Funfair – Build Thrilling Theme Parks at the Table!
Many of us grew up taking annual trips to theme parks seeking out thrills. It could have been that first gigantic drop on a roller coaster. Or, maybe it was riding riding the smaller attractions that would spin and make you lose your lunch. In my college years, I logged lots of hours playing PC games like Roller Coaster Tycoon, building my own dream parks.
If you’re looking to recreate this fun, look no further than Funfair, the latest entry in a line of amusement park building games from Good Games Publishing. Take on the role of park owners striving to build the best amusement park in this game designed by Joel Finch with art by Lina Cossette and David Forest. Play time is around 30-60 minutes for 2-4 players ages 14 and up.
In Funfair you’ll have six rounds to build the most premier park with the hottest attractions and amenities. Each round consists of four steps: City, Park, Guests and cleanup.
Reveal the top card of the city deck. Everyone must follow the instructions on the card one one at a time in turn order. This card stays active for the whole round.
After gaining those wonderful city bonuses, move onto the Park step where you take at least three actions, in turns. You may build a park card, take cards, grab loose change, or demolish something.
- Building is the heart of the game. This action allows for construction of a park card from the market or your hand. Pay the amount depicted on the card to place it in your tableau. A park may only have five attractions with no duplicates.
- If you choose to Take a Card you can: take a card from the market, draw and keep a blueprint, or discard to draw five and keep one.
- When grabbing Loose Change, you gain one coin for each attraction in your park. You’re essentially picking up lost coins that your attractions have shaken out of your guests’ pockets.
- When taking the Demolish action, discard a single park or showcase card with all its upgrades. This action gains no income. It’s rare but can be useful to swap a different attraction into your park.
Once all players have taken their actions for the round, move to the Guests, where everyone receives income from their park. Calculate your income by counting the star total (numbers shown on stars) plus the number of tickets on park cards. Add five coins to your Showcase card if it’s not built. These coins help reduce the cost of the attraction each round.
At the end of each round, discard the market and refill it. You must also discard your hand down to five cards. Showcase and Blueprint cards don’t count towards your hand limit. Pass the starting player marker left to the next player. At the end of the fourth round, remove the Blueprint deck from the game. Players may no longer draw them.
Play continues for six rounds.
At the end of the sixth round, the winner is the proprietor of the park with the most victory points. Add together the total for each attraction’s size (icons on the card’s ribbon), blue prints, staff members, coins and awards. Incomplete Blueprint cards will cost you ten points.
For anyone who has played Unfair (the original in the series) the gameplay in Funfair will seem very similar.
Funfair’s family friendly, positive player interaction sets it apart from its older sibling. Players solely focus building their own awesome parks. There’s only positive player interaction. You could hate-draft park cards, but only at the cost of your own actions.
Funfair isn’t overly crunchy and is family-friendly, but definitely for older children. Since you don’t have to worry how your neighbors might negatively impact you, you can focus on pairing attractions with upgrades and themes to rack up the points. Many park cards combo well together which may let you build upgrades for free or at at discount. This gave me a great early advantage in some games that paid off throughout.
Building Thrill Rides and Gaining Bonuses
I love the Showcase discount in each round. It helped getting Showcases built sooner. In most of my games I was able to build the big attraction by the start of the third round. The great thing about Showcases is that they grant an extra park step for players who have it. In late game I usually use fourth park step as an ATM to fill up the coffers.
City cards in Funfair give players all kinds of goodies which often help setup players for the round. Money seems to come much easier in FunFair, too. You’ll start off with 30 coins which is more than enough to get going in round one. I never felt hindered by income, even when spending big.
Blueprint cards are a fun challenge to give players something work towards for extra end game points. They contribute to Funfair’s replayability and for racking up high scores. Award cards are another new addition too. These call for building parks with the most specific types of upgrades; most guest services, feature icons or themes among others. Don’t pass these up!
Unfair vs. Funfair
While there are tons of similarities between the two, there are still major differences between Funfair and Unfair.
In Funfair, there are:
- Award cards which drive competitive play
- No Game Changer cards to alter/impact the whole game
- Showcase card discounts (by five after each round)
- No guest capacity limits on income
- Zero loans
- Higher starting coin counts
- No player events that will let you combo off other cards in your park or potentially hurt competitor’s parks
- No Panoramic park cards
Funfair always leaves me feeling accomplished and good after each gameplay. While the game does require keen strategy and awareness of what others are doing, I never felt stressed or frustrated. I was able to build up stars to ramp up income each round. Mechanics and theme seem to flawlessly meld together.
Funfair‘s artwork is phenomenal and you’ll find yourself staring at attractions looking for their thematic influences. There is a great deal of diversity in the art as well, which we appreciate.
One small nitpick was that three of the four themes and several park cards were straight out of Unfair. I was a little bummed that many cards from Unfair we brought over as is. Of course, if you’ve never played Unfair it wouldn’t matter. I can only hope Funfair sees an expansion that introduces new themes like Unfair’s Alien B-movie Dinosaur Western. `
If I had to choose between the two I’ll always choose Funfair. Why? There are no negative in-game effects. In Funfair players don’t have to watch their backs for other backstabbing park owners. This allows everyone to focus on strategies for building their best park. Funfair is also a breeze to teach and plays in a shorter amount of time than its sibling.
Find Funfair on Amazon or at your friendly local game store.
The Family Gamers received a copy of Funfair from Good Games Publishing for this review.
This post contains affiliate links, which do not change your price, but help support The Family Gamers.
Age Range: 14+
Number of Players: 2-4
Playtime: 60 minutes or less