Fiction is a Wordle inspired word game from Allplay that was released this year. After checking out the game at Origins this Summer, I was intrigued but skeptical. One player takes the role of the Lie-brarian while everyone else works as a team to find the word.
Mining Classic Fiction
Each game of Fiction starts with the team of players choosing a card from 1 of 8 works of literature. These cards have an excerpt from that book with highlighted 5-letter words. The standard words are highlighted in yellow while more advanced words are in red.
While not in the rules, we have the Lie-brarian start by reading the book excerpt to everyone at the table. The Lie-brarian secretly writes down one of the highlighted words on their board. This will be hidden behind the game box so no one can see the secret word.
The collective team on the other side of the game box is given 10 guesses (10 separate dry erase tiles) to make their guesses one word at a time. There are 3 types of tokens that the Lie-brarian can use to give feedback once the makes a guess:
- The correct letter in the correct space
- The correct letter in the wrong space
- OR the letter doesn’t appear in the word
The team can use this information to inform their next guess, but there’s a twist.
The Lie-brarian gets its name because they MUST lie about one letter in the guessed word each round. This player can lie about the placement of a single letter or whether a letter actually appears in the word at all.
When we first hear about Fiction, this gave me pause. How in the world can you find the right word while someone is lying about what’s right and wrong? I was skeptical that this deception mechanic would work or even be fun.
After my first game I realized that this mechanic brings a level of deduction from the game that is really fun. A skilled Lie-brarian will be able to lead the team down the wrong path for 2 or 3 guesses before the lie is found.
The guessing team has 3 Fact/Fiction tokens at their disposal. Playing one of these tokens will force the Lie-brarian to tell the truth about a letter that may be suspect.
This lying mechanic works really well and sets Fiction apart from Wordle and other games that take on this format. As a fan of crime and puzzle solving games, Fiction hits a sweet spot for me. With that being said, not everyone I’ve played with have been a fan.
Who’s Fiction For?
Fiction is cooperative as the team of players work to find the secret word together. Erin has not been a fan of co-op games in the past and this is no exception. We found that as the size of the guessing team grew, it became less fun for some players. Alpha players begin to emerge in some of the bigger groups we’ve played with. This made the game feel less collaborative. Erin found herself enjoying the game with just 2 or 3 players over some of the higher player counts that the game supports.
While it’s been rare, it’s possible that a team can just guess the secret word on the first or second guess. It’s an anti-climatic end for a game that is quite puzzley. In about 2 dozen games, this has only happened once.
One of my favorite things about Fiction is the way that the word choice is made at the start of each game. Each card is tied to an excerpt from a classic book. This keeps the secret word anchored. This is where the Wordle board game falls apart. When a player just picks a 5 letter word out of the air, there’s no way to regulate the difficulty. Fiction solves this problem.
Fiction is broken up into two 10 minute sections which seems to only exist to keep the game flowing at a steady pace. The timer is paused while the Lie-brarian assigns tokens to the guessed word. After 5 guesses (or 10 minutes), the team gets 5 more rounds of guesses or another 10 minutes. Because of this timer, the team works decisively to submit a guess which keeps everything moving.
A New Favorite?
If you don’t like co-op games, Fiction will not change your mind. If you’re frustrated by deduction games, this one isn’t for you. For me, Fiction may be my favorite word game in our collection. It’s a game that has layers and the added deduction mechanic works far better than I anticipated.
When the game goes 6 or 7 guesses deep and the team works together to figure out the Lie-brarians lies, Fiction is incredibly satisfying. With two levels of difficulty and literally hundreds of words between the cards, this game has loads of replayability with the right group.
This game was provided to us by the publisher for review. Read more about our review policies at One Board Family.
- Lying mechanic adds a layer to the game that works surprisingly well
- The mechanic used to choose the word is excellent
- Two timed game segments keep the game moving
- Your first time being the Lie-brarian can be overwhelming
- Wish there was a physical screen for the Lie-brarian to hide behind