Goblins Drool, Fairies Rule! Game Review

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The Basics:

  • For ages 7 and up
  • For 1 to 4 players
  • Approximately 15 minutes to complete

Geek Skills:

  • Counting & Math
  • Logical & Critical Decision Making
  • Reading
  • Pattern/Color Matching
  • Strategy & Tactics
  • Hand/Resource Management

Learning Curve:

  • Child – Easy
  • Adult – Easy

Theme & Narrative:

  • Fairies and goblins come together for the final showdown

Endorsements:

  • Gamer Geek mixed!
  • Parent Geek approved!
  • Child Geek approved!

Overview

In the fantasy world, goblins tend to embody all that is gross, nasty, and foul. Fairies, on the other hand, can induce a diabetic coma simply by flying by you. These two extreme opposites go head-to-head in this clever card game that took everyone by surprise.

Goblins Drool, Fairies Rule!, designed by David Luis Sanhueza, developed by GAME-O-GAMI, and published by Game Salute, is comprised of 20 durable, large double-sided cards. One side of the card represents smelly goblins and the other represents overly adorable fairies. The illustrations by Mike Maihack are outstanding and true works of art. Mr. Maihack has captured all that is rotten and gross about goblins and spared none of the fairies’ cavity inducing sweetness. The different sides of the cards are in such extreme opposites to each other, you can’t help but smile. This is especially true when the names of the goblins and fairies are so over-the-top. For example, the goblin on one side of the card is named Needs A. Shower, and the blue-winged snowflake faerie on the other side is named Snowflake Shelly. Kind of makes you want to puke on several levels. Excellent stuff.

About the Cards

Before you can play Goblins Drool, Fairies Rule!, you must first understand how the cards in the game work and influence each other. As already mentioned, one side of the card represents a goblin and the other represents a fairy. The name of the goblin or fairy (depending on which side is facing up) is shown with 1 of 4 different card icons.

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Example of a card with both sides shown side-by-side

The card icons are Mushroom, Frog, Sun, and Moon. Each icon has an opposing icon that is shown on the other side of the card. As shown in the above card example, the goblin side of the card has the Frog and the fairy side has the Mushroom. These two icons always oppose each other. The same goes for the Sun and the Moon. For example, if a player was looking at a goblin card with a Sun icon, they would know that the other side is a fairy with a Moon icon.

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The proud Mushroom, the snobbish Frog, the flirty Sun, and the sleeping Moon

The only other aspect of the cards that needs to be noted are the names of the goblins and fairies. At first glance, they are pure nonsense. However, each name rhymes with other cards in the game. As described in the game rules, each name of the fairy or the goblin will end with 1 of five possible sounds. These sound include: “oop”, “elly”, “ock”, “our”, and “ew”. Additionally, no two cards share the same combination of goblin or fairy rhyming groups and no card has the same group on both sides. For example, fairy Hickory Dock rhythms with fairies Goldie Lock, Poppy Smock, Candy Rock, and goblins Cobweb Shock, Chicken Pock, Old Man Sock, and Cuckoo Clock. A rhyming guide is provided in the game rules in case there are any arguments about which names rhyme.

Finally, there is a special type of card in the game referred to as the “star cards”. These look just like the other cards but have a star border. One of these cards is automatically given to each player at the start of the game. How they are used is described in Fairies vs. Goblins below.

Game Set Up

Note: Goblins Drool, Fairies Rule! can be played a number of different ways. The game set up described here is for the standard 2 to 4-player game. See Game Variants for additional methods of play.

To set up the game, first find the 4 goblin star cards. These look just like the other cards, but have a star border around the goblin side of the cards. Shuffle these and deal one to each player. Players should place the card to their left on the table, goblin side face-up. Note that cards are never kept in the players’ hand. They are always visible during the game. Any goblin star cards not used are returned to the game box.

Second, organize the cards so all the goblin side of the cards are face-up and shuffle the deck. Deal out to each player 3 cards. Players should place these goblins to the right of their star goblin card to make a row of 4 goblin cards.

