A Taste of Storytelling at Labyrinth Games & Puzzles in Washington DC

Labyrinth Games & Puzzles in Washington D.C. just hosted a big event called a Taste of Storytelling, featuring Happy Birthday, Robot! and Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple. The store owner was very kind to host my wife and I over the weekend and give us a tour of the city. We saw lots of cool schtuff and there was way more to see than we could fit in one Saturday. We'll return soon!

But the main event was on Sunday and it was awesome. About thirty attendees played six different sessions of either Do or HBR. It was my first time actually being in the room while others taught and ran my games, which was a surreal and exciting experience. Probably my favorite moment was when everyone fell quiet at the same time, long enough to overhear me ask "So... what could possibly go wrong with using a sword as a baseball bat?"

During short one-shot games like these, I've been trying to relax the writing requirements of Do. Upside: It speeds up play quite a bit when people can just say what their pilgrim is doing. The downside is that you really need an outside facilitator (a GM, basically) just to keep track of everyone's current trouble-state. I'll adapt what I've learned from to my newer storytelling games.

Oh! And Megan was kind enough to be the typist during our HBR sessions. The best part of that? She could have her laptop read aloud the story after the game was complete. That drew big laughs from the group. Here's a sample of some of the stories from the event, first from Do.


-Pilgrim Sublime Elephant gets in trouble by being slow to action and helps by having a great memory.

-Pilgrim Exuberant Mountain gets in trouble by helping and helps by being patient.

-Pilgrim Anxious Fountain gets in trouble by being nervous and helps by being very giving.

-Pilgrim Insolent Monkey gets in trouble by mouthing off and helps by climbing things.


••Pilgrim Sublime Elephant remembers this was not the first time Melanie has written to the Temple and begins a thorough search through the vast archives. After hours of searching, Sublime Elephant finds the letter...just as a cat nabs it from his hands and runs away.

Exuberant Mountain chases the cat straight into the whale's mouth.

°°Pilgrim Anxious Fountain brings a tasty treat for the whale to eat in order to get access to the swallowed cat. The cat then leaps out of the whale and is chases Anxious Fountain.

•Pilgrim Insolent Monkey loudly demands the whale release the planet and is promptly swallowed in the process. Insolent Monkey then quickly climbs up and out the whale's blow hole.

°°Pilgrim Sublime Elephant realizes he didn't need the original letter because read it previously and states, “I know why that planet was so delicious!” Sublime Elephant, however, did not know he looked up the WRONG Melanie and sets off for a different world.

••Pilgrim Exuberant Mountain finds the planet inside the whale and begins dragging it toward the blow hole. Dragging the planet thereby destroys the roof of the house in the process.

°Pilgrim Anxious Fountain realizes she needs to help her friends, confronts her feline fears, and heads back toward the whale.

••Pilgrim Insolent Monkey sees Sublime Elephant lumbering in the wrong direction and re-directs him toward the whale. Sublime Elephant resolves to shove one of the trees into the blow hole and is subsequently sneezed into the sky (a literal snot rocket, one might say...).

Sublime Elephant manages to yell, “Burn the cookies!” while flying past the other Pilgrims.

Exuberant Mountain makes a quick decision to set the roof, still in his hands, alight to burn the cookies as directed. The whale then sneezes hard enough to expel the planet!


-Pilgrim Sublime Elephant: ••°°• The lessons learned here in sky whale congestion will serve me well in teaching other pilgrims back at the Temple. He'll soon becomes a library hermit in the temple.

-Pilgrim Exuberant Mountain: •• Fire + Whale = Whale Bacon. I'll create the universe's largest BBQ shack.

-Pilgrim Anxious Fountain: °°° I learned so much during this adventure. I'll return to the temple to create a training program and share what I learned.

-Pilgrim Insolent Monkey: ••• I am the Whale Whisperer! And also a traveling outcast...

And here's a story from Happy Birthday, Robot!

Happy Birthday Robot!
Robot ate cake and called his friends, but his friends couldn't come.
Robot was sad that his friends missed his party, so he decided to cry.
However, Robot's friend Matt was able to come later and they had fun, but Matt lost his present.
Robot had extra presents to give Matt and they both had a lot of fun, but something bad happened.
Robot saw it started to rain...with lightning! But, the sun was out.
A beautiful rainbow showed Robot where a present was hidden, but someone else was there.
Amazingly, it was his other friends who were coming to visit.
And when he saw friends he was totally amazed!
Robot really wanted the present (it was a water slide). And it was ginormous!
So, they played.
After they went on the water slide, they dried themselves off.
Matt found his present and oiled Robot.
They went home to eat more cake.
Robot said, “this was the best birthday ever!”

Check out the pics above a fine city and an even finer game shop. Many thanks again to Labyrinth Game Shop. DC gamers, you're super lucky.
Daniel Solis
Art Director by Day. Game Designer by Night.