A fable game from Friedemann Friese. A new gaming term, the fable game. Will it stick? It’s like a legacy game with a reset button. Sort of. Lets see what I think of Fabled Fruit.
A new concept from Friedemann. A game that changes, but can always return to its original state. 505 Was also a new gaming concept. An ambitious project. Too ambitious if you’d ask me. Too many components, an unclear rulebook and games that were too mediocre.
Fabled Fruit, a game that changes and can be reset as well, also sounds cool, but does it work?
The rules are pretty simple. It begins with a big deck of cards. Numbered from 1 to 59. Four of every number, except number 59, which has eight cards. The game starts with the first six locations, each in a stack of four cards face-up on the table. A location shows two things. It shows what action you can execute if you place your animal meeple on it and it shows what type and how many fruit cards you have to discard from you hand to claim one of these location cards.
Every time you have to move your meeple to a new location and choose between these two actions; you buy the card, or you execute its action. Whenever you buy a card, covert your fruit into a fabled juice, you place it face-down in front of you and place the next card from the draw pile on the table. This way more location become available to be bought and new actions are available for everyone to take.
Actions are just different ways to obtain the right type and amount of fruit cards. And you use these fruits to buy, or mix, the fruit juices. Whenever one player has bought a certain amount of juices, depending on the player count, you finish the round and the game ends. The player with the most juices wins the game.
If you want too, you can save the state of game and continue playing with same locations you ended with during your last game. This means that the location cards that the players have bought will stay in the box and you play every game with new locations.
The Fable Game system is, as it were, Friedemann’s variant on the Legacy system. However, it is not a Legacy game, because you can always reset the game state, or restart the game at any point in its history. Just make sure that you start with the right amount of cards on the table and you’re good to go. Legacy games are characterized, for me, by the permanence of the changes of the game. These changes are not permanent.
The system is interesting, but is the game therefore interesting? Is it fun? That al depends on the things you do in the game. Are the changes game changing? Does the game evolve in a cool and fun direction? And that’s something I question.
Let me first state that I do enjoy the game. It’s a family game. No doubt about that. The rules are incredibly simple. You only do one thing on your turn. Your either execute an action, or you convert your fruit cards into a fruit juice. These actions are never difficult to understand. Some action card do add new mechanisms to the game, but they are basically variations on each other, variations on the same theme: ‘How to get fruit’.
In its core Fabled Fruit is a simple set collection game with some take that here and there. The rotation of the action cards make that this game feels slightly different every time you play. Slightly. You do the same stuff, but unlike the last game you go to greengrocer H and K, instead of B and F, to get your fruits.
You might add a fruit market, a fruit thief, permanent fruit tokens or fruit cards with two fruits instead of one on them to the game.
These minor changes make me less excited by the Fable system as I was when I bought the game. You, when a new action has been added to the location on the table, never go ‘Wow, OMG, that mixes things up entirely!!!!’, you might think ‘Oh, hey, that’s well-thought-of.’, but that’s it. At least that were my thoughts.
The game is better with more than two players. I had fun playing the two-player game, that’s not it, but some of the actions are clearly more worthwhile when you play with three or more players. There’s also less blocking in a two-player game. You can mostly do what you want without paying extra.
I still think Fabled Fruit a decent family game though. I like the cute artwork and the turns go quickly. The actions are reasonably interesting, the rotation of the cards is too, and I had and will have a decent time playing the game, but don’t buy it if you think it’s a Legacy-light style game that will be a great addition to your Pandemic Legacy, Seafall, Risk Legacy stack. Buy it if you really like the idea of collecting sets of fruit cards in different ways and buy juices with these fruits. So, it still might be a good addition to that stack, but only because you like playing this game as much as the games above.