As the winds journey across the globe, swirling from one windmill to the next, they collect stories as they are told and carry the tales with them as they go. Windmills: Cozy Stories depicts some of these gathered tales, and inspires storytellers of any age to use their imagination to share new stories with the wind... gaining enough points to beat your fellow tale spinners is just a bonus.
Something In The Wind
In Windmill: Cozy Stories, players act as the storytellers, weaving short tales inspired by the (one of twenty five) story cards they randomly draw from the face down storyteller deck. While one player creates a micro story based on the illustration on their chosen card, the other players attempt to guess which of the visible 'table cards' the story is about – like a tale of a tiny moving city that was built on a friendly snail's shell, or one about a witch's pet salamander who has to sleep in a glass jar because it keeps setting books on fire.
Windmill: Cozy Stories is a delightfully relaxed family game aimed at players eight and over, though younger children with an active imagination will also enjoy this interesting story telling game.
The game is for three – five players, with an estimated play time of twenty – forty five minutes; though that will be dependant on your number of players and that age ranges involved. Thankfully, there is a cap of thirty seconds for storytellers to spin their tales (though we gave our seven year old a full minute to make it a little easier on her, so it is a game that's very easily adaptable to ability levels, which is nice).
Like many games, players win by scoring the most points. However, in Windmill: Cozy Stories, the more opponents that guess incorrectly, the more points the storyteller receives when someone does correctly guess the picture that relates to the story being told. But the game introduces an interesting mechanic, that sees storytellers losing points, if no one guesses the right care. The listeners also get points for accurately guessing the card that depicts the story, and the player with the most accumulated points at the end of the designated rounds (which varies with the number of players) wins the game.
Take A Peak Inside
Inside the compact box you'll find a well laid out rulebook, twenty five large cards (the storyteller deck), twenty five corresponding small cards (the table deck), a double sided windmill card, a 'first player' token, one sturdy and colourful scoring board, five differently coloured wooden windmills to use as player markers on the score board... that are adorable, according to our daughter.
The small box and compact design makes Windmill: Cozy Stories extremely portable. It's perfect for packing to take on holiday, especially when you have children in tow, which I'll admit was one of the first things about Windmill: Cozy Stories that caught my eye, whilst looking for new games to try distract our daughter from her tablet during our summer vacation this year. However, you do need a little bit of a room to set up the game – not a huge amount, we've played it on the bed whilst I was sick, and at the dining table. No doubt we'll be playing on the floor when we go camping later this Summer. Having the smaller cards as the deck that gets laid out certainly helps
keep the space required to a minimum.
Adaptive And Versatile
Windmill: Cozy Stories is a fantastic family friendly game, particularly if your playing with primary school aged children, as it promotes imagination and creativity, speech development, listening skills, as well as abstract thinking. It's also engaging for adults, making for an all round enjoyable gaming experience for the entire family – instead of a game that parents only drag out to either humour their kids, or use to keep them off the electronics (though that was a happy bonus when playing with our own tech obsessed child).
One thing that is crucial for us when we're looking for a family game, is whether or not it's autism friendly. Our daughter is high functioning, but still has some very stereotypical ASD traits, and with this in mind, Windmill: Cozy Stories is an ideal game. First of all, it's calm and relaxing, which is a big plus in our books. It has easy to follow rules, and extending the thirty second time limit helped our seven year old go from the very literal description of an owl that saw a key in a cage, to telling a story about a friendly fish who liked to protect boats out at sea.
Normally, we go for co-op games to minimise any potential meltdowns if she loses... something I'm sure all parents have endured at one time or another, regardless of the child having additional needs... but we found she enjoyed the creative aspect of the storytelling so much that she didn't really care about the points and was actually surprised to realise she'd won the first time we played. Which means I'll definitely be getting my hands on a copy of CrowD Games' 2022 instalment, Windmill: Cute Secrets.
Beyond The Windmills
On a final note, I want to take things outside of the box. Completely outside of the box. Whilst Windmill: Cosy Stories is obviously a fun, interactive family game, I personally think it can be much more than something that only comes out during games night. The beautifully illustrated cards are great jumping off points for practising creative writing, for any age. And whilst it's a superb way to encourage children to use their imaginations, as a freelance writer, I've found it a lot of fun to play around with some short story concepts inspired by the game, which makes Windmill: Cozy Stories (and it's sequel, Windmill: Cute Secrets) a must have for anyone who wants to explore their imagination a little more.