Game Buzz: Fog of Butterflies

Today, I’ll be taking a look at a couple of Kickstarters that I missed in my most recent Kickstarter Blitz.  We’ll start with

image by BGG user drfinn
image by BGG user drfinn

The Butterfly Garden is a 2-6 player game designed by Steve Finn that will be published by his company, Dr. Finn’s Games.  In this game, you are a lepidopterist.  Don’t know what that is?  Well, it’s someone who studies butterflies.  You are trying to catch butterflies and transfer them to your butterfly garden in an attempt to score the most points.

The game will come with 98 cards – 60 butterfly cards, 20 delivery cards, 6 jar cards, 6 garden cards, and 6 score cards.  Each player gets a jar and a garden card, as well as three butterfly cards.  You then draw one butterfly card per player in the game and place them in the center, aka “the field.”  You’ll draw one delivery card per player (minus one) and place them in a row next to the deck, then flip the top delivery card and place it on top of the deck.  This card is not available.  There’s a slightly different setup for two players – draw two delivery cards, but put one closer to each player.

The Butterfly Garden is played in rounds, and each round has three phases – establish turn order, take turns, and prepare for the next round.

ESTABLISH TURN ORDER: Each player chooses a butterfly card and reveals simultaneously.  The player who has chosen the lowest numbered card will go first in the next phase, followed by the second lowest, and so on.

TAKE TURNS: On your turn, you first capture one butterfly card from the field and add it to your hand.  The butterfly cards aren’t replenished yet.  Then, if the butterfly card you played has a special action icon, you may perform that action.  This could be to draw a butterfly card, place a butterfly in your jar, or deliver this card directly to your garden (scoring VPs).

After performing any special actions, you add the butterfly card you played to your jar.  This is placed so that you can see what butterflies have been captured so far.  Finally, if you have a combination of butterflies in your jar that matches one of the delivery cards, turn in the necessary butterfly cards to get the points.  You may end up overpaying if there are unneeded butterflies on the cards you turn in, but you don’t get change.

PREPARE FOR THE NEXT ROUND: Deal out more butterfly cards and replace any delivery cards that were taken during the round.  If the game has not ended, play on.

When someone reaches the VP goal (50 for two players, 45 for 3, 40 for 4, 35 for 5, and 30 for 6), the game ends after the current round.  The game can also end after all delivery cards have been taken.  The player with the most points wins.

The only Steve Finn game I’ve played to this point is Biblios, and I hated it.  That’s not completely true.  I liked the first half and its interesting card distribution method.  But the final auction just rubbed me completely the wrong way, and I ended up really disliking the experience overall.  However, my opinion is definitely in the minority – most people love the game.  Finn has built a nice little fan base over the years, and seems to excel at making fillers with some meat to them.  The Butterfly Garden appears to fit into that filler category quite well – 15-30 minutes of playtime, and fairly simple in terms of rules.  The strategic decisions appear to be in which cards you play for turn order, which butterflies you capture (important for future turn order as well as making deliveries), and how to combine your butterflies to make those deliveries.  I bet this one will be a good game for introducing non-gamers to games with more strategy.

If you’re interested, the game is on Kickstarter until March 15, and it can be yours for $15.  It’s already funded, so you can expect your copy around September.

image by BGG user JDKJ
image by BGG user JDKJ

Fog of Love is a two-player only game designed by Jacob Jaskov that is being published by Hush Hush Projects.  The game, which takes 45-90 minutes to play, is intended to simulate a romantic relationship.  It’s cooperative (thankfully), and can in some ways be seen as a hybrid between board games and RPGs.

The game will come with a board, two double-sided character cards, three predefined scenarios in envelopes, two card stands, 100 Story cards, 38 Trait cards, 60 Feature cards, 30 Occupation cards, 14 Story ending cards, 8 Decision tokens, and 80 Choice Point tokens.  One player will be blue, and the other will be pink.  Each player gets a character card and a stand.  You’ll choose a scenario, placing the Chapter and Finale cards face down on the board.  Each player gets five Trait cards, then chooses three to keep.  You’ll also get three Occupation cards, of which you’ll keep one.  You’ll get five Feature cards, and you’ll take turns giving one to your partner until both have three.  For each Personality symbol on your Feature and Occupation cards, you’ll add Choice Points to the Personality track on the board.  The story cards are separated into three decks – Sweet, Serious, and Drama.  Each player will begin the game with five – three Sweet, one Serious, and one Drama.

At this point, you’ll introduce your characters to each other.  Make up a name, make up a back story, work in the components you have received (Occupation and Features).  Be creative – this is part of the roleplaying in the game.  Then it’s time to start the actual game. The first card played in the game is the Chapter One card.  On subsequent turns, you’ll take turns playing a story card from your hand, then drawing back up to five.  Story cards generally have a choice for the other, or a choice for both to make simultaneously.  For example, you may play a card that asks your partner what they think about you getting a tattoo.  Or you may play a card that makes you simultaneously choose your reaction to going to couples therapy.  Your choice, and sometimes the combination of choices, will affect your standing in different personality traits.

When you draw a card, you’ll choose from the Sweet, Serious, or Drama decks.  Depending on the current chapter, you may have to draw from a certain deck.  Sweet cards generally have low consequences, while Serious and Drama cards up the risk (and also the rewards for working through it).  At the end of the game (post-Chapter Three), you’ll reveal your story endings, as well as secretly played cards and trait goals, determining your heart points based on that.  If you successfully realized your story ending requirements, you win.  Both players can win, or one can win, or both can lose.  But it’s not supposed to be competitive – you’re trying to build a good romantic story.

This is a very unique game.  It’s all about reading the other player, and it’s all about trying to maintain balance in your life.  Unlike another recent romance game (…and then we held hands), this one looks like it is very thematic and would be really good to play with a loved one just to play out a scenario.  Hopefully, it won’t cause too much conflict.  I can’t really see this game being played on game night – that would be a little weird.  But it does look like a very interesting game.

If you’re interested, the Kickstarter campaign is running until April 3.  You can get your own copy of the game for $39.  The project is already well funded, with lots of time to go.

If you’d like to see either of these games in action, check out Rahdo’s run-throughs – here’s The Butterfly Garden, and here’s Fog of Love.  That will do it for today – thanks for reading!

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