Tuesday, May 31, 2016

MK Q&A: What is it Really Like to Play a Game Like D&D?


Today we are doing our first MK Q&A! I have been meaning to do this one for a while as many people over the years, and quite a few recently, have asked me:

"What is it really like to play a game like D&D?"

Let's start by getting the obvious myths out of the way. The game has drawn people of high intelligence and creativity to it for as long as it has existed. We all know that people who are above average in the brain department have a reputation for being... well let's just say not as popular as the kids playing sports.

The "Freaks and Geeks"

This leads to the early misconception that all D&D style players are either Nerds in Junior High/High school or Geeks who are 30+, single, overweight and live in their mothers basement sucking down Hot-pockets and Mountain Dew. The satisfying part of this unfortunately common belief is that those bright minded adolescent people are honing their brain to function on a higher level and will almost always be more successful in life than the "Jocks" who bully them.

The Truth

Admittedly, when I was younger I did play with a group or two that meets the stereotype of hormone driven acne covered Dorks. But the majority of the groups I have played with, are actually made up of highly successful, average adults. Here is a picture of a few famous folks who either played growing up, or still play D&D today. From Tech-Heads and Game Designers to Marine Biologists and Business Owners, I have only found a handful of RPG Tabletop Gamers who are not at least above average in their chosen career. I won't go into why I believe D&D or similar games played a huge roll in their success as I have already written a blog on the benefits of Tabletop RPG Gaming.While that blog was focusing on children, the added skill sets are ageless and always available to learn.
The only reason I bring this up is to help you to remove what you think you know about the people sitting around the table. The question is what it is like to play the GAME, so please remove your ideas on the people who play.

The Basics

When you get together with a group of close-knit friends on a regular basis, over time you truly get to know the people you hangout with. Playing with the same people regularly allows the seeds of friendship to grow and the roots of companionship take hold. You actually get close to the group. This is no different than the "hangin' with my Peeps" kind of stuff that you are familiar with.

 The only difference is the activities you decide to participate in. If you are already playing Tabletop Board/Card Games with your selected group, than you are only one step away from knowing what it is like to roll the dice. If you normally just watch a movie or play a video game, you can enhance your social experience by actually looking at and interacting with your friends.

The rules can be a bit intense depending on the system you choose to play. There are rules-light Tabletop RPGs out there if you don't want to do too much math or reading ...however, it is good for the brain! ;)

You have your group of friends. You have a game to play. This much you understand. Now let's talk about the rest. If you have ever wondered what it would be like to swing a sword in defense of those unable to protect themselves, or make shots from your bow so precise that your arrow could swat other arrows out of the air, or even call upon the forces of nature to conjure up a ball of flame and throw it at your enemies; the Fantasy realm is your playground. If you have always watched Star Trek or Star Wars and wanted to grab your Phaser or Blaster Rifle and face off against a Klingon or maybe a Sith; the Sci-Fi realm awaits. Have you ever wanted to have a super power? Be a mutant in the Marvel Universe? Be the next Batman? There are modern day equivalents written with you in mind.

The system itself is not of consequence. The idea of stepping out of reality, taking part in something bigger than yourself, these are the very concepts of an RPG. You and your group of close friends get to remove the stress of the daily grind. Leave all of your worries about what you need to do at work tomorrow behind you. Forget that you have five finals to study for. You get to actually stop thinking about anything that exists in the real word and take a moment to create something all of your own. You get to become something that never would have existed without you, you are being a part of the creative process. I think of it as a very important thing for a consistent and sane me.

"Have you tried turning it off and on again?"

Sometimes you just need a mental reboot. Take a moment to let your brain stop hammering away at the current issue an give it a distraction. Most of the time when I return to the problem I was trying to solve it is much less daunting. This is a side effect of allowing yourself the freedom of creative thinking. You are not you. You are not confined to the same situations and solutions that you have had set in front of you every day.
You are what ever it is you want to be. You can do whatever it is you want to do. Sure, there are rules. These rules are only guidelines. This is your story. You and your friends get to tell it however you want. Seriously. How often do you get to do that?

