The forest seems to have its own eyes. It is called the Black Forest, and every step in its territory raises concerns. The worse is the idea of cutting trees and building a small village in its place. Will it defend? There is not enough time to ask that questions. The dwellings at the king’s command must grow up to fill his treasury with enough gold coins. And if the king wants something, he gets it too!
Players get that building assignment in the Grimm Forest board game, devised and designed by Tim Eisher. They will have to take on the hard work of the main builder after three pigs, who were fired. His creation was presented to fans by Druid City Games on Kickstarter. And it has collected over 400,000 dollars with the support of over 7,000 players. The graphic was made by Mr. Cuddington. And it has now arrived on the European market thanks to the distributor Esdevium Games.
The box is really big, we can see a fairy-tale book with a bending figure over it, but much more interesting things happen inside. The content is superbly stacked inside and structured into shaped compartments, that perfectly fill the entire space, even after the cardboard boards are punched. From them, players will collect tokens of raw materials (straw, wood, brick) and also a set of components for building houses. All these components need to be set aside.
The center of the table will then be occupied by three location boards, that will be used to obtain building materials. Each of these areas gets one large resource token, therefore starting with the five pieces available for the first round. On top of that, there is first builder token placed under each of these places. Players shuffle and prepare both decks of fairy tales and friends near the boards. Each participant chooses a color from which he gets his equipment – a pig figure, a board and three gathering cards.
Every round starts the same. Each participant selects one gathering card corresponding to one of the three available raw materials locations. This card can be accompanied by an optional fairy tale card, which has the ability to reverse things in favor of the player even if something goes bad. These are also revealed first, as some have effects, that need to be resolved at the moment. It may eve be a creature, appearing to guard the location. It belongs to the players, that summoned it, he can now pick up its miniature and place it on any location he likes.
But no one has the option to change their choices after they’re selected, so players will now reveal their gathering card with picture of a pig and material they want to collect. If everything went right and according to the player’s plans, his piglet figure is now alone on one of the collection boards. In this case, he can grab all the straw, wood or brick tokens present and take them for himself. If there are more pigs in one place (several players have chosen the same location), then the available chips must be split fairly.
The presence of a monster at the same location does not affect the actual profit of raw materials. Instead, a monster influences players completely differently, each in its own way – for example, a wolf can tear down a house player has already bulit or troll may enable someone to steal resources from an opponent.
Now the players have all the resources, they can get at the moment. And now they have a chance to spend it if they choose the right action. Everyone has a choice of three options and can perform two arbitrary actions (even one option twice). He can get a new fairy card, resource token or just build one third of any house. At the same time, the player must never have two houses of the same type under construction and together, there is always place for only five buildings on player’s board.
The second part – building the wall of a house – gives the player one bonus friend card. This is usually a well-known fairy tale character, who can provide a special action to his owner. This can be done extra in the player’s turn.
For the first completed type of each house (no surprise, that the straw house is cheaper and easier) the player gets a bonus token. Its the end of the round. All pieces will be returned to their owners or stock, only the raw materials will remain in their place and will continue to wait for whoever picks them up in the upcoming round. In addition, as a sign of passing time, each place produces one more chip, that is added there.
When one of the players completes third house, the game ends that round. If at the moment, there is only one owner of all three houses (even of the same kind) among the participants, then he becomes the winner. Otherwise, the houses decide about the winner according to their difficulty. In the end, it is always possible to determine the winner.
Grimm Forest is not a challenging and extremely complex game. Its main weapons are top-notch fabulous processing and simplicity. But where everything looks childish and easy, there is a lot of competition. Grimm Forest is not just a quiet game, where everyone collects raw materials on his own playground. This time, players will receive several weapons in their hands to trip their opponents legs.
The first and main way is the actual filling of the boards with raw materials. But not only the opponent, but also the player himself suffers, because he divides the profit. Yet the contact and the feeling of robbing is the first injustice you can notice from your opponents.
Much more interesting is the ability to play cards and thus bend the rules to your image. Both with cards of friends and fairy tales. There are enough cards, they are different every time and offer really enough tension and interesting moments.
But the whole game is actually just trying to accumulate sets of the same resources together and spend them for the right house. This may seem like there is not too much happening in this game, but it’s not that serious. It’s just a matter of expectation. Yes, some players may feel underwhelmed by the gameplay. We know extremely complex games, but even the simple ones have their own market and this one does its job perfectly. If you like easy games, that are fun, this one does the job. Many less experienced players, however, find this content quite sufficient and it proved to us in several test groups.
In general, however, you always try to find out, where others will go in that round. Because of this, of course, there is also coincidence and bluffing in here. This is especially true for cards. Everyone wants to get monsters in hand, so they can really surprise their opponents and most importantly they can use the beautiful, detailed miniatures, that came with the game.
Games for two or four players require extra adjustments. Fortunately, they are always simple and do not disrupt the game itself. For example, in two players, a mysterious character will steal resources from one place, while a new board will be available to choose from in four.
But the truth is clear – the rules are extremely simple, which means you get into the game in minutes. And even the game itself does not last too long, count on some forty to fifty minutes.
Grimm Forest is not a family game in spite of all the appearances, because there is a lot of conflict in the game. Of course, if you do not mind such an element, then even six years old will master the game and will love it. It is intended just for this light play, although the primary target group are older beginners. Grimm Forest will definitely find its groups, given its looks and nice game flow and despite the obvious shortcomings. It can simply enchant you, if you are in the right fairy tale mood.
Grimm Forest is a beautiful game. There is no doubt about that. Its appearance could easily deceive and attract children, who may not completely manage the conflicting atmosphere and decisions to screw your opponents in here. The game still is wonderfully simple, but at the same time, it gives the critics a hand by being like this. The game is really random and only a part of the players can enjoy it. Grimm Forest is a delicacy, but not everyone will enjoy it.