Once upon a time…

If you haven’t noticed the last few games reviewed have a specific reason for being on the site. Pathfinder – because I like role-playing, Mr. Jack because I am a fan of the Victorian era, Scrutineyes – a game from my childhood, and Burn in Hell – because I like the concept but also because I was a volunteer for SJ games for a number of years. All these are games that show off a little more of who I am and what I like. So for my next game I’ve done the same.

As mentioned in the post on Master of the Fallen Fortress – Pathfinder I enjoy collaborative story telling. Alright this one’s not so collaborative and more competitive (if you want to win) but let me introduce you to:


Once Upon A Time is designed by Richard Lambert, Andrew Rilstone, and James Wallis. It was published in 1993 by Atlas games. The game is designed for two to six players, though arguably it plays better with more than two. It’s for ages eight and up and has a playing time of 30+ minutes.


Game play:

Once Upon A Time is beautiful game which allows you to create fairy tales with the cards in your hand. The game is quite simple. Each player is dealt an ending card and story cards – equaling 11, minus the number of players but at least a minimum of five.

There are three types of cards: Story cards, Interrupt Story cards and Ending cards.

Once Upon a Time cards
Ending, Interrupt and Story card

Story cards illustrate the elements that might appear in a story. These are in five categories: character, thing, place, aspect, and event.

The first Storyteller (player) starts using elements on their cards, the princess is out walking when she meets a fairy, for example. If the storyteller mentions an element on their card that’s on another player’s card, or an element that is in another person’s story, or plays a card that matches the category of an interrupt card held by someone, that second player can interrupt and take control of the story. So when you’re not the storyteller, you’re listening and looking for chances to challenge or interrupt.

The game ends when the one person can bring the story to a close by playing their unique Ending Card, after they have played all the story cards in their hand.

The object of the game isn’t just to win though! The rules even say – it’s to have fun telling a story together!

Wrap up:

I love this game. For starters the artwork is stunning. Check the inside fold of the box below, this sort of artwork also decorates the cards. It’s really got that classic fairy tale feel to it.

once upon a time2

Secondly I love the collaborative element of telling stories together. Each telling their own but also building off of others. It’s also a great game for teaching with! It can be used for teaching younger children the art of storytelling, or giving them essential reading, decision making, creativity, and cooperative play skills. It could also be used to teach English in ESL classrooms. The game itself has resources online for using in the classroom. And even outside of the classroom you can find fun in learning with it. Along with the game you can buy various expansions packs but you can also by the writer’s handbook:


Which is really helpful for budding writers who want to get a grasp on writing and enjoy learning through play.

Overall, I’d recommend the game to just about anyone. Young or old. The only thing that is required is that you are comfortable with telling stories in a group – if you aren’t then you might find yourself feeling a bit hesitant.

Until next time,




http://www.atlas-games.com/ouat3/ Check out the game’s site!

https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/1234/once-upon-time-storytelling-card-game – Learn more about it at boardgamegeek.com

Or check out the game play by TableTop:


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