This article was written in exchange for Funfair and contains my honest opinions about the quality and my play experience with the game.
When reading and learning about Funfair, immediately I thought it would be a game that I’d enjoy play testing.
Turns out, my hunch was right and it was because I felt it had some elements of an old time favourite board game I played called MachiKoro. In general, I enjoy card game drafting so I knew this was something I’d like to review.
What caught my eye first was Funfair’s artwork. The clean, vibrant and pseudo lifelike illustrations were created by Mr Cuddington, David Forest, and Lina Cossette, and bring the game to life. Indeed they fit the amusement park theme well.
Upon receiving my copy of Funfair I was pleasantly surprised as a lot of work went into the packaging and shipping. As I opened it, its contents were neatly packed away, each in a plastic bag container or in wrapping holding the quality of the pieces.
The box itself has a smooth finish with very clear printing of the title, “Funfair” along with neat packaging within the box itself.
5 x Award Cards
4 Gate Cards
97 Park Cards
12 City Cards
20 Blue Print Cards
4 Showcase Cards
4 Reference Cards
1 Blueprint Closure Card
1 Starting Player Marker
1 Plastic Base
50 x “1 coin” tokens
24 x “5 coin” tokens
4 x “25 coin” tokens
1 Current Step Marker
Designed by Joel Finch and developed by Kim Brebach, Funfair is a game for 2-4 players that revolves around creating the best theme park. To win at Funfair, your theme park must score the highest out of the rest within the course of six rounds. There are several ways to achieve this:
-Building onto a theme
-Making additional attachments and services which help add onto your theme park size
-Meeting an award condition
-Completing blueprints (essentially hidden goals) and lastly,
-The final coin total.
I’ll go through how to achieve these ends as we explore game set up and gameplay.
The game board can either be set up side by side or if players are sitting opposite of each other, turn the game board to the appropriate side.
Put the Current Step Marker at the City to mark the beginning of the round.
Each player receives the following: Yellowgate (a way to start off your theme park), Purple Showcase Card dealt at random and placed face down (keep it secret from other players as it reveals the final upgrade for the park), a Reference card to help with turns and 30 coins.
Place half of the coins in the middle of the game board to provide easy access to acquire income through various upgrades to parks.
Shuffle Red Park Cards and put them on the appropriate market spot on the game board to form a Park Deck.
Shuffle the Blue Blueprint cards and place them face down on the appropriate market spot to create the Blueprint Deck.
Shuffle the Light Blue City Cards and count two from the top of the deck. Then place the “Closing Down soon card” facing up. Count 4 more city cards face down on top of that.
Deal 5 Park Cards to each player. If that player does not have a card labelled “Attraction” they are allowed to mulligan and grab a new hand of 5, discarding the rest.
Reveal Cards from the Park Deck to fill the six spots on the board to form the market.
Shuffle Green Award Cards and place them down on the board in the appropriate spot to form an Awards Pile. Reveal the set Award for this game face up.
Give the Starting Player Marker to the person who most recently rode a rollercoaster.
A regular turn follows several steps. Funfair makes this simple by taking at least three actions each round with one action at a time in turn with other players. Here are the following choices for actions:
Five attractions are allowed in total including your hidden Showcase
Can’t have duplicate names of attractions, upgrades and staff members (includes themes and other upgrades). However, you can have the same upgrade on different attractions.
Build an attraction/ upgrade or recruit a staff member.
Each build incurs a cost so keep track of the amount of coins available.
Take a card from the market and place in hand.
Draw two, keep one from either the Blueprint or Park deck (mainly best with blueprints as they give you hidden goals to work towards and score more points by meeting conditions e.g. build a fantasy theme park with a certain upgrade.”
Discard to Search 5 by discarding a park card to draw five new cards from the Park Deck.
Gain one coin for each attraction in your park.
Use a Demolish action to remove an upgrade or attraction to meet the guidelines of a blueprint. No refunds for demolishing.
After the following actions are taken above, we move onto the Guest Step:
Count Stars: Add up your star total for all the cards in the park.
Check Tickets: Some staff have a ticket symbol indicating that they can earn extra income in the Guest step. Income generation is important as it allows you to buy more upgrades as well as hire more staff to generate revenue for the park.
Entertain Investors: Put five coins on your hidden showcase card. This can be done each Guest Phase and the coins on this card are not to be used for any other purpose than paying off the showcase card.
Finally, the Cleanup Step which involves starting with a new market by discarding all the cards available and replacing them with cards from the Park Deck. Discard extra cards in hand until you have five (blueprints and showcase cards are not part of your hand size). Move the starting player marker left to the next player.
I felt the rounds were a bit slow at first but then slowly picked up as the game progressed. One minor gripe I had was the wording on the rules in regards to how actions should be played (being one at a time). We weren’t too sure and it was only through playing it a couple of times that we figured things out. Once these teething problems were ironed out our individual turns and the length of the game sped up.
Playing out my turns in Funfair was fun, because it challenged me as a player to juggle multiple priorities at the same time. For example, meeting the multiple blueprint requirements so I don’t get penalised as well as advancing my park state by getting relevant upgrades.
Other than my small gripe listed previously, Funfair itself is a well thought out and fun game to play. It helps that the rules written by Joel Finch clearly showed board set up and how each turn should play. Each card had a concise and well understood description along with what you are allowed to do in a turn.
Not only that, it solved an issue that I found Machikoro had which was the final tally of each player’s score. A QR code is provided to aid in easy calculation of points which I think is smart on the developers part to eliminate a lot of the confusion and go straight to the point when it comes to adding up the scores in order.
Overall, a great design and an equally fun game. I would highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys deck building and the completion of hidden tasks to score points.
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For more information on Funfair rules and the game itself, visit their page to find out more.
Looking to grab a copy of Funfair? Head over to our friends at Vault Games and grab your copy. They ship Australia wide.
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