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Fantastiqa - Board Game Box Shot


| Published: 2012
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FANTASTIQA is a deck-building board game set in a fantastical landscape of dark forests, mist-shrouded highlands, and frozen wastes.

As you and your foes journey around the board, you will subdue strange creatures and fulfill quests. Each creature you encounter has an ability and a vulnerability. Manipulating these, you can subdue and recruit new creatures. Each creature you recruit is added to your expanding deck of cards, making its special ability your own! By combining the powers of different creatures, you can fulfill quests to score victory points and claim other special rewards. Some of the creatures you encounter carry precious gems, which you can spend to purchase powerful artifacts or to summon mythical beasts to your aid.

You begin with a handful of household items, but you will grow in power as you adventure and gather allies! The board changes every time you play, so prepare for a new, exciting adventure each time you enter the world of Fantastiqa!

FANTASTIQA is easy to learn but challenging to master – a game for families and gamers alike. Additional simplified rules are included for beginners and younger children.

User Reviews (3)

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I play black
Guardian Angel
Platinum Supporter
Marquis / Marchioness
177 of 181 gamers found this helpful | Medals x 1
“Unlike Anything I've Ever Played”

Deck builders seem to be everywhere. Except for a rare few (those that integrate deck building into a larger board game like City of Iron or the recently-launched-on-Kickstarter Rive), they all play very similarly. When a “standard” deck building game is faced with a saturated market a unique theme to set it apart is a huge advantage. This unique theme is the reason to seek out and appreciate Fantastiqa, a game about exploring a Chronicles of Narnia-style new world armed with nothing but household tools. Don’t worry… those standard household tools have magical powers in this whimsical land!

Observed Set-Up and Play Time
The rulebook leaves a lot to be desired. Considering there are only a few twists on the normal deck builder design, this should have been much easier to read through and comprehend. I spent over 2 hours reading and re-reading before I could teach and play – this is as long as City of Iron took me, and that’s a much more complicated game. Set-up (both initial and repeat) takes around 10 minutes. The time it takes to play the game is determined by you: during set-up you choose one of 8 “quest goals” to use for the game – these set the number of quests a player needs to complete to claim victory. With the lowest number, the game can be played in around an hour or a little less. With the highest quest goals, the game can last well over 2 hours.

Group Sizes and Dynamics
The “play area” for Fantastiqa is small. 2-player games are perfect, leaving room for each player to move around; 3-player games get a little crowded, but still work well. At 4 players, the board is so crowded that the only official rules are “teams of 2”… which is not my favorite way to play 4-player games. There are a bunch of decisions to make each turn (which monster do I try to tame? (there is no “slaying” in this game; everything is peaceful); which statue do I visit? Do I target an opponent’s hand, or work to build mine? Do I take a flying carpet ride now?), but the randomness inflicted unto the game by the shuffle of the Creature, Artifact and Quest decks of cards makes this less-than-ideal for strategy gamers. Strictly social gamers won’t like it due to thinkiness and the restrictive player limits. But everybody else should really enjoy it.

Objectionable Material
If I gave grades to games in this area, Fantastiqa would earn the highest marks. While this is a game with a theme, artwork and complexity to appeal to adults, there is not one single thing you would shield even the youngest child’s eyes or ears from. I mentioned before that you’re taming the wild beasts you encounter rather than fighting them – if you succeed (with items such as tin pails, brooms and magic wands), they join your cause and help you complete your quests. Even the quests are cute – bring 3 of good x to location y to heal creature z from whatever ails it. I can’t recommend Fantastiqa enough if you’re looking for a tier 2 deck builder to play with a child. There is reading involved, so I would guess the manufacturer’s 8+ age recommendation is about right.

