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The 'A' Game

Some time early last year, we played a game at one of our writing meetups, which as far as I can tell is unique and of our own invention. The game takes its name from the structure of the generated prompts “Write a story about a…”

With only a reference sheet and some dice, it’s possible to generate over a thousand (\(6^4 =\)1,296) possible writing prompts.

For the example provided, the prompts are only broken apart by setting, character, an object, and style/genre, with 6 possibilities for each. Of course, you’re welcome to expand and add other components to the prompts (secondary characters, plot devices, etc.) and for each 6 more you add the number of possible combinations grows exponentially. For 8 different criteria, there are over one and a half million (\(6^8 =\) 1,679,616) possible prompts!

Game Worksheet, 1 dice per player, writing materials

Give each player a copy of the worksheet and their dice.

For each round, have players roll a single dice for each category on the sheet and generate a composite prompt.

e.g. for the rolls 6, 2, 1, and 4 the writing prompt would be:

Write a story set on a pirate ship about an alien and an amulet in the fantasy genre.

Obviously, depending upon what you put onto your sheet, some prompts will be better than others. What we’re doing is actually just introducing randomization into generating prompts from set lists of choices, and is the “real-life” version of the way many online writing prompt generators function.

Here is the original worksheet we used, with 12 options for four categories - for this verison you can either use a 12-sided dice if you’re a D&D nerd, or do three rolls of a single 6-sided dice for each category to get a random number between 1 and 12 with equal chance (roll is the first number, if roll 2 is 6 or above do a 3rd roll, take roll 3 and add to value roll 1)

I’ve translated the above into a very simple writing prompt generator below with some terrible inline CSS and Javascript. There are 4 categories with 12 choices each for a total of 20,736 possible prompts. Enjoy!

Your prompt is: