za3k > games > ninjas ninjas ninjas!

playtesting: none

Ninjas Ninjas Ninjas! is a fast-paced storytelling game about how damn cool ninjas are, for 3 more or players (instructions are written for 3). It's designed to last 5-30 minutes--how long exactly is up to the players. New events and challenges happen rapidly, and which player is doing what shifts quickly.

Audience: Unlike my last two games, Ninjas Ninjas Ninjas! is not for complete beginners to storytelling games. There is very little guidance from the rules about what story to tell or how.

Each player controls a young journeyman ninja taking his/her/their final ninja exam. The three ninjas work together as a team to accomplish their goal. At all times one ninja is in Front. Front is the "player" who is actively deciding what to do, while the other ninjas throw problems and points at them.

Storytelling focuses on the ninjas being cool, and quick progress. Detailed description always illustrates just how COOL the ninja team and their moves are. It DOESN'T talk about the scenery, plot details, motives and emotions, or whether the enemies are also cool.

The goals of the game are to accomplish your mission, be super awesome, and throw as many stars as possible as quickly as possible.

Supplies needed: None, in the worst case. Ideally, each player tracks how many stars they have thrown--you tally in front of you on paper, or take a penny from a stack in the middle whenever you throw a star. If you wish, you can play with a timer. If your group has trouble keeping track mentally, you can also use nine nickels to track throwing stars.

written 2021-02-07 by zachary "za3k" vance


The intended play style is fast, and the game is complex at full speed. At first start slow, and review a Role every time you get it. Also, mention why you're passing point starts. After a couple games, players should memorize the rules and Roles, and stop using any written aids. Then, start scoring if you aren't (guessing is fine). You can also use a timer if you want one. Finally, ramp up speed until you're forced to improv (say what you do before thinking it through).

Advanced players are encouraged to invent and use ninja hand signals in place of yelling.


One player shouts "Team!". A second player shouts "Mission!". The slowest player is Place.


The Front ninja is the team leader, so they assign each player a unique starting Role--Goal, Enemy, or Cheat.


One ninja is always Front. The are the current team leader and decide what the team does. Attention is on Front. Front's team accomplishes tasks quickly, in cool ways, and then quickly goes to the next step of the plan.

Problem Stars

Point Stars

Exam Score

Cheat sheet

As mentioned, you should learn this and stop using it as soon as possible.

Role Problem Points
Front Inanimate, peon
Goal Goals change Goal/Boss, Quick
Enemy People, Event Cool, Obstacle
Cheat Surprise Skill, Clever, Cheat

More Players