Monday, March 3, 2008

Storytelling Games

My husband and I own a ton of games - board games, card games, role-playing games, video games, you name it. Do we play them? Not so much. We really do like playing games...they're fun, challenging, and a great way to de-stress. It's just that with so much going on lately, we hardly ever think to play them. Add a baby to the mix and the games start to collect dust. I've been feeling kind of bad about this, so I opened up our "game table" to see what we've been missing out on. I spotted Nanofictionary, a game we've never even played before. This is a shame because when I saw it lying there, all the reasons why we bought it in the first place came flooding back to me.

I really like games where you use your imagination. They get you thinking creatively, and I love to see how far you can take something. I also find the concept of this game intruiging. Basically, Nanofictionary is a card game in which you create a "tiny story" using the cards you've been dealt. You develop the basic structure of a story by collecting setting, problem, character and resolution cards. The stories you create are short, so you don't have to worry about making a masterpiece. The game designer Andrew Looney actually used the word "Nanofiction" to describe very short stories (55 words or less). The game has three phases: the writing phase where you organize your cards and figure out your structure, the storytelling phase where you get to narrate your story and the awards phase, where the winner of the game is announced! To me, it seems like the perfect game to get your creative juices going and also to share and enjoy stories with your friends or family.

Another game that I rediscovered upon inspection of the game table was Once Upon A Time. This one we HAVE played before. It has a fairy tale setting complete with dragons, castles and princesses. It's a fun game but I think it would be better with more than two players. Instead of creating your own story, in Once Upon A Time, the player create a story together using the ingredients on their cards. You take turns being the Storyteller and each player tries to guide the plot in a way that will allow them to play out all their cards first and use the Happy Ever After card.

I'm glad I found these games because lately I've been thinking about how much I like to write and how much I would love to write a children's book one day. I think playing these games might help spark some imagination and bring me one step closer to that goal. All I have to do is get some friends together and start playing!

Have you played either of these games? Do you know any other storytelling games?

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  1. I've never played those games but they sound fun! What other games are you guys into? Tyler and I love playing games.

  2. Read all the time to your delightful son of yours. Books are soooooo wonderful to get lost in. Bring the games when you come!! I looked up the other sites!!!


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