Twenty Sided Store

A retail store and premier event organizer in Williamsburg Brooklyn that focuses on high quality Board Games, Role Playing Games, and Magic: The Gathering.

Top 5 This week I'm taking a look at five of my favorite games new and old, available at the store and absolutely worth checking out.

Star Wars: Imperial Assault

Star Wars: Imperial Assault Star Wars: Imperial Assault is one of the most massive games you'll find set in the Star Wars universe. This game, like many RPG's and the board game Descent, has one to four players take on the role of rebel adventurers playing against another player who controls all of the "baddies"—monsters and imperial troopers, even Darth Vader himself. Everything from the adventures, to the expansions available, to the level of detail in the sculpted miniatures really sets this game apart from others like it.

Smash Up

Smash Up Smash Up describes itself as a "shufflebuilding" card game, where each player chooses two small decks of cards belonging to separate factions and shuffles them together. The question is: who will you smash together to fight against your opponents? Will you team up Zombies and Ninjas? Aliens and Dinosaurs? And the expansions aren't just fluff, with new factions based on sci-fi, mythical heroes, and just plain awesome-ness. This game is fast, easy to understand, and great for goofy crowds of friends.

Star Wars: Age of Rebellion [Roleplaying Game]

Star Wars Age of Rebellion Whoa, Giaco... Another Star Wars entry on this list? You're mad with power! True, but Star Wars: Age of Rebellion is one of the best roleplaying games I've played in years. Featuring easy-to-grasp rules (that are also used in the Star Wars RPG's Edge of the Empire and Force and Destiny), this game sets players and Game Masters in the center of the battle raging during the original trilogy. While Han, Luke, Leia, and co. are off freezing on Hoth or blowing up Jabba's barge, you'll play as lower-ranking rebel soldiers trying to steal secret plans and investigate rumors of Imperial hide-outs. The other RPG's in this series mentioned above are great, too, but nothing feels better than donning that bright orange jumpsuit and blasting away at a bunch of fool stormtroopers.

Betrayal at House on the Hill

Betrayal at House on the Hill The leaves are changing here in Brooklyn, pumpkins are beginning to appear on the stoops of brownstones, so naturally I'm getting truly into the spooky mood. And when Halloween season roles around, I really only want to play Betrayal at House on the Hill, the amazing semi-cooperative board game from Avalon Hill. In this game, players work together to search a creepy haunted house (generated randomly from hidden tiles revealed as you explore) for secrets and treasures, but when a random event called the HAUNT is triggered, one or some of the players will be revealed to secretly be a traitor. From there, the game turns on its head and is a frenzied race to survive at the House on the Hill.

Sushi Go / Sushi Draft

Sushi Go / Sushi Draft Why do we need two sushi-themed card-drafting games? Because sushi is delicious, and card-drafting games are the best... duh! These two sushi games will appeal to different tastes. Sushi Go is all about building the best plates of sushi, and it involves split-second decision making and planning ahead. Sushi Draft is much lighter, and better for kids, featuring large, round cards that can either be "Eaten," "Stored for later," or "Passed." So, do you want build the perfect sushi plate with Sushi Go? Or do you want to stuff your face with Sushi Draft?

Race to the North Pole

Can you and your crew be the first to make it to the frosty north? In Race to the North Pole, players compete to become famous explorers by beating their opponents to the Pole. The game features a rotating board to capture the wild and unpredictable weather of the North Pole. Move you pawns toward the center of the board, gear up to survive the harsh conditions, make a perfect plan... and watch helplessly as the merciless wilderness spins the board and changes your route.

Mystery of the Abbey

Someone's died in the Abbey, and it's up to a small group of investigative monks to find the killer. Mystery of the Abbey wonderfully updates the classic whodunnit board game Clue. Move your monk around the Abbey, cross off suspects from your list as you investigate, and be the first monk detective to solve the Mystery of the Abbey.


Bycatch is a brand new card game that requires the use of a camera phone. Each player takes on the role of a nation, and cards are drawn representing people, some of which are terrorist suspects. Players can create shelters for their people, and players can use their camera phones to do surveillance on the opposing teams. Bycatch is a very smart game that asks deep questions about surveillance and wars on terror.


Clear your mind, ignite your senses, and take in the beauty and power of the lotus garden. With Lotus players compete to grow beautiful flowers, using insect guardians to help them. Along with easy-to-learn rules and fast, fun gameplay, Lotus also features stunning artwork, with a unique "card fanning" technique to recreate a blooming flower.

Coup : Rebellion G54 Anarchy Expansion

This new expansion to the famed bluffing game Coup: Rebellion G54 adds new characters and gameplay mechanics. Lie your way to victory with new roles like the paramilitary, arms dealers, and socialists, and try to gain as much influence as possible before the end of the game.

Mansions of Madness (2nd. Edition) Expansions

Two new expansions to the second edition of the Cthulhu-centric investigative/horror game Mansions of Madness - Suppressed Memories and Reoccurring Nightmares - hit shelves today. These expansions bring all your favorite investigators and monsters back from the first edition of the game and make them playable with the second edition. So whether you miss playing as Ashcan Pete, or you want to square off against the Priest of Dagon, these two expansions bring the best moments from the first edition back from the grave.

