Spreading the love of board games one meeple at a time
Once Upon A Time is a social card-based game that Justin got me for Christmas. He had heard from his cousin that it’s a fun game to play and because it’s compact, he thought it would be a nice gift for me that I could easily tuck in my suitcase as we traveled.
In Once Upon A Time, each player gets dealt 1 or 2 “Happy Ever After” cards, and a stack of “Storytelling” cards (the exact number varies based on how many players there are). Each player contributes to a group story based on the trigger words on their “Storytelling” cards. The “Storytelling” cards are Characters, Items, Places, Aspects and Events. The word on the card must be incorporated in a meaningful way into the story until all a player’s “Storytelling” cards are gone. Once a player has played her last “Storytelling” card, she may then use her “Happy Ever After” to finish the story. Again, there needs to be a sense of logic to the story and it’s ending. The story is controlled by a single player at a time, until another player is able to play an “Interrupt” card or one of their “Storytelling” cards matches something the current storytelling player said. It’s then up to the interrupting player to continue the story.
The winner is the player who uses all her cards and her “Happy Ever After” card first.
The game is supposed to be played according to some rules of logic, however, we found when we played the story was centered around a blind, flying, magic thimble who fell in love with a needle (obviously), which I think strayed from the official rules. We kind of made our own rules up as we went and it turned out to be a lot of silly fun. The game does allow for this flexibility if you’re with a group who is willing to determine rules as you go. If you prefer a more structured game, the rule booklet is 16 pages long with examples. We did play a more structured game, but found that the story wasn’t as entertaining.
One surprise to Once Upon A Time was how difficult it was. Even with the prompts on the card, it was really difficult to tell a logical story with the “Happy Ever After” card in mind. Sometimes when a player was on a roll, they’d get interrupted and the story would take a completely different turn. This was a good game to play with people I was close with, but I wouldn’t recommend it as an icebreaker game for a playing with a new group of friends.
Overall, Once Upon A Time was a fun and social game, but it’s really the kind of game everyone needs to be in the right mood to enjoy. Justin thinks that we should use it to tell our baby bedtimes stories to which I say, challenge accepted.