Dice on Fire Review: Rory's Story Cubes

Boardgaming is a peculiar beast and can encompass a huge variety of game types and themes and intentions. We have cards, boards, dice, word games, party games, pen-and-paper RPGs, huge and complex eight-hour brain drainers, and super-simple one minute brain-farts. So it might seem a bit strange to feature a "game" like Rory's Story Cubes on here, brandishing it as a dice game, but it makes perfect sense. Rory's Story Cubes is a game about imagination, creativity and a dose of fun. Honestly, I think these are amongst the core ingredients of every good boardgame -- so Rory's Story Cubes is getting reviewed as such. Another other core ingredient of a boardgame is structure, and that's where these story cubes are going to fall short.

You get nine plastic cubes with designs on each face. The designs are varied and often clear.

The Basics

There are no rules with Rory's Story Cubes. Instead, you roll the nine dice and do something creative with them. Storytelling is the obvious answer. I've used these cubes in school (did I mention I'm a high-school English teacher?) to inspire metaphor writing and personal recounts. I've used them with colleagues to tell silly stories. Roll three dice; what's your story? "The leprechaun found aliens at the end of the rainbow -- they'd stolen his gold! Those bastards!"

How it Plays Out

You read "The Basics"? Well, that's it! This is very simple stuff.

I know it sounds really boring, and it can be, but with the right environment, it can be a lot of fun. Children and adults seem to be immediately impressed and drawn to the storytelling-dice. I've used them amongst small groups of friends, in classroom environments and with educators. Almost everyone has enjoyed the dice briefly and have been able to come up with some unique way of playing them. Probably the best variation of the game just involved rolling dice sequentially to make a story longer and longer until somebody stumbled or came up with something lame. How much you enjoy these is going to depend a lot on who you can get together -- you will need creative types or people who don't mind playing a game without rules or turn orders or whatever. If you can't get these kind of people into a group, then you might find you're wasting your time (and money!).

Now, I know that there are lots of these creativity and story-telling games on the market. Games like Dixit and Once Upon a Time immediately jump to mind and really, these games beat Rory's Story Cubes if you want a game with a real structure. The story cubes win out if you want a more free-flow activity. They also win out on the visceral activity of dice rolling. It's going to depend on what you want to achieve in your gaming group.

A nice, compact case.

Component Quality

The dice themselves really are beautifully made. They are large, weighty and the designs, for the most part, are clear. They come in a beautiful little display case which really impressed both me and my colleagues.

Colour-Blind Info

No colour issues worth mentioning. In the expansion packs -- Actions and Adventures -- colour is used to distinguish between dice sets. I've not had personal experience with these, but they don't appear to be so alike in colour that it would cause trouble for most colour-blind people.

Any ideas for a story?


So like I said, Rory's Story Cubes are all about the people and groups. You need a nice crowd willing to have some imaginative fun, but if you can get that, you are going to enjoy yourself, at least for a while. I doubt you'll ever get the situation where a group clamours for more, but I can really imagine these guys coming out in camping trips, Sunday afternoons with kids and educational settings. But for your boardgame club: pass on them!