Third, flip the deck over and deal out 4 fairy cards to the center of the gaming area in a row. This area of the game is referred to as the “Fairy Circle”. Any cards still remaining in the deck are returned to the game box.

That’s it for game set up. The player to the left of the Dealer goes first.

Fairies vs. Goblins

Goblins Drool, Fairies Rule! is played in turns with no set number of turns per game. On a player’s turn, they will complete 3 steps in sequential order.

Step 1: Add a Card

The first thing a player does is add one card that is in front of them to the Fairy Circle. This can be any card, but the player should play a card that will further their goals to obtain one of the two possible victory conditions. The card added to the Fairy Circle can be a goblin or a fairy and placed on either end of the Fairy Circle row.

Step 2: Flip Cards

The player now flips over every goblin and fairy card in the Fairy Circle that rhymes with the card that the player added. This could be one or more, or even none. Goblins become fairies and fairies become goblins. Talk about an identity crisis! The only card that will never flip is the card the player just added.

If the player added a card with a star border, ALL the cards in the Fairy Circle are flipped over regardless if they rhyme or not. Again, the only card that is not flipped over is the card the player added.

Step 3: Take Cards

The last thing the player does is take all the cards in the Fairy Circle that match the icon of the card they added. These cards are added to the player’s row of cards in any order they like, but they cannot be flipped over and looked at. The only card that will never be taken is the card the player added. As such, there will always be at least 1 card in the Fairy Circle.

This completes the player’s turn. The next player in turn order sequence now goes and repeats the steps above.

Winning the Game

The game ends when a player completes one of two possible victory conditions at the end of their turn.

  • Victory Condition #1: No goblins in the player’s row (with any number of fairy cards showing)
  • Victory Condition #2: 6 or more fairies in the player’s row (the number of goblins doesn’t matter)

Game Variants

Fairy Solitaire

Goblins Drool, Fairies Rule! can be played solo with just a few minor set up changes. Instead of 4 goblin cards, the player starts with 5, and the Fairy Circle starts with 5 fairies instead of 4. Any remaining cards are returned to the game box. Game play is the same as described above, but how the player wins is different. The player wins if their row is completely devoid of goblins. Players can further challenge themselves by attempting to reduce the number of turns it takes to win, add more cards to the game, or attempt to get rid of all the goblins (or fairies) in the player’s row and Fairy Circle.

Fairies Drool, Goblins Rule!

This game variant is played exactly as described above except everything is opposite. Wherever you see “fairy” in the game set up and game play summary, replace it with “goblin” and vice versa. The victory conditions are also switched, but the goals are still the same. The only other aspect of the game that is different is the name of the center row. Instead of “Fairy Circle”, it’s referred to as “Goblin Cave”. Game play itself is not any more difficult or easy. You would only use this game variant if you dislike fairies or are particularly fond of goblins.

To learn more about Goblins Drool, Fairies Rule!, visit the game’s web page.

Prediction

Ever since I received this game for review, I’ve been weary of it. A game about rhyming with goblins and fairies is not something I feel drawn too. I haven’t been putting the game off, mind you, but it has been difficult to gauge the best time to introduce the game. I have no doubt that the Child Geek will appreciate the game for its artwork and the Parent Geeks will like the casual game play. As for the Gamer Geeks, I don’t see anything to suggest that Goblins Drool, Fairies Rule! will make the Gamer Geeks jump and down for joy. The “cuteness element” is going to turn some of the Gamer Geeks away right from the start. Especially the “hardcore” gamers. Overall, I think the game will be well received by families, but not overly enjoyed by the gaming elitists.

Teaching Goblins Drool, Fairies Rule! is best done by literally talking your players through it. Demonstrate how card names are used to determine card relationships and how cards flow back and forth from the player back to the Fairy Circle. I would also put emphasis on the two different victory conditions. Players need not decide which of the two they are going for or even announce it to the table, but they will need to be aware of both throughout the game. Failure to do so will lead the player to make choices that do not further their goals or inadvertently assist an opponent.

