Originally published by Looney Labs in 2002, Nanofictionary received an update and fresh coat of paint this year. A storytelling game, Nanofictionary has players building a hand of Character, Setting, Problem, and Resolution cards in order to build the most interesting story.
After shuffling each deck a single card is drawn from each to form a discard pile for each deck. Enough Number Cards are set aside for the number of players playing and each player draws 2 Character Cards and a single card from the Setting, Problem, and Resolution decks for the hand of 5 cards.
- Brainstorming Phase – Players take turns drawing and discarding a card, declaring their story complete, or discarding their whole hand to draw for a Fresh Start. If declaring completion a player draws the next card from the Number Deck and waits for other players to declare completion.
- Storytelling Phase – Players make up a story using at least 1 of each type of card from their hand. This phase is fairly flexible with players being allowed to make edits, alterations, and altering their interpretation of their cards.
- Voting Phase – After a 3 count each player points at the player whose story they enjoyed the most. Players cannot vote for themselves. If there’s a tie then the player with the lower Number Card wins.
That’s pretty much it. For some of the small details, check out the full rules.
Nanofictionary comes in a standard Looney Labs card box, splitting the cards inside the box with a divider in between. The cards are a bit flimsy, but hold up well during play. The artwork is fairly zany, wonderfully illustrated, and that Looney Labs humor we’ve all come to know and love.
Light fare that’s especially great with kids, Nanofictionary is basically a deck of cards meant to spark your imagination. The game is really less about who wins and more about the stories being told. The cards are just a catalyst that can be used and interpreted however a player wants, as long as they use one of each type in their tale. The cards range from mundane to outright odd, yet always manage to eventually come into your hand in just the right combination to construct a story.
As stated earlier, the game is excellent with kids and would be an excellent learning tool in the classroom. While players have a lot of flexibility with their tales, they still need to follow a formula using characters, setting, problems, and a resolution. This simple set of rules really helps younger players form more coherent ideas than some other storytelling games.
A copy of Nanofictionary was provided free for review by Looney Labs.