Welcome back to another week of game reviews! Today, you get two reviews in one post. Both games are from Green Couch Games. Green Couch Games was founded in 2014 by Jason Kotarski with a mission statement of releasing “great little games that make great big connections.” That means the two games I am reviewing today can fit in your pocket! The games are titled Fidelitas and Best Treehouse Ever. Both retail for $20, take 30 minutes to play, and can accommodate up to four players. Fidelitas is recommended for ages 13+ and Best Treehouse Ever is recommended for ages 8+.
In Fidelitas, you take on the role of citizens in a medieval city who are trying to exert their influence over other citizens to gain credibility to overthrow the corrupt monarch.
1. Place the five Location Cards in a row in numerical order to form the city. These cards will be bookended by the Castle card and the Harbor card. (These five Location Cards each contain ten locations to form ten different locations.)
2. Shuffle the Virtus Cards (citizens) and deal one face up to each of the ten locations above. Then, deal each character two cards to form their hand.
3. Shuffle the Missio Cards (goals) and deal two to each player.
4. The remaining Virtus and Missio Cards are placed in separate piles near the city.
1. Play a Virtus Card to one of the two locations matching its guild symbol (located in the top right corner of the Virtus Card). Carry out the action at the bottom of the Virtus Card.
2. Score one or more Missio Cards, if possible.
3. Draw a replacement Virtus Card (unless the one you played this turn had an X at the bottom) and draw back up to two Missio Cards.
4. When one player reaches a certain number of points (10 in 2 player, 8 in 3 player, and 6 in 4 player), play continues around the table to ensure that everyone had the same amount of turns. Player with the most points at the end is the winner.
Fidelitas is a hand management game where you are placing cards to complete your goals and indirectly hinder the goals of the other players. With only two cards in your hand at a time and a set number of places to go for each card, your decisions may seem limited, but the effect of the card you play will ripple throughout the city. For example, if you play the Baker, then you can move 2 cards to any 2 different locations. If you play the Professor, you can discard 1 card and draw 3 in its place. The other thing to consider with only 2 cards in your hand is that you can overthink your decision. Do you overtly go for your goal or do you occasionally throw your opponent off by doing something that has nothing at all to do with your goals?
There are a lot of pros to this game including artwork, portability, time to play, easy setup, and simple rules. However, the biggest pro is the replay value. With 14 different character actions and 20 unique goals, you’ll always have a different game. This game is a solid 8 and one that has earned a permanent spot on my game shelf!
In Best Treehouse Ever, you are a child competing with other children to build the biggest and most impressive treehouse in your neighborhood, but you must keep it balanced or else it will tip over to the left or right, and you’ll lose!
1. Give each player a Starting Tree Card, a Scoring Marker, and a Balance Marker with the Balance Marker placed in the middle circle of your Starting Tree Card.
2. Place the six Scoring Cards and the four Game Changer Cards (or two in 2 player) in the middle of the table.
3. Shuffle the Missio Cards (goals) and deal two to each player.
4. Shuffle the Room Cards and place them face down in a deck. Deal each player six of these cards.
1. The game takes place over three weeks (rounds). At the beginning of each week, players are dealt six cards.
2. Players look at their Room Cards and choose one to build by placing it face down in front of them. After all players have placed their card face down, flip your card over and build it in your treehouse shifting the Balance Marker to the side of the tree you built on. It is important to note that a Room Card must be supported by two branches (except for cards on the edge), must touch a Room Card of the same color (except if it is the first Room Card of that color), and must not be placed on the same side of the tree where your Balance Marker already is.
3. Take the Room Cards that you did not play and pass them clockwise. You now have a new hand of Room Cards to pick from. If you ever find that you cannot play a card, simply choose one card and discard it.
4. At the end of each week, players pick a Game Changer Card and use it to cover up a Scoring Card of their choice.
5. The person with the most points at the end of three weeks is the winner.
To say that I am a fan of Scott Almes would be an understatement. He is one of the few board game designers whose games are pretty much an instant buy for me, because his little games always pack a BIG punch. Best Treehouse Ever is no exception to that rule. The game mechanic of card drafting is simple and familiar, but he made it kid-friendly in theme and design. What kid doesn’t want an aquarium, a candy store, and a water slide in their treehouse? I have played this game dozens of times, and the fun isn’t in winning, it’s in seeing what cool rooms your treehouse has at the end of the game! With that said, the one downside to this game is the player count. It is made for 2-4 players, but the real sweet spot is at least three players. With two players, it is obvious what color of cards, your opponent won’t let you score at the end of each week. That gripe aside, I love this little game and I know my son will too in a few years. After a few plays, once you have grown accustomed to the game, you can add bonus cards (goals) to the game that give you room arrangements to aim for, which provide an extra challenge and more ways to score. Again, this is an excellent little family game that will not only provide hours of fun, but will also teach new/young gamers the concept of card drafting to prepare them for meatier card drafting games like 7 Wonders. Highly recommended!
These games were provided to me for free by Green Couch Games in exchange for honest reviews. If you decide to pick up these games, be sure to check out the Boardgame Geek Store for additional cards you can buy for each game at $5 apiece. Also check out their other games JurassAttack!, Avalanche at Yeti Mountain, and Wok on Fire. Finally, be on the lookout for their next Kickstarter project coming in June called Rocky Road a la Mode!
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Copyright 2016 Stuart Dunn