Stuff Story: Circumventing Poor Thematic Design


(This post is geared towards those who are familiar with the original Fairy Tale game. If you are not one of those select few, you may want to watch this super short video first.)

A few months ago, the lady and I became enamored with drafting games. We were told that one of the finest examples of the genre was a filler from over a decade ago entitled Fairy Tale. The game had it all: set collection, fantastic player interaction, simple game-play. It was hate-drafting perfected. But while the mechanics were smooth, the visual and thematic efforts were anything but. Cards jam-packed with needless symbols and text, cliched anime style fantasy artwork, and most taxing of all, card interactions with little to no thematic relevance (Vampires kill faeries?).


Our challenge was simple: design a version of Fairy Tale that was clean, compelling, and logical.

DSC_0070.jpgThe first step was to define our own factions. The original game chose the fantasy staples Faeries, Dragons, and Knights, opposed by Shadowy Evil Dudes. We decided on something more mundane: common household objects opposed by mischievous toys. Our final factions were the three C’s: Candles, Condiments, and Cleaning Supplies.

Next we went about establishing an internal logic among the three factions. Candles wanted to shed light, Condiments wanted food to taste good, and Cleaning Supplies wanted to, well, clean. These definitions allowed us to quickly flesh out our preliminary card list. Continue reading “Stuff Story: Circumventing Poor Thematic Design”