2- 4 players, Cooperative, Adventure Book
Designer: Jerry Hawthorne
Artwork: Kristen Pauline, Tregis
Publisher: Plaid Hat Games
A storybook adventure game where YOU are the stuffed animals and must foil the plots of nightmarish minions!
So the game is this VERY THICK wire bound story book. Within these pages lurk twists and turns, ominous settings and fun adventures. When open the left page has the “gameboard” and the right page has the story elements that you read as well as any special rules for that particular map. The game length really depends on how long you want to play. I would say 1 page should take 20-30 minutes for a beginner, probably faster for an experienced player. Of course just 1 page is just a small portion of the story. For our family we would usually do 3 pages which equaled about an hour and a half and then we would mark our spots and pick it up again another night. To win you just have to complete whatever mission you are tasked with on that particular page. Sometimes it’s battling minions and other times it’s exploring a new area. There are a ton of different things going on in this game and none of them are overly confusing.
The game’s components are really nice! There are numerous minis that represent the enemies you will face as well as minis for each character you can play as and they are very detailed. Also they look like a joy to paint as well if that is your thing. There are a few card stacks for items and status effects and the card stock feels nice. There are a variety of different colored dice for your rolling pleasure and these all come with a nice velvet draw string bag which is glorious. The standout here though is the storybook. This thing is chock full of stories and different boards to play on.
The box is your pretty typical box. The insert in it only serves to divide up the cards and pieces and you will want to bag up all the little components. The storybook sits atop the cardboard insert so nothing moves around and the lid closes flush so you can stand it on its side. The lid does have a nice spot uv finish so it looks really nice and it is sturdy.
One of the highlights of the game is the visual aspects. The artwork is superbly done and each page of the storybook has a drawn and colored page. My daughter was very excited each time we got to turn the page just so she could see what the next page held as far as artwork. The minis look awesome and go with each character very well. Not only that but each character looks and has a unique personality that is really brought out with the writing.
The rulebook isn’t terrible but I have seen better. I wish they would have explained a few parts with a little more detail such as the side board that lies next to the storybook. This thing was mentioned during the components section but it is never explained what its purpose is. It wasn’t hard to figure out that you put the enemy minion’s cards in the slots next to it but at the same time, a section detailing that would be nice. A few other details such as that you can use ANY colored dice to move or do a few other actions would make it a little clearer as well. That part can get a little confusing since each die has a specific role, well, cept for the blue……till it does during save rolls. Stuff like that can make the game more confusing than it should be. All that said however, once you get over that small hump the game is very simple. The base rules are detailed in the included rulebook and individual story rules are detailed on the particular story page in the storybook. So each time you play a new page it might take you a minute to register what changes.
Table Presence/Game Board
I talked about this earlier but the storybook game board is just fantastic. A very unique take on board gaming and I simply love it. Each page there is something new and exciting going on and the stories are VERY well written. Both my wife and I are having just as much fun reading through the stories as my daughter is listening to them. And the gameplay that is incorporated into the story is just icing on the cake. The book itself actually doesn’t take up too much space on the table and each player has a small player board they use to track their health and abilities. Other than that you have a small section for cards and tokens. You can easily play this game on a smaller table and be fine.
Table Talk/Fun Factor
Lots of table talk here! Going through the story you end up seeing things on each beautifully illustrated page that warrants discussion as well as choices that you work together to make when approaching minions to battle. There is a luck aspect involved as well but there are abilities to mitigate that luck to some extent. In one particular incident we were at the end of one page and I needed to draw out of the bag at least 1 purple die to complete a test……there was only 1 purple die left in the bag….Needless to say my first draw of 5 dice I did not draw the purple die . HOWEVER my wife’s character had an ability that would allow another player to put those dice back in the bag and redraw! SO after doing this I was able to draw the 1 purple die!! And then I had to roll at least a 2……which I did!!! So we went from pretty let down all the way to super pumped up in mere minutes. Not only that but that second draw I did, I made it super edge of your seat as I drew 1 die at a time and let it linger muehehehehe. That said though, even if I were to fail at that task the story would continue, it just would go in a different direction than if we passed the test.
Optimal Player Count
We have been playing with 3 and it has been working really great! For this particular game it does scale based on player count on how fast enemies will activate so I think it is easier to play with more players as it gives you more time to get over and attack the enemies before they can do anything. Plus with more players you have more options to attack and help each other out. Not only that but I really see this game as a great family game to play with your sons or daughters even though my wife and I are having a blast with it as well.
I really, really liked this one. It sets up super quick, doesn’t take up very much space on the table and is pretty easy to learn. Grasping a few of the different dice abilities may take some time but luckily the game comes with nice reference cards to keep close at hand. The artwork is amazing and the stories are glorious and engaging. The playtime is variable depending on how many pages you want to delve into with as little as 20 minutes and up to hours upon hours. On that point I really wish they would have incorporated a “save” system of some kind. We usually play about 3 pages and then quit which for us was about an hour and a half. If the game would have come with a cool bookmark and nifty little bags to store each players pieces that would have put the game over the top. Other than that this is a really unique game that I very highly recommend, especially if you have children around 7-ish years old.