Welcome to a beautifully illustrated, amazingly structured and wonderfully imaginative universe. Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple is a collaborative storytelling game designed for interested adults and tween-aged kids. It was created by Daniel Solis and published by Evil Hat Productions.
I’m unfortunately not able to review as many games as I have in the past, simply because of time constraints. But I’d heard a lot about Do and when the opportunity to give it a look fell in my lap, I jumped at it.
It’s one of the few games I’ve looked at recently where I was truly struck by the fantastic artwork. I mean it jumped off the page and slapped me about – it’s really well done, stylistically it fits perfectly with the game and serves to immediately capture your interests and drag you forcefully into the game world. Thankfully, that’s a good thing. It’s not often I jump into a review starting with the artwork. I will tell you one more thing about it though. I would buy this book simply for the artwork even if I never intended to play it. Fortunately, it’s a game worth playing.
Do is a cooperative storytelling game. This means that there aren’t any dice, or character sheets (mostly) or tons of set in stone rules regarding classes, characters and the monsters they hack and slash. No, Do is more about engaging your imagination and coming up with a story you wouldn’t mind sitting down and listening too, that is if you weren’t actively creating it.
Picture this. There is a flying temple, orbited by an infinite number of small worlds, inhabited by an infinite number of interesting people and creatures. That’s the world of Do. Your characters are young initiates at the temple, giving the task of a pilgrimage to the varied worlds surrounding it.
The inhabitants of these worlds, when they come in to troubled times or have unfulfilled wishes, write letters to the temple outlining their troubles. The pilgrims are bound to answer, and do their best to set things right.
Do has some central themes that all of the collaborative stories are centered on. Each player is a pilgrim. The pilgrims have a stack of letters and a mission: To leave this world a better place then they found it. The pilgrims will attempt to help the people who’ve written these letters, but in the process will cause new troubles to arise. They must then do their best to leave everything better than when they found it.
Simple concept, interesting execution.
Each player must give their pilgrim a name, such as Pilgrim Smoking Wand. The name is significant in that it helps describe how the Pilgrim gets in to trouble and how they help people. Perhaps Pilgrim Smoking Wand has smoke come out his ears when he gets angry, thus causing people to believe he’s a demon. But he also has a wand that grants a single wish from whomever he’s trying to help.
The game isn’t simply free-form storytelling though. There are mechanics, and each player takes a turn at being the “storyteller” (the one who leads the other players through a particular round of creativity). Black and white stones are drawn at random to help determine what course the story will take. The stones help determine if your pilgrim will get into trouble, out of trouble, helps a person or another pilgrim and so on.
At the end of a game, the players will have told an interesting story, with everyone contributing a roughly equal part to it, and will have excersised their creativity.
The game is a lot of fun, the layout and artwork are spectacular and it’s a wonderful way to spend an hour or two with children aged 12 or older, while being creative and having everyone engaged in a fun activity. 5 out of 5 stars.