Note that Goblins Drool, Fairies Rule! does require reading. For the younger Child Geeks who are just starting to learn how to read, some of the words are going to be a bit too complicated to quickly sound out. Since there is no secret information in the game (all the cards are visible at all times), older players can help younger players by sounding out cards. This DOES NOT impact the game play as long as the younger player makes all the choices. Do expect games to last longer, however.

And so, after teaching the game to my three little geeks, I asked them their thoughts on Goblins Drool, Fairies Rule! so far.

“Fairies, Dad? Seriously? Is this a girls’ game?” ~ Liam (age 9)

“I don’t want to play a girl’s game, Dad. Can we play with Heroscape instead?” ~ Nyhus (age 7)

“I like the goblins. They are funny!” ~ Ronan (age 4)

As expected, the game’s “cuteness factor” is working against it. I have taught my little geeks to never judge a person, book, or game by its appearance. Now is a great time to see if that lesson holds any weight. Let’s play Goblins Drool, Fairies Rule! to see if the game is a surprise for all or an eye-rolling disappointment.

Final Word

The Child Geeks were able to quickly learn and to play the game. The first game was more or less just the Child Geeks rhyming cards, which is not a great strategy. If player’s go this route, the odds of them meeting one of the two victory conditions before another player is pretty slim. After the Child Geeks understood that the best approach was to focus on one of the two victory conditions from the start, their game visibly improved. It’s when the Child Geeks started to see how the cards manipulated each other that the game became interesting. Sarcastic conversations that focused on the artwork turned to serious discussions about how cards worked together. According to one Child Geek, “I really like this game. It’s interesting how the cards work together.” Another Child Geek said, “I didn’t like this game at first. I mean, it has fairies in it that look like Tinkerbell. But I do like it now. It’s hard to get the cards you want!” When all the games were over, the Child Geeks unanimously agreed that both goblins and fairies ruled.

As an aside, I should note that our youngest Child Geeks had little interest in the game, but were happy to simply sit at the table and look through the cards. My youngest little geek likes to take the cards and make up stores about the different characters depicted on them. He tends to favor the goblin side more than the fairy side, and his stories usually include combat of some sort between different goblin tribes and evil fairy corporations. Pretty epic, really.

My

My 7-year-old looks over his cards in hopes of finding the best play

The Parent Geeks mentioned the artwork and commented on its high quality. It was unclear if the artwork was really of any importance to them, however. When they started to play the game, they were all smiles and the general belief at the table was that Goblins Drool, Fairies Rule! was a “cute and silly game”. After the Parent Geeks saw how the cards manipulated each other and how much fun it could be to chain and counter other players through clever card plays, the Parent Geeks were totally absorbed. According to one Parent Geek, “This is not what I expected. This is a much more difficult game than what the game’s title would suggest.” Another Parent Geek said, “This is a great game on many levels. It’s easy to learn, easy to teach, fun to play, and challenging to win. I really like it.” All the Parent Geeks voted to approved the game.

The Gamer Geeks were hesitant to allow me to bring this to the gaming table. When I mentioned “goblins”, they became interested. When I mentioned “fairies”, they all but threw their hands up in disgust. It became even more difficult when I explained that the game included rules about rhyming names of cards. One Gamer Geek said, “What in the world, Cyrus? You want us to play a game for kids?” I assured them that Goblins Drool, Fairies Rule! was NOT a kids game, but it certainly could be played by them. This didn’t seem to help, so I suggested we just get to the game.

