Onward with The Fool’s Journey and a Lovely Tarot Deck
Overcome challenges on a journey through a Tarot deck where plans must be carefully laid to survive in The Fool’s Journey.
Years ago, I used to play The Fool’s Journey all the time! It remains an excellent choice to use all of the cards in a Tarot deck to appreciate the full spread of artwork. With such a span of time between my last play, it was finally time to bring this re-themed solo dungeon crawl back to my table! And, I did so with the help of one of the best Tarot decks…
Game Name: The Fool’s Journey
Publication Year: 2016
Designer: Desmond Meraz
Artist: Chantel de Sousa (The Golden Girls Tarot Cards)
Publisher: Unpublished (Free Rules PDF)
Solo Mode: Designed for Solo (Included in the Base Game)
A spread of 4 cards presents the options for that round, which allow certain cards to be used as weapons, currency, redraws, or enhancements. The goal is to make it through an entire Tarot deck, overcoming the major arcana cards as challenges. It’s a quick journey, but a difficult one!
August 4, 2017
September 29, 2023
26" x 18"
All the Right Stuff
The Golden Girls were absolutely the right choice to walk through this journey with. Ha ha! I brought out this deck that makes me smile so much. Definitely not serious!
I also found some tokens that seemed to generally match the color scheme. At the very least, the pattern somehow reminded me of a lanai, so I was on the right track.
The rulebook is notoriously difficult to understand, and I went back through my guide posts to re-learn the rules.
Armed with the right information, I set out to guide Rose through life… First step, don’t walk off the dock!
Capturing the Best
It’s almost time for me to roll through my grainy DVD collection again. This is one of my favorites! When I saw this deck, I knew it had to be the right one for me.
Not every card is perfect, and some show generic symbols instead of the ladies, but there are so many that make me laugh or are simple too perfect. Cheesecake everywhere!
The iconic scenes also help tell apart all of the cards. I know which ladies I don’t want to show up sometimes!
With many games that use a standard card deck or Tarot deck, I think finding one with a theme adds to the fun.
Overall, the goal is to clear 3 of 4 cards during a round, then move on until the deck is empty. The challenges can range from extremely easy to nearly impossible to survive.
I play with a very low maximum vitality, or health, owing to how I like to play this one. Definitely very difficult!
Unfortunately, I lost when a pair of difficult challenges came out during the same turn. Sophia judged my poor skills, and Rose dispensed some rough justice. Oh, dear!
Random bad luck can end a play early, yet it’s so quick, that I don’t mind. It’s just nice to see all of these cards.
An Exciting Victory
Onward I went, though, destined not to be held down by these challenges. I used the wands and swords pretty well, often getting lucky by doubling their values.
Healing through the cups suit came up a lot, so I managed to stay near maximum vitality even after taking damage.
Somehow, it came down to the end of the deck… And I realized I had done amazingly well! I had a ton of swords left, which allowed me to overcome the final challenge.
Only a single card wasn’t used, and that was a currency card. So cool to have an exciting win out of the blue!
Bringing Other Hobbies & Favorites to Games
I didn’t think there would ever be a crossover with The Golden Girls and solo board games, but this Tarot deck proved me wrong! There’s also a standard deck of cards in my collection I’ll have to bring out at some point. This game isn’t an automatic favorite for me, but being able to bring in a thematic deck has certainly enhanced gameplay for me.
Losses are usually blamed on someone like Sophia, or even Stan! I find myself smiling and laughing a little more than if I treated this with a more generic theme. There’s another Tarot deck I absolutely love, although it feels more serious. Sometimes, it’s nice to just play a solo game and laugh based on its parallels to our favorite TV shows or whatnot!
Once again, I’m probably way too excited about the prospect of talking about emotions and board games. It also comes down to the simple act of playing: Getting immersed for a bit, losing track of time, and feeling great are hard to beat!
Play Number: 61 and 62
Solo Mode: Designed for Solo (Included in the Base Game)
Play Details: 15 Maximum Vitality
Outcome: 0, 15 (1 Win & 1 Loss)
It was an interesting set of back-to-back plays, mainly because Dorothy showed up early on in force! She has some great cards, and isn’t to be trifled with. I adore all of the ladies on the show, yet Dorothy is sometimes tossed under the rug… Even though she might be the most complex character of all. In the end, I had a wonderful time and discovered I still have the skills to win this one!
Price & Value
Challenges & Mechanics
Design & Theme
Components & Rules
Achievement & Enjoyment
Distinctness & Randomness
+ Pros (Positives)
- A Tarot deck and some way to track vitality are the only required components, which often requires no added cost.
- The goal is to work through the entire deck, so the mechanics allow every card to be featured and utilized.
- It can be very interesting to decide how to overcome challenges at pivotal points when vitality is very limited.
- Gameplay is very much tied into the Tarot cards and the journey through the major arcana, which is a neat theme.
- After setting up the play area, nothing moves beyond it, making for a compact experience to focus on the cards.
- With such a quick play time, it’s often easy to play multiple times and have a few interesting turns to remember.
– Cons (Negatives)
- Bad luck can result in an immediate loss with too many challenges coming out at once, which is rather frustrating.
- Using the rulebook can be very confusing with ambiguous information and sections that aren’t very clear.
- Gameplay is very repetitive with the same general progression through the challenges and other cards.
- Although the difficulty level is very easy to adjust, it can take some time to find the desired gameplay experience.
Overcome All 20 Challenges
- Overall Goal Progress 100% 100%
Goals and Milestones
Win at least 1 game with full vitality (15) at the end.
Win at least 1 game with full vitality (20) at the end.
Win at least 1 game with full vitality (25) at the end.
Continue the Conversation
Have you played The Fool’s Journey recently? Do you have a favorite Tarot deck you like to use? I can see why I haven’t played this in a couple of years, although it’s still a lot of fun. Nowhere else can I enjoy the full artwork in this deck! It’s always nice to be able to play games that don’t require any additional investment. Although now I want a lanai… Ha!