UNTOLD: Adventures Await
A Fertive Imagination is a Major Requirement. Do Not Even Consider Playing This If You Struggle With Role-Playing or Story-Telling Games.
UNTOLD Adventures Await can be found in your local game store for just under £30.00
UNTOLD: Adventures Await is an amalgamation of a number of different games and ideas, moulded and sculpted into a collection of ideas that the players have to decide together what they mean and just about everything else about the story they are about to embark on. It is suggested that you think of the game as a Television Series in which you, the players are the Producers, Directors, Actors and Scriptwriters. It has been created in the imagination of Rory O'Connor and designed by Rory O'Connor and John Fiore with art and illustrations from Winnie Shek and Rob Dalton. It uses Rory O'Connors most famous and popular creation "Rory's Dice" which are possibly better known to the majority as "Story Cubes" and relies entirely on the players to not only write the stories but fill them out also as they unfold.
RORY'S CUBES are available in several different sets. Some are themed with TV Shows you may already be familiar with and have always wanted to be a part of - Batman, Doctor Who, Scooby-Doo etc while other sets are different but more generic. The idea of these Cubes is that you play with them with youngish children that when the dice are rolled they have to each take one and introuce its visible face into a Story that they, and you, are making up as you go along. There is no need for all the different components we have in this box, just some dice and some active imaginations. Way back in the 70's (maybe early 80's) there was a card game doing the rounds called "Once Upon A Time" and players had to tell a story in a Chinese Whispers style of storytelling. One person would start off by taking a card and talking about what is occurring and then in turn order or randomly the players would take a card from the deck (or have some cards already in their hands) and add them into the mix twisting and turning the tale until one of them could successfully slip their "End of Story" card to round up the tale happily ever after - or not! Then Z-Man games, and several others, brought out card games where you had to make titles of films from the words or pictures on cards in a colourful deck. Story Cubes are six-sided dice with 6 different symbols on each, thus in UNTOLD: Adventures Await you get 9 dice and thus 54 different faces from which your Five Episode series will evolve and revolve.
"Amber" Role-playing had no dice and no necessary charts and tables, all action was decided by the GM based on what the players characters were doing. "Everway" was another similar idea and more recently we have had "Dixit" and to an extent "Time Stories" (though Time Stories is rathr more structured than most) but this is why I began with saying UNTOLD: Adventures Await is an amalgamation of various other games, because it has elements from all of these and many more games.
There is a Storyboard which is laid out in view and reach of all players and there are 6 sets of five Scene cards making 30 Scene cards in total, each of which is different on their flip sides so that all 6 cards in each of the 5 Sets are different. The five Sets are "A Dangerous Dilemma", The Plot Thickens", "An Heroic Undertaking", "The Truth Revealed" and "The Final Showdown". All Players have their own Dashboards on which they place the Editing Tokens (Ideas x 2, Flashback and Modify) and the Play/Pause card. All other components are placed close by and in reach of all the players, card decks being shuffled as necessary and kept separate. Everyone will need a pen or pencil - a pencil is best as errors can be erased - to write on their Character Profile Sheets; one player will also have an Episode Guide Sheet. Two fairly substantial pads, one for each, are supplied with the game plus you can go online to download printable replacements when required. thecreativityhub.com/untold (it actually becomes https://www.wearehubgames.com/untold ) You cam also find a How to Play video there as well.
On the Storyboard are the five slots, marked 1 - 5 with dots, where the face down Scene cards, also marked 1-5 with dots, are placed. You only need one of each for every episode plus you need to place under these Scene Cards numbers of different tokens as shown on the Storyboard just below the card slots. Once everything is setup it is time for your imaginations to begin to warm up and hopefully, eventually, kick in. Each Scene card has places for Dice to be slotted in and two "set" occurrences which are printed on the Scene Card.
All players have their own Character Sheet. This has the usual information requirements - Name, Job, Why you are an Adventurer, whether you have any special abilities or skills etc. Some of these aren't decided at the beginning but during the adventure as new ideas and imaginations kick in. The flip side of these sheets is a diary that you complete after each episode has ended, hopefully giving you something good to write about that will help you in the next Episode - will that be tomorrow or do you have to wait a week to find out what happens next.? But you do not begin to fill these in until the initial setup is complete and the first Scene Card has been turned over and the opening acts of the episode revealed (decided).
The player with the Episode Guide sheet now asks a series of questions, out loud, to all players, he or she being one of the players. Everyone can make suggestions and then by democracy or wheeler-dealing (promising to make the coffee or bring the snacks usually gets you Brownie points for your suggestions). These aren't like Q&A questions, they are designed to give the players some ideas, making them think in sections.
When Does This Episode Take Place ?
