The Rhineland is home to some game publishers. In addition to big names like Queen Games, there are also a large number of smaller publishers. One of them is the Eitorfer Verlag Funtails. The variety is great here. Quiz game, party game, family game or connoisseur game: there is something for every taste.

This article is part five of our series of publisher reviews. In this we introduce publishers and show their history, their current games and can also give a small preview of future projects of the publisher.

The quality of the titles at Funtails is high. Judging by the reviews on BoardGameGeek, there is one here Glen More II: Chronicles an upscale connoisseur game from the top 200 and with Feed the octopus one of the most popular party games. We discussed with Steffen Rühl how the publishing house came about, which titles are currently in the program and where the journey should go.

First steps in the dragon forge

Steffen Rühl had his first intensive contact with board games in 1990 when he visited SPIEL in Essen for the first time. Since then he has regularly visited the largest trade fair for board games.
As a role player since the early 80s and co-founder of Drachenschmiede, the first provider for LARPG in Germany, another area of ​​analogue games opened up for him at the fair.

The fascination for role-playing games began when he saw and bought “The Dark Eye” in passing. The desire to develop games was present in him early on and was stated as such in the high school newspaper around the time he was about to finish high school.  

Both analogue and digital games were present through the 90s. The digital world was then also the place where he started to work in game development. 

Concrete forms of a publishing house were not yet recognizable at the time. For this we have to go 12 years further. At this point, Steffen Rühl and Matthias Cramer met. After working on various prototypes (including for Ravensburger), some of which still have the potential to come onto the market today, work began in 2015 Glen More II: Chronicles. After another two years of development, things got serious and the title was to be released.

At that point in time, the Cube Thrower Podcast, which Steffen had created together with Andreas Geiermann, already existed. Since the effort for a single project seemed too great, the idea of ​​an own publishing house was born. Together with Stefan Lampinen, Steffen's former boss at EA, who himself ran a board game shop in the 80s, the trio then founded the Funtails publishing house.

Play brings everyone together and creates positive moments. Logo: Funtails

The problem of finding a name was solved quite pragmatically. The name "Funtails" was still free. The idea for this is based, among other things, on the logo of the publisher. The idea for this came up shortly before. In any case, it should express what is particularly important to Funtails: games bring people together. 

In the spring of 2019, the very successful Kickstarter project started Glen More II: Chronicles. Shortly after the crowdfunding ended, the next title came directly to Funtails. The quiz game followed the upscale connoisseur game quiz club 

The beginning of the corona pandemic thwarted the plan for the next project and even threatened the existence of the publishing house. quiz club is suitable for larger groups with 3-8 people. Feed the octopus but puts a few brave seafarers on top here. The party game is suitable for 5-11 people. However, crowdfunding was postponed from March to November due to the pandemic. Two of the three heads behind Feed the octopus also quickly became team members at Funtails.

In order to secure the existence of the publishing house, Glen More II: Chronicles - Highland Games getting ready. Solo mode has been in the works for a while. The Automa Factory even approached the publisher for this purpose, since they Glen More II found so good. With the help of many authors, the Highland Games were completed and successfully started crowdfunding on Kickstarter in August 2020.

One of these authors, who even helped the publisher free of charge, was Rüdiger Dorn. With Treehouse Diner there was also his first "complete" game at Funtails in Essen. Two more are to follow.

Typical for Rehinland (“I know someone who knows someone”), contact was made with Klaus-Jürgen Wrede (Carcassonne), who also lives in the region and invited Steffen to his birthday party without knowing him personally at the time. With the "Highlander" he has one of the most popular chronicles of Glen More II designed. The contact remained over the years and we met again and again to test prototypes. With Caral one of these prototypes is currently about to be delivered after successful crowdfunding. 

Octopuses quiz with whiskey 

With this sentence, the first titles of the publishing house can actually be summed up very well. The cornerstone of the publishing house was laid with Glen More II: Chronicles placed. According to BGG user ratings, the publisher's most complex game is also the highest-ranked game there. In the ranking of all games, it occupies a place in the top 200.

The game puts the players in the role of a clan leader. Your own clan is led in Scotland from the early Middle Ages to the 19th century. Influence is increased by growing barley to make whisky, selling goods in various markets, making friends with other clans in the Highlands, or controlling special landmarks such as lochs and castles.

