Hoard fruit gained from the wackiest assortment of animals ever seen in the same forest (seriously, do not question the animals. It’s cute, and that is enough) in order to make delicious bottles of juice. That is the premise behind Fabled Fruit, a game designed by Friedemann Friese whose previous titles include Power Grid, Fauna, and 504.
This game is easy to learn and quick to play, making it a great choice as a filler game or to bring out to play with the younger people in your family.
Designer: Friedemann Friese
Publisher: Stronghold Games (US), 2F-Spiele (EU)
2-5 Players, 25 minutes, Age 8+
2-5 Players, 30-45 minutes, Age 7+
Disclaimer: I received nothing in return for this review, and opinions are entirely my own. This game was purchased myself without discount. Affiliate links do follow. Purchase Fabled Fruit now from Amazon.
A “Fable” Game
Fabled Fruit is a Fable game, meaning that it will evolve over multiple gameplays, something like a legacy-lite. Unlike legacy games, however, Fabled Fruit can be reset to its original state easily to accommodate plays between more than one set of gamers or to simply play again once you are done the first time around. The game starts off pretty simplistic, adding new and more complex elements as you go. We have not completed the game yet, but it is said that it takes 20 playthroughs to see it to completion. For many games in our home 20 plays would be quite the feat. I do not think it will be difficult to get Fabled Fruit to the table 20 times, though. My kids and I are quite enjoying this game.
In the Box
If you take a peak inside you will find:
- 60 fruit cards
- 10 fruit-mix cards
- 240 location cards
- 6 wooden animals and matching tokens
- 1 wooden monkey thief
- 5 fruit tokens
- 3 wild tokens
- 3 double-turn tokens
The first thing you will notice when you start setting up the game is the location deck. Did you see that 240 number up there? That is a big deck! As you will see later, the locations are the part of the game that changes and you will go through them as you play. There are four each of 58 different locations, and eight of the final location.
The fruit-mix cards, fruit tokens, wild tokens, double-turn tokens, and thief (not shown) are not used when you first start playing the game. These will come later as you uncover new locations with new abilities.
The fruit cards are what you will be collecting by using the various abilities on the location cards. There are five different types of fruit: coconuts, bananas, strawberries, grapes, and pineapple.
Players can choose to be a frog (or toad, I won’t judge), sheep, elephant, giraffe, snake, or penguin. The little guy in the background is the thief, who also happens to be a monkey. As you can see there are six different figures to choose from, with a maximum of five players. Whichever animal that had the misfortune of being picked last gets the consolation prize of being first player token.
When the game is set up to play for the first time, there will be 24 locations in the middle of the table (four each of six different locations). Each person starts with a hand of two fruits, and their wooden animal figure in hand.
On your turn you must first move your animal to a new location card where you can do one of two things:
- perform the action on the card to get fruit, or
- buy the location to turn it into juice
The location cards not only have adorably silly creatures on it, it also has two important pieces of information: an ability to help you get fruit, and the cost to make a bottle of juice. I surely don’t want to ruin the excitement of uncovering new abilities as you go through locations, but I will share with you the six locations that you will be starting with.
Look at that antelope up there. It has a banana on its horn. I’d be surprised, too, if I had a banana stuck on my horn.
The line of fruits along the bottom shows the cost to turn that location into a juice. The smoothie icon is a wildcard, allowing you to use any fruit to fulfill it. When you purchase a location you take it and flip it over, revealing the bottle of juice on the other side, and a new location from the giant stack is put into play. When someone gets to 3, 4, or 5 juices (for 4-5, 3, or 2 player games), the end game is triggered. The current round is completed, ending the game. Whoever has the most juice wins.
Overall Fabled Fruit combines simple forms of set collection and worker placement mechanics into an enjoyable game. While at first glance it is simple, the anticipation of new abilities coupled with a variety of potential strategies keeps players interested in the game. Quick turns make for snappy rounds, keeping people engaged and attentive.
There are some “take that” aspects to the game, but they’re used in such a way that it doesn’t feel as mean as some other games. For example, that antelope with the crazed look in his eyes allows you to exchange one of your bananas for any two fruits in another player’s hand. That player gets to choose what she gives you, and still gets a banana in return. Annoying? Perhaps. But not in a frustrating type of way. There are so many ways to get fruit, and your turn is always right around the corner, that it is easy to recover.
The box states ages eight and up. My youngest is nearly eight and did very well with it. I am sure children as young as six who can read well enough to remember what is on the cards, and who have had gaming experience, could play. Definitely seven. You know your child’s threshold for such things best, however.
I definitely recommend this game. It is complex and interesting enough to be fun for experienced gamers as filler or to have around when there isn’t quite enough time to pull out a longer game. It is simple and quick enough to keep kids or non-gamers interested in it as well. For me, it fills the need of a game I can play with my entire family. We can play a quick game before bedtime or while we wait for dinner to be done, and I don’t have to use a lot of brain power if it has been a long day.
Have you played Fabled Fruit? I’d love to see your comments on what you thought about it below.