We're Geeks. We Play Games.

I'll put something more exciting here later.

In the meantime, have a beverage and relax. It could be awhile.

What beverage would I suggest?

  • A nice sangria.
  • An old fashioned.
  • A Long Island Iced Tea.

Fabula: A Storytelling Game

Players: 3-8
Playing Time: 30 minutes
Age: 8+
Publisher: Libellud
MSRP: $35

 "Don't just read the adventure...BE the adventure."

The Box

While the box gives you a hint of the beauty contained within, it doesn't give you a whole lot of information about the game. As soon as I read that one player is Grimm while the others help write his stories, I was interested and purchased it based solely on this meager description. Once I opened it and feasted my eyes on the gorgeous art, I was in love, but I can't say that I am in love with the box itself. The storage is adequate but not great and sandwich bags are needed to hold the tokens and cards so that they don't fly all over the box (those mischievous cards, you know, always flying about when you're not looking). The quality of the contents is high, the storage itself- not so much.

The Rules

The object of this game is to use your imagination. One person plays Grimm and everyone else chooses a story character who will help him tell his tale. There are twelve characters to choose from and they are all beautifully represented by high quality cardboard figures. While the other players are choosing their characters, the player representing Grimm chooses a story card from the absolutely gorgeous offerings. There are ten oversized cards with different renderings on each side, providing twenty stories to choose from. These stories are found in the rule book. I suppose you could choose a story and then find the appropriate card, but we enjoyed choosing based on the art and going from there.

Once the characters and story are chosen, Grimm lays out item cards face up on the table (the number is dependent on how many are playing). He then reads the prologue of the story and shares where he needs chapter one to go (this is all given in the rule book). The characters must use an item card to progress the story in the manner that Grimm has prescribed. There are quill tokens that Grimm may award to the player if he is pleased with the story progression. 

Once chapter one is complete, the story moves on to chapters two and three with the epilogue being written by the two players with the most quills at the end and Grimm choosing the winner based on creativity.

A PDF version of the rules is available for your viewing pleasure.

The Gameplay

Turns are based simply on whomever is ready to snatch up a card and share first (we used a raise of hands). Players do not have to build upon each others stories, they can simply add ideas of their own to fulfill Grimm's request, but we found that it was more fun and challenging to have to add to whatever had been shared prior.  When we play, the quill tokens are rather useless as everyone receives them if they attempt to further the story with the item card. My husband did add a twist when he played Grimm and we have adopted that as a "house rule". If the storyteller does not use the item correctly or in a way that furthers the story, Grimm will hand him a card from the unused stack and he must immediately come up with a way to use that item in furthering the story. It adds a bit of challenge and gives more power to the player representing Grimm, which is fun. 

As this is not really a competitive board game per se, the idea of a winner is simply a "kudos" from Grimm and the other players to encourage creativity.  You could play this without the quills and a winner if desired, but we found the tokens to be a good reinforcement to the players and crowning a "hero of the story" to be all in good fun.

The Bottom Line

This is an absolutely gorgeous game that not everyone will enjoy, because the success of this type of game is very dependent on the people playing it. The first time we played was with a group of six people. Two of these people jumped right into it, adopting voices and furthering the story in character. This allowed the rest of the group to be more creative in their storytelling, attempting crazy voices or coming up with interesting uses for their items. I laughed more that night than I had all week. We played twice and declared Fabula to be fabulous.

I then played with my kids. I thought this would be a wonderful game to integrate into homeschooling and I was right. Did we have the extreme laughter and developed storytelling of the "adult version"? No. But we had a great time playing and my kids were encouraged to stretch their imaginations and their storytelling skills.  When we finished playing, my 16 year old son immediately announced his desire to play with a certain group of friends and I shared my plan to integrate this into the National Novel Writing Month KickOff Party in October. This is one of those games that will be a different experience with different people and has a lot of potential for adapting and using it to fit your circumstances.  I highly recommend it, with the caveat that your experience will wholly depend on your imagination and game partners.  And did I mention that it's amazingly gorgeous?