27 January 2016 StoryLine

Once Upon a Time

An Introduction to StoryLine: Fairy Tales

The four words, "Once upon a time," are extraordinarily powerful. They herald adventures, magic, enchanted creatures, and mysterious transformations. They conjure far-off lands, brave hunters, determined princesses, fearsome giants, and talking animals. Above all, they begin our favorite fairy tales. 

Fairy Tales, the debut game of the  series, invites you to craft your own original fairy tales beginning with that remarkable phrase, “Once upon a time.” In this fanciful card game, three to eight players craft a story together with each player contributing characters, places, objects, and events to the narrative.

Fairies, Dragons, and Magic

In a game of Fairy Tales, story cards provide the elements of the story and narrator cards connect the elements together. Each round, one player takes the role of narrator and plays a narrator card. The other players then play a story card from their hands that matches the category given on the narrator card. The narrator selects the one he or she likes most, with the winner earning a point token. The round ends, the narrator deck is passed to the next player, and the story continues on as another round begins. 

For example, the opening narrator card of your story may ask you to choose a place. The other players might provide you with options such as these: 

You choose the desert, imagining that this story takes place among drifting sands like those of the Sahara. The player who gave you the desert card takes a facedown token as their reward, and you can now place the desert card next to your narrator card. Other cards ask you to choose two things, for example, this card from the center of one of the narrator decks:

When one of these narrator cards comes up, each player must offer both an object and action, and that round’s narrator gets to choose a card for each category. The players might suggest this range of objects:

And for the action, the players supplied the following:

In this story, the prophecy was somehow written on an ancient mouse and foretold that someday the hero would transform the villain. The narrator of the round may flesh out these details: the prophecy was gently shaved into the mouse's fur, and it foretold that the villain would be transformed into a slimy, croaking toad, doomed to dwell in swamps for all eternity. Adding details helps even suggestions that seem far-fetched fit nicely into the narrative. After all, fairy tales are filled with unexpected and magical things—not much is truly far-fetched in this genre. 

You and your fellow players are encouraged to embellish and expand the story as you go along. Perhaps you name the story’s hero Prince Fritz the Monstrous, or Rose Tyler, or Bandersnit Crumplygrot. Or you decide that the magical flute of your narrative is actually the same pipe used by the Pied Piper of Hamelin to lead the rats away from the town. Or perhaps if the hero suddenly serenades the villain, all the players chime in together and sing “Over the Rainbow.” Fairy Tales is a game of collaboratively creating unique and memorable stories. Do whatever you’re inspired to do to make those stories truly your own.

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