Märchenland! (Fairyland)


4.5 - 5

Number of Players: 2-4

Year of Publication: Unknown

Creator: Tom Espen (designer and artist)

Stop spinning fairy stories!

This a favorite to say to children when they’re obviously making something up instead of telling the truth, but this game is all about fairy tales!

What’s In The Box:

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  1. Game Board
  2. Rules
  3. 36 Story Tiles
  4. 4 Player Pawns
  5. 6-Sided Die

Playing The Game:

Objective: To collect all four parts of the as many fairy tales as possible.

This game is pretty simple. You start by shuffling all the story tiles and laying them out, face-down, on the four gridded areas of the board. Each player then chooses a colour and places their token on the start space. In this game the youngest player starts.

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The starting set up of the board. Note: this copy of the game is quite old and is missing one the stories.

The first player then rolls the die and moves that number of spaces forward. Each circle that you can land on has a number in it (with the exception of the magic wand, which I’ll explain after), when you land on a circle you can turn over that number of story tiles and look at them. The first tile you turn over becomes the story that you’re trying to collect; after that when you turn over a tile you have to put it back if it doesn’t match your story. When you turn over a tile you have to show it to all the other players. This means that if you turn over a tile that belongs to a story another player is collecting it’s then easy for them to pick it up if they’ve a good memory. So the first time you land on a space you’re almost definitely going to pick up a tile that becomes your story, unless, weirdly, you manage to pick up a tile from a story that one of your opponents has just collected.

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Here each player has collected their first story tile and are progressing around the board.

Until you pass the gingerbread house players cannot land on the same space as each other. They are allowed to pass each other if they roll a high enough number on the die, but if they roll a number that would allow them to land on the same space as another player they must remain one space behind. After passing the gingerbread house this rule changes and if a player lands on the same space as another player the unlucky other player has to go back to the start.

The only thing really left to explain is the magic wand symbol. This is on one space on the bottom of the board and on one side of the die. If this is rolled or landed on, the player whose turn it is has to swap places with another player. Now, if you’re lagging behind a bit and would really like to be up front where the others are, then you’re lucky if you roll this, however, if you’re doing well and roll this and the only options for places you can swap to are spaces that allow you to turn over 1 tile you’re probably not going to be so happy.

Winning The Game:

To win the game a player must collect all four story tiles from three stories before the other players. This means that players can keep going around the board for as long as is necessary to achieve this goal.

Strategy:

Have a good memory. A big part of the game is remembering where a tile is when another player turns over a tile that you need. This can enable you to win very quickly if you get lucky with the other players turning over tiles you need instead of ones that they need. It’s also good to keep an eye on one other story that no one else is collecting as a potential for your next story, as if you already know where two or three of the next story tiles are when you finish collecting the first one you’re likely to get ahead. Other than that this game is mostly luck of the roll and hoping that your opponents don’t roll magic wands if you’re in a good position.

History and Interesting Things:

  1. This game was inspired by the stories written by the Brothers Grimm.
  2. Märchenland translates to Fairy Land in English, though this isn’t a literal translation.
  3. The Brothers Grimm were academics who were born in the late 18th century and specialized in collecting and publishing folklore during the early-mid 19th century.
  4. Many of their stories are very commonly know still, although they are more commonly known in their romanticized, Disney form than in the form originally written in, which tended to be a little more gory and with slightly less happy endings.
  5. During the 1930’s and 40’s the many of the stories were used as propaganda by the Third Reich.
  6. The way the Gimm’s collected and rewrote stories before publishing them was regarded at the time by many to not be an accurate collection of the stories. However, this method of collecting folklore and legends has since been used throughout Europe.
  7. As a result of the use of the book Kinder – und Hausmärchen Nazi party it was actually banned in Germany for a short time when the country was occupied by the allied forces after the war.
  8. The brothers have been the subjects of two films; The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm and The Brothers Grimm.
  9. There is a current TV series called Grimm featuring a descendant of one of the brothers.
  10. The Grimm stories provided the basis for many of Walt Disney’s early films, such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) and Sleeping Beauty (1959). It could be said that the Brothers Grimm provided the basis upon which Walt Disney built his film empire, which is still going strong today.

To Conclude:

I rated this game 4.5 because although I really like it and would definitely recommend it I think there’s not enough to it. If I were going to suggest an improvement to the game I would suggest that the stories that go with each set of tiles has to be told whilst they are being collected, or something similar. That way the game is an opportunity to do some creative storytelling as well as have a bit of fun.

 

 

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