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A ghost, trapped in the tree planted above her grave, finds herself exploring the world when the tree is transformed into a ship's mast. A lonely princess explores a crypt, hoping to find a new name and escape her fears. A merchant, far from home, plays a game of riddles with the guardian of a mountain pass.

A TALE BEFORE YOU GO is a storytelling game for one player. To play, you will need a standard deck of cards. You can tell your story orally or write it down; a tale can be spun in as little a ten minutes, or stretched out to thirty or more minutes.

Discover the character at the center of your tale — their fears, wishes, secrets, and wants. Are they a stranger to this land? What do they yearn to find? What shadows haunt their past?

Follow as they meet strangers, make choices, and suffer (or enjoy) the consequences.  

The tale you spin may reveal an unexpected moral lesson, an illustration of a forgotten holiday, a reassuring reminder of the magic in the world -- or something else entirely.

The ghost turns the ship's sails into truth-telling tapestries to set herself free. The princess offers herself to the crypt's elemental guardian and takes its name. The merchant turns back, defeated by the riddles but enriched by the moonstones he found in the mountainside.

Designed & written by Portia Elan, with illustrations by Charles Ferguson-Avery of Feral Indie Studio.

CategoryPhysical game
Rated 5.0 out of 5 stars
(8 total ratings)
TagsFantasy, Folklore, journaling, Singleplayer, storygame, zine


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Click download now to get access to the following files:

A Tale Before You Go Zine.pdf 3 MB
A Tale Before You Go (single page no folds).pdf 3 MB
How to fold a zine.png 514 kB


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Great set of prompts, interesting use of dividing the standard deck of cards into three decks and an altogether very nice feel. Thank you

"With a pocket-zine and a deck of cards, A Tale Before You Go can help you whip up a story in quick order, with some evocative setting bits and a straightforward story mechanic. Now that I’m trying to sum it up (and since the story can be told orally as easily as written down): if you’re needing a story for bedtime with the kids, keep this game at hand." 

You can read the Cannibal Halfling Gaming actual play review here.