Caring for the Child
The Challenges of Being a Parent
Hello, and welcome back to our preview series, introducing our upcoming adventure game Familiar Tales. It’s an exciting narrative board game for 1-4 players, ages 8 and up. This is the fifth article in the series. You can view previous articles by going here.
Our familiars are a disparate foursome of magical creatures who have been tasked with caring for and protecting an infant princess. They are refugees being sought by the evil Lord Perish and his despicable henchmen. They have no home, they are naive to the ways of the world, and they have no childcare experience. It’s a lot to learn, and a lot of responsibility. Fortunately for them, they have you, the players, to guide them through the rugged land, escaping treachery, forging life bonds, and experiencing the pride and pressures of parenting.
“Together they were not just familiars, they were a family, and just like any other family, they cared for each other and had each other’s backs. And that is where all good stories begin. With a family.“
The story begins with the familiars escaping into the night with the wee one. Leaving behind their home and their beloved master, Merilious, they head out into the wilderness not knowing how long they’re going to be away or how far they must travel.
When you start the game, you will begin with an infant card and matching token, a sideboard that has a couple of dials on it, and a discontent key card to use as a reference for how to manage the baby’s different statuses. Let’s go over each of these.
Throughout your adventure, you will be using the sideboard to track a couple of important values. The sideboard is placed to the right of the location book for easy access. The top dial on the sideboard tracks your misfortune and the bottom dial tracks the child’s current level of discontent (we talk about both of these in more detail below). You will place the child card above the sideboard, in reach of all players. You will place the discontent key card in the slot at the bottom of the sideboard just below the discontent dial. The baby token, or era appropriate Milly figure, is used on the location book map to show the child’s position in page encounters.
The Misfortune Dial
An important value that you will be tracking and recording throughout your journey is Misfortune. This is just a measure of how many bad things have occurred in your adventures, that might affect the child’s development. Misfortune can come from numerous sources, but the main cause is from prolonged discontent. Players should note that misfortune gained is very difficult to undo, and very rarely are you able to reduce it once accrued. At the end of each chapter in the story, you will record your misfortune on the space provided in the campaign journal. Three chapters make up one era. At the end of an era, you will add up the entire misfortune for that era. This total will determine which child card you will be using for the next part of the story. If your misfortune is too high, you will start the next era with a more, ahem, unruly child.
The Discontent Dial
This dial tracks the child’s current mood. There are five numbered stages of discontent depicted by a sun graphic. The default stage zero, is the most content. While the child is in this stage, she is considered happy, secure, and satiated, hence the bright sun icon. While playing, the app will occasionally direct you to raise discontent. Each increase in discontent depicts increasingly cloudy icons until it eventually results in a storm cloud graphic. Finally at stage five, the child is fully inconsolable. Each round the child is inconsolable will increase misfortune by one. It will often result in attracting unwanted attention or even trigger unexpected phenomena.
The Discontent Key Card And The Care Action
A familiar sharing a space with the child can lower the child’s discontent by using a Care action and consulting the discontent key card. Compare the current placement of the discontent dial to the key card. This will give instructions for how to lower discontent. If the child is hungry, she must be fed. If the child is messy, she must be cleaned, etc. In the first era the child is a baby with simple baby needs. In later eras, her needs become more complex and exhausting.
When you start your adventure, your familiars will be escaping Lord Perish’s unsavory henchmen while also caring for a baby. Her information is on her card, which lists her size, and the instructions for how to carry her around. The small familiars are burdened by the babe, but fortunately Chalk can carry her with no limitations.
In the second era, the baby has grown into a precocious little girl. You no longer must carry her as she is capable of following you around. She requires lots of play and food and emotional support.
In the third era, Milly is now a teen and is greatly independent. Players can use their skill cards to move Milly and to perform skill tests with her. But don’t forget that she still needs guidance, emotional support, and of course food.
In Era One, when the baby becomes inconsolable, you must find the warmth of a good campfire. In the second and third era, you must instead enter the code from her card into the app. This will give you instructions on how you can lower her discontent. As mentioned above, you will gain misfortune each round while Milly is inconsolable. You might have to work together to console her, or let her brood while you deal with other more pressing matters. Your team will have to sort this out in the moment, and remember that every choice you make has an effect on Milly.
If you are ever in a circumstance where you need to lower the child’s discontent, but you do not have the means, you can acquire a bonding card from the training row using a train action. This will give you the option of lowering discontent even when the child is inconsolable.
Be sure to come back next week for another preview article!