Players of Rory’s Story Cubes® often ask us why we ‘insist’ on using nine cubes for storytelling.
Here at The Creativity Hub, we like to think of three as the magic number.
The nine cubes can be easily divided into three groups of three. A basic narrative structure has three parts, a beginning, middle and end, so we use three cubes for each part of a story.
Another reason why we think the number nine is significant relates to the psychological theory of ‘The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two’, devised by psychologist George Miller. Miller suggested that the number of objects an average human can hold in their memory is seven, plus or minus two. By using the nine story cubes, the brain is being stretched to process extra information by connecting all nine face-up icons, and given a work out.
Having a good handful of cubes is also linked to the amount of information your brain can gulp in at once. In his book ‘Hare Brain, Tortoise Mind’, psychologist Professor Guy Claxton suggests that the mind works best when we begin to trust our unconscious. The idea being that if we’re less analytical, our creativity will have free reign. Every time you roll nine story cubes, your unconscious mind will ‘gulp in’ the patterns the cubes have made when they landed and begin to make connections between them.
In our play testing, we found that players who let loose using all nine cubes and allowed the unconscious pattern-matching part of their brain to guide their story preferred their own tales. This was in contrast to when players pre-planned their stories.
We hope this answers your questions on why we use nine story cubes. If you don't already use nine, why don't you give it a go and let us know how you get on?