No Thank You, Evil! is an RPG (though it never calls itself that) by Monte Cook Games, makers of the Cypher System games Numenera and The Strange. What sets it apart is the age range; No Thank You, Evil! is aimed at kids four and up.
Like RPG characters made in other Monte Cook RPGs, you build a No Thank You, Evil! character by first crafting a sentence. In this case, you make an [adjective][noun] who [verbs]. You can fill in the blanks with anything you like, making it entirely possible to play a Magical Turtle who Floats, a Beautiful Princess who Sings, or a Helpful Robot who Dreams.
Once you’ve described your character, it’s time to stat them out in a process that will look familiar to older fans of RPGs. A character has four stats: Tough, Fast, Smart, and Awesome. The points you put in each pool is dictated by your character sentence. So the Magical Turtle who Floats might have lots of points in Tough (because of the shell) and Fast (because of the floating).
Like in the Cypher System, your stats are pools of points you can spend to improve your chances to overcome a challenge. The difficulty of a challenge ranges from 0 (a mundane task that doesn’t require a roll) to 8 (a heroic challenge). You can spend points from your pools to lower the number you’re trying to roll on a d6 to succeed. Trying to power through a challenge? That’s using Tough. Trying to outrun the Creeping Fog? You’ll use Fast. Want to beat the dragon at chess? You’ll use Smart. You use Awesome when you’re trying to help someone else succeed at a challenge.
To help them on their adventures, each character has a companion. These are kind of like pets, and each companion knows a trick they can do and a secret. Each companion’s secret (called a Cypher in the rules) can only be used once, but once used it’s replaced by a new secret.
There’s a GM, called a Guide, who helps the players stat out their characters, sets the difficulties of the challenges, and plays the world the players will explore. The default world is called Storia and it’s a world of adventure you access through magical portals in your bedroom. If you go Into the Closet you enter “a fairy tale land full of queens, witches, dragons, and trolls” (fauns with umbrellas are apparently optional). If you go Out the Window, your adventures will include things like space travel or journeys beneath the ocean. Under the Bed takes you to a land full of ghosts and ghouls. And if you just want to explore the world of a favorite book, you can always travel Behind the Bookshelf.
The game is built to be scalable, so that five-year-olds won’t be overwhelmed by complicated rules and 12-year-olds won’t be bored by something that’s too simple, and both the five-year-old and the 12-year-old can play in the same game together. While it’s assumed the Guide will often be an adult, it’s also assumed that eventually older kids will want to run the game. In fact, if you find a demo game being run at a convention, you’ll likely have a kid being the Guide.
If you’ve got a budding story-teller in your family who’s perfect for RPGs but doesn’t have the patience or attention span for giant rule books and multi-page character sheets, No Thank You, Evil! might be just the game for them. Ask for it at your local Dragon’s Lair Comics and Fantasy® today.