Farplace is an animal rescue and rehoming race

Race to the finish in Farplace, a board game all about animal rescue and rehoming. 

The Game of Goose, Snakes and Ladders, Pachisi; some of the most popular games out there are Race Games, and it’s their simple objective that helped them establish that level of popularity. Farplace The Game is a race game with set-collection mechanics created in partnership with Farplace, a UK-based animal rescue operation, with a fun little twist — not only is it about rescuing, releasing and rehoming animals, but each of its characters has a different method of movement as they travel beyond obstacles and on to the finish.

Up to four players, of pretty much any age, can play, although somebody will need to give the rules a solid read before you start playing Farplace as, unlike other race games, there are no dice in the box. Instead of moving on die rolls you’ll advance along the path to freedom by helping out animals along the way — with a cool bonus if they’re the same type of animal as you. Animals include hedgehogs and pigeons through to cats and dogs, with each one requiring a selection of treatment cards in order to be ready for release.

An example might be that a stray cat requires a home check, treatment from a vet and neutering before its movement points can be claimed. That’s three individual treatment cards that need to be spent to move, and some of those cards are less plentiful than others. This means that a lot of time playing Farplace is spent gathering treatment cards, perhaps more than is spent doing anything else. Rather than a race game, as it first infers, Farplace is actually a Set Collection game.

On each player’s turn, they have the chance to do several things. They can take two actions which can be the same action twice and are chosen from: Drawing two face-up (or face down) treatment cards, drawing an animal card, solving an animal card set or solving a red-framed animal card (which is an animal card where you’d travel backwards unless you solve it fully). If the player solves an animal card they also draw a vet card, which is an event card that can be positive (search the deck for a card of your type) or negative (discard your entire hand of objects/treatment cards), there are also some bonuses in play depending on the animal that the player is playing as – for instance, a dog rehoming a dog gets to pick up some bonus treatment cards.

That’s not all though, because there are special rules when moving too. Rabbits can, for example, travel diagonal while a cat can shift through boxes, the dog through a trick tunnel and birds can pass over (but not stop on) objects like water and houses. Both sides of the play area have different layouts, but both have been carefully structured so that each player is likely to take a different path, which does a great job of masking who is in the lead until the last few turns.

Once you’re mid-game everything does become quite natural and the rules don’t need reminders, however that is largely down to the set collecting nature meaning that players spend a lot of time drawing. It would be improved with a house rule about trading in extra treatments for a new card, or some sort of a cap on the number of cards that players can have in hand as it’s easy to build up quite a stockpile if you’re drawing similar animals over and over.


All of that said, Farplace is a great little game and one with an important message about caring for animals and the efforts required to give unloved or mistreated animals a new chance at life.

Farplace is available now from the Farplace Animal Rescue website.

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