This is the sixtieth entry in the Scratching That Itch series, wherein I randomly select and write about one of the 1741 games and game-related things included in the itch.io Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality. The Bundle raised $8,149,829.66 split evenly between the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund and Community Bail Fund, but don’t worry if you missed it. There are plenty of ways you can help support the vital cause of racial justice; try here for a start. Lastly, as always, you may click on images to view larger versions.
A storytelling table game
You bring the table, I’ll bring the writing about this storytelling table game.
Mythtaken requires 3-6 players, and I only have one player: myself. So I can’t actually play it, but I can write my impressions upon reading through the rules. While the tagline says it’s a table game, a table isn’t actually needed; Mythtaken is simple enough that it can be played over videoconference, voice chat, or even text chat. All that’s needed are players, and some way to track tokens, either physically or digitally. That’s it! The core of the game is simply telling stories together, in the style of legends and folklore.
There’s a silly premise about the world having renounced religion, leaving the players — as spirits — responsible for creating their own myths in order to maintain their existence. But this is more of a demonstration of the tone than anything critical to the experience. The rules are quite simple: each player creates some spirit or deity, with just a few sparse details, and writes it down on a card (or digital equivalent). Then these are shuffled and dealt out to the other players. On their turn, each player must improvise a story based on the card they’ve been dealt. Each player also has a token, which they can give to the current storyteller in order to jump in to add a wrinkle or twist to the tale, or simply help out a storyteller who’s having trouble with some element of the narrative. Play continues until people run out of ideas, or at least until everyone has told one story.
There are tips for making sure everyone is comfortable, and for setting the right expectations for the game. The aim is for working out stories together, no matter how silly or weird, and players are actively discouraged from striving for perfect myths. An example story is given at the end, about the Sunset Cat, responsible for batting the sun and moon across the sky. But the Sunset Cat doesn’t like the cold, and decides to just stay in bed one cold morning, with disastrous results. It’s up to some plucky humans to convince the Cat to make the sun come out again, at least for part of the year. This example comes complete with a hypothetical token-based interruption to insert a silly joke, and is a nice gauge of tone and length.
Mythtaken looks like it would be fun with a group of people who like coming up with weird stories, and its simplicity is a big strength. It would only take a few minutes to explain to the group, making it appropriate for a variety of social settings. In fact, I’m going to go ahead and make my own deity prompt here, just in case any readers want to take a stab at their own myth for it:
Deity Name: Elpam, the Inverse Tree
Domains/Responsibilities: Opposites and dualities / Change and transformation
Iconic Item: The Antifruit
Likes/Dislikes: Transforming things / ambiguity
Feel free to come up with your own myths about Elpam, the Inverse Tree in the comments below (or just on your own). And if you like the idea, check out Mythtaken. If you missed it in the bundle, it’s sold for a minimum price of $3, including both a standard and “dark mode” PDF.
That’s a cool 60 down, and only 1681 to go!