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A strange, goopy mess on the floor

May 18, 2016

You may remember a while ago we had a guest post by game designer, publisher, reviewer and all-round nice guy Edo Baraf.  Well, a while after that he ran a Kickstarter project for a storytelling game that he had co-designed, called The Siblings Trouble which is pretty much The Goonies: The Game.  The idea is that you and your siblings are having an adventure in some relatively mundane location (the game is subtitled “Backyard Adventures”) which can be the basis of a fantastical story, and our copy turned up earlier this year.

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So the basic idea is that you take it in turns to flip over a series of cards, each of which represents a location, monster or event, and you have to incorporate the card into a narrative that you are building.  Is that troll really a troll, or is it just the janitor from the abandoned amusement park?  You just interpret each card as you wish, and sometimes you need to roll a die to determine what happens next — and, of course, you need to work whatever the outcome of the die roll is into the story.

There are other rules, but I don’t think they really matter.  The main thrust of the game is to tell a story of encountering dinosaurs in the forest or renegade robots in the junkyard, where you save the day with a bit of string and a bag of marbles.  From that point of view, the game is utterly charming, a charm which is helped greatly by beautiful artwork and excellent production values.

We’ve played the game a handful of times so far, but only with the two of us playing, and thoroughly enjoyed it each time.  Hopefully we’ll rope some others in some time and see how it goes with more people.  There are a choice of characters to play (with alternate gender and race variants for each), plus four different locations to adventure in, and a way of building an adventure deck to make for a different game each time, so we’ve mixed stuff up a bit each time.

To be honest, I don’t imagine playing The Siblings Trouble in an adults-only group, but to do so is missing the point: this is really a family game, and it’s a good one.  But, of course, it’s what Miss B thinks that counts around here…

The verdict from Miss B (aged 9¼): “This game is very interesting, because you can never really predict what is going to happen next.  I love the way that you make up the story with only a little bit to guide you.  The characters’ powers are especially funny! I will rate it 10/10 because of all the great ideas merged together.”

The game: The Siblings Trouble (Pencil First Games), 2 to 4 players aged 8+.

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