The players carry out these tasks over four rounds, each of which ends when the corresponding stack is empty. The rondel on which the players move is filled from the stacks.
In a turn, the person who is furthest to the back on the rondel always moves their own pawn. You take the tile from the space where you ended your movement and place it next to you. Then the tile just placed and all adjacent tiles are activated. The effects that are activated in this way are varied and range from resources to victory points. At any time you can buy or sell resources on the market. The costs there are variable and dependent on supply and demand.

There is a scoring at the end of each of the four rounds. This is always triggered when the corresponding stack that fills the rondel in this round is empty. There are points for achievements in the areas of Scotsmen on the home castle, landmark cards, whiskey barrels and character tiles. The decisive factor here is always the lead over the person who has the fewest elements in the relevant area. At the end of the game, the normal round scoring is supplemented by three more steps. Everyone loses 3 points for each tile they own more than the smallest territory. In addition, leftover coins and landmarks earn additional victory points.
The game can be expanded with eight already included "Chronicles". So the replay appeal is extremely high.

Glen More II: Chronicles was the publisher's first game. Image: Funtails

If that doesn't mean enough variability, there is in the extension Glen More II: Highland Games three more Chronicles. There is also a solo mode developed by the renowned Automa Factory. That's where the solo variants for games like Viticulture or flapping wings In solo mode you compete against Her Ladyship Auto MacNificent. Classically, this Automa is controlled by cards that dictate which actions are carried out.
In the universe of Glen More you can spend between 1 and 4 minutes with 12-45 people aged 120 and over.

Shortly after the Kickstarter ended Glen More II: Chronicles another game has already been signed. For up to twice as many people as Glen More II offers quiz club a completely different gaming experience. There are three questions of varying difficulty on each of over 160 question cards printed on both sides. The game alternates between cooperative and competitive rounds. In each round you ask one person a question. In the cooperative rounds, both get points if the question is answered correctly. The harder the question, the more points are awarded.
In the competitive rounds, the questioner receives points for an incorrect answer. There are more, the easier the question was. Of course, if the answer is correct, the points are only awarded to the person who gave the correct answer.

The questions are divided into eight categories. There are questions from economics to environmental protection and from science to art and music. With one of the five expansion packs, 120 additional questions can be added from specific categories. For example, there are questions about board and card games or role-playing games and geek knowledge.

In 30-60 minutes, 3-8 people aged 12 and over quiz their way through the questions.

To the octopus or not to the octopus?

It is also possible for even more people. Funtails takes the top spot in this respect Feed the octopus a. 5-11 people can hire here on the "Unstabil". Each person is secretly assigned one of three possible roles. All roles have different goals (literally on the game board) that must be achieved without the others being able to guess who you are. The pirates look each other in the eye before the game and know who they share the same goals with. Before the start of the game, everyone receives a character card that guarantees them a special effect at a certain point in the game. At first they remain secret.

Feed the Kraken also appeals to large groups of up to 11 people. Image: Funtails

One person is always the captain. In the beginning, this role is distributed with the character cards. In order to navigate, the captain must designate his navigation team of lieutenant and navigator. In the next step, the entire crew can take action against this decision and mutiny. Everyone secretly picks up pistols and shows them together on command. Depending on the number of people, a certain number of pistols is required for the mutiny to be successful. If the mutiny was successful, the winner of the mutiny becomes the new captain and now appoints a navigation team himself.

If mutiny failed, continue with navigation. The captain and lieutenant each choose one of two drawn cards and place them in the logbook. The navigator now chooses one of the two cards and returns the logbook to the captain. This presents the map to the entire crew and carries out the resulting actions. This selection of cards is done in secret. If the navigator does not like either of the two orders, he can also refuse service and jump overboard. This is associated with the appointment of a new navigator.

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The navigator and, if applicable, other crew members are "off duty" after navigation has taken place. The next round begins again with the appointment of a new navigation team.
The game ends when one of the victory conditions is met. As this is a team game, a person who jumped overboard can also win.

The crew of the "Unstabil" is made up of 5-11 courageous water rats aged 12 and over. The boat ride takes about 45-90 minutes.

