These are a series of storytelling games, each with a specific theme.
The games, and themes, are:
They're published by Magellanica,
a British company, and distributed by Esdevium in Britain, which most
British gamers have at least heard of. I've never seen any copies in
the USA (beyond the ones I own), but some store or mail order place
could easily carry them without my knowledge.
- Into the Dark Continent (19th-Century Colonial Africa)
- Into the Deserted Chapel (Horror)
- Into the Dragon's Cave (Fantasy)
- Into the Domain of Capella (Space Opera)
- Into the Dear Caress (Romance)
- Into the Dream Centre (Surrealism)
- Into the Death of Civilization (Apocalypse) [NOT YET PUBLISHED as of May, 1997]
Into the D... C... are not really games by
some folks' standards. They are, instead, tools for creating shared
stories. If you think of them in that respect, they work better
than if you try to cram them into a "game" mold. But then, I'm
funny about the word "game" - for example, I think Games
Magazine is misnamed, and should be called Puzzles
Magazine, and computer games aren't games to me ...
At any rate, Into the D... C... are entertaining,
whether or not they're games. There are, I think, 200 cards in
each game. The cards must be cut out by the end-user, so be prepared
for some work - especially if you buy more than one theme! They're
printed on A4 cardstock, and are therefore somewhat flimsy and not
laminated - not for people who crush their cards (a habit which
always makes me wince, I must say). The backs of all the cards
are blank - this is actually good, as you can make your own and
they'll blend in easily enough. Likewise you can mix cards from
the various genres to your taste (I recommend a Surreal Romance).
They're easy to sort out again afterwards, if you want, since they
each have the name of the game on the front of the card, along with
the game element word(s).
Each card contains a word or phrase - many of these phrases come
from old books on the topics, so there is some authenticity to the
sound of the cards, as well as the selection. (On the other hand,
how anyone could possibly publish a Surrealist storytelling game
and not include Umbrella, Sewing Machine, and
Dissecting Table is beyond me.) Some of the phrases, authentic
or not, are deuced hard to work into a story - fortunately the game
has a discard mechanic to help you out.
The rules are simple - so simple, I don't really want to give them
here lest you not need to buy the game, and I get the publisher
mad at me. Suffice it to say they're simpler than Once Upon
a Time [OUaT] (from Atlas Games) - no interrupt
cards, and every one takes turns playing cards instead of playing
as many as you can before being interrupted. Also, there are no
special story end cards - use a card from your starting hand as an
end goal card.
The rules do not make for a competitive game - although they pretend
to. They do tell you how to determine a winner, but it's
frankly pretty weak in that respect. This is fine if you enjoy
such gaming, but most gamers I know don't really want to play
Into the D... C... because of that. I like these
games, though, enjoying the stories the game generates, not really
caring about a winner. As I said, not really a "game" as such
And we have created some interesting stories using them. Two of us
had a good story going at a game store, once. There was a CCG
being played next to us, and every now and then we'd notice they'd
grow silent to listen to our story! We had some difficulty getting
out of some trouble spots, so the story was a bit tense at
The rules are easily used with children, more so than OUaT.
They would be a snap to adapt to educational use. They're also
useful for generating role-playing plots ...
The final summary is that if you like tools to help you create
shared stories, and don't mind desk-top published cardstock, they're
excellent. If you only prefer competitive gaming, and/or
spiffy-polished production quality, they fall short of the mark.
Back to SOS' Gameviews
Back to Steffan O'Sullivan's Home Page