Preview: Quests, Plot Twists, and Morals Abound in Storytelling Game Tales of the Fabulist | Casual Game Revolution

Preview: Quests, Plot Twists, and Morals Abound in Storytelling Game Tales of the Fabulist

Tales of the Fabulist

Work together to tell a fantasy story of characters going on an epic quest…or at least a quest of some sort. How epic it is all depends on you!

Currently on Kickstarter, Tales of the Fabulist has players telling a story one plot twist at a time until they reach the end and must decide what the moral was all along.


The three decks (character, quests, and plot twists) are shuffled and placed on the play mat. Each player draws two plot twist cards and keeps them secret. Next, a player is chosen to be the fabulist for the round. He draws two character cards and a quest card and places them on the mat. The characters are all fantasy creatures or characters, with a single trait or fact about them written along the bottom of the cards. Examples of quests include solving the murders in the village, or journeying to the shamans to convince them to help you end the drought that is plaguing the land.  

There are two modes of gameplay: twisted tales and classic tales. The fabulist announces which mode the story will be told in.

Both modes begin the same way, with the fabulist having sixty seconds to establish the start of the story, define how the characters are related to each other and to the quest, and to get the adventure going.

Next, in twisted tales, the other players take turns playing plot twist cards onto the mat. When playing a plot twist card, you have thirty seconds to continue the story using the twist you've just introduced. Plot twists introduce phases that you must use while continuing the story such as ‘swarmed by blood-thirsty...’, ‘will die soon unless...’, and ‘looks down and unexpectedly sees...’. When your thirty seconds are up, another player plays a plot twist card and you draw a new one from the deck. If you draw an instant play card, you place it on the bottom of the deck, and draw a new plot twist card as well as a character card. On future turns you can introduce this character into the story along with a plot twist.

The player who places a plot twist card on the final space of the mat has sixty seconds to wrap up the whole story.

In the classic tales mode, players still take turns playing plot twist cards, however when playing it they only say one short sentence which includes the phrase from the card, affecting the story. The fabulist then has thirty seconds between each plot twist card to continue the story, picking it up from wherever the newest plot twist left it.

Once the story is finished, in either mode, the fabulist asks for the moral of the story and each player suggests what the moral might be. The fabulist then awards the quest card to whoever he feels gave the best moral.

Tales of the Fabulist


Tales of the Fabulist is a humorous, silly storytelling game that is trying to get you to laugh. The rules are light and take a couple of minutes at most to teach. The timer keeps the game moving along, and ensures the stories are short and sweet.

All the prompts on the cards are varied and clever. There’s a really fun range in the quests from more traditional fantasy ideas, to more humorous ones, to even murder mysteries. The plot twists are quite flexible so that they’re easy to fit in to any story, and the characters are amusing and eclectic.

We liked that two different modes are included in the game, as this makes it easier to facilitate players who might be a bit more nervous or uncomfortable in the role of fabulist. Both modes also have their strengths. It’s fun to throw twists and turns in the fabulist’s path in classic mode, while there is a more cooperative feel to twisted tales and everyone gets a chance to do some storytelling.

There is no stated winner or loser. Yes, the player with the best moral receives the quest card, but the rules say nothing about how many rounds you should play or even mentions the word ‘winner’ at any point. It’s not really that type of game, as it’s more about telling a funny story with your friends and getting each other to laugh, but some players may dislike this lack of structure.

If you enjoy storytelling games and improvisation, Tales of the Fabulist is a light-hearted, fast playing one that gets in and gets out quickly. Is a story not going well? The game is so short that it will soon be done. The mechanism of ending every story with a moral is also a unique one, and a nice touch for bringing the whole thing together. Check it out on Kickstarter and see if you have a tale to tell.

Pros: Two game modes, range in cards, game play speed

Cons: Lack of winner or suggested number of rounds may turn some players off, difficult for players who struggle with improvisation

Disclosure: this preview is based on our evaluation of an unpublished prototype of the game, which is subject to change prior to publication. While a modest payment was received to expedite the review process, our thoughts and opinions expressed here are honest and accurate.