SNAP Review – Fairy Season
It’s open season on fairies!
The Goblin Chiefs have ordered their flunkies into the forest to catch Fairies across the four seasons. They want to shake out the Fairy dust to make a wicked winter brew!
Herd Fairies into Swarms and use Goblins to trick and trap them. Lure in the mighty Royal Fairies to free their Fairy friends, then catch them too!
This review is for Fairy Season, an amazing trick taking game, designed by Dan Fish and Gavin Jenkins with art by Sean Andrew Murray. It’s published by Good Games Publishing and plays 3-5 players ages 8+.
Listen in as Nick and his daughter Izzy tell us all about the game, or read on below.
How to Play
Setup is quick. Shuffle the deck, deal 5 cards to each player and place the remaining cards in the middle of the table to form the draw deck.
One term you’ll want to know is that the discard pile is called the swarm in Fairy Season.
In Fairy Season, the deck of cards includes 64 fairies (two of each number 1-8 in each of the four seasons), four Royal fairies, 16 goblins, (two each of eight different types), and six traps. Each fairy card has a season: spring, summer, autumn or winter.
On your turn, play a card from your hand into the swarm (as noted previously, this is really the discard pile). Then take the action on the card and play passes to the next player.
Autumn and Winter cards let you “stash” a card – this means put it in your score pile.
You win by having the most points or by having stashed all four royal fairies, which triggers an instant win.
There are a couple rules for playing a fairy card you should be aware of.
The number on the card must be equal or higher than the last card, and obey season rules.
Season cards flow along just as the natural progress of the actual seasons: first spring, then summer, autumn, and winter.
The cool thing is, that you can change a season at any time, even if you have cards in your hand that match the season in play. Use this strategy wisely!
Instead of playing a fairy, you could play goblin card. They really shake things up! Goblins let you steal a card from another player’s stash, or even from the swarm itself. They really make the game fun.
Ending the Game
Players keep taking turns until someone flunks (you can’t continue playing a card into the swarm or you choose not to). When that happens, the player who last played a card wins the entire swarm!
The game ends when the deck runs out. If that happens during a round, just finish out the round.
At the end of the game, tally up your score. Stashed fairies are worth 1 point each. Royal fairies are worth 2. And goblins get you zero points.
Whichever goblin chief has the most points wins!
We like the theme with fairies and goblins. They go well together. We loved the treatment of the different seasons; playing one single type of fairy the whole game would be boring.
The artwork is awesome, and makes us want to keep playing over and over. Izzy’s favorites are the details on the goblin cards.
Being able to instantly win the game with all four royal fairies also keeps things interesting.
Hands down, Fairy Season is one of the best family friendly games I’ve played all year!Nick
We really love this game! It plays in nice bite sizes, and you’ll almost always play one right after another. Grandpa Martinelli always wants to keep playing until he wins a game.
We’re still pretty new to trick taking games, but I can safely say this is my absolute favorite so far. The mechanics and theme complement each other nicely, and allow for a good amount of agency.
One strategy we’ve found is flunking on purpose. If you see that the current swarm isn’t worth much, flunk to get the lead play next round. Have a grandiose plan to get royals out of your hand and into your stash? Flunk.
Trap cards come in really handy when the swarm pile is loaded with fairies. But you’d better hope the player next to you doesn’t have another trap to steal the swarm right out from under you.
Goblin cards add for some fun hijinks throughout the game, allowing you to swipe cards, stash cards or even pass some around.
If you time a goblin card just right, you can steal another players Royal Fairy right out from their stash.
What’s cool in Fairy Season is that you want to take as many tricks as possible, since every fairy card is worth points. If you’re used to more traditional trick taking games where you want to avoid bad trick points, you’ll have a little to get used to.
I absolutely love that scoring is simple and that there are no negative points in the game.
All in all, there isn’t anything I disliked or would change about Fairy Season. It’s awesome and our family instantly fell in love with it. We’ll look forward to playing it in the years that come.
We give Fairy Season 5 out of 5 tasty goblin brews.
Find it direct from Good Games or ask for it at your friendly local game store.
The Family Gamers received a copy of Fairy Season from Good Games Publishing for this review.
Number of Players: 3-5
Age Range: 10+ (we say 8+)
Playtime: 20 minutes