Star Wars X-Wing: ARC-170 (Expansion)

Take flight with the newest expansion to rebel fleets in the tactical ship-to-ship combat game Star Wars X-Wing. The ARC-170 provides heavy firepower, crew and astromech upgrade slots, and introduces new pilot cards like Shara Bey (Poe Dameron's mother) and three other aces.

Extra Goodies!

New in stock this week are also: Star Wars and Marvel crochet kits, hoodies, and LEGO sets, new Star Wars photomosaic puzzles, and Dungeons & Dragons miniatures to tie into Storm King's Thunder.

Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu

In a foggy New England town an unknowable terror lurks. Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu challenges you and your fellow investigators to work together toward saving the region (and your sanity). With mechanics based on the globe-spanning medical disaster game Pandemic, Reign of Cthulhu tests your cooperation, strategy, and problem solving skills. Can you save the day before the Old Gods turn you into a maddened, mindless husk?


The beautifully illustrated Monikers describes itself as "a dumb party game that respects your intelligence," and the description is pretty apt! Based on the classic party game "Celebrity," each clue-giver has a card with a name or type of person on it (like "Georgia O'Keefe", "Florida Man", or "David After Dentist"), and the clue-giver has to make the group guess their cards. Each round it gets a bit harder, as clues go from being any amount of words in round one, to just one word in round two, to no words -charades only- in round three. This game gets goofy, causes an uproar, and is perfectly inappropriate.

Codenames Pictures

Codenames Pictures sets two teams of spies against each other in a race to find enemy secret agents out in the field. Cards with a single image are laid out on a 5x4 grid, and one spy-master on each team knows who's who in the layout. This is a fast-paced, exciting party game that's all about using images and carefully chosen words to help your team guess correctly. Say the wrong hint and your teammates may give a point to your opponents, or worse: they may find the secret assassin and cause an instant loss!

Drinking Quest (New Printing)

Drinking Quest is back! If you like your tabletop roleplaying games a bit on the sloshy side, you'll love this light RPG/drinking game. Pull clever cards to battle monsters, gain experience points, rack up gold, chug beer, and let the room spin around you. Always slay goblins responsibly, do not Quest and drive.

The Resistance: The Plot Thickens [Expansion]

Classic party/bluffing game The Resistance gets an update with The Resistance: The Plot Thickens, which adds plot cards, new characters, and new missions. We're so excited for this update, as The Resistance is the kind of game you play and play with friends for years. Any additions that spice up the core game are great.

Every year one of the largest gaming conventions in the world is held in Indianapolis, Indiana - GenCon. People attend from all over the world to preview and play newly released games.

Check out my TOP TWO!

Mansions of Madness (2nd Edition)

New to Fantasy Flight Games, Mansions of Madness (2nd Edition), is a 1-5 player game which takes place in the same universe as Eldrich Horror and Elder Sign. In the second edition, players are immersed into the world of Arkham by use of an App to guide you through the entire game.

There is no longer a need for someone to play as the Game Master, Mansions of Madness (2nd Edition) is led by an electronic App that can be downloaded for free. The App uses music and narration to add an eerie dynamic to the game. Compatible with iOS, Android, Mac, and Windows, the App is what sets this board game apart from its predecessor and most Arkham Horror games.

Players take on the role of investigators uncovering the mystery of a haunted mansion. Each investigator has character specific abilities to aid the party against the spirits within and help keep their sanity intact. Collaboratively, the party will either defeat the evil taking over the mansion, or loses to the madness.

During the journey into the haunted house, investigators will suffer madness or physical harm. Players work together to survive and uncover the mystery. The App support and collaborative storytelling mechanic of this game make it worth the immersive journey, win or loss.

Players: 1-5
Playing time: 120 - 180 Min
Age: 14 +
Difficulty: Quick to learn with App Support

Now Available at Twenty Sided Store!


Out of all the outstanding games featured at GenCon this year, most gamers were on the hunt for Scythe. The amazing artwork, impressive game play, and a new game mechanism easily elevated Scythe to be one of the top games at the event. It is no wonder why Scythe sold out on the second day of the convention.

Like their other releases, Stonemaier Games funded
Scythe primarily through crowd sourced funds on Kickstarter. The campaign ran for 1 month, from October 2016 to November 2016.

Although Scythe has a very similar farming mechanic to Agricola, which fans will immediately recognize, I would not classify it as a worker placement game.

Scythe takes place in fictional 1920’s Europa, an alternate history during the aftermath of the first great war. It is a complex war game where players take on one of the five different factions and perform jobs. Within the game, players collect resources to accomplish various actions - deploy mechs, work towards upgrades, and fight using combat cards and military strength. The objective of the game is to generate the most money by accomplishing a combination of in-game achievements.

Players: 1 – 5 players (1 player mode named Automa)
Difficulty: Quick to learn, difficult to master.
Time: 90 – 115 Min
Age: 14+

On Pre-Order at Twenty Sided Store!

