Rory’s Story Cubes Game Review

The Basics:

  • For ages 4 and up (publisher suggests 8+)
  • For 1 or more players
  • Variable game length

Geeks Skills:

  • Active Listening & Communication
  • Logical & Critical Decision Making
  • Imagination

Learning Curve:

  • Child – Easy
  • Adult – Easy

Theme & Narrative:

  • Whatever you create!

Endorsements:

  • Gamer Geek rejected!
  • Parent Geek approved!
  • Child Geek approved!

Overview

Roll the cubes and tell a tale! Each story will be random and there is never a wrong way to go about telling it! With each new shake, new possibilities will emerge allowing creativity and imagination to go wild! From the very young to the very old, Rory’s Story Cubes will engage and inspire everyone at your gaming table!

Rory’s Story Cubes is comprised of 9 six-sided cubes. On each face of the cube is a unique image (54 in total) that represents anything from an apple to a zapping lighting bolt. The cubes are heavy without being bothersome and easy for little hands and big hands to role. The images are surprisingly detailed, too, making it easy to distinguish what the image is attempting to represent. Although, what the image really represents is up to the individual to determine.

Game Set Up

Game set up is exceedingly simple. All that is needed is a central playing area in which all the cubes will be rolled. That’s it! Time to play!

Lots and Lots of Ways to Play

Rory’s Story Cubes does not have a single way of playing the game. In fact, the rules in the box state right up front that there are infinite ways to use the cubes to play any type of game you can think of. This includes solitary, cooperative, team, and competitive games. The cubes are meant to stimulate an individual’s creativity by providing visual cues. How those cues are used are up to the individual in accordance to whatever game they might be playing. If this sounds overwhelming, Gamewright offers three different games that you might consider playing before you invent games of your own.

Once Upon A Time…
The player takes all 9 of the cubes and rolls them. A single cube is selected and is the starting point of the story using the phrase, “Once upon a time..” A story is then created using the rest of the 8 cubes and told in such a way that each cube links to the next through the story’s narrative.

Title First, Story Second
The player comes up with a title for a story. For example, “The Best Day Ever” or “When Dogs Fly”. Then the player rolls the 9 cubes and uses the images to tell a story that relates back to the story’s title.

The Cooperative Story
Divide the cubes among all the players; it’s OK if one or more players have more cubes than the other players. The first player will roll their cubes and select on of the images on the cubes to use. This cube is placed in the center of the playing area and is visible to all the other players. The first player then starts a story using the cube played in the center. When they are done, they pass their turn to the next player who rolls their cubes, selecting one to place in the center of the playing area, and continues to tell the story, incorporating their story with the other player’s story. This continues until all the players have rolled their cubes and the story is completed.

These are just three ways you can use the cubes to play! The cubes really do offer unlimited possibilities and the only limitations are the player’s imaginations.

See the games’ web site at Gamewright for more information and visit the game’s official web site for more ideas on how to use the dice.

Prediction

My little geeks are creative people. They are always on the floor building fantastic spaceships and robots with their LEGO blocks and coming up with imaginative play as they run around the house fighting invisible evil. I often join them and am always left feeling slightly left behind as their creative minds quickly change from one game to another. My adult logical mind is often left perplexed and wondering when exactly we “switched gears” as a group. Luckily for me, my little geeks are not bothered by their dad asking questions like “what are we playing now?” and “who are we fighting?” They are more than happy to take me by the hand and bring me up-to-speed.

Rory’s Story Cubes offers my little geeks and the rest of the family a unique experience to tap into my little geeks creative and seemingly random nature. By providing a pivot point from which all the players work from, the players can be as creative as they like, but there is always a common thread that allows for easy reference back to the context of the story. This also provides a defined boundary in which the stories can take place without limiting the players creativity.

When I pitched the game to my little geeks, they were all for playing it. I told them the game would allow everyone to make a story. Of course, they wanted to know if the story could have dragons in it. Of course, I told them. How about robots? Again, certainly. How about robot dragons that fight space mice?

Absolutely!

My little geeks were very excited by the amount of freedom and creativity the game seemed to provide the players. I made certain, however, that they understood that the stories always had to “make sense”. When they asked me what that meant, I told them the story must be consistent and incorporate the other player’s contribution to the story. This got me nothing more than blank looks from the little geeks at the table. Clearly, I lost them with my description, so I tried again.

“It’s like this. If Liam starts talking about a cowboy, you Nyhus, cannot start a new story that has nothing to do with Liam’s cowboy. You need to keep telling a story about the cowboy, but you get to decide what that cowboy does!”

This was understood by my little geeks and they were ready to play! We decided to divide the cubes up among the three of us and play the suggested Cooperative Story rules provided in the box. Before we rolled and started our story, I asked my little geeks what they thought of the game so far.

“I think I’m really going to like this.” ~ Liam (age 7)

“I’m going to tell a story about ninja robots!” ~ Nyhus (age 4)

Looks like the little geeks are ready to go! Let’s play the game and find out if the story we make will be epic or tragically less so.

Final Word

Two things became immediately apparent the first time we played the game.

First off, my little geeks only want to tell stories that include robots, aliens, dragons, ninjas, and the occasional Star Wars character. They corrected me a number of times when I told my part of the story that did not include any of these character types.

Second, my little geeks were holding themselves back. They looked at the images on the cubes and focused too much on using that specific image instead of determining what the image could represent. For example, one of the images is a smiley face. Instead of interpreting that as a mood, they said there was a smiley face in the story. This is not a bad thing by any means, but they did this with just about every cube. This greatly limited their story telling and the story itself became disjointed.