Comparable Titles
I’m unaware of any game resembling Fantastiqa thematically. And while it utilizes a more standard deck building mechanic than a game like City of Iron, it does have a handful of attributes that differentiate it from other deck builders. While most other deck builders have a pool of available cards everybody can choose from, in Fantastiqa you have to encounter a card on your “path” to attempt to claim it. You actually have a cardboard standee to move about the board while you tame the beasts you encounter. While there is nothing like it, I would lump Fantastiqa in with Thunderstone Advance and Heroes of Metro City as more-complicated-than-normal deck builders.

Nowhere in here was I able to fit in my favorite aspect of Fantastiqa: the components (I really box myself in with these categories!). They are the best. Of all games. I have yet to encounter such pristine materials elsewhere: the 6 wooden pieces are the best I’ve come across; the cardboard parts (pre-punched) are thick and flawless; the linen-stock cards exceed any I’ve seen. Just looking at the game is enjoyable. And while I’m an admitted sucker for deck builders, Fantastiqa belongs to the handful I would recommend highest for overall gameplay and fun.

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Smash Up Fan
167 of 175 gamers found this helpful
“A Fantastic Family Game”

Fantastiqa is a game with a wild imagination. Players start with a starting deck of cards that include weapons used for subduing monsters on the board. Weapons include things like toothbrushes, spatulas, cats, and other items you would usually not consider weapons. You also start with a trusty gem sniffing dog and a peaceful dragon (they don’t do much). Players then travel the board (called going adventuring) with the goal being to complete different quests. Players lay cards to subdue monsters (for example, a Toothbrush might subdue the Rabbits of Unusual Size), which then allows the player to put both the card they used to subdue the monster, and the monster itself into the discard pile (this is the deck building part). As you deck gets more powerful, it allows you to complete more quests and eventually win if you reach the quest goal before the other players.

The setup of this game can take a few minutes. The board is laid out on the table and locations are placed randomly on the board (there are 6 locations). Each location then randomly gets a statue. Statues are used as stores where you can visit and buy cards. The various statues are:

Quest Chest:
Allows a user to draw three new quests and keep one or more as personal quest cards.

Beast Bazaar:
Allows a user to draw three beast cards, and buy any number of them they can afford. Each card costs 3 gems.

Artifact Tower:
Allows the user to draw three artifact cards, and buy any number of them they can afford. Each card costs 2 to 4 gems.

You then have to prepare the creature deck. This is the deck that is drawn from for the purposes of replenishing the board with monsters. The deck is designed to be balanced and therefore there are specific cards that start on top, some that start in the middle, and then some that go on the bottom. It takes a few minutes to do this because you have to go through each card and make sure it is in the correct deck. The way we manage this is that we put the game away with the creature deck already setup for next game.

Okay, almost done. Everyone then gets a starting deck that matches their player, along with a Dog and a Peaceful Dragon. Additionally, everyone starts off with a starting Quest and starting Artifact card. These are chosen by each player before the game starts. Each player also gets a player token in which they place on one of the locations on the board.

Gameplay is pretty simple actually. On your turn, you draw cards to get your hand up to 5. You then replenish the board of monsters and shared quests. There are 6 locations on the board, and a trail between each. Each trail between each location gets a creature from the creature deck. Additionally, there are two shared quests on the board. If at any time one has been completed, this is when you would replenish it with a new one from the Quest Chest.

I should mention that Shared Quests are quests that anyone can complete, while personal quests are those that only the person holding can complete. The quests are fairly simple and involve having the correct cards, along with being on the correct location in order to complete. For example, you may need two toothbrush cards and be on the Hills location in order to complete the quest.

Once you have replenished the board, you can now take your turn. On your turn you can take 1 action which includes:

* Go Adventuring
* Visit a Statue
* Complete a Quest

You also can take any number of free actions (e.g. using a magic carpet to fly to where you need to go instead of having to subdue a creature to get there).

To go Adventuring, you simply move from one location to the other, but in order to do so you must subdue the creature that is blocking your path. You can do this as many times as you can with your given hand of cards (so you can move from the hills, to the frozen wastelands, to the wetlands if you can subdue each creature in your path).