What are your strengths in History ? If you are all good at History then the Past may be a good time to set it. SciFi and SciFantasy fans might like a futuristic space or post apocalypse setting. It has to be decided by the players together. If any question is answered and written down to be part of the Episode and one player is disgruntled with the choices, maybe they all went against him/her or he just isn't happy for one reason or another - if this occurs then your game/story is off to a poor start.
Where Does This Episode Take Place ?
You need to choose somewhere that can lead to other places, be they different cities, alleyways, planets. The idea is to not set your TV series in a single room or house, but really the sky's the limit.
What Do We Know About This Setting ?
Technology, weaponry, electricity, magic, super-heroes etc or is it a barren wasteland with plague-ridden zombies from which you have to survive until you find a citadel of sorts. This Episode ?
What is the Tone of This Episode ?
Suggestions are Dark & Gritty? Light & Fun? Serious? Played for Laughs? Light but Dramatic? Comedic but Sad ?
As each question is answered and decisions made the player with the Episode Guide Sheet writes them down, briefly - they are just guidelines - along with a democratically decided synopsis, described by one or two sentences. Think about pitching this as a series to a TV producer. They would want to know all about the show in as dynamic yet brief a description as possible. Finally give the Episode a name and Series/Episode number.
At this point in the game you are setup and, according to the rules booklet, "Now your adventure can truly begin!" but the sharp-witted of you will have noticed the obvious - I have spoken about your characters and character sheets, but as yet there are no characters designed for the game. These will be created just after you have flipped over the first Scene card and established what the imminent danger is. The first card, A Dangerous Dilemma, shows one or two dice slots in which there are scene terms - pictures that are found in the Key on your player board (though they are in colour on the cards). One player rolls the 9 dice into the box that is supplied for this purpose. (these dice are larger than usual D6 size, are heavy and are brilliantly visual with the markings/icons on them. I am not exactly sure of what they are made but I did get the feeling that dropping them onto a hard floor may cause cracking or indeed breakage. (I have not checked this and I do not know this as a fact, it is just a feeling I had). Rolling them into the box also allows you to see all the faces available in a neat, confined space with no chance of "accidentally" turning one or more over.
Together the players look at the problem they are facing. There are 6 "A Dangerous Dilemma" cards and each has different indents and Scene Terms but the second part of the episode will always be the same as it is printed on the board. Thus you might have a location icon which you decide is a Nightclub on a distant planet, and a Bug (which could be an alien) accusing (you are allowed to bend the rules a little so accusing could become arguing) someone or something, about someone or something. An easy to mind thought is Greedo and Han Solo in the bar at the beginning of Star Wars but it could easily be the Bug Alien is accusing the waitress of watering his ale. This is where your characters begin to take shape. You know the first situation and it is up to you whether it is something you would expect to get involved with.
In the above situation you might decide that you want to stay out of it, or you want to teach the bully-bug-alien a lesson, or perhaps you want to pick his pocket while he is being distracted by at least one of your fellow group members - someone is bound to take umbrage at a girl being shouted at, thus giving you the perfect opportunity to strike. On your sheet write down two "specials" (aka abilities/skills). In this case you might put light-fingered/pickpocket as one and quick with a witty retort as the other, meaning that you'd like to pick a pocket but if you get caught you can joke your way out of it - hopefully. Remember you should talk amongst yourselves, all players, so that you get a balanced group that can do whatever is likely to be necessary in the story. In space you would need someone who can fly machines, someone who can maintain them, and if you are going to be somewhat aggressive at times you might need someone with medical skills. Amongst yourselves you should be able to create useful characters that begin with two abilities of value to the team. If you really cannot think of anything for your character there are still 7 dice left in the box. You can use the faces that are already displayed or roll the entire 7 again and create a character from the symbols you get. This isn't a particularly good way to go, in my opinion. This is a game of imagination so use it, don't lose it.
While there are still tokens below the current Episode Card players may take them to do certain things; for example, the "?" allows the player to ask a question and the Clapperboard lets players take actions.You will also notice light grey horizontal lines on the Scene cards, these link parts of the story from one Scene card to the next. On each player's dashboard there are 2 x Ideas tokens, 1 x Flashback token, 1 x Modify token and a Play/Pause card. By spending (discarding) these tokens the player is allowed to introduce new ideas, depth, modifications to the story, but only after discussing them with the other players and having them agree to any changes. The Play/Pause card allows the player to stop the action and state reservations they may have about the tone or how the episode is going, maybe offering other suggestions, but again the other players have to agree to any changes before they are made - sort of a script rewrite if you like.
