I have really started getting into storytelling games, while letting the typical D20 games take the back seat. I feel I am getting more out of them. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy Dungeon and Dragons and games like that, but they seem to get more into the hack and slash and less away from the story.
The first game I played was Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple. I played this with a few friends, using a wiki to post our “moves”. For those not familiar with Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple, you play Pilgrims sent to help out in a situation. Different situations can be found on line. Each player gets to write one sentence to help the situation or to hurt the situation depending on the stones they pull from a bag. There is more to it, then how I am making it sound. My point is I enjoyed it; I got to be a silly pilgrim, who managed to stay in trouble. We enjoyed so much, we are going to be playing again in May. If you are interested this game, you can find more information here. To see our story you can check it out here.
The next Game was Danger Patrol. This game was a blast to play. The whole thing took less the 15 minutes to set-up. It is a silly game, which is based off the old sci-fi serials of the 40s and 50s. I played the ghost of Evil Kenevil . I told you it was silly. With this game you make it up as you go. Unlike DO, Danger Patrol does use dice. The more danger you put yourself in, the more dice you get to use. You put yourself in danger by making up the story. However if you roll poorly, the GM will put you in more danger, therefore prolonging the story. You can find Danger Patrol here.
The last one, and probably my favorite so far is Dread. Dread also does not use dice, it uses Jenga. Every ones favorite block pulling game. This game is meant to be played in as a horror game. The first game time I was part of a game of Dread, the store was based around Sphere (by Michael Crichton). Some of us survived that game. The second game, which I ran, was based off Phantoms by Dean Koontz. Everyone died in this game. The great thing about dread is that with Jenga being the deciding element, it really adds that tension. Especially when you know the tower is about to fall and there is no escape. You can find more information for Dread here.
One of the pulls from the Dread game. The players were in a library when all of a sudden the selves of books started to fall. They pulled a plank to dodge books.
The one thing I really love about all three of these games is the fact you can pretty much play them with little to no investment. This is completely different then D&D and some other roleplaying games out there, which nickel and dime you to death.
So if you have some free time, give some of these games a try. I would also love to hear some of the other great, cheap (if not free) storytelling games that are out there.