Somebody’s poisoned the waterhole. Time to look at
Stuffed Fables is a new game from Plaid Hat Games, designed by Mice & Mystics creator Jerry Hawthorne. In this one, 2-4 players take the roles of various toys that come to life to protect the child they love. It’s an AdventureBook Game, which means that all of the action takes place inside a storybook.
In the game, you get a storybook, 40 discovery cards, 1 sideboard, 6 stuffy figures, 17 minion figures, 35 dice, 1 dice bag, 15 buttons, 6 character cards, 29 lost cards, 10 sleep cards, 46 item cards, 12 minion cards, 8 environment cards, 34 status cards, 4 reference cards, 30 stuffing tokens, 15 heart tokens, 4 objective tokens, 4 lost tokens, 1 bookmark token, 1 red wagon token, 1 train token, and 1 door token.
Each player begins with a stuffy figure and its matching character card, as well as 5 stuffing tokens. The item and lost cards are shuffled into their own decks, and dice are put into the bag (all colored dice, as well as white dice and black dice equal to the number of stuffies in the game plus one). You’ll also form a face up pile of boss minions, a minion deck, and a sleep deck with the waking card near the bottom. The storybook is placed in the center of the table, opened to the page that begins your story (The Big Girl Bed for your first game), and the sideboard is placed next to it. This page will give you the basic setup of the game, and will also instruct you to collect the cards for the story you’re about to play (Story 1 for the first game). These cards should not be rearranged.
Because the game is scenario based, different things are going to happen each game. But in general, a player’s turn will follow the same sequence. First, you’ll draw five dice from the bag (replenishing the bag with dice from the discard pile if your run out). If you draw any white dice, roll them, either individually or together. If the result from each roll is higher than your current stuffing, gain one stuffing and discard the dice. The black dice are moved to the threat track.
The colored dice can then be used to perform actions. To use a die, roll it, resolve it, then discard it. As with the stuffing dice, you can roll dice of the same color separately or together. Here are the action options:
- Move. Spend dice to move a number of spaces equal to the roll result. Any die can be used to cross dotted lines, but solid lines can only be crossed using the dice of the matching color. You can move orthogonally or diagonally, and you can only end your move in an empty space.
- Reserve. Store a die for a later turn, or to help defend against damage. You can only reserve one die at a time.
- Encourage. Store one of your dice on another player’s card (discarding a die if they already have one), or discard a die to give another stuffy one of your stuffing tokens.
- Skill Test. These are found in the storybook special rules, various status cards, environment cards, and lost cards. Roll any number of the appropriate color dice to try to hit the target number. Skill Tests have pass and fail effects.
- Group Task. These are like skill tests, but multiple players can contribute on their turns. These cannot fail.
- Melee Attack. If you are equipped with a melee weapon and are adjacent to a minion with no colored lines between you, you may do a melee attack. Roll any number of red dice. If the roll exceeds their defense, they are defeated and removed. You get a button, plus a courageous status card if it was a leader or boss.
- Ranged Attack. For this one, you need a ranged weapon, and may attack a stuffy as far away as that weapon’s range. A ranged attack can cross all lines except solid white ones. Otherwise, attacks are the same.
- Search. Spend any number of yellow dice and roll them. You’re trying to equal or exceed the number in the corner of the map. You might get an equipment card (which should either be equipped or traded to another stuffy), or a party card, which can be used by anyone.
After finishing your actions, discard all of your remaining dice. The minions then take a turn if there are as many or more black dice on the threat track as there are minions in play. Minions roll black dice, then move, then choose a target, then attack. After each minion has been activated once, discard any remaining threat dice and move on to the next player’s turn.
As you progress through the game, stuffies will lose stuffing. If your stuffy gets all the stuffing beaten out of it, it collapses and loses all status cards, buttons and hearts. A sleep card then is revealed. You won’t be able to take regular actions until you gain stuffing through other players’ encourage actions or during the find stuffing step. If all stuffies are collapsed at the same time, you lose. If you fulfill the story’s quest, you win.
Mice and Mystics is a fantastic story driven game that is aimed at kids, with enough challenge to keep adults interested as well. This one sounds like it is even more aimed at kids in terms of complexity. The storybook concept is a pretty cool idea, especially as I imagine that it keeps printing costs down somewhat. And I can imagine some really good stories coming out of the play of this. This is a game I’ve really been looking forward to finding out more about, and now that I know, I’m very interested to try it.
That’s it for today – thanks for reading!