Of course, the first round was complete shambles. The Gamer Geeks grumbled and moaned more than they played. About 10 minutes into the game I announced I was about 2 moves away from winning. This caught all the other Gamer Geeks by surprise and more than a few of them were a bit upset that I was about to beat them. That’s when the Gamer Geeks started to lean forward and give the game a chance. It wasn’t long after that the Gamer Geeks started to mumble words like “interesting” and “I didn’t expect that to happen” when cards flipped. After I won the game (in 4 turns, not 2…I might have been fibbing), the Gamer Geeks wanted another game. During our second, third, and fourth games, the Gamer Geeks grew to enjoy the experience and challenge, but not fully. According to one Gamer Geek, “This is a very interesting game and not one I would have ever played. So, thanks for that, Cyrus. What I really about this game is thinking about how the cards will affect each other.” Another Gamer Geek said, “An interesting game, but not one I would ever seek out.” And finally, another Gamer Geek said, “This is a perfect game for fillers and light gaming entertainment.” When all the games were over, the Gamer Geeks gave Goblins Drool, Fairies Rule! a mixed approval.

I really like this game. It’s easy to set up, fast to play, engaging, and best of all, super easy to play with everyone. I must admit that I was skeptical at first, just like the Gamer Geeks. When I was sent the game, I immediately enjoyed the artwork, theme, and humor, but the idea of rhyming and flipping over cards sounded rather boring. Boy, was I wrong. The “gamer” in me became quickly intrigued when I started seeing hidden patterns and subtle ways that the cards manipulated each other. I became even further intrigued when I started to not only pay attention to my row, but my opponents’ as well. And herein lies what I think is the true fun of the game. Despite the fact that players cannot directly influence each other, they can really mess up their opponents by playing cards that influence the Fairy Circle. Passive aggressive card playing has never been so much fun.

Another aspect of the game that I really enjoyed was the logical and critical thinking. I found it to be an intriguing and worthwhile exercise to determine how one card would flip another and impact future turns. I also liked how players could shift between the two different victory conditions during the game. This saved my butt more than once as my initial strategies and tactics proved to be too slow to achieve victory.

Overall, I am very pleased with the game and I wouldn’t hesitate to bring it to dinner parties or present it as a game filler to my other gaming friends. It’s a blast with families and a lot of fun with my little geeks, too. Beneath this game’s adorable surface lies a wonderful challenge that requires concentration, creativity, strategy, and tactics. Do give Goblins Drool, Fairies Rule! a try when you have a chance. I think you’ll find this cute card game to be a delight.

This game was given to Father Geek as a review copy. Father Geek was not paid, bribed, wined, dined, or threatened in vain hopes of influencing this review. Such is the statuesque and legendary integrity of Father Geek.

About Cyrus

Editor in Chief, Owner/Operator, Board Game Fanatic, Father of Three, and Nice Guy, Cyrus has always enjoyed board, card, miniature, role playing, and video games, but didn't get back into the hobby seriously until early 2000. Once he did, however, he was hooked. He now plays board games with anyone and everyone he can, but enjoys playing with his children and wife the most. Video games continue to be of real interest, but not as much as dice and little miniatures. As he carefully navigates the ins and outs of parenting, he does his very best to bestow what wisdom he has and help nurture his children's young minds. It is his hope and ambition to raise three strong, honorable men who will one day go on to do great things and buy their Mom and Dad a lobster dinner Cyrus goes by the handle fathergeek on Board Game Geek. You can also check him out on CyrusKirby.com. Yes, he has a URL that is his name. His ego knows no bounds, apparently....
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5 Responses to Goblins Drool, Fairies Rule! Game Review

  1. Pingback: In Review: Father Geek’s Monthly Newsletter (August 2014) - Father Geek

  2. Joann says:

    Do you know why I can’t find this game anywhere?

    • Cyrus says:

      Unless a game is selling like hotcakes, the number of games available dwindles until it is republished. If you are having trouble finding this particular game, you might have to wait until a reprint or pay more for a copy than you would like using a service like eBay.

  3. Nate says:

    One of my younger daughter’s favorites.

    • Cyrus says:

      And one that continues to be a hit with the Parent Geeks and their families, as well. This game always pleases the crowd, although I have a hard time describing why. If I were to guess, it is the game’s excellent mix of light humor and casual play that combines to form an enjoyable experience that is always welcome in mixed groups.

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