Once Upon A Time, Second Edition

Published by Atlas Games.
Review by Steffan O'Sullivan.


Largely unchanged from the first edition, some very nice optional rules added. They were fine in the first edition, they are slightly better in the second edition. Nice job.

Composition of Cards

I haven't gone through them all, but they seem to have left the Once Upon a Time cards unchanged, except to give you five blanks to create your own. However, they really added a lot of Happy Ever After cards: about twenty new ones in the second edition, and a blank, also. I like them - very nice job.


Greatly improved in the second edition. High quality playing card sturdiness and nice feel to them.


The first edition was adequate - clear line drawings, sometimes very nice, sometimes just adequate, but always clear and playable. The second edition has color artwork that is usually very lovely. Occasionally a bit muddy, but in general the artwork is pretty and playable.

Graphic Design

Aaaiiieeeee! What have they done! The first edition had the name of the card printed down the side, so you could fan them in your hand and scan the cards quickly while the person with the lead was talking. The first edition also had the "suit" symbols fairly clearly printed in the upper corner, above the card name down the side, so you could also scan your Interrupt cards easily.

The second edition has no such good design layout. The "suit" symbol is tiny and hard to see and located bottom center, so that you have to squint whenever someone plays a card, struggling to see if that's an item or character or aspect, or whatever. This is not good - you actually miss some of the story because you're trying to read a tiny symbol on the last card they played. However, they are somewhat color-coded - though not very clearly. You can, with some effort, distinguish three of the five suits by color.

The worst part, though, is the lack of words down the side of the cards. You're constantly shuffling through your cards while the other person is talking, because you can't see the names down the side any more. The names are only printed about an inch up from the bottom center - about the worst place for trying to read names of cards, especially if you don't have an Interrupt, and are desperately hoping they'll say something you have a matching card for. Very distressing - they are not designed with the gamer in mind.

Bummer. I'll probably use the second edition Happy Ever After cards but the first edition OUAT cards when I play.

The Game Cabinet - editor@gamecabinet.com - Ken Tidwell