“Happy Birthday, Robot!” is an Excellent Storytelling Game

If you like storytelling games, and especially if you have young children in your life, I cannot recommend Daniel Solis’s Happy Birthday, Robot! highly enough. Using dice and coins, up to five players collaboratively create a story about Robot’s birthday. The game serves as creativity fuel, helps you practice collaborative storytelling, and is a whole bunch of fun.

Art for Happy Birthday, Robot!

Every story starts the same: “Happy birthday, Robot!” From there players take turns being the Storyteller. When you’re the Storyteller you roll dice, keeping some and giving others to the players on your left and right. You then write a sentence to keep the story going. You can write as many words as you have dice, but you get the word “Robot” (or “Robot’s”) for free. The player to your right then adds to your sentence using the same rules, only they get the word “and” for free. Then the player to your left adds even more to the sentence, their free word being “but”.

It’s both very silly and very entertaining. As an example, here’s the story Eli, Misty and I created last night.

Happy birthday, Robot!

Robot went flying and had fun but zoomed down quickly.

As he fell, Robot began to sing and dance but landed on a trampoline.

Robot bounced up into the sky and broke apart into tinier robots.

One tiny robot commanded the others and yelled, “Back to the sky, buddies!”

Tiny robots raced skyward (and how!) but one crashed into an eagle.

And that robot fell down into a trampoline pit.

Robot broke through the trampoline and fell to the hot lava below.

Robot buddies raced down and fished him out of the lava but one fell down.

The other robots helped him out but the hook came off.

All the robots became best friends.

Fun times had by robots!

(The hook that came off, in case you’re wondering, was evidently from where the other robots fished the one robot out of the lava.)

You can get a PDF of the game for $10 or a beautiful booklet of it for $25. If Happy Birthday, Robot! sounds a little too child-like for you because your heart is shriveled, you should instead take a look at Solis’s Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple. Solis is raising the funds to publish the game, and if you donate you can get all kinds of cool stuff plus the warm feeling of having helped something cool come into being.

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