Story Wars – Apples to Apples Meets D&D

Story Wars was a Kickstarter project that met it’s funding a couple of weeks ago. My friend, who sponsored it got the Print-Your-Own version of the game on PDF. After a quick trip to Kinkos, we had a full deck of printed cards and decided to play a couple rounds.

This game is perfect for parties with your nerdy friends. If Apples to Apples and Dungeons and Dragons had a love child, it would be Story Wars. Here is the basic rules of gameplay, as described by the official FAQ:

Each turn represents one battle between two teams of players. The setting is defined by a randomly drawn Battlefield card. Players then look at the Warrior cards and Item cards in their hands and try to come up with a clever strategy. Once every player has played their Warrior cards face-down, everyone flips their cards over simultaneously. Then players must quickly describe, in an open discussion, how their team would defeat the opposing team.

Each battle is moderated by a judge that rotates every turn so the shared pop cultural context of everyone in the room is very important! Harry Potter fans might play the Basilisk card differently than Percy Jackson fans. Pokemon fans can cite obscure typing match-ups to explain why you can’t punch a bird. Dungeons and Dragons players will often overlay D&D rules onto the game – don’t even try to convince a D&D-playing judge that the Giant can defeat the Dwarf!

As stated above, people will come into the game with their own perceptions the power certain creatures or items may hold. I played this game with a number of my D&D friends, and it’s true, we often used D&D concepts to justify our characters’ actions (ex: I’m an Elf Ranger! Of course I dodge that attack, I’M A FREAKING ELF). The flavor text is fun and goofy and we all laughed a lot. The game is ridiculous on so many levels – last night there was a battle between a Sky Whale with a Poison Dagger (launched from his blowhole) and a Mummy in a Mirthril Tuxedo.

If you want to watch the game in action, Hank Green from the Vlog Brothers has a live demo playthrough that’s worth a watch:

I’m definitely pre-ordering the official set (with expansion) because this game might be a new favorite. Sorry Cards Against Humanity!

– E.B.

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