The Only Rhyme That Bites – Goblins Drool, Fairies Rule! review

Not every game has to be a complex beast. Not everything requires a 96 page rulebook and a box of miniatures that weighs twenty pounds. Sometimes it’s nice to just play something that is simple to get your head around and a bit of fun. A light little game, something that doesn’t take too much time but still scratches that itch of competition. Considering that, I’d like to present the rather charming Goblins Drool, Fairies Rule! by David Luis Sanhueza.

It’s a spectacularly simple premise. Twenty double sided cards are all you need, a sweet and sparkly fairy on one side and a mean and nasty goblin on the other. There’s one of four symbols on each image as well, either a mushroom, sun, moon or frog
out of water, and each character is individually named. You have to filter these names out into five different groups built around rhymes and it’s these names around which the majority of the game revolves.

refrigerator water filter

Mike Maihack’s artwork is beautiful – well worth the entry price alone!

Set-up is gloriously simple. Four cards are dealt out to each player showing the goblins,
while a further four are placed in the middle displaying their fairy side (the picture above with the fairie holding an ice cream cone makes me want to run to the refrigerator for a snack!) – any that aren’t used are discarded and take no further place in the game. Victory is determined by either having no goblins in front of you or by managing to collect six fairies. At the start of each turn, you choose one of your cards and add it to the collection in the middle… and then the fun starts.

Here’s where things become as tricky as it gets (which is to say, not spectacularly so). Any cards that rhyme with the one you’ve just played are flipped over, then you take back any cards that match symbols with what you’ve just played. And really, that’s about it. Playing Goblins Drool, Fairies Rule! is far from the hardest game in the world, but it’s certainly got a level of puzzling in there that warrants at least giving it a try. All information in the game is open; you can see exactly what cards everyone has so can make educated guesses on what you think your opponents may play, then base your own plays around that – and herein lies the game.

Ewwwwww. Goblins.

For such a simple game made up of only twenty cards, you may be surprised at the potential for Analysis Paralysis. Oddly, playing with grown-ups isn’t as much fun as with smaller people – like many games it can get tired quickly if you take ages pondering your move. Putting too much thought into your actions takes the fun out of play, so try not to get this to the table if you know there are folks who really love their forward planning!

I’ve been playing with a prototype copy of Goblins Drool, Fairies Rule! so can’t pass comment on what the final production quality will be, but now that the Kickstarter campaign has concluded it’s been promised that the cards will in printed on super-durable stock and the game will ship in a tin. What I can say about the game is that the artwork is utterly gorgeous – the fairies look as if they’ve leapt from the pages of a child’s storybook, while the goblins are gloriously disgusting just as you’d expect.

Having met – and exceeded – their target spectacularly, the game will be going into full production shortly. Advance pre-orders can be made over on the Game Salute site and are expected to ship sometime late this year. There’s also a very lovely looking art book available if that’s your thing, but at $12 for a copy, this is a game that shouldn’t be dismissed simply because it looks cutesy. Sure, it’s far from the most hardcore game in the world, but it’s fun, entertaining, and kids will adore it.


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