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For practically the whole time I have been dating my lady she has mentioned how much she wanted "Once Upon a Time". Everytime we went to a boardgame shop she would scour the shelves trying to find it, nine times out of ten she would have no luck. The other one time out of ten she would find the dark tales expansion.

Well recently on a trip to Reading I found the game and picked it up. The next day we sat down to play. Now I didn't expect it to work too well on our first few games and to be honest it didn't. I grasped it by the second game but she really struggled and as a result she is not keen on the game. Still, I intend to keep getting her to try it so she understands and enjoys it more.

Anyway, on Saturday of last week after a game of rugby a few of us headed back to my brothers house. I suggested a game of Once Upon a Time and explained what it was. One of my friends was extremely sceptical. Why would 4 men who'd just come back from watching 30 men beating 6 shades of something out of each other want to play a game to do with fairytales? Well I said, just play it and see how you get on. Whilst it was slow to pick up whilst people learnt the rules (it didn't help that I explained them wrong, I blame the alcohol) after a while we were telling sweeping stories of love and woe. Who could forget the tale of the seahorses with the pet kraken that they sent to rescue their daughter from a brothel, only to find she had been rescued by a wolf with gills that could also fly.

Or the slightly disturbing tale of Anne Franks lost face, and what she had to do to get it back (including a brief trip to a suburb of hell to kill the devil).

The only thing we couldn't get along with was the happy ever after cards. We all found it very hard to guide the story to our conclusion and as a result in the end we decided to just put one on the table and everybody had to try to use that one. It made it more fun and meant we could concentrate on creating the most ludicrous stories we could come up with.

Quite frankly I'd be happy to never have the happy ever after cards and just play for the fun of the crazy story.

All in all if you can find a group of creatively minded people you cannot go wrong with this game, its really good fun and it turned 4 butch men into fairy tale weaving bards. Seriously worth a go!
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Daniel Hurst
United States
Murfreesboro
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It's a good idea to have everyone use the same ending card. I usually give people two or three at the beginning of the game and let them choose the one they want. Your idea might be better.

Having the wrong ending can doom your whole game.
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"L'état, c'est moi."
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Ooo, the shared ending card is brilliant - I'll have to try that out!
 
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Roberto Arbelaez
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Boca Raton
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Ditto, always had problems with the ending cards... Seems your recommendation is worth at least a couple of tries.
 
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ɹǝpun uʍop ʞǝǝƃ
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How about a set of three shared ending cards on the table?

This is one game I'd love to see a video review or session of. It would be a great way to explain it to newbies.
 
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J. Green
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Excellent idea about working toward a specific ending. As a professional writer I often knew where I wanted to go and would write the middle stuff just to get there. Writing toward the end will shape everything in your story and bring out elements you would never have thought of if you didn't know your destination.
 
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lotus dweller
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Melbourne
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Story-telling is great and I'll try your variation of a single known ending next time I play this. It sounds like a definite improvement to this game.
 
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Anthony C
United States
Ferndale
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What if there were 3 endings on the table and everyone got to bet on which ending they thought would end it (secretly of course).

People would definitely try to game the system by having the story end by whatever means on the ending they chose but I can think of at least 2 ways to avoid it. 1) if you end the story on the ending you bet on, you lose 2 points. You have to try and guide it there bit you can't end it. 2) the ending cards don't get revealed until everyone has gone once or twice (or however many turns you want) around the table, then the endings are revealed and everyone again secretly bets on which one will be the actual ending. The trick here is that if you guessed correctly, you get points equal to half the number of players (rounded up) but they need to be split evenly. So if you're the only one who picked a certain ending that seemed weird and out of place and you somehow got the story to end there, you get bonus points but if you picked the obvious ending, you don't get much, if anything at all if everybody else followed suit. And just so it's not too easy for the first player who gets to see the ending cards and then gets play, everybody needs to play at least one more card before an ending takes place.
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