I spent the weekend at a lake cabin with my family so I asked them to play The Fly Widow Game with me. While this is not technically a review, since I work for Archie McPhee, I thought I'd recreate how I explained and played the game with my family.
So if you can imagine humanoid flies wearing Victorian-era outfits, then you can pretty much get an idea of what the game is all about. If you can’t imagine it… just watch the 1986 movie The Fly with Jeff Goldblum and think of him as one of the Fly Widow’s husbands but in the 1980s instead of the 1880s. A couple of questions that came up were: Is the Fly Widow immortal? and Does she have special abilities? All I can say is one may only find the answer by playing the game.
The game itself comes in a decorative tin with 55 cards. They include thematic instructions, a brief backstory, The Fly Widow herself, and all her (many) deceased fly husbands. Everyone was impressed by the creepy images of all the characters. They looked like illustrations for the book Charles Dickens would have written if he were a fly: Martin Buzzlewit or David Copperfly.
Upon reading the instructions it became clear that years of playing Go Fish and Old Maid had prepared us for this exact moment. The goal of the game is to create pairs from the portraits and headstones of each of the Fly Widow’s murdered husbands and the loser is left with the Fly Widow. Each pair includes a poem explaining why it didn’t work out with the Fly Widow and how they were killed. They’re all entertaining to read through, here some examples of the couplets:
St John Smyth, Art Master
"The portrait he did was not flattering...
...He fell five floors, handsomely splattering!"
The Vicar of Wiggington
"He buries all her lovers one by one...
...His grave will be empty when all this is done!"
"It was up to him to decide her guilt...
...Then he was smothered by a gifted quilt"
Sir Percivale Grandville
"She felt he preferred his stallion horse...
... Put reigns round his neck with surprising force!"
Here’s a run-down of how we played:
Cards are dealt to each player until there are no more cards left in the deck. On your turn first check your hand for pairs. Then ask the player to the right if they have a card you might need. For example, we would say something along the lines of: “do you have a fly guy wearing a red coat." We decided that if the answer is no, then you get to blindly take a card from the player to the left before ending your turn.
Overall it was a fun time! I recommend playing a few rounds in order to become more acquainted with the Fly Husbands or "Fly Guys" as we ended up referring to them as. It is the perfect game for a weekend away, a rainy day at home, or a casual afternoon in a graveyard if that's your thing.
Get your own Fly Widow Game here.