Once Upon a Time is a 2 – 6 player cooperative storytelling card game that requires about 20-40 minutes to complete and is targeted at audiences of all ages. It is produced by Atlas Games and possesses many expansions in its product line. The game was designed by Richard Lambert, Andrew Rilstone and James Wallis.
In Once Upon a Time, players collectively tell a story using cards in their hand comprising of various fairytale and fantasy elements. There is one storyteller active at a time with other players seeking to interrupt and continue the story themselves. The first player to place all their story cards down and conclude the tale with their ending card wins the game.
You start the game with a hand of random cards which includes story cards, interrupt cards and an ending card.
You will make up a fairytale with the cards in your hand by placing them down once they are mentioned in the story. Other players will seek to interrupt or challenge you to become the new storyteller, continuing the story in their desired direction.
If you are not the storyteller, you can use interrupt cards when a card of the same category enters the story. There are five story card categories; including character, thing, place, aspect and event. Alternatively, you can interrupt the storyteller if a card in your hand is mentioned.
As the storyteller, you can be challenged by other players if you get stuck, contradict the story, ramble, include something ridiculous or mention an unimportant element to use a story card. These rules are hard to implement and work better in large groups where votes can be cast.
Ultimately, Once Upon a Time works better in a relaxed environment where players are less concerned about winning and are more concerned about telling engaging and compelling fairytales together.
You Should Buy Once Upon A Time If
1. You want a simple game to play with all ages
2. Want a game that exercises your creativity and imagination
3. Don’t mind playing a game that lacks hard and fast rules
Many ending cards contain Biblical principles such as: ”And the kingdom rejoiced at the end of the tyrant’s reign” (Proverbs 11:10), “Despite his terrible crime, the king agreed to spare his life” (Luke 9:53-56) and “Which proves you should always be careful when choosing your companions.” (1 Corinthians 15:33). You could easily use the elements of your finished story to communicate Biblical truths.
Fairytales were traditionally used to teach morals. There could be a danger in contriving tales that promote moralism through this game so it is important that you ground conversations afterwards in the Gospel.
Once Upon A Time Receives The TheoNerds Seal Of Approval!
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