Game Review: Stuffed Fables
Monday, February 15, 2021

  I bought this game for my daughter this past Christmas. As of writing this review, we've played it twice--once with three players, once with four--and everyone had a great time.  

  Basically, the players take on the roles of stuffed animals that belong to a little girl. The first night the girl sleeps in her new "big girl" bed, a horde of creepy mechanical minions come out of an eerie glow under the bed to steal her toys. The little girl's baby blanket is taken, and the player's stuffy characters are dragged into an adventure to get it back and return to their sleeping charge.
  The characters you play each have a unique set of abilities, so your choice in stuffies can greatly affect your play style. For example, Lumpy the elephant can absorb damage meant for another player while Stitch is good at searching and Flops can reroll dice for his ranged attack. Each player gets one character card that displays all their special abilities. This is also where they track their stuffing (life), hearts (good deeds), and buttons (rewards for defeating minions). Arranged around the character chart, players also collect cards that represent their current weapons, armor, and accessories--items that can make or break an adventure.
  Each of the characters (and the evil minions) are represented as wonderfully detailed little figures that you place on the gameboard.  
   The mechanics of this game were quite different than any I'd played before. It's basically a Choose Your Own Adventure story played out in the form of a board game. Each adventure the characters go on takes place over the course of several pages. Each page provides a visual map, a written description of what's happening, and any special rules you may need for that page. Like any Choose Your Own Adventure, the story does not play out in a linear manner. Depending on your choices, and your success in carrying out those choices, you may skip sections, backtrack, or miss whole pages of possibility. This mechanic increases the replayability of the individual adventures, but it won't take you long to learn all the possible paths. The book as a whole is made up of nine distinct adventures, or chapters. In the course of your adventures, you can have many random encounters, some good, some bad. You can also gain positive and negative traits like Courage or Soggy.
  The last mechanic of this game I'd like to mention is the dice. This is a "roll" playing game, meaning there is a significant element of chance to all your encounters. From fighting enemies to searching for items, passing challenges to simply moving across the map, even the amount of stuffing in your character . . . it all depends on your dice. For each player's turn, you reach into a black bag and pull out five colored dice. Each color affects a different attribute. For example, you need a red die to perform a melee attack, while a ranged attack requires green. Yellow dice let you search. White dice give you a chance to increase your stuffing, while black dice will increase the chances something bad is about to happen. Blue dice are most often used for movement and defence, and purple dice are wild. So, depending on what you pull out of the bag, your plans may have to change. If you're a melee character who didn't draw any red dice, maybe you should search for a new weapon or try to get between an enemy and a friend to act as a shield. If you need to cross a green terrain line on the map but didn't get a green die, you're not going to be able to scale that obstacle.  

  (As a side note about the dice: the colors were very washed out, so red was orange and purple was pink. I think they could have found a higher quality dice distributor.)

  Overall, I'm looking forward to playing the rest of the chapters of this story. I'd give this game 4 out of 5 stars.