The Siblings Trouble: Goonies in a Box

Every three or four months as a kid, I would create my own club. The Cheetah Club, the Ant Club, the Tiger Club all floundered as membership would drop from one to zero participants after the first week. I liked the idea of a club that met together and took on adventures, but didn’t have the reach or focus of an older person to actually do something. But now that I am old enough to go on a quest, I don’t have the time. The Siblings Trouble is here to merge those two mindsets. You can go on an adventure without spending a lot of money or time and you get the chance to feel like a kid again.

Who calls them the Siblings Trouble? Crazy people, that's who.
The Trouble Kids.

The Siblings Trouble puts storytelling first. If you aren’t playing this game to weave a crazy tale about how you rescued Willy Wonka from a sentient factory machine inside of an abandoned junkyard, then you need to play a different game. Every card is a piece of a puzzle that you can use to propel the plot into crazy directions, whether those cards are events, items, areas, or enemies.

Ay, caramba!
Little girl+slingshot= Girl Bart Simpson.

Each player chooses a sibling that they want to play as, whether that’s Adventure, Mischief, Mayhem, or Danger, each with their own Trouble Die and special ability. These personas can dictate the style you tell your story, but feel free to put your own spin on their motivations. Every Sibling also gets an item to start the game with, but you need to describe why you are bringing it with you into the great unknown.

Why don't you go in first? You're the shortest.
The Hillside Caves await.

Your group will be exploring a location through a deck that is built at the beginning of the game. This deck includes an entrance, creatures, areas, events, and an Epic Boss that needs to be dealt with at the end of  your adventure. You may have already explored the Mystic Waters in a previous quest, but not every card is used every game, so your story will be different from session to session.

A turn is very simple: simply draw a card and resolve it’s text. The fun comes when you describe your actions and how you plan to react to new situations. Most enemies require a certain Star value to be rolled on one or more Trouble dice. Siblings can assist each other if help is needed, but be careful. If you cannot overcome an obstacle, you have to “go home” to recover, effectively losing your next turn to explain how you got back. It’s a tough world out there and not every adventure will end in success, but I haven’t seen a total failure yet, so don’t worry too much about it.

This game is just gorgeous.
Who even cares about how the back of a card looks? Ed Baraf, that’s who.

As you dive deeper into your adventure, you will learn more about the Epic Boss and why you even came here in the first place. The Big Secret card reveals the mysterious antagonist that can evolve throughout the trek. Fear counters are the Boss’s currency, making them more dangerous or scary as your troupe draws ever closer. Every time a new element comes into play, you get the chance to elaborate on what on earth is going on to tie it all together.

One of my favorite things about The Siblings Trouble is that every encounter does not have to resolve with violence. You don’t have to hack and slash your way through the Hillside Caves if you don’t want to. And since you are playing as young kids, violence probably wouldn’t be your most effective method anyway. You can distract, barter, convince, trick, or otherwise deal with “enemies” in whatever way you want. In the final showdown of a game I played, we had to calm down a raging giant mantis shrimp who was just trying to find her parents in the aftermath of a lab disaster. It was some emotional stuff for a board game. I’m not crying…YOU’RE CRYING.

And what is it going to do with that flashlight? I'm dying to know.
The itsy bitsy spider wasn’t all that tiny, it turns out.

With the right group of adults, your tale can go to magical places with plot twists and turns on every card. You will return home bruised, but with a great story to tell. However, I played The Siblings Trouble with my 8 year-old nephew and it was magical. He became so invested in our adventure and he created solutions I never would have thought of in a thousand years. We stole from a troll, found a mysterious transforming box (the powers of which have not been fully explored), and even jumped inside of a slime monster to control its actions like a puppet. It was one of my favorite gaming experiences I have ever had. I think playing this game with families and children is the real sweet spot.

I couldn't find a Subway in that forest anywhere.
Let’s go home. I’m hungry.

The Siblings Trouble helps you tell stories that you will remember and share with your family and friends. Creating a shared experience is a really neat idea that The Siblings Trouble captures in a small package and can be played in less than 30 minutes. With outstanding art and a lot of heart, this game is one to definitely check out. Your story awaits.

The Siblings Trouble is on Kickstarter right now, so go there now if you want to be a part of the magic: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ebaraf/the-siblings-trouble?ref=users

Rob Cramer
Board games, board games, board games, board games. Board games? Board games. And Star Wars.

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