So Saturday morning, Plaid Hat Games' Stuffed Fables arrived at Welford Towers and Little Welford and I had good fun unboxing it. He knew nothing about the game and was amazed at it's story book elements and the glorious production. We hope to have a full review at the end of the week, but for now here is our first impressions!
Stuffed Fables' story book is absolutely huge. Most pages contain a playing 'board' on the left page and a mini choose your own adventure story on the right page. The quality of the art work and writing is top drawer, and keeps both adult and child engaged in the game.
A word of warning though, it is worth reading the rules first, they aren't long but you might want to open it before the kids want to play. I didn't and I had to manage an impatient seven-year-old while digesting the rules. Helpfully, when new elements arrive in the gameplay the story book directs you to the relevant page and section in the rules.
Although I knew Stuffed Fables is a story based game, I didn't realise how much story there would be. My son loved this though. He previously has enjoyed Mechs vs Minions, but the story here is much more in-depth.
Game vs Story
We have almost completed the first of seven chapters, each of which can take from an hour to two hours to play. The gameplay is developing slowly and has so far been very easy, but not without choice. Had we failed a mission the game wouldn't have been over, instead we would have taken another route.
Each turn you will draw five dice from a bag and allocate them depending on colour and what you want to do. It's straight forward and allows my boy to make decisions. Optional encounters on the board give further choices, and consequences...
I am loving playing this with my son, but so far it is not a game I would play with my game group. I would show it to new and non-gamers as an example of something different and excellent on so many levels. The story itself will suit many children and play into situations they will recognise. Well mostly. As the story deals with a child moving into their first 'big bed' it was one that didn't fully engage with my adopted son, he was engaged but not in the way I have heard other children have been.
If I had one minor complaint it would be that occasionally it is not entirely clear how a page of the book should work. It was only minor and easy to work out but seems like an odd glitch in a otherwise family friendly game.
Stuffed fables - To be continued...
So far I am very optimistic that the story will continue to be excellent, well written, accessible to children while being intelligent enough for the adult who is reading. I'm also optimistic that the gameplay will develop in a similar fashion to Mechs vs Minions, adding more complexity as the story ramps up.
Stuffed Fables has already been a unique experience to share with my son and one I look forward to continuing.