What I found was a whimsical, dare I even say charming, game that I think would work really well with gradeschool kids. However, I don’t think it has legs to interest adults for very long.
The game consists of twenty double-sided cards. One side is goblins and the other is fairies. Each card face has a name and a symbol (sun, moon, toad, toadstool) The story is that the goblins escaped and you are trying to return to the fairy circle.
Mechanically, Goblins Drool, Fairies Rule is a fishing game like Scopa. That’s where you play a card into a pool of cards in the middle to try and get other cards.
Depending on the number of players, you deal out X cards to each player and to the table. The players cards are all on the goblin side and the table’s are all fairy side. The goal is to either empty your hand of goblins or get six fairies.
The basic turn is to play a card to the middle. Every card in the pool that rhymes with the card you played flips. You then take every card whose symbol matches the card you played.
The symbols are paired so the moon is always opposite the sun and toadstools are always opposite toads. Plus, some cards are star cards and flip over all the cards. (You always get one in your starting hand)
Okay, full confession time. While I’ve played this a number of times, they’ve all been solitaire. And that’s clearly not the game’s strong point, although it is a good way to try out the mechanics. And, as near as I can tell, the PnP version is only different by not having color. Although the artwork is nice enough for that that be a genuine selling point, particularly for kids.
I like how there are two distinct mechanisms; the rhyming for flipping and the symbols for taking. It gives some oomph to your decisions. I think the artwork is cute, not quite Brian Froud but there’s a hint of him there.
However, I think there’s not enough meat for older players. I think you’d end up memorizing the cards, which would probably make the game boring (or incredibly cutthroat but I think boring is more likely) Every turn is a puzzle and I don’t think they are that complicated a puzzle.
But I have a feeling that for kids between, say six and eleven, the game will really work. And I’ll have a kid that old before long. So I’m glad I’ve looked into Goblins Drool, Fairies Rule.