In the words of the developers themselves, Fairy Season is a game about tricky Goblins collecting Fairies in the forest so that they can shake out their fairy dust and use it to make a wicked winter brew.
I spoke with Jaime Lawrence from Good Games Publishing, one of the developers on Fairy Season. Lawrence worked mostly on playtesting and ensuring that not only were the mechanics correct, but that the game was the best experience it could be on the tabletop.
“In terms of gameplay, it’s a ladder-climbing/trick taking game, similar to Uno, but with some spicy tricks.” Lawrence told me. “You win by collecting the most fairies, but in each round, you claim fairies primarily by playing the highest card, so that your opponent can’t play after you.”
Fairy Season is a filler game- a smaller title that can be played in a short period of time, ideal for your lunch break, a quick game with the kids, or playing between sessions of larger board games. Making sure that the game both fit this criteria, while also being a blast to play was a key focus of the development.
“Balancing the Goblin powers- giving them just the right amount of spice without pushing them over into ‘broken’ territory was a challenge.” Lawrence said. “Early on, we had some things that were a bit too situational- and you never want someone to have a dead card in their hand.
“Setting the lofty goal of shooting the moon -winning by collecting all four Royal Fairies- was also something we um’d and ah’d over for quite a while- was it hard enough? Was it possible to actually ‘make’ it happen?
“There was a lot of fine-tuning in Fairy Season.” He said.
Good Games Publishing is the developer behind other titles like Unfair, Monstrous and the upcoming Guild Master. Fairy Season adds a new layer to the library of fantastic games created at Good Games Publishing.
“Fairy Season was a ball to develop.” Lawrence told me. “We quickly discovered that kids loved it- and all of us working on the game have kids and are constantly looking for games we can play together.
“This also gave the game a clear goal during development,” he went on. “We wanted the game to have enough trickery and depth that adults could enjoy it, while remaining simple enough for kids to have fun with.
“The theme is also a lot of fun- again, knowing the audience meant that we could make out Goblins silly and comical and our Fairies extra magical.” Lawrence said. “Discussing the art along the way provided a lot of fun while we were playtesting.”
Fairy Season is an excellent and contained experience. The game is very easy to teach, and after only a few turns, you’ll begin to see your own strategy emerge.
“Don’t hold back!” Lawrence advises people playing the game for the first time. “Every card in this game is good for something. Use your tricks and have fun with them. You’re a Goblin Lord, so steal and connive and try to make trouble for other players at every turn!”
After only a few games, my regular tabletop group was hooked on Fairy Season, stopping between sessions to laugh and discuss plans that failed, and epic moments where out strategy was undone by one of our tricksy opponents.
The great thing about a filler game is that, whether you win or lose, it’s over fast and you can shuffle up, deal out the hands and go for gold all over again.
“Fairy Season is a game that offers you different tricks and options each time you play.” Lawrence told me. “It’s fast and fun and if things go wrong, it’s all over in fifteen minutes and you can try again.
“You’ll find yourself playing it over and over and the fun doesn’t stop- which is a pretty satisfying feeling for a publisher.”
(In the best way possible!)