Getting to the point

To attempt an explanation of the freedom of mind involved in playing an RPG is to try to explain why Pablo Picasso painted the way he did. It is trying to tell you how Jimmy Hendrix wrote his music. It is giving detailed reasons behind the acting choices made by Johnny Depp as he plays his roles.
This is not an idea I can easily download and transfer into your brain like a data file that makes a connection to the server giving full access to any needed information.
What I am attempting to explain is the true freedom that comes with dropping everything that binds you to this reality and allowing yourself to roam in the dream worlds.
So you (the editorial you) have asked what it is really like to play a game like D&D? I am not sure if I will ever have an answer that will satisfy the part of your brain that needs everything quantified.

What I can say is this: there is no other experience in the world short of being an artist that will come close to the experience of cognitive independence. I have said in the past that everyone should try playing an RPG at least once in their life. I lay that down as a truth right next to everyone should try to play an instrument at least once. Everyone should try their hand at drawing or painting at least once. Everyone should take to the stage at least once. If you have been searching your entire life for the proper creative outlet, maybe it has been sitting right in front of you this whole time.
Is it possible that the stigma of being a Dork has kept you from one of the most satisfying hobbies you might ever have known?

If you ask me ...yes.

The Wrap Up

As I have pointed out earlier there are many famous people who have openly endorsed the game. Many who have sung their praises of the Dork Side. Are you going to call Vin Diesel a pencil-neck geek because he loves to roll the dice? I seriously doubt that.
...at least not to his face.

So do yourself a favor. Let go. It might not be D&D for you. It might be music. It could be dance. Whatever it is, I encourage you to listen to the words of Simon Pegg. Liberate yourself. You never know just how free you can be until you cut those ties. Allow yourself to "Geek Out" regardless of the outlet. Stop worrying what the rest of the world will think about you. Start living your life, for you.

I for one have claimed my place in the social arena. I don't care if you think you are above me. I sure hope you don't see yourself as below me. I am just like you. I am human. The only difference?

I am proud to be a Dork.
Until next time ...Game On!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Guest Blogger: Welcome to Our Tabletop LS!


It is my honor to introduce our first guest blogger! 
As many of you know I put out the call recently for interest in joining the MK Tabletop Talk team. One of the many things we are trying to do is appeal to all of our readers, regardless of gender, age or experience. It takes more than one point of view to interest all of these folks. You know a bit about me and my vast experience within the Tabletop realm. So when I say something "isn't complicated" it comes from someone who has played games that take longer to learn than to play.

Our newest Tabletop Talk blogger is LS. I have known her for as long as she was born (yes, literally). I also know that she has a very different angle on Gaming. While I may (or may not) be hitting the "Male experienced Tabletop Gaming" niche, She provides the "Female Not much experience" side of things. It seems to me that that is the polar opposite of the coin and therefore greatest option to begin expanding the depth of our blogging.          
...it also helps that she is my sister. lol
Now she may make some claims about the particular "play stylings" of certain other bloggers here. Knowing that she not only will read this, but continue to write more blogs, some most likely containing hard evidence, all I will say on this matter is that I can neither confirm nor deny the allegations against me at this current juncture.
Let's Just call it ...sibling rivalry. After all...
MK Tabletop Welcomes LS


 I’d like you to think back a few months, back to the beginning of this blog.  In fact, think right back to the very first post (Welcome to our Tabletop).  You heard the story of an idealistic time, a boy learning to love gaming.  He spoke of marathon games of Risk and late nights playing Dungeons and Dragons.  It was beautiful, and peaceful, just this side of utopia.

Now, I’m not here to call him a liar, but as child number eight, and girl number 2, I can tell you there was another side to the story.

As with all younger siblings, I desperately wanted to play with my older siblings.  Since most of my siblings were boys, it meant forgoing the usual playtime activities for girls.  Or at least as that was defined in the early 90’s. It never mattered what they were playing.  G.I. Joe and Matchbox cars inside, and baseball or ‘three flies, you’re up’ when we went outside.  I was right there for it all.

