books,  games

A Game for Making Your Own Wizard of Oz Story

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This is a game I worked out to try to get a group of four children to talk about the story the Wonderful Wizard of Oz. All four children had read the book before hand. The idea in the game is that the children would collectively make up a story about a new adventure in the land of Oz. The cards were written out to allow as much flexibility as I could. I invited the children to create their own characters, but the game would work with the standard Oz characters as well. When writing the cards I set them to take place before Dorothy arrives in Oz. Both wicked Witches are alive.

Preparing the Oz Game:

Print out the cards on differently colored sheets of paper, preferably reflecting the color of the land: blue for munchkins, red for quadlings, yellow for winkies and green for the emerald city. Cut the cards out, making up your own little story prompts for the empty cards.
If you want you can create a board game.  Take the largest sheet of paper you can. Divide it into four sections, with the Emerald City in the center. Draw winding paths through the four lands. If you want you can mark on some stationary challenges such as a river, cliff, etc. The game-board isn’t necessary though. If you use a game-board then you need a die and some sort of marker you can move around.
Be sure also to have a piece of paper and a pencil ready for each player.

Starting a Game:

Invite each player to invent his or her own character. They can be characters borrowed from the Oz book, but its more fun to make up your own. What about a walking flower? An unhappy little boy? A tiny spider? There are lots of possibilities. Invite the players to draw a quick sketch of his or her character, and write down the following:
  1. One thing the character is good at.
  2. One weakness of the character.
  3. One thing the character wants.
If you are using the board, then once everyone has a character you place the starting piece somewhere on the board. Players take turns rolling the die, moving the distance and then drawing a card for whichever land they are in. They then have to answer the question(s) on the card.
If you are not using the board you need all the players to agree on what location in Oz you are in and how far it will be before you can get to the next land (possibly role a die – whatever number you roll, add three and that’s how many cards need to be drawn before you get to your next destination). Otherwise the game play is the same. People take turns drawing a card, and then answering the question.
The game ends when all the players have received what they want. How do they do this? By inventing a way to get it. Some of the cards distinctly say that a person receives a gift or finds something but if you don’t draw those cards don’t worry. Just make up a few extra details to add on to whatever cards you have drawn.  For example, we had a werewolf who wanted to become a real wolf. When a wolf came running out of the forest at him (in the land of the Quadlings) he realized that he could join the wolves any time he wanted but that he really had the best of both worlds.

Here are the Munchkin cards:


Here are the cards for the Land of the Winkies:


Here are the cards for the Emerald City:

Here are the cards for the land of the Quadlings:


I had fun making the cards and as I was doing it, I was reflecting upon the differences between a game and a book. In a book the author controls the order in which the events occur. In the game the order of the events is random, so I could not create cards which would require a previous event to have already happened. In a book the story happens the same way every time it is read. In a game the story can and should change drastically. The change within this game could come by choosing different characters with different strengths, weaknesses and desires, but it also comes by not having every event card drawn.

Check out my other posts about Frank Baum’s Oz Series:

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  • Malea

    I *LOVE* this!!!! Fantastic! Going to share it on my FB page and Pinterest.

    I did something similar but orally with an adult ESL class on short story literary analysis. We read “Happy Endings” by Margaret Atwood, and I began by saying, “Ok, now xyz happens. How does that change the events?” And someone would give an answer to which someone else would tack on something new. Then I’d tie that to another part of the original story, and ask another “Now abc has happened, what next?” It was a lot of fun and got the WHOLE class involved, including the shy students and the ones that don’t usually pay attention.

    PS – the Atwood story is for ADULTS or very mature teens, not kids! 🙂

  • L.E. Mastilock

    Oh what fun! Wonderful idea! I’ll bookmark this for after we read the book (which I’ve been meaning to do with my kids, thanks for the reminder). Thanks for sharing on the Learn Through Play hop

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