Designed by Joel Lewis | Published by Good Games Publishing
2 Players | 10-20 Minutes
Based on a Japanese legend, Fluttering Souls is a 2-player, set collecting card game where players compete over a series of rounds to gather butterflies.
The legend tells the story of a man who fell hopelessly in love with a woman who died before they could be married. He was so distraught that he devoted his life to the upkeep of the cemetery where she was buried. For 50 years he visited her grave until he fell ill. As he lay in bed, unable to move, a white butterfly landed on his pillow and refused to leave. As his final breath left his body, the butterfly flew to the grave. Just as the man had watched over his lost love, so the butterfly watched over the man as he stepped into eternity.
Fluttering Souls begins by randomly choosing a card setup from the layout deck. The layout deck features 15 unique patterns to play the game.
The 18 butterfly cards are placed on the table mimicking the selected layout card. Cards are placed both facedown and face up based on the layout pattern. The first player is chosen with the Great Eggfly card going to the second player. Players take turns selecting butterflies one at a time working toward specific set-scoring goals. The game features 7 scoring opportunities based on your butterfly set (4 Monarchs = 8 points, 3 Blue Morphos = 4 points, etc.). The Great Eggfly isn’t worth any points, but can be strategically used to block your opponents access by replacing it with the card they just selected.
Players take turns selecting butterflies until all 18 cards are chosen. The player with the most points at the end of the round gains a white butterfly token. Rounds are repeated until one player gains 3 butterfly tokens.
As far as the components go: The game’s artwork is good and fits well with the legend behind the game – very serene. The cards are fair quality and the white butterfly tokens are fun.
When it comes to gameplay, Fluttering Souls is one of the lightest micro games I’ve played in a long time. While there is strategy, you’re never faced with any truly difficult decisions. The Great Eggfly can cause a little tension, but with the limited number of actions in a round, it doesn’t come into play too much. That’s not to say the game couldn’t hinge on playing the Great Eggfly at the right moment – just outside of that you’re left drawing available cards to suit your collection goals. The card layout deck provides some variation, but not enough to greatly influence your approach to the game.
I’m confident the developers didn’t set out to create a game wrought with challenging decisions. The goal here was to create a very mellow, casual, quick and easy filler that’s portable and accessible to a wide audience. I’d recommend Fluttering Souls as an introduction to set collection as well as to people who like breezy, non-confrontational games.