Reading through my posts you probably pretty often noticed that I am trying to involve my 6 and 7 year old sons into various boardgames. They love “daddy’s hobby” and are eager to help in any game, be it wargame, euro game or RPG. Well, that is pretty standard – whatever parents do is interesting 🙂

Still, there are some specific titles which encourage children-parents involvement and today I would like to focus on one of such. I was looking for a game which has a great story behind, which can be played over couple of session, where you develop your character and which touches topics important for children. And I found such a position – Stuffed Fables.

About Game

Stuffed Fables is an unusual adventure game in which players take on the roles of brave stuffies seeking to save the child they love from a scheming, evil mastermind. Make daring melee attacks, leap across conveyor belts, or even steer a racing wagon down a peril-filled hill (we experienced this – was really a ride to remember!). The game delivers a thrilling narrative driven by player choices. Players explore a world of wonder and danger, unlocking curious discoveries. The chapters of Stuffed Fables explore the many milestones of a child’s life, creating a memorable tale ideal for families, as well as groups of adults who haven’t forgotten their childlike sense of wonder.

Stuffed Fables is the first adventure book game“in which all of the action takes place in the unique storybook — a book that acts as your rules reference, story guide, and game board, all in one. Each adventure in the game takes place over several pages. The book opens flat onto the table to reveal a colorful map or other illustration central to playing the game, with choices, story, and special rules on the opposite page.

Let me now tell you a little about the game mechanics. On their turn, a player draws five dice from the bag. The colors of the dice drawn determine the types of actions and options available to the player:

  • White dice can re-stuff stuffies injured in battle
  • Red dice perform melee attacks while Green dice perform ranged attacks
  • Yellow dice search
  • Blue dice are used for special actions
  • Purple dice can be used as any color
  • Black dice are also drawn, and after enough appear, minions emerge or attack!

Players can encourage each other by sharing dice or their precious stuffing. In addition to fighting minions, each page of the storybook offers numerous points of interest, charming characters to interact or trade with, as well as many unusual challenges.

Sounds like a fun for the whole family? Definitely it is! Let me now show you two first stories in the game and than share some of our experiences.

Scenario 1

Of course I will use picture-rich report, not only to present the session, but also game components and mechanics. The first story tells a tale of the you girl who just got his first standalone bed and it is her first night alone in room, without parents. Sounds familiar? Yes, the game leads us through many milestones in children lives.

We played in four, me, my wife Magda, Natan (7) and Kuba (6). Everybody has some specific character – more on this later on – and will play critical role in our company.

The first pages of each story gives a thorough introduction to the situation – it is indeed like reading the book.
Then we turn the page and start in girl’s bedroom – where we immediately spotted four minions crawling onto the child bed!
Once we dealt with first room opponents, we moved through the special portal beneath bed to the land of old, discarded toys. There we were again attacked by frightening minions. Thanks to cooperation, we survived only to…
…land in mysterious wilderness, where we met some mysterious creatures as well as spotted a small hut.
Before we had opportunity to talk with the occupants of hut, another pack of minions was on us!
Short interruption:above you can see yhe character mat; pretty simple and easy to grasp for children although some text need reading for them.
Just as we managed to leave the forest and reached a small bazaar – where we were supposed to finally retrieve girl’s red blanket – a huge boss emerged. That was culmination of our adventure and classic RPG-type finish. As a team we dealt with him, although this was a really difficult task.

In the end we succeeded, the girl’s first night was calm and quiet – despite minions trying to disturb it and steal her blanket. Children really liked the theme, story, its finish and that we worked together for the success.

Scenario 2

In our second game the Stuffed Toys will help the girl to survive first night without pampers. And believe me – the minions will do everything to disturb her peaceful sleep and make sure she does not succeed!

Again, we have introduction to the story, with thematic picture and some text
Just as girl’s parents left the bedroom, we heard a rumor in bathroom. Somebody started all taps – a sound which evidently was supposed to impact the child! We struggled with powerful minions, managed to close the faucets but in the process..
…we were sucked in drainage channel! We had to face minions again and try to withstand the current but we unfortunately did not managed and were swept away…
…only to land in mysterious village. The old toys there were very helpful and informed us about place where very brave Lion is held by the Master of Child Nightmares. Without hesitation we decided to find and release him.
A quick pause to show how our play arena looks like – the book-game is convenient to play and the elements are really thematic!
I told you about the black dice (activating minions) and group goals (they are counted on separate track). Here they are.
Ok, but let us get back to Lion. He was indeed kept in some kind of laboratory! When we started to release him a large, mechanical boss appeared! (I love those story finisher – boss is so great way to end the tale!) He of course had couple of minions to help but we managed!

Uff, that was definitely more demanding tale then the first one. We managed to prevent the minions from disturbing the girl and her night finished in success. Believe me, the children were playing with great excitement!

First Impressions

Let me now share my initial thoughts on that game:

  • this is really engrossing and enjoyable entertainment for the whole family
  • everybody plays role here and assists each other
  • there is a huge stress put on cooperation – like groups tasks or helping if somebody is collapsed. It is usually much easier to recover / achieve something if somebody helps you rather than when you try to do it on your own. Very educational.
  • the topics raised – like first days in bed alone for a child, or starting without pampers – might seems trivial but believe me, they are so crucial for children and you can see the emotions on their faces
  • it is great we have as many as 7 tales; unfortunately, you would rather not play one tale in one session – it requires like 1.5-2 hours while span of children interest usually fades away after an hour; still, you can pack and then re-setup again mid tale.
  • if you think this is childish game which young adepts of boardgame hobby can play alone you are very much wrong; assistance from parents is definitely required and at least one person should already have at least moderate experience with boardgames

All in all, Stuffed Fables provide a lot of fun for the whole family and allow to tackle important topics for our youngest ones.