Before I begin I was provided a prototype in exchange for an honest review. This is not a paid review. If you would prefer to watch a video of this review, you can do so below.
Who am I? Ahhhh I don’t even know anymore! Dramatic right? It comes right out of a bad soap opera script. Well, as it turns out it is actually a thing. Fugue, is when you lose an understanding of your own identity. It actually sounds like a terrible thing.
Fugue is a game that uses this loss of one’s identity as the basis for the game. This is a game that represents a battle within your own mind. Each player represents a competing part of your mind. Note: that there is also a solo mode, with an AI to play the game solo, but you are still, essentially playing a two player game.
The game is, at its core a set collection game. Each round you will be adding tiles to your “imagination” area, moving a tile from “imagination” to “vision”. When you have a set of tiles in your vision area you can use it at your pleasure. Using the tiles, are dependent on how they are ordered. One of the tiles indicates the target region for the other one. So if you have an imagination tile on the left side, and a passion tile on the right, upon using the set you move another tile from the imagination area to you passion area. Completing sets in the passion area are how you score points. Additionally there are spirit tiles that are used to create Fugues which have varying effects which can be positive or negative or neutral.
So what do I think?
I think the theme is quite original, and fascinating. Now, I do not fully understand the science behind the fugue state, so I cannot say how well the game captures it, but I will say it is definitely a brain burner. I do like the idea that tiles come into being in the “Imagination” area, come into focus in the “vision” area and score in the “passion” area. In a bizarre way this makes complete and utter sense to me…even though I don’t even know what I am talking about!
I also like the look of the art on the tiles, and cards…I have no idea what it is but it is fascinating to look at! It has the feel of something dreamy, not quite formed, something that can become anything…which I think is the point.
Finally, I think the mechanics of this game are fascinating. There is something deeply challenging about having to move tiles to one location in order to create a set that will allow you to move another tile from one location to another. It requires a lot of forethought, and planning, especially if your opponent starts moving tiles around on your side of the mind!
I love the portability of this game, it is a small package, and easy to transport. I am not sure that you could play it on a tray table, but it is easy to carry around. However, I wish that the tiles were bigger, as it is they are very small, and even with my itty bitty hands they feel tiny, and as a result unwieldy.
If the description of the game is confusing above, you are right. My biggest challenge with this game, and the reason it took me a while to do this review is because the game is very hard to grasp from the rules. To be honest I am not sure if I am just dense or what, but I really struggled to grasp how this game works. I think a how to play video is almost a necessity.
Bringing it all together
Fugue is a very interesting tile laying, set collection game. It has some mechanics that I have not run across before. It has an ethereal art style that works for this game. While I enjoy the portability of the box, I do wish the tiles themselves were a little bigger. The game is quite the brain burner, and unfortunately the rule book is almost its own puzzle. I had a hard time figuring this game out, a how to play video will help immensely.
I would rather battle with my own psyche than read that mess
* Total brain burner of a game
* Fascinating theme
* Game is very hard to grasp from the rules, but once you get it it makes sense
* Game is quite portable* Components are good quality, but very small, and feel fiddly.