Sometimes reading books and watching movies can only take our imagination so far. After all, it doesn’t matter how engrossed we become in somebody else’s world, the fact remains that we’re just along for the ride so there’s very little for our imagination to do except settle back and enjoy the journey. But what if you wanted to be a participant instead of an observer, telling your own story at the turn of a card and watching the whole adventure unfold in front of you in a magnificent and beautifully designed storyscape?
That’s what The Shadow World: A Sci-Fi Storytelling Card Game is all about. Inspired by the 19th century craze for myrioramas (a set of illustrated cards that children moved around to create different pictures) The Shadow World is composed of 20 cards that can be placed in any order to create a seamless scene stretching up to 5.5 ft long. According to the creators, this means there are more than 2.4 quintillion storyscaping possibilities (packed inside a handsome box that looks just like a faux hardback novel), so be prepared that, once the games begin, you’ll be inside The Shadow World for a while (ie. make sure you load up with plenty of snacks before you start).
No, we’re serious. Load up with snacks. Because The Shadow World is addictive.
Here’s the set-up: London, 1900. A brilliant scientist has retired underground to create his own world, bending and overlapping the dimensions of time and space to prove his radical theory that gravity is a geometric property of spacetime. He’s called it The Shadow World and it is populated by a whole cast of incredible characters, each of whom is revealed at the turn of a card to spin your story off into fantastic and unexpected directions (and trying to build on the story the previous player has told as well as trying to up the level of difficulty for the player who comes next taught us a few things about the people we played this with). There are four games you can play, with the Sinister Story Relay and Dire Consequences games proving especially popular at about 1am when things really got competitive, and somehow by the time the sun came up most of us were still turning cards and telling stories… although perhaps not as coherently as when we started, but that’s another subject. Brilliant fun, and your imagination gets a workout too. What’s not to love?
THE SHADOW WORLD: A SCI-FI STORYTELLING CARD GAME / ILLUSTRATOR: SHAN JIANG / EDITOR: MARION DEUCHARS / PUBLISHER: LAURENCE KING PUBLISHING / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW