Once upon a time is a fun, story telling game where players use cards to tell stories in an attempt to win by finishing with the ending card.
Each player is dealt a hand of cards that represent story elements: objects, people, events, and “aspects” often involved in fairy tales (for instance, there are cards for “crown”, “key”, “stepmother”, “a death”, “time passes”, “sleeping”, et cetera). These “Storytelling” cards represent ingredients of a fairy tale, i.e. words or phrases that are likely to appear in fairy tales. From a different deck of cards, each player is also dealt a single “Happy Ever After” ending card, to be kept secret from other players until it is used. The object of the game for each player is to use their cards in telling a story, finishing the story by using their Happy Ever After card.
One player at a time is the storyteller. (The 2nd edition rules suggest the starting storyteller could be the “player with the longest beard”, or any other method upon which the players agree.) Whenever a story ingredient is mentioned, if any player has a Storytelling card for that ingredient, he or she can play it and become (or continue being) the storyteller. A player may be required to draw extra Storytelling cards (for example, when they are the storyteller and are interrupted by another player who becomes the new storyteller, or if he or she hesitates for too long while telling the story). If the storyteller ends the story with the ending on their Happy Ever After card, and is out of cards, he or she wins.Players are expected to cooperate (to some extent) in order to avoid contradictions in the story as it develops, for the story to make sense, and (according to the rulebook) that any ending to the story is “satisfying” (1)
It can be really fun, as Wil Wheaton shows us:
Come along to our next Tabletop game Saturday to play a game, and have alot of fun!
Comment below on any of your stories that you have made in the game, would love to hear them