When characters want to do something that is even slightly dangerous or out of the ordinary the Outcome cards are used to determine degrees of success or failure. Before reaching the point where an Outcome card is required the player may ask some questions (the number asked being decided by the Question Tokens at the scene), rolling Cubes to interpret or inspire the answers. Once an Outcome is determined a Reaction card is flipped over to see how someone else at the scene reacts to what has happened.
The Scene cards are revealed one after the other with Story Cubes being rolled when and where necessary until each Scene has been resolved, finally uncovering the "real" truth of the plot and ending in a Final Showdown, remembering that each scene may be linked to the previous scene via the link lines on the scene cards.
The box says that it takes 60 minutes for a game but in our experience it takes a lot longer than that because of all the discussions and decisions that have to be made. There are 5 Scene Cards for each Episode and if you are to finish within the 60 minutes it means spending less than 12 minutes on each. I suppose that if you put a time limit on deciding which Story Cubes to use or don't discuss the possibilities each roll then you could finish an episode within the 60 minute frame, after all most TV Series fill a 60 minute slot, and that's with 15 minutes of adverts (which thankfully don't intrude here).
Because you can literally choose the location, setting, game style, tone, Villains etc UNTOLD: Adventures Await is a never-ending game. It will suit role-players, drama students, players who like to think outside of the box. Cubes can be moved across boards as long as they do so to and from the same coloured recess space on the boards.You don't have to win each episode, especially if you intend to continue the story at a later session with a new episode, but you can always interpret the Cubes to suit your story. One of the uses of Rory's Story Cubes is to teach children or adults how to be creative in their thinking and when doing so you do not need the Boards, Tokens, and other particulars that come with the UNTOLD: Adventures Await game, you just need a set of Rory's Story Cubes, and, as already stated, a good, flexible, furtive, imagination.
Rory's Story Cubes are available in many different boxes at various prices and sizes. You can buy a 9 Cube box for about £7.50 and a "classroom size" version of the same Cubes for about twice that price and are also great to use if you need to quickly construct a scenario (remember Dungeon Dice). To be fair, UNTOLD: Adventures Await is a super quality set of ideas made from exceptionally sturdy material. Everything that you get in the box has the same aim, to get you to use your imagination. If you cannot think on the fly or if you get embarrassed putting your ideas and thoughts out there in front of other people then this isn't a game for you. UNTOLD: Adventures Await isn't a game where you can open the box, read the rules and start to play. It needs discussion, decision making, strength of mind and the ability to tell stories based on a small number of pictograms.
My reservations about this game are that if you already have the ability to create adventures "out of thin air" (like the majority of role-play GMs) then the constrictions of the scene cards and cube faces will work against your imagination instead of with it. If you want inspiration for a role-play scenario or you want to make up different stories for your children, letting them help create the story really works well, then you only need a set of Rory's Story Cubes, the basic Scenes (or chapters of the tale) should just come naturally to you. UNTOLD: Adventures Await is excellently produced and the rules are written and designed for you to play a page (or section) at a time, leading you through the action bit by bit. Experienced players are just as well off buying a £7.99 box of Rory's Story Cubes and doing what all good role-players did "back in the day" use pencils and paper and their imaginationss. If you are not experienced in RPGs or Acting then UNTOLD: Adventures Await has all the necessary pieces to kickstart your ingenuity and broaden your experience. Your choice (£30.00 box or £7.99 box) basically boils down to your comfort with your own mental agility and inventiveness and whether you need visual aids (other than the Cubes) to conceive and/or contrive your narration. Having played UNTOLD: Adventures Await my personal choice would be to purchase a set (or two) of Rory's Story Cubes. But that's just me.
I also am not a fan of it as a one-player game because it doesn't feel like you are actually playing a game. On your own you have no additional input and the "game" doesn't help you. The Story Cubes can be interpreted as you want without argument and thus there is nothing or no-one to prevent you from doing what you want to. Similarly it doesn't work too well with 2-players although obviously it's better than with just one. Three players is the minimum for a game of interest, four players (4 minds) is best, though I would have liked to see 1 or 2 more Player Dashboards as personally I think UNTOLD: Adventures Await would work best with 4, 5 or 6 players, just like the majority of RPGs. I know I have mentioned RPGs a few times, this is because, to be fair, UNTOLD: Adventures Await is a little like a role-play game, except that there isn't really a GM and all opposing actions are determined by Cubes and Cards.
If you buy the UNTOLD: Adventures Await boxed set you have everything required to expand your play by adding sets of Rory's Cubes to it. Once you add another set of Cubes you can roll all of them to give you more choice but still only actually use the required number for each episode. So although I personally feel that I can do without the cards and ideas from UNTOLD: Adventures Await, I think it is a good idea to have it and then expand it as and when you want to.