The Fifth World


Create a family. Before you begin, you will need to create a family. This process can take up to an hour. Once you have a family, you can play many games with it in a saga.

Gather tokens for moments. Much of the game centers on the flow of moments — both gathering them and spending them. Use tokens to track moments — glass beads, pennies, or something that expresses the spirit of your own place. Moments enter the game through places, so wherever the rules mention adding moments to a place, take a token from your pool and put it on the place’s card. Places will accumulate moments, allowing your character to visit there and gather it. When your character has a moment, we refer to it as a moment of awareness. Whenever the rules mention spending awareness, remove one of the tokens from your character sheet and place it back in the pool of tokens, removing it from play.

Separate the decks. Separate a deck of playing cards into the person deck (the kings, queens, jacks, and jokers), the needs deck (the aces) and the place deck (the remaining cards).

Choose a character. If you’ve played a game with this family before, you could reprise a character you played previously. You can also create a new one. Choose a card from the person deck to represent your character in this game and remove it from the deck. Your character begins each game with her maximum possible moments of awareness (five to begin with, though that may decrease as you take scars). You’ll represent these moments with small tokens: beads, shells, or pennies all work well, but you can also have some fun with more creative choices that reflect the spirit of your place.

Optional Rule: The Gossip Round. You can play a Gossip Round to see what rumors circulate around the family at present about each of your characters. The gossip round makes the most sense when you introduce new characters or can’t see any compelling story threads to pursue.

Choose first player. The player with the youngest character goes first. Play continues sun-wise (to the left).

Add places. We’ll create a row of cards representing the places in our game. Leave the first slot open. This represents your family’s home. Each player now adds a place to the row, and places her character’s card beneath to show her presence there. If you played through the Gossip Round, you can use one of the place cards you drew then here. As always, when drawing from the place deck you can name a place that your family knows the name of to look through the deck, draw it, and reshuffle, rather than drawing a random place.

Next, draw one card from the person deck and place it, still face-down, above the place’s card. This card offers a random encounter that you could have at that place.

Place one moment of awareness on each place card.