No Thank You, Evil!
Evil Doesn’t Stand A Chance!
Olivia is a Super Smart Princess who Experiments with Science. Rowan is a Cool Robot who Loves Ooey Gooey Things. Their best friend tells them that a dragon has stolen all his chocolate coins. They’re the only ones who can enter Storia and save the chocolate—how will they do it? It’s all up to them!
A Childrens' RPG Using Simplified Adult Rules [ edit ]
No Thank You, Evil! is the brain child of Shanna Germain and Monte Cook. For those unfamiliar with him, Monte is a well known game designer, most famous for is involvement in the creation of Dungeons and Dragons third edition. He went on to author dozens of official and 3rd party products for the game, before eventually (along with co-founder Shanna) founding his own company, Monte Cook Games, LLC. That company has released several RPGs, including Numenera and The Strange.
Both of those games use a common rules system, known as the Cypher System, and as this system gained popularity Cook began released a series of products for him. But while Cypher was clearly designed for adults, Cook realized that if most of the details were removed, the core of the system alone could make for a fantastic game for children. Thus, No Thank You, Evil! was born.
Ages 5+ [ edit ]
No Thank You, Evil! takes place in "Storia", which is a magical island hidden in the usual places children find such things (eg. under a child's bed, or in the back of their closet). Storia has everything a child could want in their adventures, from robots to dinosaurs to witches, and thus can appeal to kids with a variety of interests and ages.
Speaking of ages, because of NYSE's simplistic core rules children as young as five years old can enjoy the game. But, as the game's website explains, because of how the game is built on a very basic foundation, it's easy to add layers of extra complexity for older children ...
No Thank You, Evil! is great fun for kids as young as five years old. But it’s also great fun for the rest of family—adults included!—because the scalable rules adapt easily to the abilities of the player. A six-year-old might play, for example, a Princess. A eight-year-old might play a Super Smart Princess. A ten-year-old creates a Super Smart Princess who Experiments with Science. Each of these stages adds a level of sophistication to how the game is played—but all of these characters can play around the same table in the same game! After a game or two with the grown-ups, a twelve-year-old might even run games for the other kids!
Of course, once children become teens, they're likely to want to switch to an adult RPG system (eg. the full Cypher system).
No Thank You, Evil!, First Edition - Rules SummaryCollapse
Character Creation [ edit ]
Characters in No Thank You, Evil! have four statistics: Tough, Smart, Fast, and Awesome. The first three work pretty much as you'd expect, being used when performing the appropriate kind of activity. The "Awesome" stat on the other hand is used to help: a player can spend their Awesome points to assist another player in a roll.
Just as in Cypher system, to create a No Thank You, Evil! character you write a single sentence. For younger children this can be as simple as "I'm a Wizard", while older children will want to add an adjective and a descriptive verb phrase (eg. "I'm a Kind Wizard who Eats Ice Cream").
The game offers a variety of nouns, adjectives, and verb phrases to choose from. Characters can be robots, spies, princes/princes, creatures, astronauts, and so on. Each noun provides the character's starting stats (eg. an Astronaut 's highest stat is Smart, while a Fighter's is Tough). Nouns also provide the character with a form of defense, as well as a unique ability (eg. Astronauts can automatically succeed on jump checks, while Fighters get a "knockout" power).
Adjectives essentially boil down to +1 bonuses to a stat, and since there are only four stats that means that mechanically there are really only four options (although there are more options; for instance, being either "Powerful" or "Super Strong" both result in a +1 to Tough.
Finally, the verb phrase provides the character with a unique ability. A character who "Experiments with Science" can throw an exploding creation in the air, while one who "Eats Ice Cream" carries around an endless supply of ice cream which they can eat to give an enemy brain freeze (ie. stun them).
Core Mechanics [ edit ]
To accomplish an action in No Thank You, Evil! the Guide (ie. GM) assigns a difficulty number, from one to eight (with 1 being easy and 8 impossible). The player then rolls a d6, and tries to equal or beat that number. A roll of 1 is an automatic success, while a roll of 6 is a Wild Success
A player can lower the difficulty number of the roll by one (once), by spending a point from the appropriate stat pool. Other players can also spend (one) point from their Awesome pool to assist.
Each player also has a fifth "Fun" stat with three points (although there is an optional rule to play with only a single Fun point for greater challenge). A player can spend a Fun point as they are making a roll and describe something fun their character does.
Doing this resets all of the character's other stat pools to full, and in a sense Fun points are similar to Heroic Surges in Dungeons and Dragons. If a character runs out of their regular stats and Fun points they are Conked Out until they can recover.
Combat [ edit ]
No Thank You, Evil! does have combat rules, but as with the rest of the game they are extremely simple. For instance, there is no initiative, as the players simply choose their order (and always go before the enemy).
To make an attack the player chooses the type and corresponding stat (magic and psychic powers always use Smart, while melee attacks can be Fast or Tough). they then make a roll, trying to beat their enemy's level (enemies are reduced to a single number for their "stats"). If the roll succeeds, the enemy takes two damage (regardless of the attack type), and most enemies have as many health points as their level.
If an enemy attacks back the player again makes a roll against the enemy's level, using any stat. If they fail, they lose 2-4 points (depending on the enemy) from their Tough pool first, followed by their Fast, Smart, and Awesome pools. If all of those pools are exhausted the player will have to spend a Fun point (or become Conked Out if they are out of Fun).
But Is It Any Good? [ edit ]
No Thank You, Evil! isn't just one boxed set: Monte Cook Games offers an entire product line for it, with additional adventures, monsters, and support for child game masters. But of course, all the supporting products in the world won't matter if the game itself isn't actually fun, which begs the question ... is NTYE any good? Judging by the critics, the answer is yes.
As a well-established game designer, Monte Cook is used to winning awards: Numenera, the game that started the Cypher system, won the 2014 Origins Award for "Best New Roleplaying Game". So perhaps it's not so surprising that in 2016 No Thank You, Evil! also brought home an award, albeit a different one, as it won ENnie Gold for the Best Family Game.
But what is surprising is that the next year, in 2017, NTYE also took home the Origins Award ... and not in any sort of child/family category, but for the Best Role-Playing Game (of the year!)
On top of that the game has a great 4.4/5 average rating on Drive Thru RPG (with 14 customer reviews), and on RPG Geek (with 16 reviews) the game has a similarly impressive 8.44/10. That score ranks it 430th on the site ... beating out literally thousands of other (almost exclusively adult) RPGs!
In short, if you're looking for an game that will let children of any age (5+) use their imagination to go on creative adventures (possibly along with older siblings who are using more advanced rules), look no further than Monte Cook's No Thank You, Evil!