I’m doing my best to raise my daughters right. Teaching them right from wrong. To be courteous and kind. To be accepting of people no matter what they look like or if they have beliefs different from our own. That they shouldn’t let minor obstacles keep you from your goals, and there may be more than one way to approach these obstacles. Well, for Father’s Day this year, they gave me a gift that not only will help us bond as a gaming family, but also help enforce these life lessons I’ve been trying to pass along. They bought me No Thank You, Evil!.
No Thank You, Evil! is a role-playing game for ages 5 and up from Monte Cook Games. You are adventurers in the land of Storia, a kingdom divided into four territories: Behind the Bookshelf, Out the Window, Into the Closet, and Under the Bed. Your character gets to this land from their bedroom through one of those elements. Ie. You want to go to Behind the Bookshelf? You get there by going…behind the bookshelf. The players can be a number of different archetype characters, from the usual (like pirates, wizards, and spies) to the more unique (like creatures and robots). Each player also gets a companion to help them along in their journeys, giving them additional powers to bring into play.
Gameplay is very simple. Players stats are based on five skill categories: Tough, Fast, Smart, Awesome, and Fun. Each NPC/monster is assigned a difficulty level based on one of those stats. In order to successfully interact with that NPC in any way (fight/beat them in a game/talk them into giving you some information), the player must roll their D6 and tie or beat that goal. If the goal seems too difficult, they can “Try Harder” by using a point in the category the goal check is in to lower the goal by 1. Their fellow players can also help by declaring that they are going to “Be Awesome”, giving up an Awesome point and lower the goal number another point. These skill points can be lost during fights and other events, so the players must be judicious in their use of them (they can be replenished during play using Fun trait points and at the end of the session as well).
So far, my daughters and I have played though the introductory adventure, “Lost in Dragonsnot Falls”. Now, elder DOTT is 9 and has some experience playing rpgs, having taken part in a 2nd Edition D&D campaign with me and DM Dave. Her younger sister is 4, and has had no prior experience in the genre. DOTT 1 chose as her character a superhero named Chelsea with a Tiny T-Rex companion. DOTT 2 chose a Wizard named Abby with a Big Bad Wolf companion.
They both grasped the mechanics very easily, though I did have to coach them a bit about explaining how they are approaching the different situations, rather than just say, “I’m going to Be Awesome to lower the goal.” DOTT2 was particularly keen at finding different ways to approach the different challenges, and they both came up with a brilliant way of completing the quest without resulting to fighting at all. That’s one of the great things about this game, if you want to play a non-violent campaign, you totally can. There is a ton of opportunity for creative solutions to problem solving, the only limit (as corny and cliche as it may sound) is your own imagination.
The different lands of Storia all have different settings. Behind the Bookshelf is action-adventure based, there you would find spies and superheroes and ninjas and the like. Into the Closet is fantasy based, dragons and fairy tale creatures rule here. Out the Window is sci-fi and high adventure, steam punk pirate astronauts would not be out-of-place here. Finally, Under the Bed is the scarier side of Storia – ghosts, zombies and other things that go bump in the night are the residents here. These settings are another great thing about the game, as you can easily incorporate ANYTHING into your game. Your young child like the TV show PAW Patrol? Those characters could very easily be worked into Muttropolis in the land of Behind the Bookshelf. Or you can run into C-3PO and R2-D2 in Out the Window. Or encounter Minecraft Creepers in Under the Bed. Attend a ball run by the Disney Princesses in Into the Closet. The game gives you a lush world full of great characters, monsters, and locations, but adding things to make the world uniquely suited to your child’s interests is as easy as coming up with an interaction goal for them.
I highly recommend this game if you have kids. The simple gameplay can allow the younger players to hang with older ones while keeping them all interested. The emphasis is on storytelling, and you can use it as a tool to help teach those lessons you want your children to learn, how to stand up to bullies, being nice and polite to others, etc. Older kids may grow bored with the simple mechanics, but you can up their interest by scaling the difficulty or maturity of the story. It’s also a good way to introduce RPGs to your kids and prepare them for more difficult systems like D&D, Pathfinder, or Numenera. It comes in at $39.99 MSRP, a good price for something I think your whole family will love. Both my girls absolutely adored it and have been asking to play it nightly since our first session. I know the Thimbles will be playing this for a long time to come.