23. One word stories

We have played this game quite a bit, with varying results. It can be great but sometimes falls flat. The basic idea is simple: the aim is to tell a story whilst going around the in a circle. Each player can only add one word to the story in turn.

A good idea is to ask one player to write out the story as it is told, then they are able to recap if anyone gets lost. Typical stories start ‘Once upon a time there was a X called X’, or ‘Many years ago there lived an old man/woman called X’.

The main thing to watch out for with this game is that players do not deliberately sabotage the game by trying to be funny. It may be hilarious to you to hear ‘once upon a banana’ but this will quickly result in an untenable story which makes so little sense there is little point in telling it. So layers are encouraged not to hog the punch word.

I suggest two rules are laid down at the start of the start: first don’t play to make the game deliberately funny, and second, try and play the game so that the story makes sense- say the obvious word rather than a wacky one if you can think of an obvious word.

Half the fun will come from reading the stories out at the end , even if you try and create a beautiful simple narrative you will soon find this is derailed and almost always the consequences are amusing.

The game is finished when the story has come to a natural conclusion. Often in our case this is after two or three stories have been told. The other reason for calling to a halt is selfish play leading to other players getting irritated. And by selfish play I mean trying to be funny or hogging the punchlines. Believe me the story will be all the richer if all stay ever on the straight and narrow. But if people do deviate, don’t worry just carry on.

We are going to play this game tonight, as I write, in ten minutes hopefully, so I’ll publish this now then transfer one of the stories that we come up with…as typed by child 1.

Once there was an enormas plant that liked rain. The plant was happy now it was raining. the plant’s name was rain, thats what it means to have fun with rain the plant! The banana tree that the rain fell on, serported alchemy and manchester city in manchester.

Not one of our best but they can go either way. Do give it a try.