I have been running rolplaying games at Twenty Sided Store and recently we concluded a 6-week campaign season of Curse of Strahd, a Dungeons & Dragons Ravenloft adventure and just kicked off the first organized play campaign of Numenera by Monte Cook Games, an excellent science-fantasy roleplaying game (RPG) that uses the Cypher System.

So, I thought it would be a good time to talk about setting, tone & theme in roleplaying games, specifically through engaging the senses. Vivid smells, sounds, and colors can be described through physically engaging your players’ senses and actually immersing them into your fictional worlds.

A little preparation can go a long way to making a campaign engaging to the senses. In Curse of Strahd, it was important to capture the essence of a classic gothic horror tale of gloom and mystery set in the foreign land of Barovia. Similarly, part of the fun of the Numenera setting is exploring an Earth - a billion years in the future, a world where nanomachines, interdimensional aliens, hyper-evolved cephalopods, and a host of other weird phenomena have rendered the world almost incomprehensible.

Lets get started...


In most tabletop RPGs, sound is the primary way of learning about the game world. Players talk and listen to the Dungeon Master (DM) - a clever use of sound, or sound effects, can really enhance a game.

For example, when I ran a game of Sorcerer, a game about demons, corruption, moral decay, and the limits of ambition, I made sure to have an off-putting (but not too obtrusive) background track on loop. Then, as the DM, when I roleplayed the different Non-Player Characters (NPCs) I would modulate my voice in volume, tone, and accent to make each character feel more distinct.

In the Numenera campaign, I might play some white noise as the adventurers explore an exotic vehicle that has crashed and buried inself in the sand. What’s that strange, rhythmic tapping that they hear in the forest? - as I proceed to tap under the table using a ruler to create added suspense.

Humans are exceptionally good at noticing and reacting to changes in sound patterns, something storytellers often exploit when telling ghost stories. In the Curse of Strahd campaign, I would speak slowly and softly as the players explored a location, and then slam my hands on the table for dramatic impact when a trap springs or a monster appears, making the players jump. I'll admit, this is easy to overuse, but you can never go wrong with vocalizing the creak of an old door or replicating the pitter-patter of rain on the roof in which the adventurers are huddled for protection.


Sight is the second most common way of engaging your players. Most DMs have used images or minis at some point in their career. Let's go further than that...

As a performer, I love costumes. During the Curse of Strahd campaign I dressed in black, slicked back my hair, and wore copious amounts of eye-makeup and black lipstick to set the tone for the campaign. For the Numenera campaign, maybe I'll don a weird hairstyle or apply some intricate makeup.

Props are cool too. Before a home game I'll pull out and arrange my old Halloween props - tomb stones, spiders, cauldrons... (trying not use the overly gimmicky ones, of course).
Lighting is the best prop and can really change the vibe in the room. For a simple effect, try lighting some candles over a dark tablecloth.

Hand drawn maps or Dwarven Forge dungeon tiles covering the table for the players to interact with are also a sweet alternative. When Monte Cook visited the store to run a Numenera game, owner Lauren painted a large underwater battle map to immerse the players in the setting.


Giving people things to touch and fiddle with has long been a technique used in many different venues, from classrooms to interactive theater spaces, as a way to hold people’s interest.
Using simple handouts, even a sheet of paper with a fragment of Strahd Von Zarovich’s journal on it is much more interactive for a player than simply listening to the DM read the text. If you want to go all out, stain the paper with tea to make it look aged.

In Numenera, players can find Cyphers, which are like consumable magic items, meant to be used frequently. Using a deck of cards to represent the tangible objects instead of marks on a character sheet, is a great way to encourage players to use the Cyphers fast and freely. Monte Cook Games has created a Cypher Deck (which the store stocks) that I use often. To up the ante, hand the player an actual object when they find a Cypher, like a tiny potion bottle filled with red colored liquid or bits of an old malfunctioning electronic device.

Taste and Smell

Yes, you can of course, cook up some tavern stew for your players to eat while they gather information, but food and scents can also be used more subtly. At a convention I was at recently, I signed up to play Golden Sky Stories, a lovely game about friendship, dreams and magic in pastoral Japan. As we gathered to the table, the DM offered us jam cookies before we started. This reinforced the tone of joyous delight among the party, straight off the bat, without using any words. I would love a glass of dry red wine, before venturing into Castle Ravenloft!

For Numenera, I might try doing the opposite. A rose-petal potpourri placed on the table, while describing buzzing ceramic automatons trailing electrical cabling above. The unusual juxtaposition might help underscore the weird nature of the world.

Go the distance

Anything that immerses your players more fully into the world, or even just enhances the mood of the world, will intrigue your players. During Curse of Strahd, I used the Tarroka deck, a D&D themed tarot deck, to read the players fortunes. The fortune-telling performance was mainly about setting up the atmosphere, but it also was used to further the plot in a meaningful way.

Engaging your players' senses is a powerful way to achieve atmospheric immersion. So go ahead. Sing at your players. Feed them fritters. Tell them to close their eyes and hand them peeled grapes. It’s sure to be memorable!