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.

Intro to Storytelling Games I want you to close your eyes and think about a tabletop roleplaying game. Just grab the first image that pops into your head. Got it? What did you see? A group of friends sitting around a table? A map dotted with minis, tokens, and dice? More snacks than a Super-Bowl party? All of these are true, but I want to speak to one image in particular: the large rulebook filled with tables, charts, and enough minutia to make your tax accountant giddy. This is a stigma that roleplaying games have carried since the beginning, that they’re “too complex” or “simulationist".

Well, gentle reader, roleplaying games aren’t made like they used to. The days of calculating THAC0 are a thing of the past. Now, there are plenty of great games that strip the rules down to the frame, and allow for game master and players to explore their creativity in new, exciting ways, and tell stories that otherwise couldn’t have been brought to the table. Leave your GM screen at home; you won’t need it. This week (finally), we look into some of the best storytelling RPGs out there.

FIASCO

Fiasco Whenever someone brings up “storytelling RPG”, this is the first game that usually comes to mind. Fiasco is pure storytelling and character and almost no rules or mechanics to hold the whole thing together. There is nobody running the game in a traditional sense. Everyone seated at the table is a participant in the story, and the stories that come up during Fiasco sessions can be crazier and more endearing than any dungeon crawl. It’s a crash-course in storytelling, specifically the very difficult skill of letting go of the reigns and watching your characters come alive. Nobody knows where the story is going and often, a choice made by one of the players in the heat of the moment will send the plot off in a totally unexpected direction. Since there are no “winners” and “losers” per se, the whole game is a pure creative exercise. And with so many playsets out there, Fiasco is a game that will never, ever get old.

THE SHAB-AL-HIRI ROACH

Roch This is another game from Bully Pulpit, the makers of Fiasco. The Shab-al-Hiri Roach puts players in the roles of turn-of-the-century academics jockeying for prestige and position in the university. Like in Fiasco, players set up and improvise scenes between their characters and NPCs, hoping to get what they want. The difference is that there is also a mind-controlling roach bent on world-conquest roaming around the university, and player actions might be dictated by whether or not they are under the roach's sway. The Shab-al-Hiri Roach is designed for play in a single session without a GM, and fills the niche of Adventures of Baron Munchausen and Little Shop of Horrors mash-up that you never knew you needed.

DREAD

Dread Imagine playing a game of Jenga where your life depended on it. That’s Dread in a (terrifying) nutshell.

Dread is a game of suspense, tension, and horror. As characters move through their story, situations where their outcome is in question are resolved by pulling from “The Tower of Dread.” The player pulls one block from the tower and places it on top. If the tower stays up, the action was successful. If the tower collapses, the character is removed from play, usually via violent, gruesome death.

Do you see why I love this game?

What makes Dread so much fun to play is that the tension is very real. It takes a good storyteller to make you tense, to worry about what’s around the next corner. The Tower of Dread externalizes that tension and gives the entire table a gauge on how dire their situation really is. When you have a group of adults sweating over pulling a block from a wobbly tower to decide the fate of their fictional persona in a horror story, you know you’re doing something right.

FALL OF MAGIC

Fall of Magic Like Fiasco, Fall of Magic is a game about pure improvisation and storytelling with little to no “game” going on. Players inhabit the roles of travelers with the Magus, a mystical being leading the players on a journey through a fantasy world in order to prevent the end of magic. Unlike the other games here, Fall of Magic utilizes a designated play area, a scroll with a map of your journey on it. Players place markers for themselves and the Magus, representing where they are, and move them throughout the course of the game, building their characters up as they go along. The open-ended nature of the story prompts allows for player creativity to expand beyond the typical fantasy tropes and create a story that is uniquely their own.

MISSPENT YOUTH

Misspent Youth There is a lot to be angry about these days, and there sometimes seems like there's nothing you can do about it. Misspent Youth lets you indulge your inner anarchist without ending up on any watch-lists. You are young and fighting back against "The Machine," and not only that, The Machine (or Game Master) is fighting back against you. It is one of the few games we carry that harbors an adversarial relationship between GM and players; both sides are trying to advance their agenda over the other. But it's not all angst and molotov cocktails. At the start of the game, all the players (including the GM) create the world that the game takes place in, making for a collaborative game that all players have some stake in.