Except the board games.
I tried.  It never lasted long and I was always the first one out.
There was more than one reason.  Sometimes I just didn’t understand the game properly.  We might as well be honest, you can’t do well at poker if you never remember if the ace is high or low.  More often my loss was an intentional act orchestrated by my brothers.  Yeah guys.  We’re going there, don’t bother denying it.

One of the key factors in many tabletop games from Risk to Monopoly is the alliance.  Before the game has even started lines would be drawn.  You might not be on an official team, but you would always know who had your back.  It would change from game to game or even move to move, incorporating family politics.  Sure yesterday we were allies, but then you ate the last cookie.  Somehow it always seemed to be against me.  Eventually, I stopped trying.  When they started playing, I’d go read my book somewhere else and grumble that that were being too loud.

Fast forward, and now I’m an adult.  I’ve been married for while and have a couple of daughters.   We are lucky enough to live overseas and travel.  I had moved on, but I made made one mistake.  I married a gamer.  I tried to escape, but it still followed me.  So here I am now.  Still trying to find tabletop games I could finally enjoy.

Surprisingly, sometimes it works

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

MK Tabletop Talk Game Review: Fluxx


Welcome to another MK Tabletop Talk Game Review! I am happy to announce that MKTabletop.com has added six different versions of the Fluxx Card Game to their inventory! This game has been a regular on our Tabletop for years in my family.

Have you ever wanted to play a card game that was truly like no other? A game so unusual that, not only does it change every time you open the box to play, but actually goes beyond that and changes with almost every card that is played? If this sounds even remotely intriguing, Fluxx truly is the game for you. I know that description may make it sound complicated,but the concept for this game is a simple one. To begin, game play consists of two rules. On your turn you will draw one card and play one card. Aside from that, if you can read and follow directions, you can play this game!
There are four initial card types (the cards shown here are from the Pirate Fluxx version).
This card will add or replace a new rule to the game. In the card shown the rule is changed from the basic rule of "Draw One" to "Draw Three" changing the rule until another card replaces it. So now you draw three and play one on your turn. Other New Rule Cards can limit Keeper Cards, Double up on Goal Cards, add random effects like drawing more cards if you start without a hand and too many other possibilities to name here.
A Keeper Card is placed in front of you. As it states right on the card. It currently does nothing more than look pretty on the table. It sounds pointless, but without Keeper Cards you can not win the game! In some game variants Keeper Cards can have rules of their own that must be followed if you want to keep the card in front of you!
 A Goal card will have a set of winning conditions written upon it (Goal Cards pictured are from the Monty Python Fluxx set). This normally consists of a combination of Keeper Cards, but can sometimes also require you to not have certain cards on the table in front of you. The Goal Card in play can be replaced by any other Goal Card by any player during their turn.
Action Cards are the cause of most of the Shenanigans in the game. Basically just read the card and do as it says! These cards can change New Rules, remove Goals, steal Keepers or even give you another turn! I have played Action Cards before that through the sequence of events that followed gave the win to another player who had previously had no chance. These cards are almost always game changing.
How to Win:
As mentioned in the Goal Card description, the only way to win the game is to meet the conditions on the Goal Card in play (this example is from the Cthulhu Fluxx version). The pictured Goal Card is "The Rats in the Walls". It states that if you have "The Cat" Keeper Card and "The Tomb" Keeper Card on the table in front of you, you win! Any time a player meets the winning conditions, even if it is because of  a card another player placed, they automatically win! There is no "Before you win, I replace the Goal" trick. The very moment a Goal Card, or any other card is added, or removed creating winning conditions for any player, the game ends. So you do need to pay attention to what is on the table if you do not want to hand the win to someone else.
Creeper Cards do not exist in every version of Fluxx (these Creeper Cards are from the Zombie Fluxx set). Creeper Cards are placed on the table in front of you the very moment they are drawn. You can not choose to place it in front of anyone else unless the card specifically states as much. Most Creeper Cards state right on the card that you can not win the game if this card is in front of you. If you reach the winning conditions, but have a Creeper Card in play, you still do not win. You must first remove that Creeper from in front of you and hope that no one changes the Goal Card before you do! Again, there are exceptions, but they will say so right on the card. In some incarnations like the Zombie Fluxx version, there are Goal Cards that do actually require you to have Creeper Cards to win!
The Basics:
When the game begins, you have three cards in hand, you draw one from the deck and play one from your hand. Read the cards before you play them! I have handed the game to other players before because I either didn't read the card, or forgot to look at what was on the table. The rules literally change with almost every card that is played throughout the game. The winning conditions, number of cards drawn, number of cards played, even the number of Keeper Cards you can have in play can be altered by New Rule Cards. The game is fast paced, but easy to learn and an absolute blast to play!
The Review:
I personally believe that the simplistic game play and the constant game changing tactics when merged with the numerous versions of the game that exist give this game longevity not matched by many others currently on the market. If you have a favorite theme such as Pirates, Zombies, Cthulhu, Batman or even Firefly, they have a version of this game with your name on it (no, it does not actually have your name printed on the box ...not that I know of)!
The game box is not much bigger than that of a standard deck of cards. That makes this game quite portable! Drop it in your pocket, your purse or your backpack and never be left with nothing to do during down time again.

