Updated: Apr 19
This is certainly a seasonally appropriate offering from Sit Down. And the Fairy Lights in Joan Dufour's game aren't merely bulbs on a string - each takes the form of a cute animal, illuminated by Maxime and Anthony Moulins.
Fairy Lights is actually a push-your-luck card game for 2-6 players. Players turn over cards to create a row next to the draw pile to make a row of up to five cards. At any time, you can stop drawing and take all the cards of a single colour. If there are five cards in the row, you must take all the cards in two colours. When you draw cards to add to the row you are pushing your luck because if ever you turn over a card that is the same colour as the last card in the row, you end your turn drawing no cards at all. Very commendably, the distribution of each card type is shown on the reverse of every card, so just from looking at the face-down draw pile, card counters and mental gymnasts can calculate the odds of drawing a turn-busting match with their next card.
When you collect cards from the row, you place them in your own individual tableau. You start a set collection for each colour you pick up and you are trying in each colour to make sets where the number of bulbs is a multiple of three. Collect exactly three (or six or nine) bulbs in a colour and you flip the set to bank it - at the end of the game (when the deck runs out), you'll score a point for every star on every card you bank. Whenever you take cards that leave you with more than three bulbs in a colour but not a multiple of three, those cards are all discarded.
Once you have a few bulbs in your tableau, you'll often be looking to be able to take just a single card from the row in order to complete and bank a set of three. That means turns are quick: this isn't a game where players are likely to dither or mither about their choices.
Fairy Lights is an easy-to-play game made all the more appealing by its attractive artwork and presentation. Children will enjoy the game, just so long as they can count, and it's very playable as a 20-minute family game - and a great choice for playing under the Christmas fairy lights.