Story Bowl Review: Write Stories, Give Clues, and Learn about Your Friends

Story Bowl

Write a story, give some clues, and get to know each other in Story Bowl — a party game that makes a great story in and of itself.

Gameplay

Each player takes a pen and slips of paper. Eighteen prompt cards are dealt out from the deck and disbursed among all the players. Prompts can be things like ‘an awful date or meeting’ or ‘a time you were super bored’.

For each prompt you are dealt, you write down a three-word story on a piece of paper. For instance, for ‘a nightmare you had’ you might put ‘dog teeth kill’. All the stories are then put into a bowl (the game suggests a bowl; you could also simply shuffle them facedown). Players divide into two teams and a clue-giver is picked for each team.

On your team’s turn, the clue-giver has 60 seconds to get their team to guess as many stories as possible. The clue-giver draws one of the story papers from the bowl. The clue-giver can only use verbal clues and cannot say any of the words on the paper. After the 60 seconds runs out, the second team goes. The two teams keep alternating until all the stories have been guessed. Each team scores one point for each story they correctly guessed, and the first round ends.

During the second round, all the stories are put back into the bowl and the teams try to guess them again, only this time the clue-giver must be silent and can only give clues through charades and turns only last 45 seconds.

In the third and final round, turns only last 30 seconds, and clue-givers can only say a single word (that does not appear in the story) as a clue.

At the end of the third round the team with the highest score wins and players are encouraged to share the full stories for each three word story they wrote down.

Story Bowl Components

Review

Story Bowl is a party game that’s both challenging and hilarious. You need a good memory and the ability to give good clues as the rounds escalate, and the shorter and shorter turn times just keep everyone alert and involved.

There are lots of prompts, which ensure you’re going to get something different every game. Even if you have trouble coming up with an answer to a prompt, the rules say you can put down three random words and, because of the mechanics, this works just as well.

The different clue types for each round are challenging in their own ways and it’s enjoyable to work in the parameters they give you. The designers even recommend playing bonus rounds with new and different parameters that are a lot of fun to play around with.

If there is one flaw in the game, it’s that the artwork and colors on the cards are not all that appealing. But it plays such a minor role in the game that it does not actually detract from the overall experience.

This is a party game that’s great for people to get to know each other, as the game encourages explaining your stories. It offers you a glimpse into someone’s life and is a great icebreaker. At the same time, the game can work well for good friends, as they relive favorite moments together and inside jokes, or maybe learn a little something new about each other. Story Bowl is truly a game where the experience is more fun than who wins and loses. At the end of it, you may not even feel the need to keep score!

Pros: Works well with a wide range of groups, fun prompts

Cons: The artwork is unattractive

Disclosure: we received a complimentary review copy of this game.