Without reviewing and scoring each version of the game separately, I will give the Fluxx Card Game line a solid Four stars. I do highly recommend this game for people of all ages and all walks of life. It is easy to get drawn into the action and time begins to fly as you watch the ever changing rules twist and turn the game into completely different situations with each card played.
Until next time ...Game On!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Why You Should Encourage Your Child to Play RPGs


This week we are Tackling Tough Topics on MK Tabletop Talk. As promised in last weeks review of No Thank You Evil!, the RPG specifically designed for children, we will be taking our side on "Why You Should Encourage Your Child to Play RPGs".

I have always been an advocate of the RPG, or Role Playing Game style. I do truly believe that every person should try it. At least once. Adults and children alike can learn and grow with every session spent around the table. You learn a lot about yourself and the way you think. You learn a lot about the people you play with. You become closer friends.
That being said, I know a lot of people are instantly skeptical, or flat out say things such as "No thanks, I'm not a (insert preferred term)".
Funny thing about that...
While RPGs are among the most widely criticized game styles for being "Dorky" or "Nerdy" and considered to be a game for the "loners", it requires a group to play.
Social Activity
A lot of kids these days are sitting in their room, half a world away from their closest gaming "friend" as they spend countless hours staring at their screen playing a game. Hey, maybe your kid is slightly more social than that. Maybe he has a sibling or a friend that comes over to play ...in the same room! (I know who does that, right?) The location of the individuals involved is not the true question. The point of the entire thing is to be socially interacting with other human beings. Most Video Gamers have more social interaction with their view screen of choice than they do with the person who could be sitting right next to them. Look at the blank stare on the faces of people playing video games. Slack-jaw? Check. Vacant, yet intense stare? Check. Interaction with your fellow players?
If you actually want your kids to become successful at social engagement, you need to guide them on the appropriate etiquette. They need to know that it is not OK to throw game pieces down and cuss or throw accusations around if they lose. It is unacceptable to scream "SCHOOLED YOU!" and do a victory dance including "na-na, na-na, na-na" if they win. Calling someone a "noob" and insulting their abilities as a player is common in virtual gaming. If people acted this way in the real life (yes I am aware that some people are just so awful that they do this in real life, just try to ignore them, like I do) their popularity would plummet and they would find themselves without anyone to play with. Sure in a world where you don't have to look your "friend" in the face you can be as big a jerk as you please and not have to worry about seeing the hurt look in their eyes, or deal with the anger and possibility of getting the beating you deserve. It is... disconnected. The personal aspect of the entire game has been removed.
Sitting at a table, actually looking at the people you are playing with allows social abilities to flourish. When you have the opportunity to see and process body language and subconscious reactions from people, you get a better idea of how to act and react around them. So, etiquette is learned from your gentle prompts as a parent combined with their experience. This is building verbal skills! If you want your child to not always say the wrong thing thus handicapping their success, they will need these skills.
While most people would not guess it, I am quite shy and introverted. One of the many ways I combat my shyness and prepare myself for the needed interactions with strangers is by playing RPGs. Between joining others in person and using the "mask" or "shield" of my character as my defense against just being kinda awkward in general, I am able to muster strength. I have used speeches that I needed to make (slightly modified for game) to test them out. Get comfortable with saying it out loud. The practice of verbal skills and social interaction is just one of the many benefits of encouraging your child to play RPGs.
Cooperative Goal Achievement
