Fantahzee is a game about using Yahtzee rolls to activate heroes, kill monsters, and save the town. There’re lots of awesome combos that let you kill more monsters, earn more treasure, and hopefully beef you up enough to take down the bosses to win the game. Kill the most stuff to be declared the best hero ever. Wrap all of that up with beautiful fantasy/steampunk art and AEG has a winner on their hands.
Fantahzee starts you off by creating 5 horde stacks. Each of these is comprised of a boss shuffled into level 2 monsters and topped with a bunch of level 1 monsters. Then you shuffle up the treasures in a pile, the town cards in a pile, and the hero and action cards into a pile. Flip over the top card on each hoard, deal five cards to each player and start the game.
Each player’s turn is divided into several phases:
- The Action Phase
- The Dice Phase
- The Horde Phase
- The End Phase.
Each phase is pretty easy and goes by really quickly once you get into the swing of the game.
In the Action phase a player can play 2 heroes and 2 action cards in any order. Up to five hero cards can be in a player’s party, so if you want to play another but already have five down you’ll need to discard one that’s already in play.
During the Dice Phase, a player rolls 5 dice, Yahtzee style. Basically, you get 3 rolls to try and match the dice on your hero cards to activate them. Once a hero has been activated you resolve its special ability and can add its strength to your attack in the next step. Once you’re done rolling and activating you add up the strength of all the activated heroes and go kill some monsters. You need strength equal or greater than a monster’s strength to kill it.
Dead monsters are a good thing, but you need to be careful. If you kill a monster with a Counterattack you’ll have to hope you have enough shields or health the withstand the attack. If you don’t, some of your heroes are going to die. Also, if the monster you killed had a treasure icon on it then you can take a treasure and equip it on a hero. The number of treasure icons on the monster will dictate if you can use the level 1 or level 2 ability of the treasure.
Now comes the Horde phase. First off, if there’s a monster in the 5th row it attacks the town. Flip the town card, resolve any special text, and place it in your victory pile for negative points at the end of the game. Then any facedown cards are flipped over and you add up the total Ambush value of the face-up cards. Apply this damage to your heroes, subtracting shields, and remove any unfortunate dead bodies.
The End Phase is just cleanup. Draw 4 cards, discard down to your hand limit (default 5) and remove any dice from your heroes. Play continues clockwise following the described steps until 3 bosses are killed. Once that happens you add up all the victory points from your kills, subtract any village card negative points, and the player with the most VP wins.
That’s the gist of it. I’ve linked to the full rules in the Supporting Links section at the bottom of this review if you’d like to get the whole picture with examples and such.
As usual, AEG has put out an excellent product with Fantahzee. Production quality is high. The box feels great, the cards are durable, and the counters aren’t cheap. The artwork is colorful, beautiful, and really adds to the theme of the game. There’s even a great fabric bag to store the dice, a plastic insert to hold all the cards with spaces for future cards.
I played Fantahzee with my 11-year-old son and 6-year-old son, and we all had a blast. The rules are simple enough that we were able to jump right into the game and learn as we went. Card combos became more apparent the longer we played, and by the end, each of us was pulling off some pretty great turns. In the end, my 6-year-old ended up creaming us by coming almost 15 points ahead of my 11-year-old, and more than 20 points ahead of me.
To be perfectly honest, I hadn’t heard much about the game and probably would have just passed it by if it hadn’t turned up unannounced on my doorstep. I would have totally missed out if that were the case. Fantahzee is a great game that lets you chuck a bunch of dice and still have a bit of say on how your turn will actually go.
Will it be for everyone? No. Fans of heavier Euro-style games with deep strategy and meaningful choices may not enjoy it. Then again you pretty much know the type of games you’re getting into when you purchase from AEG, and Fantahzee fits right in.
It fits right into my game shelf as well.
Fantahzee: Hordes and Heroes was provided free for review by AEG
Media personality Rob Kalajian has been a staple in the board game world for many years. As a former writer for Purple Pawn and the owner of A Pawn’s Perspective, Rob focuses on board game reviews, events, and news. A self-proclaimed geek, Rob loves all things toys and games and even helps raise his four kids in his spare time.