Fairy Meat Miniatures Game, Kenzer and Company, 32 pages, 16.99
Miniatures based skirmish level combat game.

Clockwork Stomp,Kenzer and Company, 32 pages, 12.99 Supplement for 'Fairy Meat Miniatures Game'.

Fairy Meat
As may be expected from the title, 'Fairy Meat' is basically a table-top skirmish game, but one with a difference. The main protagonists are blood-crazed, cannibalistic Fairies, intent on butchering and eating their brethren. This is quite handy really, since given their size (your average Fairy is about 1-2 inches tall, so we are told), the game is played in a scale of 1:1, where any room or table can become a Fairy battlefield. Players take control of small gangs of Fairies, tool them up from an arsenal of offensive fairy weaponry and then let them loose in an attempt to kill and eat their opponent's fairy gangs.

The rules of Fairy Meat are simple, concise, well explained and illustrated with examples, making for a fast and furious game even with multiple players. The mechanics of the system are driven by the use of a normal deck of playing cards. At the start of a turn every player takes a card for each Fairy still alive that they control, which then determines at what point that Fairy may act during the turn. When it is their turn to act, a Fairy may move and/or: attack another Fairy using either hand-to-hand combat or a missile attack; use Twinkle to cast Fairy spells; or of course they may start to consume a dead opponent (or friend!). There are a number of options within each of these categories: different types of movement - high and slow or low and fast flight; different types of attack - normal hand-to-hand or close and dirty wrestling; and different spells.

Combat is a simple matter of each protagonist drawing a number of cards relative to their offensive and defensive combat potential, including any suitable weaponry and other modifiers, and then comparing the highest value card drawn for each combatant. The difference in values determines the winner and the amount of damage done, if any, to the loser. All picture cards are called 'Trumps' and may be used to support the high card played to increase it's value. Each Fairy has number of Kill and Live points at the start of the game which become Meat points as the take damage. Since a Fairy's offensive and defensive combat potential is determined by the Kill or Live Points they have left, a fairy becomes weaker in combat as they take damage. When all a Fairy's Kill and Live Points have become Meat Points they are dead, and are now nothing more than a tasty snack waiting to be munched on. Another Fairy may eat part of a dead Fairy, consuming one of the Meat points and regenerating one of their own Live or Kill points in the process. Mmmmmm, yum.

Each Fairy has some ability to Twinkle and cast spells, some more so than others. A Fairy's magical ability is defined by the number of Twinkle points they have, and these may be regenerated during the course of the game. The number of spells is limited, though they have a nice range of ability and there are two sorts of magic, Sweet and Mean, which tend to be either more defensive or offensive in flavour respectively. Casting spells uses Twinkle points and that's about it.

The last section of the book details the kinds of Fairies a player may include in their gangs, five types in all from the Twinkle-tastic Glitter Fairies to the spiked-up, punked-out Hardcore Fairies. A simple points system for the different Fairies and weapons (an acceptable variety of swords, bows , wands and what-have-you) available allows for balanced gangs and a fair food-fight. This also includes a range of scenario ideas, as if kill and eat your opponents wasn't enough, as well as a summary of all combat and other game procedures helping to speed up play.

At first glance, Fairy Meat seems like an expensive little game, size for money wise. Admittedly, its production values are high. Its printed on high quality glossy paper, includes a good deal of colour art (although some is of slightly dubious quality), and contains several sheets of colour, double-sided, cut-out card counters, including Fairy counters, giving you all you need to get your cannibal carnage under-way. But more than that, and what tips the scales of value-for-money in its favour, this is an excellently written game. The writing style is amusing and readable, turning what could be quite a grisly concept into a fun, tongue-in-cheek (whose tongue in whose cheek I'm unsure) idea. More importantly, it scores maximum points in my opinion for the most crucial aspect of all, sheer playability. This is an elegant system, with concise and simple mechanics. Easy to pick up, it has all the elements of a good game, not just a skirmish game. It provides the player with a range of options in defining their gang and determining the tactics they employ during the course of a game, as well as promoting quick and easy play, even with multiple players. Added to this is its advantage of any place being a potential battlefield and the fact that the bizarre and amusing concept is likely to lure in players that wouldn't normally be seen in the same vicinity as a lead miniature. A potential after-dinner game even, for the sophisticates among you - hell, even my girl-friend will play it! Go buy, nuff said.

Clockwork Stomp
'Clockwork Stomp' brings the race of Gnomes into the fray for Fairy Meat. As you may expect, these are all short fat blokes with beards and a large chip on their shoulder. Whilst their physique makes them next to useless when it comes to a mano-a-mano tussle, they more than make up for this with their inherently brilliant, mechanically attuned minds. This allows them to build a range of weird and wonderful gadgetry with which to pulverise the enemy, namely Fairies but not excluding other Gnomes.

As with 'Fairy Meat', the book is well written and produced, being a humorous read with some excellent artwork, all be it black-and-white only, breaking up the pages. Eight pages are devoted to the nuts-and-bolts of the Fairy Meat system, making this supplement stand-alone to some degree; although this repetition may be a disappointment to those already owning Fairy Meat. The book also includes 4 pages of high quality, double-sided counters in the middle, and I was very pleased to see that this time they are push-out. However, unlike the original book, there are no card counters to represent the Gnomes or other characters a player may wish to field for the slaughter. A cynical person may perhaps link this to the sale of the new line of (expensive) Fairy Meat Miniatures (Go ask the Col.).

Whilst some Gnome-built gadgets are detailed, including cybernetic limbs and the very fun Terminator-esque Clock-Fairies, Clockwork Stomp seems to be in the main a rather disappointing, uncharacteristic and unimaginative list of large guns. Not only does this seem at odds with the original setting and style of 'Fairy Meat', but since it was essentially a melee combat orientated skirmish game, I can't help but feel that the introduction of such heavy duty missile weapons is going to have a considerable impact on game-play. So if you thought the only thing missing from 'Fairy Meat' was a lot of big guns, then this is the supplement you've been waiting for. If not, then you can probably save your cash for the next installment, 'Sugar and Vice,' without missing out on too much. Fun then maybe, but recommended as essential for the completist (or rabid gun-bunny) only. -UnclEvl

Check out the Kenzer and Co website at: http://www.kenzerco.com/ for all that's new for Fairy Meat, as well as their other productions. The links page there also has a number of superb Fairy Meat devotee sites offering a wealth of ideas and frothing on all things cannibalistic Fairy-wise.

For plenty more news and reviews of all thats happening in the world of RPGing, try Valkyrie Quarterly independent roleplaying magazine. http://www.wargames.co.uk/Caliver/mags/Valkyrie.htm