Review: No Thank You, Evil!

On another post, I talked about gaming for and with children. This post is a review for a book that’s specifically geared towards those children and that we mentioned in that post. No Thank You, Evil! is produced by Monte Cook Games and was written by Shanna Germain and Monte Cook. The game was originally launched by Kickstarter in June of 2015. This is probably the cutest book I have seen for roleplaying games since Mouseguard.

We have this book in PDF and only in PDF so I can’t comment you as to the quality of the print and physical product and be honest. However, I can state that I have never had any complaints about any of the other print books we have received from Monte Cook Games and when I have had any issues, they have been quick to resolve it. So I don’t really expect this to be any different. The PDF is written in an easy to read and understand format. The font and text size is similar to most children’s books, this makes it easy for the children to read alone or with their parent(s). Bright bold colors to highlight important text, they kept the back color boxes faded to make it easy to read. There is no sidebar information in the book, it’s all contained in the main text with highlight boxes in the columns. The pages are also color coordinated to add to the ‘playful’ of the book. This game comes as a box set, and you can watch the unboxing video here.

The mechanics in No Thank You, Evil! are a mix-and-match set. First, it uses a d6 rather than your standard d20. The difficulties are set from one to ten, and unlike the cypher system there is no multiplier of three. The terminology is different as well, the GM is now called a ‘Guide’ because they guide the adventure. There is also no ‘tier’ for the characters, only the player levels, which is focused on what the age of the player is. Included is a handy chart and the images are repeated throughout the book. 

Orange Triangles are for the youngest players, five and under, they also have the least amount of work for character creation as their sentence is simply ‘I’m a Noun.’ Which makes it very easy to get the game started and the player engaged. This lets them be their character type without complicating things. As all players get companions – a friend who travels with them – this player only gets one for the fun of it. 

Green Squares are for the next level of player, those from six to ten. Their sentence is slightly more complex in the ‘I’m an Adjective, Noun’ which expands their choices. They get a companion and their companion gets a cypher and treats. Treats are what you feed your companion.

Blue Circles are for the eight to fourteen year olds, they get companions, cyphers, treats and the most complex sentence. ‘I am an Adjective, Noun who Verbs‘. This sentence structure is most like the Cypher System. Obviously, this is still a ‘use your best judgement’ but it recommends that your game is focused on the youngest, if you have a triangle, everyone should play a triangle, if you have a square, everyone plays a square.

The adventures are typically between thirty and sixty minutes to account for the attention span of the players (You try keeping a six year old focused for more than an hour. If you can, you’re a better GM than I). Once character creation is over, you can use the adventure book the set comes with to guide the players through the game or come up with your own. 

Storia is the default setting where these adventures take place. It is described as follows:

‘The land of Storia is one that’s not modern, but not old either. It’s a mix of all the times and ages that have been, are, and have yet to be. You’ll find knights riding unicorns, rocket ships of the future carrying pirates of the past, and dinosaurs driving race cars. Storia is stories itself. And that means anything—and everything—can happen!’

No Thank You, Evil!, page 58

Each portion of Storia is accessed from different parts of the player’s room and divided into four areas, Behind the Bookshelf, Out the Window, Into the Closet and Under the Bed. Each area has their own feel, own adventures and own barriers. This land has very much a Chronicles of Narnia feel but simplified.

Now, the adventure book that is included is very well written, easy to use and read, and you can be a new GM and quickly launch into running the game. It’s perfect for teenagers with younger siblings that they want to amuse, or parents who want to introduce their kids to a game. I’ve got a few friends that have small children and have nothing but praise for this game. I myself intend to run it when my grandbabies get a little older (one is barely a year, the other not even a year). You can also buy additional products, for instance, the Story, Please! card deck is super cute for this game. We ordered it because I wanted it, and looking at it I could completely see being able to use it. The cards are bigger than the other decks, heavier and will be easier for small fingers and small eyes to see and use. There is also a supplement called I’m a Guide to help new, young players run their first games.

I haven’t gotten a chance to run this game, but I am quite impressed with it. I look forward to seeing what they come out with in the future for it. Shanna and Monte did a really good job and I’m not saying that just because I’m a fan. Happy gaming!

  • Joann Walles

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