The wings to imagination, a review of Rory’s Story Cubes

Imagination doesn’t have boundaries, it does not know limitations, it does not make assumptions and it does not shy away from an opportunity. Is the coolest, most wild, free formed, way of thinking we experience in our lives. Is that comfortable expression of thoughts that allows us to travel into the unknown with no fear. Which is a gift, a big beautiful gift that amazes everyone in its presence.

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A while ago my husband and I were looking for games to bring to our nephews during the holidays and came across Rory’s Story Cubes. This game is a simple set of nine cubes, each of which has six different images or icons that can create over 10 million configurations to tell many different stories. The game is simple, roll the dice, place the dice in a three by three square and create a story based on the images. You can play by creating one story per player or as an improv game with multiple players, where every player will add something to the story where the previous player left off, based on the image on their dice. This is an educational activity with no sense of competition. A game for recreation and learning. Rory’s Story Cubes is a game recommended for kids 8 years old or older, but it was a lot of fun to watch the younger kids create combinations with the cubes and make up stories. Even at 6 years old, kids were able to come up with very original and funny stories. They also loved the game, it was a new way to play for them. With no electronics, no cards, no board, this game allowed them to come up with their own stories, create their own worlds, their own rules. Nothing to bring along but a small bag of dice.

One thing I noticed while observing the kids play the game was that at the beginning it was difficult for some of them to come up with the stories. They were unsure, they were shy, and visibly nervous about the outcomes of the stories. But after a few games, they started coming up with better and funnier stories. They relaxed, started enjoying each other stories and started to bend reality for the sake of the story. The rules about the worlds started changing. They realized they could create a different one just for the story. Their imagination was set free and it empowered them.

It was also a great game for parents to play with kids. It definitely reminded me of the little imagination we have as adults, compared to that of our children. The interpretations each person had of the same images were also a kick. One image would be interpreted many different ways depending on the player who had it and this was also the source of many hilarious and long discussions during the games. Little by little each player would develop a point of view, a signature move, a genre preference. And as the kids played more and more we could notice how they started taking a bit of pride on the stories they would come up with. They had created something each time, they were creators.

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I would definitely recommend this game for kids and families. It was a great way to spend some quality time with the kiddos while helping them develop skills in storytelling and to use their creative skills. Is a perfect tool for them to exercise their imagination and recognize this as a powerful and useful skill.  Very similar to Dungeons and Dragons, this game provided with that free form environment that allows for great imagination to provide the best of times. It’s also a very  good intro for future D&D gamers. Since it started in 2004, Rory’s Story Cubes has grown to include a list of many different sets including a Doctor Who version. If you are interested in trying it, you can find them at a pharmacy like Walgreens, their site (www.storycubes.com) and even at Amazon. Have fun playing!

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