Monday, January 25, 2010

Fast Flowing Forest Fellers

I know what you're thinking. Fast Flowing Forest Fellers...really? That's the name of the game? That's the best they could come up with? If you're thinking that I would have to agree. This game has the weirdest name of any game that I have heard of, and I've heard of a lot of games. Despite the crazy name the game is pretty fun. It's a quick light strategy race game where you are trying to be the first person to get your lumberjacks down the river. Here's what the rules say about the theme of the game:

"Daring lumberjacks meet at the river to begin their traditional contest of the fastest log riders. By skillful maneuvers they try to beat-out their competitors to get ahead in this running of the river. Sometimes you want to move ahead quickly and other times you want to block others in your race to be the first across the finish."

The game comes with some pretty cool stuff. You get 10 lumberjacks on logs, 45 logs, 80 movement cards, 5 jokers, 5 player cards, and 6 double sided game boards. The quality of the game is great. The only gripe I have is the box isn't laid out very well to store the components. You get a deck of cards, but no place to put them. What are supposed to do with the cards, just let them flop around in the box? I'm sure you could easily make a tuck box to store them in, but it would be nice have that included or have the box layout have a slot for the cards and other components. The game does come with a large resealable bag to store all the other components that works well. The box layout does nothing to affect the game play, but little touches like well thought out box design adds to the overall feel of the game.

So how do you play? Two game boards are selected and put together. Every board has rapids. When placing the boards together you have to make sure that the rapids match up. Logs are then placed on the board on all of the indicated spots. Players then select their starting lumberjack color (one male and one female) and their deck of cards that corresponds to their lumberjack color. The cards that make up your deck have a number ranging from 1 to 5 and a picture of a male or female lumberjack. The cards when played indicate how far you can move your lumberjack on your turn. There is also a wild beaver card in your deck that allows you to move either lumberjack up to three spaces.

Beginning with the starting player, each player plays one of their cards and moves their lumberjack the indicated number of spaces. You can move down the river or up the river, but movement on to the rocks, banks, and up the rapids is not allowed. You may not move your lumberjack directly on another lumberjack or log, however you may shove up to two other figures in a straight line. If three or more figures are in your way you cannot shove them, but must find another way around. At the end of your movement you then check to see if anything has landed on a current. Currents are indicated by arrows facing in a specific direction. Anything that is on a current must move one space in the direction of the current. If there is another current space that the figure moves on to it keeps going until the figure can't move any further. This make for some pretty fun game decisions and consequences. By cleverly shoving logs or lumberjacks you can send your opponents helplessly down the river in the wrong direction! After all movement has been resolved the player draws a card returning their hand to three cards and the next player takes their turn. The winner is the person that moves their lumberjacks past the last spaces on the river.

I like FFFF. It's easy to play and teach which makes it very accessible to a wide range of players. With 6 double sided game boards it would take a long time to repeat a setup, so replayability is high. The game suggests only placing two boards together, but I don't see why you couldn't put 3 or more boards together for a longer game. The only problem I could see is you might run out of logs to place on the board. There's not a ton of strategy, but there are some interesting choices to make on when to play certain cards and where you move on the board. A bad move could put you in a position to be whisked down the river in the wrong direction. So if your looking for a light strategy race game that would work for families and casual get togethers with friends, this game might be for you. Thanks for reading and happy gaming!

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