Top 5 Storytelling Games

Board Games Where You Must Make Up a Story

Telling a good story is truly an art, and these games -- my picks for the very best storytelling games -- challenge you to become a storyteller. Many of these are fantastic games to play with children.
  • 01 of 05
    Once Upon a Time: They Storytelling Card Game
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    Once Upon a Time is storytelling in a fairy tale setting, with princesses and dragons and danger around every corner. Each player receives a set of cards with some story ingredients on them; they try to guide the plot in such a way as to use all of their cards first and finally play their Happy Ever After card. The 1983 game Dark Cults had a similar mechanic, but the theme was quite different. The original Once Upon a Time: The Storytelling Card Game was issued in 1993. The designers are Richard...MORE Lambert, Andrew Rilstone, and James Wallis. The second edition was published in 1995 with an expanded card set. The third edition in 2012 made several changes, with a new card set, simplified rules, and new artwork from Omar Rayyan. An expansion of 55 cards: Fairy Tales: Once Upon a Time was published in October 2016.

  • 02 of 05
    Fib or Not?

    Players take turns telling stories in various categories (e.g. "an embarrassing moment"). If you can convince other players that your true stories are false and vice versa, you're well on the way to winning. It comes with a game board, three decks of over 400 story starter subjects, voting pieces, a timer, and cards to pass your turn because you are tongue-tied. It's for two or more players ages 10 and over.

  • 03 of 05
    Malarky: An Imponderables Bluffing Game
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    Every player listens to a question and receives a wallet with either the correct answer or a bluff card, with the person getting the correct answer chosen at random. The other players think of possible answers and then everyone reads his or her answer aloud. Players vote for the answer they think is correct, winning points for getting it right - and also for tricking other players. The designer is David Feldman. It encourages coming up with believable answers as well as being able to bluff.

  • 04 of 05

    Teams compete to tell a story, working in the "fabrication" line (e.g. "It missed my head by this much." and "My foot got caught on the ropes."). The other team then must correctly guess which line was the fabrication line in order to earn points. The game comes with 100 Fabrication Line cards, 100 Story Starter help cards, a 60-second timer, and Pass the Buck cards to skip your turn. It's more creative than Malarky as you have to come up with a story where the line...MORE will work. If it sticks out like a sore thumb, your opponents will guess it and you won't be able to stump them.

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  • 05 of 05

    "Nanofiction" is a word used by game designer Andrew Looney to describe very short stories -- 55 words or less. All stories have at least four elements: character(s), setting, conflict, and resolution. Each player collects four cards and then crafts a story. Generally, the best story wins. It may be interesting to pit GenXers against Millenials to see if those raised with Twitter do better at nanofiction.