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Story Cubes – Game Night Carnival!

March 27, 2012 2 comments

Rory’s Story Cubes is a very VERY free form game. This is a great one for all ages, and has several added bonus uses. There are nine cubes (six-sided dice) with random, but interesting images on them. These include a pyramid, the moon, a keyhole, fire, an arrow, a footprint, etc. The basic concept is to roll the dice, and make up a story with the images presented.

You can play this any number of ways. My wife and I tried rolling them all at the same time and taking turns selecting a result to describe the next piece of the story. Another way to play is taking turns rolling one die at a time, and making up there story as you go along. Since there are an odd number of dice, whoever started with less got to choose the title of the story. Our stories tended to be a bit ridiculous, but that’s mostly because we really enjoy cracking each other up, usually sporting terrible British accents. Don’t judge.

We had a great time with this game, and heartily recommend it if you feel like doing something with no rules to speak of. This is also the reason it is a great game to play with young children who tend to make up the rules as they go along anyway, regardless of the game. It’s a great creative activity to flex your improv muscles in your brain. Which brings us to bonus uses: The obvious one being that these can cure writer’s block. Aspiring novelist? Stuck on a scene? Roll! Oh, what’s that? Your hero boarded a plane that was hit by a shooting star which catapulted him to the moon where he discovered the moon-pyramids that was inhabited solely by space-turtles? Fantastic!

If you’re a brave and talented Dungeon Master, the other excellent bonus use for these dice is to use them to improv during an RPG session. As detailed by the illustrious Dread Gazebo, Story Cubes can be an excellent addition to your dice bag, either in the dungeon design process, or during play if your player’s veer off-course (surely, they would never do that!) you can throw them a curve ball. This is a new twist on the old adage of DMs rolling dice behind the screen, making stuff up; sometimes the roll matters but sometimes the DM is just buying time, thinking of what to do next. Now you’ve got something to help you wing it!

Story cubes is also an app on iOS. While $2 is certainly more cost effective and portable, I feel the $9.99 MSRP is worth it to have the dice in hand. I’m unaware of an android app for this, but if one of our readers knows of one, feel free to set the record straight in the comments!

This post is part of the monthly Game Night Blog Carnival started by Roving Band of Misfits. Why not check out their review this month of Carcassone Castle!

Zombies!!! – Game Night Blog Carnival

February 28, 2012 1 comment

For any fan of the Zombie genre, the setup for this is classic. Survivors standing back to back, surrounded by a horde of zombies in a town. Do they stick together, or do they split up? Where do they find supplies needed to survive?

Zombies!!! is a classic zombie survival game for 2-6 players. The object of the game is to be the first player to slay 25 zombies, or the first one to the helicopter pad. Players start out with 3 hearts and 3 bullets, as well as 3 cards that have different effects.

A typical turn goes something like this: Draw a map tile from the pile (Helicopter tile is always on the bottom), place the map tile in a way that makes sense; No roads to nowhere or buildings with no roads leading to them. Place as many zombies on that tile as there are roads leading off the tile, or if it’s a building, place as many hearts, bullets, and zombies as it says on the tile. Draw a card if you don’t have 3 in your hand already. Roll a die to see how far you move. If you move into a space with a zombie in it, it’s combat time!

Combat is super simple. Rolls of 4, 5, or 6 defeat a zombie. You can add +1 to your roll for each bullet you spend. If you are out, or don’t want to spend the bullets you spend a heart instead, and roll again. Once you’re out of hearts, you go back to start with 3 hearts and 3 bullets to try your luck again. More bullets and hearts can be found in buildings like the hospital, fire station, and sports equipment stores.

At the end of the turn, the player rolls the die again to see how many zombies move one square. Roll a 5? Move 5 zombies one square. This can aid you and hinder your opponents as you create a wall of zombies in their path. On the other hand, if they’re well armed, they will be well on the way to victory with some good rolls.

images from Board Game Geek

The cards each player has in their hand can seriously affect game play. For instance, as one player was racing to the helicopter once it was revealed, I had a card in my hand that sent her all the way back to start. Other cards can give you a bonus to movement or fighting, or can cause your opponents to wander off into a pack of zombies.

With Zombies!!! you pretty much know what you’re getting into, but it has enough variety in the randomness of the map and cards to give it a high replay value. The art on the cards is also really thematically cool, without trying to be gross-out graphic. If you like survival horror, this is a light and accessible game, that just about anybody can get into.

This is part of the Game Night Blog Carnival hosted by Roving Band of Misfits. Check out this other article from the carnival from the Learning DM!