Designed by Poj Santivatr with art by Glutbox, Tail Story is an attractive easy-to-play card game with an anthropomorphised family pet theme. It has the look and feel of a deck builder but you don't so much want to improve your deck as burn through it as fast as you can.
Players start with a randomised deck of 15 cards from which they draw five cards as a starting hand. You spend action points to play cards and take the actions specified on them. Typically this may include drawing more cards, stealing cards from an opponent and adding cards to an opponent's discard pile. You're probably only going to want to steal from an opponent if that will result in palming cards back off on them because it's always going to be in your interest to thin your deck so that you burn through it all the quicker: if you reduce the size of an opponent's deck, you're doing them a favour. Players all have a character card (representing a dog, cat or rodent pet) and these each have special abilities that can boost the effect of your action cards. During the course of the game, the character cards are flipped to unlock additional powers.
Every time you exhaust your draw pile, you shuffle your discards and you place one card face down to represent an Achievement. The first player to place down their 4th Achievement wins the game. When a player lays down their second Achievement, a catch-up mechanic allows any players who haven't yet done so to flip their character card to its more powerful side.
We've been playing a preview prototype, and that's what's shown here on Board's Eye View. The player mats seem a little basic - we expect to see improved versions in the final version that comes to Kickstarter later this year - but you'll be impressed, as we were, with the all-important cards. They are printed on thicker than usual card stock and incorporate foil to make them sparkle.
Tail Story takes 2–4 players. For us, it was at its best with 4 players, where there was more scope for strategy in deciding when and against whom to play the negative action cards which form the meat of this game. Even with four players, our plays took less than 30 minutes - qualifying Tail Story for that all-important filler length category, as well as making it suitable for play as a family game. The rules suggest the game is suitable for age 12+ but the game can be played by younger children. That said, there's a NSFW (Not Safe For Work) expansion pack of cards - tho' the ones we've seen here at Board's Eye View are quite tame and probably won't shock or offend anyone at work or younger and older family members.