I will admit that as intrepid reporters go, I am not that intrepid. I bypassed several booths due to the lines being long despite the or atmosphere being a bit to much for me. In particular I had wanted to stop by Fantasy Flight but their booth was almost a section unto itself and being a shy person by nature I elected to give it a wide berth.
It did not take me long to find the Atlas Games booth as all I had to do was follow the sound of the Exact Change dance. It is kind of difficult to explain but suffice it to say that it is a sight to behold. I was lucky enough to find that Jessica Banks, a friend of mine from the internet, was demonstrating the game. After a bit of catching up, she gave me a nice introduction to the game.
Once Upon a Time, which is now in a third edition, is a cooperative storytelling card game. Each player is draws an ending card and a hand of story cards. Each player is trying to guide the story towards their ending card while using all of the story cards in their hand. One player starts everything out and begins the story and uses a card. As the story progresses, other players can take narrative control when they have a card that interrupts the story, have a card that plays off something that the current player has mentioned, or the current player just runs out of story. There are several expansion for the game with titles like knightly tales and dark tales which add different thematic elements to the game.
This game has a very fun party game feel. It has a nice cooperative base with the added benefit of friendly competition laced throughout as you try to work the story to your ending. The card art for the third edition is gorgeous and Jessica pointed out that Atlas made sure that the art showed a diversity of character both in gender, race, and socioeconomic status. It always makes me happy to hear a company making this type of choice because that means there will be players out there that can find themselves in the cards and join me in my hobby.
Jessica also showed me Atlas’ new card game Murder of Crows. It is a quick story game for ages 13 and up that can be played in about twenty minutes. Each player is working to play cards from their hands that spell out murder. Each card has a piece of a story and a picture in the style of Gashlycrumb Tinies. I loved the Gothic feel of the artwork and enjoyed how each letter spelled out a different step in a short murder mystery. It felt like a much more fun version of clue without all the guess work.
The other neat thing coming from Atlas Games is Feng Shui. This is the action movie role playing game. I remembered playing this game when it was out under the Daedalus Entertainment imprint and really enjoyed my magic-using police detective fighting gangs in the streets of San Francisco. Jessica’s husband, Cam, was running demos of the game and there were games of it available at Games on Demand as well. Sadly I was never able to make it to any of these games but am looking forward to picking up the new edition.