The most common term for this is being a "Team Player". If you want your children to get a jump on the world by learning to work well with others in order to achieve a common goal, than look no further! RPGs take everyone involved and places them in a group facing the same situation. The goal? To figure out the problem, create an answer and combine efforts to reach that solution.
That is also a very basic description of almost every supervisor or management job on the market. Instilling these crucial skills early can be a huge advantage in school, within the workforce, or even in entrepreneurship. The basics are the same.
Every person in the group must play their role. In sports there are positions. At work you are paid to fulfill a specific skill set. In a school project, or a research lab you are expected to produce your portion of the research and apply it to the rest of the project in an efficient and timely fashion. In every example you are "playing your role". You understand the importance of your work as part of the overall success of the group.Without your efforts, the group will suffer. Perhaps even fail. Being a "Team Player" is essential to progress on a grand scale.
Problem Solving
Guide your Child to learn not just to see the issue at hand, but to look for the cause of it. Train their brain to see problems in layers. Add the process of forethought. It's that "I see that X is the problem, and Y will solve it, but we need to be ready to deal with Z" kind of thinking. The brain of your child will be honed to involve broad thinking knowing that there is always a solution. There is always an answer. You just have to know where to look. As we all know this may not be true in reality, but by training the thinking process to include the possibility of an answer in every situation, by default we look for a way to rebound and grow from any obstacle we overcome. Even those that are deemed a complete failure.
Critical Thinking
This concept is constantly put to practice in every RPG I have ever played. As before mentioned, you as a group are presented with a situation. You must critically assess all aspects possible and determine the best coarse of action then execute said plan all within a set limit of time.
This is not just the exact simulated environment of an RPG, but also the day to day life environment most people live in. Just like any other muscle, your brain can be conditioned to preform better. By running these "mental simulations" you are stretching your "mental tendons" and acting as their personal trainer to increase activity and performance quality in the desired area.
Sometimes the biggest breakthrough comes when you look at things from a different point of view. If you are too busy arguing over how many boards you see in front of you, you will never progress beyond your own perspective. Critical thinking. Thinking outside the box. Thinking on your toes. There are plenty of terms for it. What it really comes down to?
Another great way to inspire your child into greatness is to not only allow, but encourage them to let their mind wander sometimes. Let them think about how many fish there are in the ocean. Let them tell you about their "research" on fairies and the life they live. Stretching the imagination is at the root of all of our worlds greatest discoveries.
Yes, they are sitting around a Tabletop rolling some dice and talking about numbers and rule text. But in the mind? Those pages of charts and those oddly shaped dice? They are allowing your child to strap on their breastplate, sharpen their sword and become more than just the pages they read. They become the story they tell. Where you might see books, they see worlds of wonder and magical beasts. Where you see oddly shaped dice, they see bows, arrows and spells blasting from their fingertips.
When intertwining the creative mind with critical thinking, problem solving, social interaction and attempting cooperative goal achievement, all in the form of a game that your child enjoys playing you can create a recipe for success in the real world from an early age.
Just another amazing outcome of involving your kids in the RPG universe!
You know. Numbers and stuff. I haven't even mentioned that (depending on the system) there is pretty extensive amounts of math. We aren't talking calculus or anything, but keeping track of all the stats, bonuses, penalties and such? Looking at angles and line of sight? Doing the basic math to see if it is "worth making the attempt"? That sounds an awful lot like "making an informed decision on the financial impact compared to the benefits of the outcome" to me. Again by practicing even the simplest of math equations regularly we stimulate that portion of the brain.

