As a dad of two boys I’m always on the lookout for activities for us to do together. Something we can all enjoy and equally get into. We built a Da Vinci catapult, a siege tower, did some exploring with microscopes, geocaching, etc. with varying degrees of interest in one of the two boys. Don’t get me wrong we all had fun, but it was more for one or the other depending on the activity. My older son, since the day he could, has loved to talk. He loves to tell stories about things he’s done, things he’d like to do, or things he’s watched. If he can make a story out of something, he will. My younger son has, since I can remember, loved to play board games. There are ones he likes more than others but I don’t think we’ve played a game he didn’t like.
I recently became aware of a card/board game by a company out of the UK named Cubicle7. The game is called “Hobbit Tales: From the Green Dragon Inn” and it looked very interesting. Cubicle7 also makes a RPG that takes place in the same world as this game called “The One Ring.” The cards in this game can be used with that RPG if desired, so it’s all very integrated. The basic premise of the game is that the players are hobbits sitting around a table at the Green Dragon Inn telling stories of their adventures. The game takes place in rounds (one for each player) and they tell the story with the aid of “Adventure Cards” (75 of those). Each adventure card has a story aid, something to inspire the story teller, a title and a Tolkien quote, along with some excellent artwork to really inspire you. However the other players have similar cards called “Hazard Cards” (40 of those) that they use to try to throw the story off. Things like a goblin patrol, or a group of brigands.
This is the real magic of the game, when the players interact with each other in the telling of their (or each other’s) story. The goal of course is to score the most points of course but the fun isn’t in winning or losing the game at large. We always count up the points and figure out who won, but that’s just sort of a “whatever” moment. We really enjoy the interaction and getting to tell a well flowing complete story and the opportunity to interject into other’s stories to tell a bit of the narrative ourselves.
Of course there are rules that govern when you can play a hazard card, and how you decide if the hazard card was effective, but the rules are so simple it really took no more than a few minutes to get a full mastery of the games rules. That’s a neat feat all of its own. Most board games require much more attention to the rules. “Don’t I get to…” “shouldn’t he…” type of questions that make you go back to the rule book and figure out how it works again. Not so with this. I haven’t opened the rules book since the first read through.
So this game fits both of my boys perfectly. I can’t imagine them liking a game more. It’s a board game and the way you play is by telling stories. It’s almost as if the game was created specifically for my family (I’m a LOTR nerd, I admit it). I’ve only had the game for 3 days now and already we’ve played it probably 10 times or more. No matter how many times we play it it’s always different (due to the number of cards there are almost unlimited possibilities). I imagine we’ll be playing again tonight after dinner.
Oh, and I didn’t really get into the artwork on the cards. It is fantastic. Some painted; some more like pen and ink drawings. All of which feels very much like what you’d expect in a Tolkien inspired game. I believe some of it is used in the illustrations in the One Ring manuals as well (the art direction of the game has the same feel even if the game is not the same type of game.
I’ve been very impressed by the selections I’ve seen from Cubicle7 so far. I’m going to have to look into more of their products rather than just the ones in my wheel house (again, Tolkien nerd here). But do yourself a favor and find this game and buy it.