Note: This preview uses pre-release components and rules. What you see here may be different from the final, published game. This post was a paid preview, you can find out more information here.
Building sagas, following quest chains, telling tales of your adventures – Story Builders is a game system for storytellers. Using interconnecting tokens, players will weave the tapestry of their journey, whether it’s overcoming challenges or creating an epic.
Story Builders is a system that can be used with different games. Both of the games included in our preview copy had a player count of 2-4. The game for ages 3+ had a play time of about 20 mins, the one intended for teens and adults was about 45 minutes.
Story Builders is a game system featuring a number of interlocking pieces with pictures on them. The flagship games for the system are Questing Saga (teens and adults) and Hero’s Journey (for children).
In Hero’s Journey, each player starts with five story builders, linked into an X shape. The inside story builder is the hero’s permanent ability, the outside are one-time use abilities. The game’s story master takes the deck of challenge cards and sets the tale, whatever they deem the purpose of the journey to be. Play consists of a series of challenges. Each challenge starts with the story master revealing a challenge card and drawing a story builder from the bag. The story master uses the challenge and story builder to create a challenge, which the players will try to overcome. After the heroes finish their story, the story master may bestow awards. If the heroes pass all the challenges, they win!
In Questing Saga, each player will be building a story of their adventure, completing challenges along the way. Play starts with 10 quest cards and 10 story builders being laid out on the table. Players will take turns taking quest cards and story builders in order to create lines of tokens that match the card text and complete the quests. Actions may also be taken to move story builders already linked or to claim additional quests. At the end of the game, each player’s saga is scored based on the number of quests they’ve completed. The player with the most points has had the most epic adventure and wins!
It’s an interesting system, particularly for new storytellers. The physicality of linking bits reinforces creating ‘links’ in your story. For those that struggle with coming up with something original, the pictures will provide a great jumping off place.
Creating a simplified ‘character sheet’ in Hero’s Journey gives an introduction to role role-playing games. Powers and abilities can be related to the pictures, but it’s up to the group of adventurers to work through their challenges. It’s a great lesson in co-operative play as well – working together not just to come up with a story but a solution together. Children will enjoy the colors and the satisfying way the pieces link together, just like a building toy.
Storytelling in Questing Saga can be more complex and creative with the right group. Everyone will need to keep other players in check by making sure their links actually fit as a cohesive story. Otherwise, it may become somewhat one note. That being said, it’s another opportunity to encourage storytelling – Questing Saga would make an interesting party type game for folks that can’t resist a good adventure yarn.
Additionally, as a gameplay system, there’s an opportunity to use this concept in all sorts of ways. You could modify rules for players who need it, use it as an improv exercise prior to a LARP, or even create your own game around the pieces. The only the limit is your imagination.
Story Builders a simple, interesting system that families and folks looking for new storytelling options will find appealing. Interlocking pieces and pictures will be engaging for young ones, and encourage some wild yarns to be spun. With two games set and more anticipated, Story Builders should be providing an imaginative spark for years to come.
Story Builders launches on Kickstarter next week. So check back then and we’ll update the preview with a link to the campaign page. In the meantime, you can find out more information on their website.
As always, we don’t post ratings for preview copies as the components and rules may change from the final game. Check back with us after the game is produced for a full review. This post was a paid preview, you can find out more information here.