The Wrap Up
I could go on and on (I am sure some of you think I have already) about the underlying benefits of playing RPGs. Besides the winning combination of Real World Skills that you can gain from the experience, regardless of what world you decide to run in, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, or a world of your own making, there is one very important part of playing the game that has nothing to do with developing your skills set. It has much more to do with feeding and maintaining your happiness. When was the last time you really allowed yourself to have pure, uninhibited fun? Drink a pint (or three) of courage at the bar and grab the Karaoke mic? Put on that old CD you loved in high school and dance along with your memories while nobody else was in the room? You were in a moment where you felt you could do it without worry of ridicule from anyone.
 The best part of sitting down with your chosen group is that you are all there together. There is no judgement of the voice you chose for your character, no matter how bad the accent. Nobody is going to insult you for wearing that Indiana Jones hat that is just like the one your character wears because it helps you get into their persona. You are among friends. You are free to be just as wacky and creative as you like. All because they too are here to let go. They too want to open their minds and let go of the real world. Everyone surrounding the Tabletop is there for one reason. They want to play.

Why wait until you have to find your inner child? 
Why not start "leveling up" your child's imagination early?

Concepts of technology were not born of calculations. It was in the mind that boldly marched its imagination toward the unknown that it spawned. True soul-touching music is not born of instruments.  It is the free flow of creativity that gives life and lends emotion to the sequence of notes. The worlds greatest leaders are not made by following the paths of others. They are made by having the ability to forge another trail and guide their people along it safely.

But, you know, just my two cents.
Until next time ...Game On! -MK

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

MK Game Review: No Thank You Evil!


Today we will be reviewing a game that is still in its infancy. Birthed through the Kickstarter crowd funding site, it arrived at my door just a short while ago. I have had plenty of time to comb over the material, rules and get a basic feel for the game. So without any further build-up...

I am really excited about this game. I am a father of two beautiful little girls. Here they are!
One of the hardest parts of being a Gamer-Parent is the whole "waiting for my kids to be old enough" thing. I know it will be at least a decade until they could approach something like Pathfinder or D&D. But not all games hold the same level of depth and complexity in their rule set.
Right now I am playing a Star Wars RPG: Edge of the Empire (check out the Actual Play Podcast here!).
The game itself is extremely fun to play. The group involved makes it extra awesome. It is much simpler than the previously mentioned RPGs. The rules system might seem complicated to some at first, but in comparison to most Tabletop RPG systems it is much more story driven and less rules heavy. It doesn't take long at all for the mechanics of the game to become comfortable and easy to play.
 However... it is still going to be a while before my girls are ready for anything like that. Sure I could break out Chutes and Ladders or Candy Land (and I will), but how do you get your child into a game style that goes beyond the two-dimensional visually stimulating games most common in the industry that targets children?

***I have to add a section here. I know there are plenty of people who instantly deliver the following questions; "Why would you want your child to be into stuff like that? Are you trying to get them into the Dork Club? Do you want them to get bullied?" - I will do another blog that focuses of the topic "Why you should Encourage your child to play RPGs" another time. So keep reading!"***

Lucky for us, Shanna Germain & Monte Cook have already crossed that river ...and built a bridge for us so we can join them. What is the game for your family to play on Family Game Night that helps stimulate your children beyond colors and basic competitive and/or luck-based win conditions?
No Thank You Evil!
This amazing Tabletop RPG is built with three separate levels of play. Each level adds another layer to the game. This concept not only makes the low end of the suggested age group (four years old) dip into an enticing range for Fathers like myself, but it also adds to the longevity of the game. Don't worry about your nine year old getting bored with a game designed for kids five years younger. Once your child (or even yourself) feel you are ready to "up the ante", just add the next level of play into the game and it becomes a whole new aspect of your character to enjoy. It adds depth and more possibilities for you and your family to explore. Your first play-through can either be well guided with some amazing pre-existing adventures written just for the game in the Land of Storia, or if you are feeling extra creative, you can use the system to write your very own stories to guide your child through. Is your child a My Little Pony lover? Let them play in the My Little Pony Universe. Is your kid an avid Avengers fan? Drop some Marvel into the mix. It really is that easy.
Character Creation
Forget the whole sifting through the sea of classes and races bit. Skip the assigning skills and feats, or picking skill trees. The lowest level of play in No Thank You Evil! asks one question to help you create your character. It's actually not even a question. It's more of an Ad-lib. "I'm a noun". Yup. That simple. Once you reach the highest tier? "I'm an adjective, noun that verbs." How is that for you? Anyone can do that much! The words that you chose to place in this sentence will determine your traits. Traits are how you do things. It's kinda like your ability scores, skills and feats rolled into four possibilities.

