Fische Fluppen Frikadellen
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During the gloomy February holidays the frightful prince Fieso holds fast the fascinating faerie Fabula with help of fatally filthy feints. To free the faerie you have to free her from the claws of the prince. You flee light-footed into the Finnish fjord, to find the prince's favorite, fascinating fetishes. You row fast ferries from merchant to merchant and bargain frequently with fusel, fennel, fish, cigarettes and meatballs. Use your Florins to fundamentally strengthen your lead with the three fetishes.
Note: This game comes in three editions: type A, type B and type C. All three editions are identical, except for the shapes of playing pieces included in each. Any of the three sets can be played alone with up to five players; or different-lettered sets can be combined to allow up to 10 or 15 players to play simultaneously (any two different sets are required for 6-10 players; all three different sets are required for 11-15 players).
Although I have played FFF with 4 players, recently I held a session with 8. First, explaining the rules to everyone at once saved time compared to trying to explain two different games to the players during a gaming session (and I have multiple copies of several games so as to be able to do this often!). After about 10 minutes of rules and pointing out with tokens, etc, how to move about the board, I turned everyone loose. There were a few minutes of struggling as players coped with the mechanics, but after that, things moved pretty well (and managing a group of eight is no mean feat!
It is good to remind newcomers that using the traders is beneficial, since there appeared to be a tendency to stop at the merchants, to buy and sell, rather than utilize the 1 for 2 opportunities.
Four of us had time to switch tables before a victory was declared.
Most of my guests had a good time; as with many German games, the mechanics and art work seem vastly different to them compared to the older style American games.
FFF is, in my opinion, a solid beer and pretzels type game....not too serious, but serious enough, some chances for moderate backstabbing (by closing shops or moving an opponent, as per the special chits mentioned already above).
When seating 8, make sure everyone can get up easily to change tables (we were sharing one long table)...
FFF can help resolve those times when 7 people show up to play...whether there are 3 or 4 at a table is not that important and players change tables eventually.
I had played this at Essen a couple of years ago when it came out, and enjoyed it then. It has a nice balance of amusement and intensity. Good job, FF!
A fantastic game! You can tell that a lot of thought went into the design. The stock market mechanics that allow for the price fluctuation compensate for over-pricing and profit-mongering. The graphics and artwork are colorful and fun. It's kind of quirky that all the vendors have names that start with 'F'. You can really get your tongue twisted in knots!
The rules are straightforward and easy to learn.
You have a myriad of options available to you every turn. Its hard to decide what to do.
I bought two sets because I plan to play it with ten people at a family reunion this summer. I'm very excited! The best feature of the game is that it is scalable up to 15 people.
My wife still prefers Puerto Rico, I think because the choices are more clear. You also don't have to move anywhere to utilize an action of event.
A fantastic game. I would vote for it as this years Spiel des Jahre! ;)
Twelve scattered shops feature Merchants, who start with one unit of the commodity they sell; Traders who illustrate commodities accepted in return for others; and one Fetish dealer. Five commodities each start at value 50 (minimum 10, maximum 150). You begin with 150 florins.
Three movement points per turn move your pawn by foot, or by ferry between landings. Finishing on Merchants lets you buy commodities there at current value (less 10 florins for each available unit) or sell at current value (replacing to supply) items he accepts. Selling decreases a commodity's value. Ending on Traders allows you to exchange commodities with the supply.
End turns by initiating the indicated Action of a Merchant or Trader you stand on. A typical Action might involve adding units to Merchants or increasing commodities' values. Win by buying three Fetishes from the Fetish Dealer, each costing from four to six units of one commodity. It's an exhausting race!
You don't see "2-15" players on game labels very often. If you did, it would likely be a party game or a team game. Fische Fluppen Frikadellen is neither, but is in fact a very decent strategy game from the fertile mind of Friedemann Friese. To play with more than five players you need extra copies of the game, and thus it is sold in three versions which are the same but for the type of pawns and markers used. The game has a simple objective: to buy three "fetishes" from the local Fetish dealer. A Fetish is simply a marker showing a cartoonish-looking idol, and in exchange the Fetish dealer requires goods in specific proportions.
Getting those goods and getting to the Dealer faster than everyone else is the name of the game. This is all accomplished on a great-looking board with 12 spaces for big tiles and with walking paths and rivers connecting the spaces. On the 12 spaces, three different types of tiles are placed: Merchants, who buy and sell specific goods; Traders, who will give you two of something for one of something else; and of course the Fetish Dealer himself. The game includes 36 different tiles, with three different Fetish Dealers, and the mechanism for choosing which 12 go on the board is both simple and ingenious. The tiles are numbered from one to 36, and they begin in an ordered stack. Each player then cuts the stack, and the top 12 tiles are then used, which ensures that only one of the three Fetish Dealers will be in the mix, along with the proper balance of Merchants and Traders and types of goods available. This is one of those great ideas that prompts a "why hasn't anyone done this before?" kind of response.
With the board laid out, the game becomes a matter of moving in and around the spaces, stopping at the dealers to get goods and ultimately buying Fetishes. Before movement, though, understanding how the Merchants and Traders work is necessary. Merchants each produce one of five different goods (cigarettes, fennel, whisky, fish, and hamburgers - all of which start with "F" in Frieseian and three of which create the game's name - guess which!). They also will buy a specific good, so when you visit a merchant you can sell him his desired good and buy from him as many of his production goods as he has available and you can afford. The price of goods is another excellent mechanism, but that in a minute.
