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.
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!

Christian Niedan of Nomadic Press

This weekend Twenty Sided Store will host its second Nomadic Press Event organized by Christain Niedan. After reading so many of his amazing interviews (especially the one about me), I decided it was time I interview him.

[Lauren] Nomadic Press began in California, is that right? What brought you to New York?

[Christian] It was started by my former roommate here in Brooklyn, J.K. Fowler, who moved out to Oakland, and founded Nomadic Press out of a space in the Fruitvale section of town. From the start. he planned it as a two coast organization, binding together the creative writing communities in the Bay Area and Brooklyn. Since I already lived here in NYC, I joined the board, and began writing reviews and interviews for Nomadic's website.

[LB] Have you always wanted to be a writer? What was it like getting into it?

[CN] No, I only wrote for English class assignments until college. Then I decided to write professionally in my last year at University of Pittsburgh, when I wrote for the school paper. When I graduated, I continued the news track by writing for The Jersey Journal newspaper in Jersey City, but then I decided I didn't want to pursue a low-paying career in print journalism. More recently, I've been working as a marketing writer for eBay, which pays better and keeps me plugged into evolving products on the market -- because I have to learn about the latest smartphones, virtual reality gaming headsets, and Stars Wars collectibles, so I can write about them in an engaging way.

[LB] You host so many events - all over the city, in bookstores and coffee shops - with so many talented people, what is it like putting these events together?

[CN] I'm grateful that J.K. has let me and my co-organizer Dallas Athent experiment with different styles of events, and NYC provides plenty of unique creative groups and venues to work with. Again, it's about encouraging creative communities -- especially if they have a writing or performance focus -- like GAMBAZine, Brooklyn Wildlife, and Greenpoint Writer's Group. The one obstacle is that the Brooklyn side of Nomadic Press doesn't have a dedicated space like Oakland does, so we've put extra emphasis on forging good relationships with venues like Pine Box Rock Shop, Hell Phone, and Christopher Stout Gallery in Bushwick, and Brooklyn Art Library and Twenty Sided Store in Williamsburg. When it comes to curating an event's line-up, Dallas or I will start with a concept, and a couple of performers who would fit, and then add a few more and usually a musician.

[LB] Your Talking Paper Interview series has expanded beyond writers and poets, tell us a little bit about what it was like interviewing Mark Rosewater and Nathan Holt.

[CN] I like interviewing writers who have a unique approach to their work, whether they write they poetry, prose, biographies or games. Fantasy game writers have always interested me, because to do it well, you have to be creative without slipping into cliche.

My first Talking Paper interview on the subject was with English game designer Steve Jackson in February of 2015. Steve played a huge roll in making Dungeons & Dragons popular and available to England's gamers in the mid-'70s through a shop he ran, and he then went on to pen game books in the '80s and '90s, including his four-part Sorcery! series, which was turned into a really cool mobile game by an English outfit called inkle. So naturally, that led me to interview inkle's co-founder Jon Ingold about Jackson and Sorcery!, and another super successful fantasy mobile game of theirs called 80 Days, which is a very steampunk take on the book Around The World in 80 Days.

With regard to Magic: The Gathering, it satisfies both the writing and paper aspects of the interview series theme, and I happened to be friends with Nathan. When the Vice episode about the Magic Pro Tour came out last year, I reached out to Nathan about an interview on the Tour, since he produces videos about it for Wizards of the Coast, and to get his thoughts on the creative and business aspects of the game. Nathan comes from an acting background, as well as loving the game, so his Planeswalker character interested me. Their work on the Walking the Planes video series made Enter the Battlefield all the better, since they got to refine their filmmaking style beforehand.

With Mark Rosewater, I figured I might as well start at the top for an insider's interview about the game's creative process and literary influences, and I'm glad he said yes. A big surprise with his interview was that it turns out he was way more of a science fiction, Philip K. Dick fan as a youth than a fantasy Tolkien fan, and continues to read a lot of non-fantasy stuff when he's off the clock.

Enter the Battlefield with us this SATURDAY at 7pm.

A documentary by Nathan Holt & Shawn Kornhauser about life on the Magic the Gathering Pro Tour.

7pm Meet Nathan & Shawn, get an oversized Magic card signed.
9pm Screening followed by Q&A


Mad Science Foundation | Cryptozoic Games


This past weekend we had Sharang Biswas and Max Seidman in the store to Spotlight their new game Mad Science Foundation.

We began the event playing games. We played MSF as well as other featured games published by Cryptozoic - Epic Spell Wars of the Battle Wizards and Spyfall.

Cryptozoic sent us some sweet swag to give away. Congratulations to Stephanie for winning the signed copy Mad Science Foundation!

Afterwards Max and Sharang talked a bit about what went into their game design and answered a bunch of questions from the audience.

Here are some of the details that I found most interesting:

  • Sharang & Max created Mad Science Foundation in one month as part of a game design competition, and won!

  • They attended an event for designers and publishers that was a lot like a speed dating. That is where they first connected with Cryptozoic, the publisher of the game.

  • Max and Sharang are proud of the fact that their specific requests regarding the art depictions of diversity in race, class, and gender were actualized.

Check out what the game looked like in it's first iteration:

For those of you who missed the event this weekend, it is not too late to check out Mad Science Foundation - Cryptozoic's New Game by Sharang Biswas and Max Seidman - now available for $24.99 at Twenty Sided Store.

Follow Max & Sharang on Twitter:
@SharangBiswas @MaxGamesSeidman #MSFGame