Game: Fantasy Realms
Designer: Bruce Glassco
Players: 2-7 players
Playtime: 10-20 Minutes
Play Type: Set Collection, Card Drafting
You are a ruler trying to build a realm that is stronger than any other. Ruling comes with many difficult decisions, you must choose the kind of ruler you plan on being. Will you rule through military might? Have Wizards defending your realm? Maybe you will choose to call on the strength of beasts to defend your kingdom. As you play, you will find that no two realms will choose the same strategy. Choose the right path to victory, or watch your realm burn among stronger competitors.
Game play in Fantasy Realms is simple at first glance. It is so simple in fact that the company boasts it can be taught in seconds, and while that may be an exaggeration it can definitely be taught in about a minute. A players turn consists of two steps, drawing a card from either the cards already discarded, or from the deck. Then once they have added a card into their hand, they discard one card. Discarded cards need to be spread out so players can see all cards. Turns continue like this until ten cards have been discarded. Once the tenth card is discarded the game ends, and the players count their points.
When players are choosing cards to keep they will be having to keep in mind bonuses and penalties that cards have when they are combined with other cards. Some cards will have a bonus/penalty based on a card suit, a specific card or even the base value of points that a card has. I won’t go through each card, but rest assured that the description on each card is clear to the effect so it is not difficult to understand the different card meanings.
The box includes 53 cards, the rule book and a score pad. Fantasy Realms is not the most aesthetically pleasing game, and may not be a game people pick up based on the cover art alone. The art is not bad per say, but it doesn’t draw the eye to the game.
- Very Easy to Learn
- Short Play Time
- 2 Player Variant
- 7 Player Variant
- Small Footprint/ Portable
- Each Decision Matters
- Not Visually Pleasing
- Scorebook Limited
- Some Aspects of Luck
- May Cause Analysis Paralysis
Fantasy Realms has a lot more depth than one may think on first glance. While the rules are extremely easily to grasp, throughout the game every decision will have an impact on the player’s scores. With each card having a direct impact on other cards in the game, players must carefully choose which cards to keep in their hand and which will be most beneficial to discard. If players are not careful, and they keep the wrong combination of cards they could have entire cards “blanked” or essentially deleted from scoring. However, due to the the fact that players want to carefully control their hands, some people may experience analysis paralysis or the inability to make a quick decision with this game.
Sometimes players will bank their entire hand on getting a certain suit of cards or a specific card. There are aspects of luck in the game, and if those cards do not become available to the player, there is a chance to score very low. Players must be aware of when it is a good idea to push their luck, and when to go on a more solidified strategy.
Despite the fact that Fantasy Realms does not always catch the eye, it is one of my favorite filler games. It is extremely thinky for such a small and non-descript game. It is a great time filler, and can be played almost anywhere, as it does not take up a lot of table space. I suggest Fantasy Realms if you like set collection games like Onirim, Sushi Go! or Rummy, additionally if you are a fan of easy to learn filler games like Fluxx, Love Letter or Hanabi you may enjoy Fantasy Realms.