Traders desire one type of good, and will give you two of a different good in exchange. They are very useful, and proper use of the traders is often essential for optimal play. The lone Fetish Dealer will sell all three Fetishes, but each one costs more than the previous and requires a different mix of goods. Fetish Dealers are not picky about the type of goods they get, only the parameters of the set. For example, a first Fetish could cost "three of any single good" or "one each of three different goods".
In addition to their actions, anyone stopping on a Merchant or Trader also kicks off special actions noted on the dealer's tile. These actions keep things lively and also help manipulate the price of goods. Each good begins with a price of 50 and this is noted with a stock price table on the board. This looks like a normal table at first, but looking more closely you see "up and down arrows" next to each price point that show how much the price will raise or lower from that point. For example, price '20' shows an "up three" arrow and a "down one" arrow. This means that if the price changes when the good's price is twenty, it will only move down one or up three spots on the table. The table is not linear, and this mechanism is both clever and very nicely balanced since in play the price of goods moves regularly and drives a lot of decisions, but it is also somewhat predictable.
Buying goods at a Merchant is usually a good thing to do when you can afford it. That's because the price you pay is always the price of the good on the stock chart less one step on the chart for each good the merchant has to sell. So, when arriving at a Merchant with three cigarette markers to sell, the price for each marker will be the price on the chart as if the cigarette price was three spots lower on the chart. Since Merchants buy your goods at the actual price on the chart, you can arbitrage well if you can buy at one Merchant and get back to him or another to sell quickly. When goods are bought, their price drops according to the guidance on the stock table, so if you don't buy all the goods you'll make it cheaper for the next person. However, they won't get as much of a discount since there will be fewer goods available. Great stuff.
Prices must go up, too, and they do so by use of those extra actions mentioned earlier that exist on each Merchant and Trader tile. The extra actions are not optional, and there are enough of them to keep the goods prices moving. As prices get especially high or low, it can be advantageous to modify strategy for a turn or two to take advantage of the situation. Other automatic actions triggered by stopping at dealers include choosing prices to raise or lower, production of goods by Merchants, taking an extra turn, getting a special deal to buy or sell, and even moving another player's piece. These automatic actions drive a lot of things in the game, and understanding how to take best advantage of them will go a long way toward good play.
We haven't even moved yet! Well, each player starts in the harbor at one side of the board, and on a turn has three points of movement. These can be used to walk (one point, one space) or to take a ferry. Ferries dock at spots along the river, and it costs a single point to stand on one and move it to the next open dock. This can result in some very efficient movement if the ferries are docked in the right places. You can modify this a bit too, since for a movement point plus 10 Florins (of course the money must start with F) you can "call" a ferry, meaning move it from where it is to where it can legally move next but without you or anyone else on it. Again proving that the game is well tuned and playtested, three points turns out to be exactly the right number to cause some heartaches about the best way to go. When walking, players jump over each other so it is possible to stretch out a move this way and also requires that you think carefully about where you stop.
At the start of the game, it is necessary to examine the layout carefully and find certain paths or combinations that will be particularly useful. The player that does this best will usually win, since moving through the game quickly does not allow wasting time in moves or trades. You don't have enough money to buy all the goods you'll need, so the goods strategy must include a healthy dose of "buy low, sell high" in addition to collection for delivery to the Fetish Dealer. Each player can hold at most seven goods markers, and since the Fetish dealer takes five of them for the final and winning Fetish, there isn't a lot of room for money mismanagement. It is the movement decisions that make the game interesting to play, since each player's actions affect the others through goods prices at a minimum, and usually in more subtle ways. Add to this the fact that there are multiple Merchant, Trader, and Fetish Dealer tiles that can be combined in different ways and on different spots of the board, and you have a game with high replayability since each board puzzle will have different workable solutions. As if this weren't enough, the game adds one more trick in the form of "special action" chits. Each player gets one of these to start and another each time they buy a Fetish, and each chit can be used once. These allow players to add two points of movement to their turn, change a stock price up or down, change one commodity type for another (often crucial to meet the Fetish Dealer's requirement or take advantage of a high price for a strategic sale), or close down a Merchant for round. This last action can be especially nasty, as is one more: buying a good from another player. You must pay them, but if they are headed to the Fetish Dealer and need that good, you can really put a crimp in those plans. This action reminds of Richard Breese's Keydom, which also had a goods-snatching action for those who planned it but this didn't make it to the family remake, Aladdin's Dragons.
All of this makes for an exciting game that plays well with three, four or five players. But this is only with one board. The unique aspect of FFF is that it can be played on up to three different tables with up to 15 people. In these versions, the game is played as described except that a new movement allows you to move from your harbor to the harbor of a board on another table. When you do this, you take all of your goods with you, and start playing the game at that other table. When using two or three tables this way, the Fetishes are split up in ways that require visits to other tables in order to meet the winning condition. This feature, while fun and well designed, can detract from the game since it adds an otherwise unimportant time mechanism to the game. On a single table, a slow player or bathroom break doesn't affect strategy. Once you are moving tables, you can get into positions where you are playing with four others while your opponents are only playing with two, or where a slow player could effectively give you fewer turns than your rivals in the same time period. This can be fatal, and the only ways I can see to react to it are to ignore and enjoy it, or strongly encourage constant-pace play at all tables. It's fun to play this game with more than one table, and it may sell more copies of the game (okay, I was a sucker.....), but I think it works much better on a single table.
Fische Fluppen Frikadellen is Friese's third-best game after Funkenschlag and Fresh Fish in my book. No one could have expected a follow-up of Funkenschlag to best that beauty, but FFF is a good game on its own and close to a top fiver. Its great replay value, interesting puzzle-like board solutions, and strong interaction make it a worthy game for any shelf and one that should get played for years to come.