Finding Anastasia Is the Best Tabletop Game You've Never Played!

It took three long years, but I finally received my copy of Finding Anastasia in the mail, a game I had backed on Kickstarter and promoted in my board game post last year. This game is breathtakingly beautiful and tons of fun at parties, so it's a shame that it isn't more widely available. Inspired by the historical legend that was popularized by the beloved 1997 animated movie, Finding Anastasia is a social deduction game in which players who claim to be Anastasia are given invitations to a tea party held by the Empress to find her long-lost granddaughter before Rasputin's spies can eliminate her. The Kickstarter campaign for this game ran for a long time, allowing many upgrades to pass into its final production, including a gorgeous custom teacup to hold the jewels, tarot-sized player cards with original artwork, and a beautiful box that can be mounted on a wall when not in use.

Finding Anastasia is produced by Good Knight Games an independent game group that has experience selling high-quality games. The contents of the box itself make it worth the pledge money before any gameplay even begins. It contains a neoprene mat that lists all of the clues to discover Anastasia's true identity, including how she escaped the revolution, where she escaped to, and what trinket she brought with her. The teacup is a quality item with a gorgeous blue floral pattern surrounding an image of a young girl escaping the palace. Each player can choose from ten different screen-printed tokens that invoke fairy tale symbols that have become synonymous with princesses over the years, including a slipper, a rose, a gown, a castle, a mirror, and a royal coach. The character and clue cards are placed inside authentic-looking party invitation envelopes that list the actions that players can take, serving as an aid for gameplay as well as a way to hide their roles.

The game is advertised as supporting 1-15 players, but it is most enjoyable with at least five players. A fifth player invokes the use of the Empress card, who serves as the hostess throughout the game. I have played the single-player version and the four-player version and found it a lot more fun with multiple people. When playing with three people or less, the Automata deck is put to use, which allows the character cards, which are placed face-down, to perform actions to try to compete with the player. This version of the game is incredibly easy because no one is trying to mislead their identity with their actions. It also does not require the use of the lovely mat or tokens, which is a waste of good artwork. With four people, we were able to incorporate most of the game's features and mislead our fellow players about Anastasia's identity, depending on whether the character was good or evil. I got the Anastasia card in two out of three gameplays and was poisoned by Rasputin's Agent both times!. Without the fifth Empress player to act as a mediator, it can be difficult for Anastasia to defend herself against her enemies. You can watch a sample playthrough of the game on YouTube below:

It can take several playthroughs to get a full grasp of the rules. For instance, it's easy to forget to place gems on the clues that were not selected each time a question is answered about a player's identity. Some characters are also easier to play than others. Although most players can spend seven gems to reveal their character's identity, Anastasia is never allowed to reveal herself, meaning she has to depend on the other players to do so and hope that the person who figures it out is on her side and not an infiltrator who wants to kill her. Anastasia is the only character who has clues in all three categories, forcing other players to lie when asked about a clue that is not in their hand. Determining who the liars are is only the first step as that is not necessarily an indicator of where their loyalties lie. There are also neutral characters, such as the Collector, who only needs to collect each clue to win the game regardless of who discovers Anastasia's identity.

Finding Anastasia is a stunningly beautiful and engaging social deduction game that is perfect for parties. Despite its limited availability, this game is a must-have for any board game enthusiast or princess fan. With its gorgeous artwork, quality components, and intricate gameplay, Finding Anastasia is a true masterpiece. While it may take a few playthroughs to fully grasp the rules, the game offers a unique and thrilling experience that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Whether you're a fan of social deduction games or just looking for a new challenge, Finding Anastasia is a game that will not disappoint. There are still some late pledges available to the party if you are brave enough to uncover the truth behind Anastasia's identity! Are you one of the lucky few to obtain a copy of this game? Let me know in the comments below!


Anonymous said…
Did you know that Anastasia's grandmother was Danish? Dagmar, as she was known in Denmark, was the second daughter of King Christian IX of Denmark. She married the future Tsar Alexander III of Russia and was the mother of Tsar Nicholas II. Her older sister, Alexandra, was the wife of King Edward VII of the United Kingdom and was the mother of King George V.

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