Friday, 16 March 2018

A Little Light Relief by Claire Fayers

We’re halfway through World Book Month. Halfway through school visits, through travel, admin, preparation and loads of exhausting fun with kids. It’s time we gave ourselves a break and as I’m a keen game player, I thought I’d suggest a few games that should appeal to authors. 

Atlas Games

This classic storytelling game was released in 1994 and it’s still going strong - especially in my house where visitors are routinely compelled to navigate a narrative of evil step-mothers, lost princes and talking frogs.

The players all receive one story ending card and a hand of cards depicting common fairytale elements.

The first player launches into a story ‘Once upon a time…’ The idea is to spin a tale, weaving in all the elements on your cards and ending with your secret ending card. But the other players have their own cards and are waiting to leap in and drag the story off to their own ending. Mention something that’s on one of their cards and they can interrupt and take over the narrative.

The winner is the player who reaches their secret ending, but the real fun lies in telling a good story. The best ones go on and on, taking all sorts of twists and turns as cards are slapped down to interrupt and players tug the narrative back and forth. It helps to have a basic knowledge of fairytales, a quick wit and the ability to improvise.

Atlas Games

If the thought of racing multiple storytellers to your own happy ending is too much, you may prefer Gloom. Another storytelling card game, this one is for two to four players, with expansions that will take it up to seven people, and the aim of the game is to make your characters as miserable as possible. And then kill them. 

The cards themselves are semi-transparent, so as you heap tragedy upon tragedy, the earlier modifiers are still visible and their terrible effects can still be felt. I like to play this game with my husband at the end of a long day.

Oxford Games

This is a game for any number of book-lovers, though it works best with groups of six or more. The game consists of a set of cards, each on containing a book title, the author, and a brief description of the book.

One player is the librarian, who reads out the title, author and blurb. Each player then writes a suitable first or last line for the book, and the librarian writes the actual line. The librarian collects all lines and reads them out, and everyone votes for which they think is the real one. You score a point for guessing correctly and get a bonus point for anyone who votes for your line. A great way to show off your literary knowledge!

Formal Ferret Games

Only got a few minutes between book events? Wordsy is a quick and elegant word game that you can play on your own, though it will also accommodate up to 6 players, and it takes around 20 minutes to play.

Eight consonant cards are laid out in a grid. The players compete to come up with a word that contains some of those letters. (You’re allowed to use other letters too, though you only score the ones in the grid.)

If you’re playing on your own, the aim is to get the highest score you can. With multiple players, the first player to write down a word flips a timer giving everyone else 30 seconds to decide on their own words. Words are scored according to the position of the letters in the grid plus various bonuses. At the end of seven rounds, you add up your five best-scoring words and see who wins.

You can even play it on twitter @wordsybot

Thanks to my friend and game designer, Rob Harper, for suggesting this one!

That's it from me. I'm off to prepare for my next set of author events. I hope all your school visits go well this month.


Penny Dolan said...

These look like fun! Thanks, Claire

Anne Booth said...

This is brilliant! Thank you so much. I am going to get them for my creative writing class.

Abs said...

Ooh I have once upon a time. Not played that in a while.