To check out these games and many more, come by the shop this Saturday, June 17th, for Free RPG Day 2017! No experience is necessary, and we'll have a drop-in table for RPG fun all day long. See you then!

This week on Tune In Today, we've got a selection of big games funded by Kickstarter, as well as the return of some old favorites. So strap in, because we're starting right away with a doozy.

NEW GAMES

In the Name of Odin

By the Hammer of Thor! In the Name of Odin, the Jarl has passed with no heir, and as an ambitious Viking, you eye the throne for yourself. In order to earn the favor of Odin and become the new Jarl, you'll need to earn fame by going on raids and recruiting Viking heroes to your side. At its heart, this set-collecting game promises to be fast, full of strategy, and have you reaching for the nearest flagon when its all over.

Vast: The Crystal Caverns

Ever since Bilbo met Smaug, fantasy has had no shortage of slumbering dragons and immense treasure hordes to steal. But in Vast: the Crystal Caverns, you don't just play as the stalwart hero looking to slay the beast; you can also play as the dragon. Or the goblin hordes that live in the cave. Or the cave itself! There are many ways to play, and in the end, there can be only one winner.

Via Nebula

Okay, so imagine you're playing a game of Catan, but the board is covered in Fog of War, and in order to win, you have to clear a path through the mists and gather the resources needed to build buildings across the map. Sounds like fun! Via Nebula is a mash-up of resource management (like Catan), kingdom building (like Lords of Waterdeep), and board strategy (like Mage Knight) that can be played in an hour and is easy to get into.

BACK IN STOCK

Captain Sonar

I saw a demo of Captain Sonar during our last Board Game Social, and I was impressed by just the board! It takes the concept of Battleship and makes it into a team game. Players take on the different roles in two submarines as they stalk each other in a game where you're never quite sure if you're the cat, or the mouse.

The Networks

Returning to the airwaves is khttp://networksgame.tv/, a game about calculated risks and rewards in the cutthroat world of television programming. Made by local designer Gil Hova, it's a game that is definitely ready for prime-time.

The Resistance Expansions

I've played a few games of The Resistance, and come to one conclusion: that I'm a terrible liar. But if you've played more games than me and are looking to add something extra to your play, The Resistance offers three different expansions: Hidden Agenda, The Plot Thickens, and Hostile Intent. Each of these expansions comes with three modules offering different ways to betray your friends. Good luck!

It seems like just yesterday and a lifetime of memories since we opened our doors. We've had celebrities, independent game designers, dedicated game masters, loyal staff, and a relentless community make Twenty Sided Store what it is today. We are proud to have successfully built a haven that feels like home to so many people and continues to bring humanity together. Thanks for the past six years! - Lauren & Luis

TUNE IN TODAY

New Games

MTG Duel Deck: Mind vs. Might

The new Magic the Gathering Duel Deck attempts to answer an age-old question: which is better? Wits and Cunning or Brute Strength? Choose your side and dominate the battlefield with barbarian hordes or clever instants and sorceries. Also, Storm is back!!!

Munchkin X-Men

Welcome to Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters! Players work their way to the top of the class by allying with famous mutants like Storm, Cyclops, and Wolverine, joining powerful X-Affiliations, and taking on foes like Sabertooth, Mystique, and Magneto. Climb from Level 1 to Level 10 (it is still Munchkin, after all) and become the next savior of mutantkind!

Smash Up: What Were We Thinking?

For the tenth expansion of Smash Up, AEG decided to get... weird. Four new factions come in the box: Teddybears, Grandmas, Rockstars, and Explorers, oh my!

D&D: Tales from the Yawning Portal

Step up to the bar and hear a story of far-away lands and deadly perils. Tales from the Yawning Portal features adaptations of seven classic D&D dungeons updated to 5th Edition. Whether your an old-school gamer looking to re-live past glory or visiting for the first time, there's always a seat for you at the Yawning Portal. (And yes, it has Tomb of Horrors, and that makes me very happy.)

Designers and Dragons: The '70s

Speaking of classic D&D, this awesome book by Shannon Appelcine chronicles the history of the game companies and designers credited with creating the role-playing game as we know it today. Learn the backstory behind TSR, Chaosium, GDW and many more, and see how the RPG grew from a wargaming off-shoot to the most prominent game genres in the industry. A must-have for any game historian or gamer interested in the old-school.