"Tough" = anything that requires you to use strength, fortitude or constitution. Like breaking down a door, shrugging off a poison or standing your ground against hurricane winds.
"Fast" = anything that requires you to use Agility, Dexterity or Reflexes. Think about using ranged weapons, balancing on a high-wire, or dodging the ball during recess.
"Smart" = anything requiring Intelligence, Wisdom or Charisma. Examples would be solving a puzzle or riddle, making up a story on the spot to get past the goblins, or even using telepathy or telekinesis.
"Awesome" = (my personal favorite) is ONLY used when you help out another player. It doesn't matter how you help. You are Awesome, just for helping.
Using these as your guide for success within the story you are welcome to do anything! If you can decide what stat you are applying to any task, you can try to do it. Simple? Yes! Awesome? Yes!

So it doesn't matter if you play hammer wielding robot, A Girl controlling a set of armor capable of feats of great strength, or a Pizza-Flinging Boy Wonder: what you do is truly up to you. Want to create a magic spell that produces Ice cream whenever you crave it? Roll a Smart check! Want to pick up that elephant and move him so he won't trample the pies at the county fair? Make a Tough check! Want to show off your stuff by winning the race against the four legged aliens? Roll that Fast check!

There is only one die, six sided (D6). The hardest task you will ever face will be scored at an 8. How do you roll an eight on a D6? By trying harder (removes one from the difficulty of the challenge) or hoping one of your friends will be Awesome (adds 1 to your roll results) and help out. So aside from the obviously simple character creation, the game play is so story driven that as long as you can imagine what is happening next, you can play forever! The replay value is quite high. As I mentioned earlier, if you have already played through the adventures that came with the game (in the Kickstarter version anyway) you only have to apply your children's favorite book, show or even stuffed animal into the story to give it new life. The only limit is your ability to use your imagination.
The Land of Storia has some really fun areas for your family to explore. Start at home and step through a magical dimension door.
Want to play something scary? Enter the doorway "Under the Bed" to see the Boo Lagoon or go to Ghoul School.
Is your family more of the Fairy-tale type? Head "Into the Closet" to climb the Beanstalk, or look over the top of Dragon-snot Falls. The world has been crafted with love, imagination and a fun twist of hilarity. While I read the book and handled the bits from the box I found myself admiring the entertaining and dynamic art that compliments the overall feel of the game. While I personally can not give an account of how my daughters (one is eight months and the other is almost three) enjoy the game, the reviews from children and adults alike all sing the same song.
The versatility of the system matched with the beauty of a child's innate strength of imagination makes this a game that every Gamer-Parent should have on the shelf. As person who has played countless games of just about every style on the market plus a few that are not yet available to purchase or play, I consider myself to be pretty well versed on games, and as an adult, with all of this knowledge, I found this game to create an atmosphere where children and parents alike can sit down to a whimsical journey of fun, laughter, and bonding. Sitting as a family and working together to solve the riddle, scale the mountain or even debate the finer points of land and property ownership with the dragon who keeps eating the towns livestock. All in all? A must have! Five Stars!!! I only wish my girls were old enough to understand and appreciate such an amazing creation. No Thank You Evil! is a work of pure genius. If Willy Wonka was in the game business, this would be his "Ever-lasting Gob-stopper".

Come with me, and you'll see a world of
Until next time ...Game On! -MK

*This game is not currently available at MKTabletop.com. We are in communication with the distributor of Monte Cook Games to bring their amazing products to our virtual guests.*