. Takahama dedicated himself to tending the cemetery where Akiko was buried. Every day, for 50 years Takahama visited Akiko's grave with a single pure white rose.
Takahama eventually fell terribly ill and could not leave his bed. Whilst laying there, being tended by his sister and niece and unable to move, a beautiful pure white butterfly landed on Takahama's pillow and would not be displaced. As Takahama let out his final breath the butterfly flew to Akiko's grave and disappeared. The legend goes that Akiko was worried that Takahama had not visited that day and looked over him until his soul could join with hers.
Fluttering Souls is a two-player only, set collection, drafting game from designer Joel Lewis and published by Good Games Publishing. In Fluttering Souls a display of face up and face down butterfly cards will be arranged in a particular pattern. Cards that are not covered by another card can be drafted and on a player's turn, they will take a card and add it to their collection. If any cards are revealed these are flipped face up and are available to be drafted. Players are trying to collect sets of butterflies to earn the most points. The player with the most points at the end of the round is awarded a white butterfly token. The game is reset, with a new pattern card revealed and drafting continues until one player has received three white butterfly tokens and is the winner.
Fluttering Souls is a gorgeously illustrated game. The butterfly cards look stunning. It is a very light ruled drafting game that plays very well as a two-player game. There is a good stack of pattern cards that dictate how to set up your initial display of cards. Turns are very quick as you have a limited selection of cards to choose from. Yet the game is not on rails and does have some interesting choices to be made.
Fluttering the Night Away
Fluttering Souls is very much a lightweight filler game. Filling in that space when you just need a quick end of night game or when you are waiting for some other gamers to join the night. It is also a great couples game that I have been enjoying a lot with my wife. The scoring is very straightforward and displayed well on the cards. You can see what your opponent is going for and have the possibility to draft cards that might score them big.
Hate drafting can be an element of the game, but it doesn't feel punishing. There are multiple copies of the same card in the game. By taking a card you may reveal a card that they need anyway. In addition, they are doing the same to you and it is a 10-20 minute game. I enjoy the quickness of the turns and overall game length.
Flutter on By
There is also the Great Eggfly card which adds an interesting dimension to the game. This card is given to the second player at the start of the round. When a player with this card takes an available card from the display and reveals any face-down cards, they can place the Great Eggfly to block access to those cards. Careful use of this card can change the order and the way the cards are drafted. If this is played effectively it can be a great aid. However, you are giving this card away for your opponent to potentially draft it.
When to play this card and when to hold on to it give the player some interesting choices. If you reveal cards that you need for your collection, now is a good time to place them. Especially if this forces the other player to take this card. This then leaves the cards open that you want. But giving your opponent this powerful card is not an easy decision to make. The card itself is not worth any points but does count as the tiebreaker at the end of the round if points are tied. This additional element of the game is really fun and I enjoy working out when to place the Great Eggfly card.
Fluttering Souls is a very fun game to play. It is easy to pick up and play and has a very accessible rule set that pretty much anyone can play. Yet, there are enough choices that it doesn't feel repetitive or linear. It is not likely to be the main gaming event for more experienced gamers. But I think it certainly has its place in a collection. It is staying in my collection for sure and has been seeing a lot of table action recently.