My husband is the RPG player in our family. The rest of us have been a little intimidated by the idea up until now.
For me, I’ve found most role-playing games a strange mixture of unstructured and rule-bound. Though I love storytelling and board games, when it comes to RPGs, I have trouble figuring out the boundaries: when I can just make stuff up and add it to the story and when I have to roll to see if my idea will work or not. I’ve been much more comfortable with storytelling games like Dixit and Gloom.
So, while I’ve participated as a player in a few campaigns and acquitted myself reasonably well, I definitely needed the GM to lead me and definitely didn’t want to GM myself, no matter how good a story idea I had. I thought I might have come to this type of gaming too late and would never really get it.
Then, we got No Thank You, Evil! It was a winter holidays gift to the youngest Bryant, and it’s our new favorite “all four Bryants” game (all four Bryants: two 40ish adults, and two daughters, ages 16 and 9).
As GeekDad Ryan Hiller wrote in Kickstarter Alert: ‘No Thank You, Evil!’ Final Stretch last summer, the game is “aimed at creative kids and their families.” In other words, us!
My husband ran the first and second sessions for us, using the out-of-the-box adventure provided. Character creation was quick and fun, with white erase boards to record stats and information about your character, which is formed using a basic structure: ______ is a ______ who _________.
The first adventure, “Lost in Dragonsnot Falls,” is really fun, bringing your team of characters together and sending them on an exciting journey right away. The book is a great support, even giving “read aloud” sections for GMs who don’t feel ready to wing setting the scene alone. Our first adventure, including character creation, took us about an hour. Our favorite part was the way you could help each other by giving your awesome points away. We also had great fun with our sidekick/companion characters.
After the second adventure, “Race Against Time,” we all began to feel that we understood what kind of structure would make a good story for a session. That’s when the littlest Bryant said that she wanted to GM.
So, she ran our next session. And it was great! She adapted the “find three objects” structure of the “Race Against Time” and mixed it together with a little of Pixar’s Inside Out and Teen Titans where her character got split into emotion-parts and we had to find them and put them back together to make her whole again. Dad helped her decide when she needed to have us roll, and I was proud of her for not railroading us when we diverted from her plan (she can be a little bossy when you play Let’s Pretend with her).
The teenager ran the next one and sent us all to the moon on an exploration mission in a rocket her scientist character created for us. The aliens she invented for us to encounter were hilarious and kind of gross.
And finally, it was my turn. I went with a rescue mission in which my character Lulu, a pirate who sings, got stuck inside a storybook and needed her friends to come find her and get her back home. We ended up reforming an evil prince along the way, and learned that our teenage princess-scientist is not afraid to use personal charm to persuade someone.
So, if you’ve always been interested in RPGs but haven’t found a comfortable step in yet, I highly recommend this game. If you already love role-playing and want to lure your children in, I highly recommend this game. Four out of four Bryants agree that No Thank You, Evil! is awesomesauce.