It came time to review another game for our monthly product meetings and there just happened to be a new game on the shelves that had caught my attention from a publisher of which I have always been fond. Atlas Games has a really good track record of great games in the the Board Game [Seismic] and Role Playing Game [Feng Shui & Nyambe] varieties, but their major releases have almost always been in the card game field, games like Lunch Money, Let's Kill, Gloom, Dungeoneer, Once Upon a Time, as well as others. And their most recent release is another in a long line of really fun games that can make for a really great experience for casual gaming situations and party scenarios. The game only plays up to 4 players which I see as the only real stumbling block from it becoming the kind of game that Lunch Money has become.
Ren Faire is a game by first time designer Michelle Nephew and she approaches mechanics and fun like a seasoned pro. The game is quite simple but yet really fun as it combines the kind of silliness that one has come to expect from an Atlas Game but at the same time has a sort of system of gratification as you accumulate parts of your costume. The premise of the game is that you want to be the first to have a complete costume (though it need not look good together or even make any sense). The best way to get pieces for your costume is to earn cash and the only way to do that is to complete silly little tasks that vary from flipping cards to belly dancing to jumping up and down for a few turns or even speaking in a particular accent for a while.
The game has an instant beer and pretzel appeal, which these days means that it has a great deal of replay value (because who wants to break out a new game when you've already got one out and have already played a round of it). I think that the game is probably the most fun with 3-4 players because it makes some of the tasks more daunting in someways and more entertaining in others.
This is the perfect kind of game to get your SCA (Society of Creative Anachronisms) friends to gather round the table and in no time they'll be shouting "Long Live the Queen!"