Fantasy Realms Review - A deceptively fun card game
- Game Type – Card Game
- Number of Players – 3 – 6 (with a 2 player variant)
- Mechanics – Card drafting, Hand Management
- Difficulty – Easy
- Release – 2017
- MSRP - $19.99
Fantasy Realms is a delightful game of drawing generic fantasy themed cards then discarding them. Wait, where are you going? Come back, come back! It really is better then it sounds. In fact, I had so much fun with it that, just writing this is making me itch to play again.
Players start the game with a hand of 7 cards. These cards all have a strength stat, a suit such as flame or army, and an ability that will possibly add or subtract points depending on the other cards in your hand. Each turn players draw a card from either the deck or discard pile, then discard a card. When there are 10 cards in the discard pile the game ends and highest strength wins.
Even though the game play here is very simple, I think that acts more as a strength then a drawback. Fantasy Realms flows very nicely and still has a good amount of tough decisions to make during the game.
The game is insanely easy to learn (I just taught you 95% of the game in the paragraph above) so as you can imagine, there's not much to the rules. It explains things well with one exception. There is a single card that grants points based on “runs”. This term was not mentioned anywhere in the rules, and we couldn't figure out if the designer meant cards in sequential order or cards in sequential order of the same suit. Hrm. We went with the traditional Rummy translation since that is the most well known use of the term in cards.
Well the name does not lie. You've got your fantasy and you've got some realms. In its defense though the mechanics of this game wouldn't perfectly fit any theme. Also in spite of being pretty generic, they do a good job evoking theme in how the cards interact. Rainstorm blanks all flame cards except Lightning, armies are worth more if you have both the King and the Queen, and the Forge give bonuses for having more weapons and artifacts.
Sets up as fast as a traditional card game. Deal out 7 cards to each player and your ready to roll! It needs to be said though that the scoring is pretty cumbersome if one person uses the pad to score everyone. After the first game, we all just pulled out our phones and used calculators.
WizKids always has suburb components. Great card stock, a HUGE score pad, and of course a wonderfully sturdy box. The design is crisp and clear as well and there's something very pleasing to me about the color scheme they used.
Even though I had a few minor gripes, I really loved this game. Fantasy Realms has a lot going for it. It has a similar feel to a stripped down version of one of my all time favorite games, 7 Wonders. The games go lightning fast so if you don't have long to play, but still need to scratch the gaming itch, this fills that gap nicely. Finally it's very reasonably priced at $19.99. If your a fan of card drafting or traditional card games I'd recommend picking this one up!