Faraway Game Review

Tableau building meets Twin Peaks

Faraway will twist your brain—but in a good way. Check out our review of this delightfully bent tableau building card game from Pandasaurus Games.

“How different can a card game be?” you might ask yourself. But then you play Faraway and get your answer. Faraway requires you to think in forward and reverse, at the same time, which means that at the end of eight rounds you’re never quite sure whether you made the right moves or not. Let’s find out more.

Faraway Overview

In Faraway plays will take a journey across the land of Alula “a mysterious continent where a harmonious nature reigns” (Pandasaurus is leaning in pretty heavy on the mythos here). Over the course of eight rounds, players will draft Region cards from a central display, placing them left to right into a personal tableau, and hopefully also acquiring critically useful Sanctuary cards. At the end of the eighth round, players flip all of their region cards face down, and one by one reveal them—starting with the rightmost card.

But I’m getting ahead of myself…in Faraway the goal is to earn the most points, which are acquired via end game scoring on both Region and Sanctuary cards. In some cases, points are simply given (this card is worth 5 points), in other cases points are collected from icons or colors on other cards (1 point for every map icon, 2 points for every red or yellow card), and in the remainder of the cards the points are gated behind requirements (2 points for every night card, as long as you have 2 thistle icons).

Now, let’s get back to the gameplay. As you reveal the cards from right to left, you score them based solely on the cards which are already revealed. “Oh, you’ve got a card which awards 10 points if you have 3 antler icons? Bummer for you…seems like you didn’t plan ahead.” This is the reason why Sanctuary cards are so important, as they don’t get flipped over at the end of the game. You can earn them for always playing Region cards which are a higher number than the one immediately to your left. If you placed a 7 last turn, and place a 16 this turn, you get to draw a Sanctuary card—and you get to draw additional Sanctuary cards for each map icon you’ve previously played. Sadly you only get to keep one, but these Sanctuary cards generally make the difference between winning and losing.

After revealing and scoring all your Region cards, you make one last pass to score any points found on Sanctuary cards, then tally up the points.

Faraway or Far Out?

Let’s just lay it out there…everyone I’ve played Faraway with has been tripped up in the first game or two. Even though I always double down on calling out the “forwards then backwards” scoring approach, it still takes them off guard. It usually takes 2 or 3 games to really catch on to how you must shift your thinking. Faraway rewards strategic thinking, but because it’s a card game, you also have to be able to respond to shifting situations.

Faraway is also a game which requires making sacrifices. If you draw a card near the beginning of the game that intends to give you 16 points, you better play it for the points. But if you draw that same card in round 7, it might never even hit the table—unless you play it for the icons. Even though Faraway isn’t a multi-use card game in the traditional sense, I think it belongs in that group in spirit. Cards can be both points and resources, or they can just be resources if you can think far enough ahead. 

Even though the others members of my game group ultimately felt that Faraway was a bit too thinky for the “small game” time slot we had placed it in, that didn’t prevent us from playing the game a number of times, in an effort to develop an understanding of the game and the strategy it requires. Faraway is definitely a game that rewards multiple plays. What about you, will you give Faraway a shot at your table? In my opinion, it’s a journey worth taking.

  • Great - Would recommend.

About the author

Andy Matthews

Founder of Meeple Mountain, editor in chief of, and software engineer. Father of 4, husband to 1, lover of games, books, and movies, and all around nice guy. I run Nashville Game Night, and Nashville Tabletop Day.

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