Deck-Building and Crafting Items

Familiars Grow in Strength

Hello, and welcome back to a preview series for our upcoming adventure game, Familiar Tales. It’s an exciting narrative board game for 1-4 players, ages 8 and up. This is the fourth article in the series. You can view previous articles by going here.


In the last article we discussed the skill cards used to perform actions during the adventure. This article will focus on how players can grow their familiar’s capabilities through light deck-building and item crafting.


The story of Familiar Tales spans three eras and as you progress the challenges gradually become more difficult. To protect the child, the familiars must adapt both individually and as a team. This is accomplished through training and crafting. We will talk about training first.


The Training Row

Each time you set up a game of Familiar Tales, you will be displaying a row of cards that can be acquired by the familiars. This is called the Training Row, and it’s made up of improved skill cards, story crafting cards, and bonding cards.

Training Your Familiar

While playing through the story, and experiencing the adventure and overcoming its challenges, the familiars will be earning power.

Each time a familiar gains a power, you will use your familiar’s dashboard power dial to keep track of that familiar’s power total. On a familiar’s turn, they can perform a train action to spend their earned power to acquire cards from the training row. To do this, simply choose a card from the row and reduce the familiar’s power dial by the power cost of the acquired card. Then place the acquired card in your discard pile if it’s a skill card, or face up in your play area if it’s a story crafting or bonding card.

New Skill Cards

New skill cards offer all kinds of options for your familiar. Some cards have new useful abilities. Some cards have effect icons that mesh well with your character’s role on the team or their equipped items. You can shore up a familiar’s weaknesses by picking skill cards that have specifically better stats, or you can intensify a familiar’s strengths by acquiring cards that add to that trend. The choice is yours. Turn Gribbert into a melee attack champ, make Flicker a tank, or make Chalk go faster — it’s up to you.



After some time, you will acquire enough improved cards that older cards might feel like a liability. Never fear! Some cards, when acquired, will offer you an opportunity to remove a card from your deck, and you always have the option of spending 5 power points to cull a card.

Story Crafting and Bonding

In addition to the new skill cards, there are also two other kinds of cards available that are purchased for just one power. Unlike skill cards, story crafting and bonding cards can only be purchased by the familiar named and depicted upon the card. When purchased while no enemies are around, these cards have an immediate effect. If enemies are stalking you, place the card face up in your play area, then when the coast is clear, resolve the card.


Story Crafting

Players can expand a familiar’s personal story through Story Crafting cards. When you acquire a story crafting card, you will mark through the appropriate box on your campaign sheet and type the listed code into the app. What follows will be a short bit of fiction that will highlight that familiar’s special role, personality, and motivation. It may be a flashback or a snippet of a mundane but poignant moment in that familiar’s story. These are often accompanied by a reward, or a positive game effect. Some unique items are only ever made available through experiencing the story crafting cards, but these are specifically designed to be purely optional.


Players can deepen their familiar’s bond with the child through bonding cards. Like story crafting, when you acquire a bonding card, you will mark through the appropriate box on your campaign sheet and type the listed code into the app. This time, you will be given a bit of story that focuses on that familiar’s unique relationship to the child. Bonding cards always offer a reward option. You can choose to lower the child’s discontent or receive a mark of devotion.


Mark of Devotion

There’s something special about the child! All children are special, but this child has a magical legacy. When a familiar bonds with the child, they can receive a mark of devotion, a magical rune that gives them a bonus to a skill that lasts until the next chapter of the story.



Instead of receiving a mark of devotion, a familiar can always choose to use bonding to reduce the child’s discontent. We will talk about managing discontent in a future article.


Crafting Row

There is also a row of item cards the familiars can craft. These new items are better than what you start with and, like new skill cards, they give you the choice of how to develop your familiar.

Crafting an Item

As the familiars adventure, they will have opportunities to forage for resource tokens along the way. Resource tokens can be used in a variety of ways, but crafting is one method that will have an enduring effect. As an action, on your familiar’s turn, you may craft an item. Choose an item in the crafting row and pay the resource cost listed at the bottom of the card, then claim that card, equipping it immediately if desired or put it in the stash. Then reveal a new item card from the craft deck to replenish the row.


Familiars can carry any number of items in their ‘stash’ but can only have 3 items equipped at a time, not counting consumables.


Familiar Tales is available to pre-order right now!


Be sure to check out our upcoming preview article next week!



Pre-Order Familiar Tales Today!
45+ minutes
Magical creatures vie for the fate of a child in this story crafting adventure game by legendary designer Jerry Hawthorne!
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