Calvin’s Commentaries: Fly your falcon well to win new game

When I first saw Falconry from Circle J Games I was interested.

The idea of hunting with a falcon has always intrigued me.

I have interviewed falconers in my job, and have always thought having a falcon would be cool.

I never took the plunge – past a character in an RPG — but the interest remains.

Alas, Falconry as a game doesn’t scratch the itch to fly a bird.

The game is a rather simple tile layer, with the goal of getting ‘X’ in a row depending on the number of players.

The game plays two-to-four.

As you might expect it plays best two-player. Added players strip strategy from the game. In multi-player, you get two moves a turn. So six moves are made in four players before it comes back to you, so you can’t plan, you only react.

As for the theme, well each player gets one bird, and one falconer, and the rest are generic tiles.

The idea a falcon can move to capture an opponent’s piece – well at least cover one – fits a hunting bird.

That a falconer can do the same to cover a bird is less true to the theme. It would feel truer if the falconer was restricted in some fashion, but wouldn’t work game-wise.

The tiles here are card stock, so not thick like Carcassonne. Will the tiles in Falconry stand up to lots of play, probably much like a playing card?

The artwork is OK, but you aren’t going to buy this one because you love the art either.

Designer Jared Richardson said he was looking to create a strategic game.

“I enjoy playing strategy games and wanted to create a game with deep strategic options, but wanted to create something faster and more accessible than chess tends to be, with its many-tiered decisions. This led to some experimentation with other pure strategy games, and Falconry was the end result,” he said.

“I wanted the simplicity of Tic-Tac-Toe with much more strategy and many more options. I also wanted more structure than Go, in order to make it more accessible and better as a card game. I think we achieved both those objectives and created a unique, enjoyable, quick-playing experience to satisfy strategy game players of any age and experience level.”

Richardson added “The game is small enough to travel with or add to a Christmas stocking, has beautiful art, and plays through within 5-15 minutes, which makes it accessible for any occasion. . .

“I really enjoy the strategic decisions it offers in such a short playtime, enabling me to play a very involved and thought-provoking game with people who may not have time for a longer game like chess.”

Therein lies Falconry’s greatest strength – it is an easy carry, quick to get to a table game.

That said the designer outstretches what Falconry is in even mentioning chess or Go. There is nothing in this game that would remind you of those timeless classics. Falconry can be fun but lacks the depth of the great games – which is fine as most games are not worthy of comparison to chess and Go.

Richardson said, “Players can expect a quick and engaging card game, simple enough for even young children to play, but with interesting enough decisions to keep deeply strategic players engaged for hundreds of games.”

Maybe some will fall that deeply in love with Falconry, but truthfully that won’t be the case at our table.

This is a game that plays much more like a simple filler that engages for a game or two before moving on to other fare.

Check it out at

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