I had the privilege of playing the new set of games from Friedemann Friese while at the Gathering back in April. At the time, we weren’t allowed to write about it as the games were not finished. However, with their release at Essen coming up in the next week, It’s finally time to start talking about the games!
Friedemann has always been an innovative genius as far as game designs go – and he has been one who has been able to take ideas and re-invent them with his own take. Foremost would be Copycat – which was a game where he challenged himself to take the main mechanisms of at least ten other games and combine them into a working final product.
With the Fast Forward line, he has taken a piece of his own game, Fabled Fruit, and spun it into something new. In this series of three games (so far), players are handed a pre-sorted deck – just as with the deck in Fabled Fruit. Over the course of the games, these cards will come out in a programmed fashion, and the players together will explore the game situation.
When talking with FF at the Gathering, I remember talking to him about the rise of the escape room games and the idea that games can be consumable. This new movement was in part the inspiration for this line of games. While I didn’t write down his exact words – he said something to the effect of: I’d like to make a small card game that a group might have to play 15 to 20 times to get through. So what if you can’t play it again? You’ve had a lot of play time with a game at a low cost and a small size. And, like Fabled Fruit, even once you’ve seen all the cards – you can still play it again if you want because you haven’t destroyed anything… The game will still work once you know all the cards, though you can really only have the “wow” of a new card/rule once.
So – back to the games – each of these games is in a small format box, each with a deck of cards within. Don’t go looking too hard for a missing rulebook, because the rules for each game will be found on the cards! Unwrap the cards, make sure not to shuffle them, and the start playing. The game will unfold as you play. The initial rules are laid out on the first card, and as you go through the game, new rules will make themselves apparent.
Each of the three games plays differently. I had the chance to try each of them out, going through three or four plays each back in April.
Fortress is a competitive game about taking risks and out-witting and bluffing your friends to become the dominant ruler of the kingdom.
Fear is a competitive hand management game where you play numbered ghost cards to the table – though always taking into account the constantly evolving set of rules for play.
Flee was my favorite one based on the initial session. This one is a cooperative puzzle game where the goal is to make it through the deck to the end. From what I recall (and looking at my scribbled notes), players start with a hand of cards, and they take turns playing them according to the current set of rules. During the course of the game, they will hopefully draw more cards from the deck – granting them access to new secrets. However, if there comes a time when a player cannot play a card on their turn, the team has lost, and the game must be restarted. As you are getting ready to play again, it would be a good thing to talk about how the previous game went to figure out where the group went wrong. Of course, given the puzzle nature of this one, I will refrain from describing it further to avoid spoilers, though I can say safely that we found the first section of the puzzle to be surprisingly challenging.
All three of the games felt different, and each had great ideas from the portion of the games that we saw. The genius thing, for me, was the way in which each game still uses the central Fable mechanic to have constantly evolving game states though all three of them feel completely different. I’m definitely looking forward to playing all three all the way through.
Until your next appointment
The Gaming Doctor