After we finished the first story, my little geeks were clearly not all that impressed with the game or themselves. I explained that the images on the cubes were meant to represent something that could be exactly what they see on the cube or something else. When they asked me what I meant, I used the image of a jet plane as an example. I told them the image could mean a jet plan or traveling or moving as fast as a jet plan. BOOM! My little geeks immediately understood and wanted to play again, so we gave the game another shot.

The second game was greatly improved. My little geeks used the images to help guide the story instead of being tied to them. This made all the difference, and before we knew it, we had created an exciting story together, laughing and cheering each other on as the story become more and more complex and interesting. When my oldest finally said “the end”, we were not ready for the game to stop. Taking up the cubes again, we made up another story and then another, until our brains were too tired to think up anything more. We left the table creatively exhausted and exceedingly happy.

My two oldest little geeks play a game of their own while I make them lunch

Gamer Geeks, this is not a game for you. Yes, you can create any type of game around it, but the game play itself does not allow for meaningful strategy and tactics. The games that use the cubes are all about storytelling and nothing more. The cubes are, after all, just meant to generate ideas. The creative and cooperative element will appeal to most Gamer elitists, but this is not a game you’ll see on your gaming table anytime soon as there really is no “game”. Roll the cubes, create a story. That’s it. From a Gamer’s perspective, this is just not enough to make it a worthwhile venture with a group of hardcore players.

Parent Geeks, this is a fantastic game that promotes vocabulary growth and creativity. The cubes can be used in many different ways allowing you to play the game with your little geeks to help them learn new vocabulary words. Later, you can use the cubes with your older geeks when you want a fun and creative family experience around the table. Being highly portable (the entire game comes in a very small box), you can take it with you on trips or pull out the game the next time you are waiting with your little geeks at the doctor’s office, at a restaurant table, or anytime you want to be creative and entertained. Educators should be very pleased with this game as it can provide many fun activities in the classroom while promoting vocabulary, speech, and creative writing.

Child Geeks, this is a wonderful game that will allow you to be as creative as you want and tell amazing stories about far off and imaginative places or as close as your backyard. There is no wrong way to play the games and you’ll be crafting tales that will make all the players want to chip in! Tell stories about robots and dragons or spaceships and swords! Mix and match your favorite TV shows into your stories with your favorite characters in the books you read. There are simply no limits.

Rory’s Story Cubes provides the players an opportunity to create a story and that’s where it stops. The majority of the responsibility to provide the fun and game rules is placed on the shoulders of the individuals playing the game. Play the game with individuals who choose not to be creative or get into the spirit of the game, and your experience will most likely be less than satisfactory. This can be said, to a point, for all games as the individuals you play with help determine your overall game play experience. Since Rory’s Story Cubes is a game that requires a great deal of social interaction, not having any will cause the game to  fall flat on its face.

Do not let this scare you off, however, as Rory’s Story Cubes does offer the truly creative and social individuals a wonderful time. Sharing in a story is not only great with your kids, but also your friends and everyone in your family. Through the story you get to learn something about everyone at the table. For example, I had no idea that my oldest son knew the word “fluorescent”. Turns out he read a book about fish deep in the ocean where the word was introduced.

My family and friends whom I have played the game with have enjoyed the experience immensely. It works best with groups but can also be played solo. If you want to play it alone, try rolling the cubes and then write a story using all the images. As a group experience, everyone can play, from the little geeks to big geek game elitists who begrudgingly admit they had a good time playing the game.

Fun and creative, Rory’s Story Cubes is an excellent addition to your growing family’s game library. A useful tool for when your little geeks are learning words and a simple game to play and share around the table when they get older. The game will never go out of style and will also provide something new each time it is played, providing unlimited replay and learning experiences. For being a game comprised of no more than 9 cubes, it really packs a lot of fun.

About Cyrus

Editor in Chief, Owner/Operator, Board Game Fanatic, Father of Three, and Nice Guy, Cyrus has always enjoyed board, card, miniature, role playing, and video games, but didn't get back into the hobby seriously until early 2000. Once he did, however, he was hooked. He now plays board games with anyone and everyone he can, but enjoys playing with his children and wife the most. Video games continue to be of real interest, but not as much as dice and little miniatures. As he carefully navigates the ins and outs of parenting, he does his very best to bestow what wisdom he has and help nurture his children's young minds. It is his hope and ambition to raise three strong, honorable men who will one day go on to do great things and buy their Mom and Dad a lobster dinner Cyrus goes by the handle fathergeek on Board Game Geek. You can also check him out on CyrusKirby.com. Yes, he has a URL that is his name. His ego knows no bounds, apparently....
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5 Responses to Rory’s Story Cubes Game Review

  1. Pingback: » Rory’s Story Cubes – Actions Game Review

  2. Brian says:

    My son absolutely loves this game. He loves stories, and loves to make them up. As suggested, he does tend to focus on the exact icon rather than abstracting it, however he understands what I am doing when I do abstract it, and this proves to be a wonderful tool to exercise his creativity. Every day at bed time he now asks if we can do a “story” after reading our bedtime book. I think this is a wonderful tool for kids, even though it can barely be called a game.

  3. Chris says:

    Our business sells quite a few online and have received nothing but great reviews about them. I actually was going to buy one for my six year old son but the owner gave me one to see how my son would like it. Highly recommend.

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  5. Pingback: Rory's Story Cubes: Batman Game Review - Father Geek

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