Netrunner Data Pack: Station One

The second in the Red Sand cycle continues the story of Corps vs. Runners on the red planet, Mars. With resources dwindling, both Runners and Corporations will have to do more with less, and contend with with powerful Clans, whose loyalty can be very fickle at times.

King of Tokyo/New York Monster Pack: Cthulhu

You knew this was coming, but iELLO couldn't release it until the stars were right. The first in a series of Monster Pack expansions to the King of... line brings the Old One of Note into your game, complete with evolutions (if you have the Power Up expansion), cultists, and ways to drive the other monsters insane.

Back in Stock

The Bloody Inn

Welcome back to the Bloody Inn, where times are tough and you'll get rich over your guests' dead bodies. Careful planning and ruthless ambition are what you'll need to stay wealthy and avoid prison.

Jim Henson's Labyrinth

This game has been out of print for a while, but it's finally back. I'm still really impressed by the quality of the minis and the design of the labyrinth itself. Perfect if you're a fan of the movie, or want to live out those Bowie fantasies.

Unpainted D&D Minis

With the new D&D book out, there's no better time to get some minis for the start of a new campaign! We just got a huge restock of Reaper Bones and the excellent new line of unpainted minis from WizKids. Both are pre-primed, ready for custom painting, and perfect for your next tabletop encounter.

alt Session 1 - 3/1/17
My longtime readers will know that I never miss an opportunity to road trip. So you can bet that when Starr Wrestling Alliance gets on the Countdown to Showdown, I'll be following them like a VW Bus following the Grateful Dead, only with more steel chairs and less "noodling."

This week, Monday Night Mayhem stopped in Orlando, FL, home of Disney, Sea World, and this week, one of the biggest bombshells to hit the wrestling world in years. Rumors had started to swirl that SWA CEO Benjamin Starr would be making an announcement about this year's Ultimate Showdown in Brooklyn. But no-one could've expected that the Boss would strip Nate "The Money" Moore of the SWA title after almost two years of holding the belt. Apparently, Mr. Starr is as fed up with Moore's dirty tricks and flim-flam as we are and decided to do something about it. So as of Monday, SWA has no champion. A new champion will be crowned in Brooklyn at the Ultimate Showdown, and we'll find out who will fight for the title soon.

Monday night also saw action between the cyborg D-Bug and the mysterious Nocturne. Before the match, Nocturne gave a rare and cryptic address to the SWA crowd, railing against the corruption in the company, and promising a reckoning. Could he have known that The Money would be stripped of his title? Can we add clairvoyance to his list of abilities? I don't know. But if he can see the future, he couldn't see the brass knuckles D-Bug used to finish him off and win the match.

The other match of note was between Diane Lowry and Jimmy Steel, a match of red, white, and blues. Diane, with the crowd behind her, mounted a solid offense against the All American Boy and looked to be close to taking the match. But unfortunately for the French Phenom, the match was interrupted by the monstrous Dietrik the Dominator. She still picked up the win, but the word from backstage was that Diane left the building in the back of an ambulance. It would seem that Steel made a deal with Dietrik and the House of Pain. Something tells me he may not like it when Dr. Moreau and his monsters come to collect.

That's it for me from sunny Florida. See you in Raleigh, NC for the next Monday Night Mayhem and the return of Stalwarth Jackson as the Countdown to Showdown continues!

Filed by Janet Hunt for World Wide Wrestling.

This Tune in Today will take you from the foggy streets of Victorian London, to the libraries of Miskatonic University, to Sunnyvale and even back to the arcade. Grab your deerstalker hats and your magnifying glasses, because this week at Twenty Sided Store, we have a ton of games to satisfy the sleuth in you.

NEW GAMES

Holmes: Sherlock and Mycroft This two-player game pits the Holmes brothers against each other as they work a case from different angles. Sherlock and Mycroft spend their turns conducting interviews and using the clues gained to gather evidence. Despite the mystery theme, this is a strategy game at heart. Make the right move and take the right cards and you’ll prove yourself the cleverest Holmes in London.

Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective: Jack the Ripper & West End Adventures Consulting Detective: Jack the Ripper & West End Adventures, and the Sherlock Holmes frontrunner for the 2017 Longest Title award, puts 1-2+ players in London and Whitechapel to solve ten new cases. Six of these cases, the West End Adventures are stand-alone and can be played in any order. The other four form a campaign where players chase down and try to stop the Jack the Ripper murders. Complete with new maps, newspapers, and case books, Jack the Ripper & West End Adventures is a stand-alone game perfect for veteran Consulting Detective players and newcomers to the series.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Buffy the Vampire Slayer is a co-op game where players assume the roles of the Buffy protagonists, moving around the town of Sunnyvale and killing monsters. Each game features three Monster of the Week enemies that the players must defeat before facing off against a Big Bad (final boss). While I’m not a huge fan of the TV show, I do love me a good co-op game, and I can definitely see the influences of some great games here, namely Arkham Horror and Pandemic.

Call of Cthulhu: Keeper Cards The mysteries of the cosmos need be a mystery no longer. Chaosium has unearthed the forbidden knowledge of R’lyeh and presents it to daring Call of Cthulhu Keepers (game masters) in the form of four decks: Curious Characters (NPCs), Phobias, Unfortunate Events, and Weapons and Artifacts. Now you no longer have to know the effects of xanthophobia or how many rounds a .303 Lee Enfield rifle holds. Use these to provide important information to your players, or inspire your next game.

NecronomiCards Keeping the Cthulhu train going is NecronomiCards, a new game from Kickstarter that we just got in store. NecronomiCards is a fast-paced, set-matching game where players must play three sets of eldritch symbols to summon horrible creatures from Lovecraftian and religious lore. Each of the summoned creatures hinders your opponents in some way, making it harder for them to summon their creatures. The first player to summon seven creatures wins the game.

Small World Expansion: River World River World is an expansion for Small World that sets the game on a coastal map. Each turn, in addition to dealing with the other players, you’ll have to contend with the random events that take place in River World, such as bad weather, a harsh winter, or worse, pirates.

New York Slice This is a first for me - a game that looks good enough to eat! New York Slice, an I-Split-You-Choose game with set collection elements, chefs divide up a pie and let players chose which slices they want to take. If you have the most of one type of slice, you score its points at the end of the game. But if your slice has pepperoni on it, you can also choose to eat it now and score points immediately. Just, do yourself a favor and play it after you have dinner.

Dungeons & Dragons: Assault of the Giants Assault of the Giants is the newest D&D Board Game. It follows the story of Storm King’s Thunder. The Ordning is no more, and each of the giant races of the world seek to find themselves atop the giants’ hierarchy. The players take the role of the giant races of Faerun and march across the land, gathering resources, attacking villages (and each other), and pursuing their unique story events to earn Orning Points and win the game. And if you’ve played or read Storm King’s Thunder, you’ll get a kick out of how well the game incorporates the events of the story into play.

Above and Below Above and Below is a game about settlement-building both above and below ground. Above ground, you spend gold to improve your village and attract new villagers. Below ground, you send villagers to explore the caverns and deal with random encounters in a choose-your-adventure book. Whoever manages their village (and the risk) the best wins.

Talisman Expansion: Harbinger In The Harbinger Expansion for Talisman (4th Edition), players have to contend with the coming Apocalypse. “Harbinger” adds four Omen decks into play, as well as the prophetical Harbinger. As the game progresses, encountering the Harbinger may yield good results for the player, or force the player to draw Omen cards, hastening the end of the world (and the game).

The D-Holder There’s no roleplaying game that isn’t improved by a Beholder, and I’m including games like Ryuutama in that. So, Bronx artist and Dungeons & Dragons fan Daniel Burgos created the D-Holder, an homage to everyone’s favorite tyrannical aberration. Each D-Holder is sculpted and cast by hand, and comes unpainted for your own artistic expression.

8-Bit Dice: Space Invaders Give your d6s some added geek cred by replacing the pips with Space Invaders. Oh, the memories….

Back in Stock

Pit Deluxe Pit Deluxe, the classic game of commodities trading is back in stock. Turn your home into the floor of the NYSE as you shout your trades and try to corner the market on your commodities and ring the bell. Added bonus: losing this game won’t tank your 401k.