Fyfe – A Beachside Getaway
In winter, I daydream of a tropical island…
In the depths of winter, I sometimes daydream about a tropical island. Basking in the sun on the beach, full of color and life and warmth… too bad it’s just a daydream.
I can still visit the beach virtually in Fyfe, an abstract puzzle game by Kosch and published by Pegasus Spiele. The box says it’s for ages 10+ and takes 30-45 minutes to play.
How to Play
In The Family Gamers household, we will often create “player packs”. These help each player set up quickly so we can get to playing faster. In Fyfe, this is really helpful. Each player takes their own board and their own sets of surfboards and lucky charm tiles. We recommend players lay out their surfboards, but that’s a personal decision.
Put the First bonus tiles in the middle of the table, along with the bag containing all of the wooden tokens.
Each player pulls two wooden tokens out of the bag to start. If anyone pulls a “lucky charm” token (shell), put it back and take a new one.
In each round, players will choose one of their two tokens and play it onto their board. Then, they may need to put a surf board into one of the slots along the edge of the board. This is required if there are no surf boards (horizontally, vertically, or diagonally) that already point to the newly placed token. It’s optional otherwise.
Players can actually place as many boards as they would like, but these will only further restrict choices later. Make sure to place these boards with the sun partially hidden so it’s clear it hasn’t scored yet.
Each wooden token has a symbol, a number, and a color. All of the surf boards have various requirements on them. This could be a sequence or a collection of some subset of the three token attributes. So, you could place an easy board (just put five tokens out) worth a low point total, or a difficult one (all five tokens must be different colors, symbols, AND numbers) worth a lot of points.
Over the course of 24 rounds, players will fill their boards up with tokens. They’ll also select surfboards to create their own scoring requirements. In the 24th round, players must place both of their remaining tokens. Before we get to scoring, though, there are a few special notes:
You’ll Have to Share Yer Lucky Charms!
If a player pulls a Lucky Charm token from the bag, everyone may immediately use one Lucky Charm ability. (The player who pulled the Lucky Charm token does get to pull another token for themselves).
The Lucky Charm abilities let players do things like swap their tokens with the bag, put “wild” icons on tokens , swap out scoring conditions, and more. Players flip over a Lucky Charm Tile after using it.
However, unused Lucky Charm Tiles are worth points during end-game scoring. Even the perk of using a Lucky Charm means not getting those points at the end of the game!
Oh! Me First!
Each of the scoring boards has a three-point First bonus tile. As soon as a player fulfills a surfboard scoring condition, they flip it to the full-sun side. If they are the first person in the game to score that board, they put the corresponding three-point First token on top of their scoring board for end-game scoring.
If a player places a token that scores multiple surf boards at once, they also get extra bonus tokens for end-game scoring.
After the 24th round, each player tallies up the score of their completed surf boards, First tokens, unused Lucky Charm tiles, and extra bonus points. Whoever has the most points wins!
We love the theme and the artwork in Fyfe. There’s something about abstract puzzles that lends itself well to the beach theme. Maybe it’s because I can envision myself drawing out a board in the sand and using found objects to play.
Fyfe feels incredibly open-ended, which was almost overwhelming in our first few plays. You choose everything in this game: token placement, what goals you’ll use and where, even which (if any!) Lucky Charm to use.
The decision-making gets easier, but you’ll be asking yourself a lot of questions with every play. When should I add more goals? How many goals should I work on at once? If I don’t add enough goals I will trail in points. But if I add too many, I’ll be way too restricted and trying to solve everything at once.
The simultaneous play in Fyfe does keep the game moving. However, because of all of the questions above, everyone is thinking through a lot of options. Players prone to analysis paralysis should be aware of this.
You can’t just move ahead and complete your game independently. The Lucky Charms and FIRST bonuses depend on keeping the game in sync. This means Fyfe always moves at the speed of the slowest player.
We found the Lucky Charms were incredibly rare in a two-player game. It made them feel like an untapped mechanic until we upped the player count (more players pulling from the bag meant more chances to see a Lucky Charm).
Our biggest knock on the game is the double-thickness player boards. Every one had a pronounced bend to them due to manufacturing. This was particularly obnoxious since the surf boards are supposed to “dock” with the player board.
Nonetheless, we really enjoy the dynamic nature of Fyfe, its relatively quick play, and the push to do just a little bit better next time.
We’ll keep this one on the shelf for our imaginary beach getaways during these dreary winter months.
You can find Fyfe online on Amazon, or in person at your friendly local game store.
The Family Gamers received a copy of Fyfe from Pegasus Spiele for this review.
This post contains affiliate links, which do not change your price, but help support The Family Gamers.
Fyfe - A Beachside Getaway
Age Range: 10+
Number of Players: 2-5
Playtime: 30-45 minutes