06 June 2020
A new Fox in the Forest game
Attention games publishers: if you’re going to call two-player versus games ‘duel’ and two-player co-op games ‘duet’, can you stop using foofy fantasy fonts for your logos? It’s confusing. Thank you.
The original Fox in the Forest was a well-liked 2017 two-player trick-taking game with a small custom deck of cards and a loose fairytale theme. The new one adds a board and a different frame: you’re walking along a path in the woods picking up gems, but the cards tell you how far and which direction you move because of reasons.
The main gameplay is around the cards and the tricks. There are three suits, one of which is trumps, and each card also has some paw-prints on it. If you win the trick you move the player-marker on the board towards you the combined total of the two cards’ paw-prints, and pick up a gem on that space.
If you can clear the board in three rounds (each of 11 tricks), you win. If you don’t, or go off the end of the board too many times, you lose. And some cards have special – usually optional – powers that let you change direction, trump suit, distance to move, and stuff.
The card illustrations are gorgeous. Drink in the artwork, because that’s as far as the game engages with its fairytale theme. Beyond that it’s a strategic, clever but very dry exercise in trying to move in very precise ways without talking to your partner. Because that’s the other thing: you can’t talk about cards, rules or tactics while you’re playing, and that turns it into a cut-down version of The Mind, which does it no favours.
If you enjoyed The Fox in the Forest, there’s enough new gameplay in here to make it worth a go. If you never tried it, start with the original. And if you’re intrigued by the foxes and the fairytale, look elsewhere or risk disappointment.
PLAY IT? Probably
Designer: Joshua Buergel /Foxtrot Games
Artist: Roanna Peroz
Time: 30 minutes
This review originally appeared in the March 2020 issue of Tabletop Gaming. Pick up the latest issue of the UK's fastest-growing gaming magazine in print or digital here or subscribe to make sure you never miss another issue.
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