2017 Game 1: No Thank You, Evil!

My kids is totally obsessed with the Under The Bed setting, which is the safe-creepy zone. She ended up there last session, and insisted we go back this time. I’m using the Story Cards expansion, which is nice but I’m starting to see its limitations. So anyway, off to Ghoul School to help the students fend off an army of cursed skeletal warriors marching on the school from the Dead Center.

The thing I’m paying attention to now is the option to call “No Thank You, Evil!” at any time for content you don’t want. It is an X Card in every way. My daughter loves that option! I laughed at myself because she uses it in a way I rarely see adults do, like to avoid tension and conflict because she just doesn’t have much appetite for it. I see adults pull that and it feels like they’re maybe abusing the rule. But my five year old is pretty guileless. I take her at her word.

It’s good X Card practice! I had to rewind a scene three times before I hit an acceptable tone. Each time, internally, I was sure my solution would be okay. But I also emotionally/creatively submitted to the primacy of the rule, that she needs to be able to trust it every. Single. Time.

It’s paying dividends in trust building, and she’s taking more “risks” in the game knowing that if things get intense, she can bail out instantly.

Next project: introducing ongoing character relationships. Woodlyn the Bee Queen got mentioned in reference to a mysterious “Club of Queens” where the monarchs meet for lunch and secrets. They’re becoming the characters’ sponsor of sorts

0 thoughts on “2017 Game 1: No Thank You, Evil!”

  1. Fantastic! We have enjoyed the game at our house, but you have my full attention as you look at the game through the lens of expert GMship of other systems.

  2. Very interesting to me on the trust building element. I play with my five year old and it can easily go to tense for him if I simply let go my imagination. We then use a mechanic borrowed from Cheat your own Adventure. He can simply say, hey no, I cheat my way back in time and something else then happens. I will try the No thank you phrase with him next time we play, I think.

  3. Paul, your Indie Game Reading Club is the only collection I have set to come up on my notifications when you post something to it.

    I enjoy the eff out of your posts, this one very much included, and thought you should know.

  4. I gave the game to my 4,6 year old for Xmas, and at first he didn’t even look at it, just playing with his LEGOs. But after a few days he pulled it out and wanted to play. We played “Lost in Dragonsnot Falls” and he loved it! Major dad moment there. (by the way Adam Schwaninger​, that is a cool drawing of Dragonsnot Falls!)

    He doesn’t read yet and only speaks a few words of English (we’re Austrian). But he loves the pictures and the tokens and throwing the dice around, and he’s already inventing quests and magic items and “levels” we need to explore together.

    He loves the map, and when he chooses a place there to explore, I go read the story prompts there and present him with a problem. This way we’ve been to the Boom Labs and the Ghoul School.

    About the system: My son has zero interest in mechanics, and he always tries to re-roll until he gets the right number. I haven’t even tried to play with the rules as written yet because I don’t feel the classic “roll the number, and if you fail, nothing happens” makes failure interesting.

    And if you have one interesting option and one boring one, why would a kid accept failure? So we’re using the tokens to pay for success, and since the characters have different strengths, different characters go for different challenges.

    I’m interested how you and your kids engage with the mechanics and I’d really love to discuss our kids’ adventures more with all of you as they discover roleplaying.

    Thank you for a great entry game, Shanna Germain​!

  5. I should note my drifts to the RAW:

    * I let them spend Awesome after rolls.

    * Fails are complications or token loss (“damage”), kind of Mouse Guard style. (I’m sorely tempted to add a condition track but maybe not for a couple years.)

    * Spending money gets a free Fun token, and I pour one out for my poor lefty socialist principles every time. But if I don’t, the kid refuses to spend money otherwise. Can’t see the value in the gear (mostly because her reading is a WIP).

  6. We actually didn’t have any failures in our first game. Elsa has the dice luck of the very young and Addie badgered her sister for Awesome-help and spent tokens until she didn’t have to roll. I see your point about failing rolls, though.

    My girls don’t particularly want bad guys, so I’m going to have to skew more towards environmental peril and races against time and such rather than direct conflict.

  7. Super interesting discussion, thanks Paul Beakley and Adam Schwaninger! I do the same, I let him roll and then see if someone wants to spend tokens (Fate style, which is a lot more appropriate IMO).

    Since we play 1:1 mostly, he wants me to have a PC too, so that’s the one I can show failure with. Failure for my character is a complication and an opportunity for my son’s character to be awesome and save or help him. I do get a lot of use of the companions, too – and that’s great!

    I’ve noticed that when my son talks about the TV series he watches it’s always about defeating the bad guys in battle. But when we play NTYE he goes for the creative, sneaky or crafty solutions, and selects the right character for the job – which I think is great, too.

    More to come as we delve deeper into the map of Storia.

  8. Johannes Oppermann we started with spend-after, too. I moved back to gamble-before because it juices the token economy more. They weren’t engaging with the Fun recharge at all, which feels important to me for pacing and de-escalation.

    One important side effect of this is that my wife immediately twigged to the value of those Fun tokens: instead of spamming her one good stat, now she spreads around her efforts to spend the widest variety of stat tokens and get more oomph out of her Fun.

    That’s all a little advanced for the kid but it lets my wife more easily suggest a variety of approaches to her.

    This is also why I added Awesome-after.

Leave a Reply