Designed by Joel David with art by Dan David, Rucksack is a light storytelling party game where the 4-8+ players each have to relate how they deal with a disaster scenario using the five items in your rucksack.
This is a game that's firmly in the tradition of Funemployed (IronWall/Mattel), Snake Oil (Out of the Box) and Pitchstorm (Skybound). Play starts by revealing a scenario card (the game come with 50, so there's plenty of variety). These are typically dilemmas or epic challenges. None are risqué or offensive, so unlike many other storytelling games Rucksack isn't NSFW (Not Safe For Work). There's a deck of 100 items and objects - mostly mundane everyday household items but there are weapon cards in the deck. You play with a hand of five item cards: these make up the contents of your eponymous Rucksack. The game's short rules sheet sets out drafting rules for these where players draw a card and either keep it or discard it, but they have to take the next card they draw if they discarded the previous one. In our Board's Eye View plays we found this belaboured what is, after all, only the set up for the game. As an alternative, we just dealt everyone 7 cards and told players to choose two to discard. This gave sufficient agency over the contents of your rucksack but meant we could get on with the game with less delay. If you back this game on its Kickstarter campaign, it's an option you might like to try, especially if you're playing with a large group
Players take it in turns to give their account of how they plan to use their five items to deal with the scenario. Again, the rules suggest that this is phrased as what you would do but we found it was often more fun when players described what they claim they actually did. In either event, it's the storytellers who also form the audience. Unlike most other storytelling games, no-one is stepping out of the round to be the judge. The game includes scoresheets and even a bundle of pencils to facilitate voting on the best stories. That's helpful. That said, however, this is a lighthearted game rather than a cutthroat contest. We love playing storytelling games but we rarely feel the need to keep score: the fun of Rucksack - and it is a lot of fun - is in players' creativity and improvisation. Your group will get a lot of laughs from playing but no-one will really care who 'wins'.
Rucksack is published by Grumpy Spider and it's live on Kickstarter right now. Click here to check out the campaign.
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