I’m a Guide: No Thank You Evil from Monte Cook Games – Review

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Whatisit?

The Hook

I’m a guide is a set of three short books to help children learn how to run a game of No Thank You Evil as the guide. Each book adds something different for the reader to help them through the process of learning how to prepare, teach, and run a game.

Before I go on, I need to explain my situation in regards to this. This is a learning expansion and I do not have the basic rules for the game. This product is designed to be used with the rules, so I wasn’t able to run the adventure. However, with the current conditions of the world I wouldn’t have been able to do that at any rate. That said, I’ve been playing rpg’s since the red box D&D from way back in the late 70’s. I’m evaluating this as a teaching tool for young readers who want to be a game master/guide and I’ve enough experience with rpg’s that I feel comfortable doing this.

The Trail

It comes with three books and several cardboard standees. These are representatives of different children that can act as player pieces. It features different genders and ethnicities, which I appreciate. It also has a couple of figures for some of the NPC’s mentioned in the included adventure. There is one notable absence, but as this particular character is more of an environmental hazard I can sort of understand why they’re missing.

The three books include, My First Game, in this book the reader learns how to prepare the game, teach it to other players, and then run the adventure. I think this book can work very well. It includes notes to mark out all of the possible pitfalls for new guides. Some of the tips include when to offer tips to stuck players and to offer two or three options, whether or not you want to use different voices for the NPC’s, and when to explain or remind players of the rules.

Lucy Lawful and the Awful Waffle is a short storybook adventure about how Lucy Lawful saved the day when a plate of waffles goes missing. At the end of the story is an adventure hook and some tips on how to use the hook to create your own adventure. The story is fast, the pictures colorful, and the characters are compelling for young readers. It’s a nice follow up book to My First Game and gives the guide a chance to flex their muscles on how to write their own game.

Finally, there is, Lucy Lawful’s Storia Explorer. This is a coloring and activity book that uses characters from the other books. It’s a fine book that can give players some inspiration for their own characters when playing the game, or just some fun time with a box of colored pencils and crayons.

WhatDoesn’t itAdd?

WhatisFixed?

The Clues

There aren’t any new rules in this book. I don’t feel like it adjusts actual gameplay beyond giving children the ability to run as the guide.

The Conflict

I think that’s going to depend on whether or not a young child wants to run the game. If so then I believe this will be invaluable to them. It will give them everything they need to teach the game to other children while running it themselves.

Do IWantThis?

The Final Boss

If you do have a child who wants to run the game, then yes I think you want this. If no one you know is pushing to run then maybe hold off on grabbing this until they do.

Do INeedThis?

Whatdo i think?

The Loot

This is an excellent book. It has good information and works well. I think it’s written at a level where young players, age five+ will be able to handle it depending on reading level. You may need to be on hand to help with some rules and answer a clarification or pronunciation here and there, but I think that’s a good thing. This is a solid product and it can be used to help a young child learn to run the game.

The best part of this is it doesn’t talk down to the reader. Full props to Shana Germain for treating kids as people who can think. All of the advice in here are things I’ve given to other new guides, game masters, and dungeon masters for years. There’s nothing in here that assumes the reader doesn’t understand what’s going on. Where the book simplifies the rules and the process but never “dumbs it down.” I love this. I want books to be accessible to children but to still challenge them. This book does that.

The extra books and cardboard standees are nice and will help round out your collection of books and things for your kids. Everything here is well put together and if my niece was about five to six years younger I would try this with her.

If you want to know if this is a reason to get the base game and play with your kids, I can’t say definitively but the game seems to run on a slimmed down version of the Genesys system and I like this game setting. The base game is a middle weight rules setting that is designed to let the players and gm’s tell their stories. The few small glimpses of the rules included in here are enough for me to say that yes this is probably a good fit for your family.

As always I’m a huge proponent of try before you buy. Though I’m not sure where you might do that here. The games website hosts a number of videos showing kids playing and I’ve seen some others on YouTube. If you do end up buying it without giving it a chance first I think you’ll be okay.

Until next time, stay safe and be well.

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