Two Game of the Year winners at Funtails

The next title in the Funtails program is caral As with the exception of quiz club all of the publisher's titles were crowdfunded on Kickstarter. The game by Klaus-Jürgen Wrede takes the players to the eponymous ancient Peruvian city whose pyramids were discovered in 2000. The players now have to build this up over a period of up to seven years (rounds).

At the beginning of your turn you move within the limits of the available movement points on the spirally arranged path of the game board. Depending on where you are after moving, you can perform actions. For example, you can get stones, resources or alpacas. The stone can be spent at the building sites to build levels of the pyramid.

At the end of each round, resource cards can be sacrificed to gain victory points. When the seventh pyramid has been completed or the seventh year has ended, a final scoring follows. Whoever then has collected the most fame wins the game. Six freely combinable modules ensure versatile fun. 2-4 people aged 12 and over build the pyramids in 60-90 minutes.

The "Funtails Family" label started with Treehouse Diner by Rüdiger Dorn. Image: Funtails

The youngest title in the Funtails program is by Rüdiger Dorn and bears the title Treehouse Diner. The flying delivery service that supplies the hungry animals with food gives it its name. In their role as kitchen help, the players have to take orders over the phone, bring the right ingredients to the chefs and then have the orders delivered well packaged with the flying squirrels.

Each turn you can either answer the phone or get ingredients from the pantry. You can take all the ingredients from a shelf in the pantry. One minute goes by for each ingredient. An order in your own kitchen has to be moved one field to the right every minute.
If you answer the phone, you can take any order you like. All players then take turns taking an order. The person whose turn it is gets the last remaining order at the end.

In the second part of the turn, all the ingredients have to be assigned to the orders in your own kitchen. What is required must also be placed on the orders. All orders that are now complete are delivered by the busy flying squirrels and bring you victory points at the end.

The game ends as soon as one person has delivered a certain number of orders. This number depends on the number of people. Whoever collects the most satisfaction points with the orders and all of their work wins the game. The two optional modules "Save the Bees" and "Secret Ingredient" bring new challenges and even more variety to the game.

Treehouse Diner is recommended from 8 years. 2-4 kitchen helpers play the game in about 45 minutes.

Versatile new

As the publisher's current program already shows, Funtails is extremely versatile. Each game can actually be assigned to a different category. Of course, this versatility should also remain in the future. For good orientation within the range, Treehouse Diner started the "Family Line". 

In general, the goal is to publish one title per year whose complexity meets the fluid boundary between family and connoisseur games. With Treehouse Diner was the collaboration with Rüdiger Dorn after his Chronicle for Glen More II continued. The next title of this collaboration is to be released at SPIEL 2023 and there will also be a third title, which is still further in the future. The game design for the 2023 novelty has already been completed. This is where the topic selection and the “fine touches” come in.

In addition to games by Rüdiger Dorn and Klaus-Jürgen Wrede, another title by a successful German author will soon be published by Funtails. Peter Prinz, who is also part of Alexander Pfister's test group, is with us Beyond Thebes already released a very successful title that was nominated for game of the year in 2007. The novelty becomes the title Comet wear. The publisher will provide detailed information on this in the coming weeks. 

A new game of complexity with Glen More II: Chronicles should be comparable is currently still being sought. But there will also be something new in the world of the Scottish Highlands. Fans of the upscale connoisseur game can look forward to some supplies here. 

In April 2022, Funtails received a grant from the state of North Rhine-Westphalia for "Anvil Project". Here, the feel of pen-and-paper role-playing games is transferred to a board game, but significantly elevated on several levels. At the end there is a hybrid fantasy board game with app support. In particular, the psyche of the individual characters should be experienced in this game through an intensive form of storytelling. The app takes on the role of a game master. 
The plans at Funtails for two social deduction games are not yet concrete.

It turns out that Funtails will actually continue to release new things for every taste. Only children's games and highly complex expert games should not exist according to the current status. Otherwise there is a very nice selection for occasional and family players, connoisseur players of all levels and also for larger game rounds. 

Last updated on 27.01.2023/XNUMX/XNUMX / Affiliate Links / Images from the Amazon Product Advertising API. * = Affiliate links. Images from Amazon PA API