SNAP Review – Featherlight
Anitra, do you like it when our kids collect stuff when we are on nature walks?
Not particularly. Feathers really bother me. Did you know that it’s actually illegal to collect most kinds of feathers in the United States?
I don’t think anyone is going to come lock our kids up, but if your kids collect feathers like ours do, you might want to get them sanitized, because birds have some weird diseases.
Or, you could just collect feathers at the board game table?
This is a SNAP review for Featherlight.
Featherlight is a dynamic set-collection card game for 1-4 players that takes about 20 minutes to play. It’s designed by Sabrina and Hanno von Contzen and published by WizKids, with illustrations by Kira Jaeger.
Let’s talk about those illustrations!
There is a very silly looking bird on the box and on all the card backs. I guess it’s based on the potoo bird? Which really is goggle eyed like this… but not nearly so brightly colored.
I kind of wish they hadn’t used it, because it might make you overlook the game and the beautiful cards inside the box.
The card fronts are gorgeous feathers in seven different styles. From flowing purple to angular green to skinny blue, they’re all distinct, and they’re all beautiful. Each also has text at the bottom of the card that describes how it scores, and cards in the same color score in similar ways.
Mechanics – How to Play
A game starts with six cards arranged face up in a rough circle on the table. This is the “nest”.
Every player also gets a hand of five cards.
On your turn, you take a card – either from a draw pile or from the nest. Then, you discard a card from your hand into the nest. Then it’s the next player’s turn.
The game ends when one of the two draw decks is empty at the end of anyone’s turn.
The real meat to Featherlight is in the scoring:
After the game ends, all players reveal their hand of cards: it’s time to score! Some cards score specifically based on the feathers in your hand, but most are looking for a certain combination of colored feathers to be present between your hand and the nest.
In other words, you have a total of eleven feathers (five in your hand, six in the nest) that can fulfill the five scoring conditions that are in your hand.
The beautiful feathers in this game immediately drew me in. From the rules – and the name! – it seemed like this would be a light, family-friendly kind of game.
Dynamic set collection, hand management games, like Fantasy Realms, can get really complicated really quickly. I hoped Featherlight would be manageable.
It was hard to get our kids to be interested in playing, and I kind of get it. The feather thing didn’t seem to hook them, and the Potoo bird really turned them off.
I really like Featherlight as a casual game for the adult crowd. Unless you have a budding ornithologist in your family, I just don’t see this one carrying the attention of the kids.
And we should have expected that our kids would not be super interested in it, because as our daughter said, “I don’t like change.”
Surprises – and Solo Mode!
The first surprise I had is that this game is way more serious than the box with the silly bird would suggest. It’s not a heavy game, but nothing in it is silly except for the Potoo bird art.
Featherlight feels pretty controllable at two players, you have more influence over the nest (and you can see pretty obviously if there are goals your opponent will try to block!)
At three or four players, there’s more variation – the nest changes a lot more between turns. And that makes the high point goals really, really difficult.
I was also surprised that there’s a solo mode! You still build your hand and discard to the nest – but now there’s a random card added to the nest between each turn. Take the top card from the “wind stack” and examine the tiny number and arrow in the bottom corner. According to the arrow, place this wind card on either the HIGHEST or LOWEST number that’s currently in the nest.
It felt like a good balance – I could kind of predict which nest card would get covered next, and then play into the nest to either encourage that or try to discourage it.
I was surprised, given the mechanics here, how much this game felt different from Fantasy Realms, a better known hand-management card game that’s also published by WizKids. I think the addition of the nest and being able to cover up cards to make them inaccessible leads to deeper decisions and even some turn sequencing you won’t see in Fantasy Realms.
Do we recommend Featherlight?
The box says Featherlight is for ages 8+, but I like we said, both the theme and the goal-balancing of this game lend themselves to an older audience, like 12 and up.
I’d recommend Featherlight for couples or families with older kids who want a game that will engage your brain while staying light and fast.
But if you don’t like having to keep track of the cards in the “nest”, you might be better off playing a game like Fantasy Realms.
Specifically for teens and adults though, we’re going to give Featherlight 4 feathers out of 5.
And that’s Featherlight, in a SNAP!
The Family Gamers received a copy of Featherlight from WizKids for this review.
This post contains affiliate links, which do not change your price, but help support The Family Gamers.
SNAP review music is Avalanche, provided courtesy of You Bred Raptors?
Age Range: 8+ (we say 12+)
Number of Players: 1-4
Playtime: 20 minutes or less