Once Upon a Time FAQ 

Having questions about the Once Upon a Time 3rd Edition storytelling card game? Here are some of the most common questions and answers to them. (Note that MN = Michelle Nephew, JW = James Wallis, AR = Andrew Rilstone, and RL = Richard Lambert) 

More questions? Try the Atlas Games Forums 

Q. What's new in the 3rd Edition?

 MN. The 3rd Edition features:

  • New Artwork: Entirely new artwork by fantasy artist extraordinaire Omar Rayyan, known for his work for Magic: The Gathering and his amazing children's books.
  • Revised Cardlist: A re-worked cardlist designed to make play smooth and easy.
  • Redesigned Box: A larger box with new graphic design and "book-style" front flap, for greater visiblity and shelf presence.
  • Simplified Rulesheet: A simplified rules sheet designed to bring new players quickly into the game.

Q. Is the new edition compatible with the 2nd Edition expansion Dark Tales? If not, are there plans to release Dark Tales for 3rd Edition? Or is the expansion part of 3rd Edition? 

MN. You can use Dark Tales with the new edition, but the graphic design is drastically different so it would be obvious to other players which cards are from that set. A few of the Dark Tales cards made it into the new edition, but not enough to make a difference in play if you decide to mix them anyway. We don't anticipate re-releasing Dark Tales for 3rd Edition. 

Q. Are you going to publish other expansions besides Dark Tales, then?

MN. Yes. TheCreate-Your-Own Storytelling Cards expansion is coming out at the same time as the core game, and the Writer's Handbook has been announced for the beginning of 2013. We also have cardlists finalized for 2 different single-deck expansions already, with the art for them commissioned and in progress. 

Q. Supposing a player has King in their hand; starts to tell a story with a king in it, but deliberately doesn't play the King card -- so they can jump back in when someone else mentions the king? Is that "cheating" or is that part of the game? 

JW. I would say that's not gamesmanship, that's the kind of tactical play that many reviewers claim the game doesn't have. I like it, encourage its use, and think we should not legislate against it. 

RL. The potential to hold onto a card for something that you've mentioned is a valid tactic as it does leaves you open to getting the card stuck in your hand if another player takes over the story and, for example, has the king you've mentioned eaten by a giant before you've actually played the card. 

Q. If I say "And the hero stood at the cross roads and thought 'Which way shall I go? Left or right? Which? Which?' " is it in the spirit of the game for you to play your Witch card? Similarly, is interrupting the interjection "Well!" with the A Well card okay? 

AR. My feeling is that because OUAT is a "talking" game, then mischievous misinterpretations of the rules are all part of the fun -- particularly if they are witty and make everyone laugh. But interrupting "Well!" with the A Well card or "which?" with a Witch card are probably covered under the first rule of play example: the words "well" and "which" have been mentioned, but they certainly aren't important to the story. On the BBC Radio 4 panel game "Just a Minute", which was one of the inspirations for "Once Upon a Time", the chairman sometimes says "That isn't a fair challenge within the rules of the game but we'll give you a bonus point because we enjoyed it." That's the sort of spirit I'd like to encourage. 

Q. If the Storyteller mentions a princess and Player A interrupts with his Princess card, can Player B interrupt Player A with a Character Interrupt card? He says no. 

JW. No. 

AR. Nope. I think this is implicit in our suggested wording of the rules: "When the Storyteller plays a Story Card, any player who has an Interrupt Story Card with the same category icon/color can play it to interrupt." When player A played the Princess card, he wasn't the Storyteller. 

RL. And I still say no! 

Q. The Storyteller said "There was a wicked witch" and played the Wicked card. Someone immediately interrupted with Witch. Is this an allowable interruption? 

AR. The letter of the rules suggest that if a card had already been played, it was too late for the interruption. 

MN. The interruption would have to wait until the Storyteller said "witch" again, which would probably be pretty quickly anyway.