Story Craze is an innovative, new, educational, and often hilarious creative writing and storytelling game. Intended for children ages six and older, the game uses cards representing PEOPLE, PLACES, + THINGS as cues to ignite outside-the-box thinking to make up outrageously witty, laugh out loud three-chapter stories. This game is addictively fun, increases writing skills and cognition.
“Story Craze” is full of random ideas, silly combinations, and crazy stories. Developed with kids, the game garners different results every time you play. Since creative writing skills has been proven to help kids develop important life skills and can boost learning, confidence, self-esteem, communication, organization, leadership, and teamwork skills, this game is ideal for teachers and/or homeschooling families.
“Story Craze” is easy to play. Each team draws one card from each of the PEOPLE, PLACES and THINGS decks. Then, each team grabs a sheet from the story pad and a pencil and they have 10 minutes to create chapter 1 (round 1) of a wacky story by incorporating their three cards. When the timer runs out, each team reads their story out loud. A JUDGE card is drawn (usually by the youngest player) and the team whose story is most like it is awarded a point. Select new cards for chapter 2 and continue the story and a new judge draws a new JUDGE card and awards a point. Repeat this for one final round for chapter 3 and the team with the most points wins! Except if there is a tie, then a fourth, tie-breaking, round will be played.
“Story Craze” gets kids communicating big time and helps them get to know themselves and each other better. It helps make writing fun! As a parent, teacher, or caregiver, you know writing can be a hard skill to learn and to teach. With this game, kids come together to create a story that combines real-life experiences, imagination, and teamwork. The game makes problem-solving no problem at all because it ignites creativity and divergent thinking. Kids engage in conversation with one another, problem solve, and laugh hysterically. “Story Craze” also challenges children to stretch their minds while figuring out how to combine completely random ideas. It helps kids find their voice to express their thoughts, feelings, and experiences. It builds communication skills and confidence and helps kids to develop charisma and capture attention. This game has shown to hone important skills such as teamwork, leadership, creativity, persuasiveness, and organization. Moreover, children build integrity and character when they are chosen to be the game’s Judge.
Story Craze’s Marcie Jacobs recently discussed the games and her hopes for its future via a recent interview.
Meagan Meehan (MM): What was the development process of this game like and how much similar (or different) was the prototype from the finished product?
Marcie Jacobs (MJ): Worked with a Kid Development Team we dubbed Team Crazy. More than thirty local kids where we gathered multiple times to create content, play and continue to revise and tweak. The kids were a critical part of every step including content creation and game rules, as well as, box design creative approvals. The original prototype creative assets were designed by an Art Institute of Charleston student. They were more comic sketches of characters. The finished product was refined by professional graphic designer, Matt Franklin. Matt knew exactly the look we were going for. You can see more of his work at: https://mattfranklin.deviantart.com/
MM: What made you decide to launch this item via Kickstarter?
MJ: First of all, our Kickstarter campaign was probably the hardest thing we have ever done. Had we known how hard it would be, we probably would have considered other funding options. Saying that, we learned so much and met lots of great ‘gamers’. We both were avid Kickstarter fans in that we love seeing new innovations and creative initiatives. Because STORY CRAZE fills the monstrous need of attempting to UNPLUG your kids, we thought Kickstarter fans would appreciate it and get behind it. While we were successfully funded, we soon realized that the Kickstarter audience (at least back in 2016) was predominately younger males. In addition, we learned that crowdfunding, while a growing trend, is still not widely known. We spent a lot of time explaining the concept to family and friends.
MM: What are the cognitive benefits of making up stories and engaging in creativity-based play?
MJ: We spent a year play testing STORY CRAZE. We played with hundreds of kids in all kinds of situations: family time, camps, birthday parties, schools, homeschools, after school programs, youth groups, and regular focus groups. In the beginning, we thought we were creating a fun and funny creative writing game. What we realized along the way was that STORY CRAZE is so much more. While playing, we saw kids transform from being shy and intimidated, to really finding their voices in the creative process and becoming incredibly self-confident. We experienced kids showing increased teamwork and problem-solving skills, as well as, leadership and self-esteem. In one instance, we brought kids together from both sides of the economic spectrum and watched as the gap completely closed as they collaborated and laughed non-stop. STORY CRAZE is not only a fun experience and a great educational tool, it forces kids to imagine and dream big!
MM: What are some of the coolest stories you’ve heard people make up while playing “Story Craze”?
MJ: Well, have you heard of Shane the red-haired shark who surfs the pyramids in Egypt on a magic carpet? Or how about the scary lunch lady whose spatula has a magic button that can transport you to another planet where there are purple aliens with names like Fred? Or how about Periwinkle who has the super power to give you wings? Why? Doesn’t everyone want wings? There are hundreds of crazy and imaginative stories what have been created with STORY CRAZE. What’s really cool is that it’s different every time you play!
MM: Overall, what are your biggest goals for the future of “Story Craze”?
MJ: With the strength of the STEM movement, creative writing and storytelling have sat on the back burner in the school system today. Outside-the-box divergent thinking is what kids do best. Why? Because under twelve years of age, kids just don’t know what’s not possible. Why couldn’t there be a creature that is part shark, part bear, and part alligator? It’s called a sharkbearigator! Our goal for STORY CRAZE is to get kids UNPLUGGED (even for a short period of time) and imaginations running wild while making up original stories. Kids are kids no matter what race, part of the world they live, and economic status. Making up stories is what they do best, and we want millions of them to use STORY CRAZE to get them started.
MM: Is there anything else that you would like to mention? Imagine what it’s like for kids in hospitals?
MJ: Their everyday life stories are filled with doctors, nurses, medicine, etc. How incredible would it be for them to take a break from that reality and imagine a different kind of story. As STORY CRAZE story. We have philanthropic goals for every child in every children’s hospital to have this game, as well as, every child who is associated with Ronald McDonald House, or a recipient of Toys for Tots and other similar programs. We wish we could just donate games to them all, but as a start-up, it’s not possible. We have created a philanthropic program where donors can purchase large quantities of games at a deeply discounted cost to donate to children’s organizations. If you are interested in learning more, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Meagan J. Meehan is a published author, poet, cartoonist, and produced playwright. She pens columns for the Great South Bay Magazine, Blasting News, and Entertainment Vine. She is also a stop-motion animator and an award-winning abstract artist. Meagan holds a BA in English Literature and a MA in Communication. She is also an animal advocate and a fledging toy and game designer.
Meagan is a contributing editor to Kidskintha writing on Toys, Games, Entertainment, and other topics that are happy and fun!