You then pick up the creatures you subdued during your turn, put them in your discard pile and your turn is over.

Visiting a statue allows you to draw cards from the Artifact Tower, Quest Chest or Beast Bazaar depending on which statue is on the location you are standing. (For an explanation on these see above).

The other action you can take is completing a quest. When you have the required cards, and are on the location that matches the quest, you can complete that quest. This gives you quest points and usually some number of gems.

The game continues until someone scores enough quest points to match the games goal (which varies depending on how many players are playing).

I first purchased this game almost a year ago and we still bring it out to play as a family. One of the things I love about this game is the pure creativeness of it, without being dark. It makes it a great game for the family to play. It also has a really good balance. My wife and I play teams against my two daughters (11 & 12) and each time we have played, the game has been close. I like that there is enough strategy, but also enough luck to give balanced game play.

The components of this game are also second to none. From the box to the cards, everything is very well produced. Probably some of the best components I have ever seen in a game.

I would recommend Fantastiqa to any family that is looking for something they can play with the kids. The theme of the game is fantastic (no pun intended). The kids love it, my wife likes playing with us and it is fun for me as well. All around, the game really is fantastic.

My score overall would be 9 to 9.5.

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Critic - Level 1
172 of 184 gamers found this helpful
“One of My Favorites”

I have played this game at least 20 times now and never seem to tire of it. It’s a deck builder. It’s a board game. It’s a strategy game. It’s one of the best-produced products to come on the market in some time. And….it’s just plain fun.

There’s a story as to how you have entered a fantasy realm where common household items have magically become weapons that can defeat creatures blocking your path, but I won’t go into that. It’s a well-written piece at the beginning of the rule book that brings the game to life.

You start with a preset deck of cards, from which you draw your starting hand. On the board, there are randomly placed locations disks which have randomly placed statues (Gryphon, Tower and Chalice). Between the six locations, there are paths upon which creature cards are placed. Each creature card has two icons on it – at the bottom, the weapons that must be played in order to defeat it (put it into your hand — the deck-building aspect), and one in the upper left corner, which is the weapon you gain in order to defeat more powerful creatures. To move from one location to another, you must defeat the creature. However, you start with three magic carpet tokens, and you can use those to fly over an area if you can’t defeat the creature blocking your path. However, you never gain more tokens, so they must be used judiciously.

Some creatures give you gems. Those gems can be used to buy things when you visit statues. Because, when you are at a location, you can choose to visit a statue rather than quest (move from one location to another). The Gryphon lets you purchase more powerful creatures to help you. The Tower lets you buy spells that can wreak havoc on your opponents. And the Cup/Chalice lets you gain new Quests.

Quests are want you ultimately want to achieve/beat, because each game has a point value you want to be the first to achieve. The point value can be chosen randomly, or you can decide how long a game you want to play based on how many points it takes to win. Each defeated Quest gives you a certain number of victory points. But be careful….each Quest you haven’t defeated counts against your victory points. So…if you are going for a 7-point game and you have defeated a Quest that puts you at 8 points, but you have unfulfilled quests valued at 3 points, you only have 5 and you have not met the victory conditions.

That’s a quick synopsis….

The Cons
Sometimes the game can feel like it bogs down slightly if you have a situation where you can’t move or you don’t have enough gems to purchase anything. But…that has only happened a couple of times when I played.

One comment I received from an opponent was that he loved the artwork except for the weapon icons, which felt too cartoonish to him.

It’s on the high-end of the cost scale because of the component quality, but I’m sure you can find it for less than suggested retail online.

The Pros
Once you get the small intricacies of the game, this is a highly competitive, highly strategic game that takes the deck building genre into whole new realms.

The components are probably the best out there. Very high quality, including an archival-quality box to store them in.

There are low-cost expansions to the game that add more strategy

This is a great game with superb replayability. Very strategic. Very quick to learn. And excellent addition to anyone’s game collection, especially fans of deck builders looking to get into something very different.


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