Rory’s Story Cubes (GameWright, $8) is not so much a game is it is a “creative story generator.” Designed by Irishman Rory O’Connor as a tool for tapping creativity, this compact package delivers a lot of fun in either solo or group play.
Here’s one example from a 10-year-old I found living in my house. She rolled sad face, magic wand, tree, fire, cane, arrow, flashlight, compass points, and magnifying glass, and came up with this (with apologies to JK Rowling).
There once was a wizard who was very unhappy. His name was Harry Potter. Harry’s magic wand made of pine tree bark had burned in a wizard duel with Draco Malfoy! He was forced to use a cane and when it broke he had to use an arrow! When he went home it was dark and since he couldn’t cast Lumos, he used a flashlight. (This is very unusual for a wizard.) When he got home he found all of his belongings spread in all directions! He used a magnifying glass and found Draco’s fingerprints! Draco was sent to Azkaban and was never seen again.
The genius of the design is its simplicity and flexibility. People can collaborate on stories, select themes, or just play alone. Both kids and adults—solo, or with a family or even in a party setting—can all enjoy it. Home-schoolers in particular might find it a useful tool for jump-starting the brain before a day of a work.