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This game is inspired by the legend of the Brisingamen, an enchanting necklace owned by Freya, the Norse goddess of fertility and passion. It was said that Freya owed at least part of her reputation for irresistible beauty to the Brisingamen. According to the legend, while travelling in the land of the dwarfs, Freya, impressed by their fine craftsmanship, asked them to make a magical necklace of amber and beaten gold. The dwarfs insisted that there was not enough money in the world to pay for such a necklace so Freya struck a deal with the dwarfs in which she would trade her favours with each of the four dwarfs who delivered to her a segment of the necklace. That deal would set a path to much unhappiness, death and destruction. But that is a story for another game. This game follows the story of the creation of the Brisingamen.
You are a dwarf craftsman making fine jewelry of silver and precious gems. Use your team of dwarfs to mine jewels and set these jewels into settings of fine silver which you can sell to earn the prestige of your peers. Of course the grander the jewelry, the greater the prestige, but you have a quota to fill so you must work quickly.
If on the other hand you help to complete the Brisingamen for Freya, her favours will bring you even more prestige than the finest jewelry. Of course, the favours of a goddess are a temptation that is difficult to resist. Will you be tempted by Freya's offer and turn your hand to crafting a piece of the Brisingamen?
There are two dark brown (strength) and two grey (stealth) ability markers in the game. There should be one dark brown and three grey ability markers.
I'm a very big fan of Don Bone's Sunda to Sahul, which is one of the most innovative games I've ever played - an exploration game in which players build a puzzle to create the board. So for a couple of years, I've been hoping to acquire a copy of Don's second game - Freya's Folly (Sagacity Games and FRED Distribution, 2005 - Don Bone). Freya's Folly is a game in which dwarfs are making fine jewelry for this goddess, after mining it out of a network of shafts containing jewels.
Freya's Folly isn't the groundbreaking game that Sunda was; but it is an entertaining game that I found interesting, if only because the delving into mines is quite interesting. There is a leapfrogging aspect to the movement in the game - something that gets really interesting with more players involved, and the players seem to never have enough actions to do everything they want. The theme works - I enjoyed how going deeper in the mine gave better rewards, and it's a good, solid game that takes about an hour to play.
The board shows a network of rooms, connected by tunnels, that all start from one mine shaft. Each room holds a certain number of random jewels (red, green, blue, and pink) of either small or large size, although amber (yellow) jewels are placed in specific spots around the board. The rest of the jewels go in the "black market". Three decks of cards are shuffled with eight Setting cards placed face up, three ability cards face up, and two Brisingamen cards face up. The remainder is shuffled together in specific ways to form a draw pile. Each player is given a mat of their color, which shows six numbered spaces and corresponding wheel barrows. Twelve ability markers and eighteen free action tokens are placed near the board, and each player places a dwarf disk of their color on the corresponding spaces on their mats. One player is chosen to go first, and then play proceeds clockwise.
On a player's turn, they may take two actions from the following list:
The ability cards give players special abilities or actions - such as the thief card above. When a player has a dwarf enter the mine, they may use one ability card on that dwarf, using an ability marker to denote this. The abilities are:
Play continues until one player has discarded their last dwarf, or when four Brisingamen cards have been completed. At this point, players receive one point for each small jewel they do not have in a setting and two points for each large jewel. Players score points for each completed Setting card but lose points for uncompleted Settings. (For example, a pin that requires one large blue and one small pink jewel scores twelve points, if complete, but loses six points, if incomplete). If four Brisingamen cards have been completed, then unused free action tokens are worth six points; otherwise, they are worth three points each. The player who ended the game gets six points, and then the player with the most points wins the game!
Some comments on the game...
Freya's Folly is a game that may not have appeared on your radar, but I would recommend it as an enjoyable, solid family game. The theme of collecting gems certainly works, and the level of interaction is there, although not stifling to those who don't enjoy personal aggression. Plenty of choices, an engaging look, and fast simple game play will keep this one on my short play list. Teenagers and adults should look past the ugly cover of the box and find the excellent game within.
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