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Familiar Tales is a new board game from the creator of Mice & Mystics

Jerry Hawthorne once again blends storytelling and miniatures gameplay

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Familiar Tales is the next board game from designer Jerry Hawthorne, the creator of the beloved game Mice & Mystics. Polygon has the exclusive reveal of the new game, and your first look at the components. Pre-orders are live right now on the Plaid Hat Games website, with delivery estimated for January 2022.

Like Stuffed Fables, which we previewed at Gen Con in 2017, Familiar Tales is a family-friendly adventure that everyone can enjoy. Also like that previous game, it uses a novel gameplay system whereby all of the action takes place literally inside a storybook. Players open the ring-bound book and lay it flat on the table, place their miniatures right on top, and get to work. It also features a companion app.

Familiar Tales is set in the land of Principalia, where sinister forces have sent the ruling human family into hiding. Players take on the role of magical familiars adventuring across a fantasy landscape. Their goal is to deliver an infant princess to safety.

A selction of miniatures perched on a colorful storybook. Photo: Plaid Hat Games

The focus this time around is on a branching narrative path that spans multiple chapters. According to the publisher, your decisions in one chapter will determine how the next chapter plays out. The game also features multiple eras, with sealed boxes containing new components. Expect a cross between a modern role-playing game and a legacy-like, evolving gameplay experience.

The game’s main characters sound like an absolute delight. All four of them are the creation of a wizard named Master Merilious, who created them to help in his day-to-day work. Flicker is a Candletinder fairy who keeps the lights on, while Chalk the golem handles the manual labor. Blaze is a described as a “vulpine spirit” who helps keep the wizard fed. Meanwhile, Gribbert the frog used to be a human — a notorious bandit, in fact — who was irreversibly cursed by a witch.

The Baby. Size: Small. Carry: When a fmaili that shares a space with teh baby performs a move action, they may choose to carry (move) the baby along with them.
The game includes custom dice. The main character, known initially only as The Baby, has multiple models to represent her as she grows up over the course of the campaign.
Photo: Plaid Hat Games

Players will also have a sideboard for their character, which they’ll use to track their remaining hit points and other statistics needed to play. All of the game’s actions will be handled by a unique deck of cards, not unlike Gloomhaven, and will likewise evolve and change over time. The game also features a hefty crafting mechanic, with players creating weapons and equipment with the resources they gather from enemies and by foraging in the wild.

Plaid Hat Games was founded in 2009 by Colby Dauch, but was acquired by a larger publisher in the 2010s. Now that the company has been reacquired by Dauch, it’s fully independent once more and publishes its own games. The catalog contains a newly revised version of Summoner Wars and the award-winning Forgotten Waters. Both Mice & Mystics and Stuffed Fables are published by Asmodee.

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