I was at a youth car wash today, watching my son and the other the kids spray each other (and sometimes the cars). One of the customers happened to be carrying an anthology of dystopian science fiction. We got to chatting, and he told me about this parlor game — which sadly seems to be out of print:
Nanofictionary is a game about making up tiny stories. Even an extremely short narrative can tell a complete story, provided it contains each of four specific “plot devices,” namely: a Setting, a Problem, at least one Character, and a Resolution. In this card game then, there are four basic types of cards, corresponding to these four plot devices. Each player works at developing the basic structure of a story by building up a collection of these cards. A fifth type of card, called an Action, will allow players to add Complications to their stories, Brainstorm new ideas, Plagiarize from other players, and Uncrumple old ideas out of the discard pile.
The game progresses through three separate phases. First comes the Writing Phase, in which everyone develops the outline of a story by collecting the 4 types of plot devices. Then, in the Storytelling Phase, the players take turns telling short stories based on their cards, embellishing as needed to unite and explain the elements on the cards. This is followed by the Awards Phase, in which prize cards are given to the authors of the most popular stories. However, extra points are also awarded for finishing early, and for having more cards in your story, so the winner is determined at the very end, when everyone adds up their points. Whoever gets the highest overall score wins! —