25 June 2021
Create your own action-packed story featuring the Caped Cruader with just a handful of dice.
For some people playing a game will always be about whether or not they can win. For them it’s the end result of victory that dictates whether or not they’ve had a good time… which is a shame. For others it’s all about the shared experience with their fellow players or the journey they’ve been on while taking part. Yes, that sounds a little like one of the sob stories you’d find on X Factor but throughout tabletop gaming we are seeing a move towards ‘experiences’ rather than competitive play. Take Dixit, for example, in which you’re theoretically trying to win the game but really it’s about the wonderful and imaginative stories you get to tell.
Another of those products that’s all about a shared experience is Rory’s Story Cubes, which is a ‘game’ in the very loosest sense of the term. There’s no real winner, there’s no board and there are no playing pieces. Instead you get nine dice that have a different image on each side and, depending upon what you roll, you use those images to tell a tale. Rory’s Story Cubes isn’t so much a game, as a story generator.
Originally launched in 2005, Rory’s Story Cubes have since gone on to cover numerous different themes, such as prehistoric times, space travel, fantasy, animals, etc. The latest set is inspired by the adventures of the Caped Crusader himself: Batman! This means on the nine dice you’ll fine illustrations of things like the Batmobile, Robin, the Joker and a sword, along with concepts/actions such as running away, tied up or cornered. The pictures are simple but charming and it’s immediately obvious what they’re conveying.
Just like the original, you roll the nine dice and then arrange them in the order of a story. For example: “Batman stood on the DOCKS looking towards ARKHAM ASYLUM when he spotted HARLEY QUINN heading through a SECRET ENTRANCE… was she heading to bust the JOKER out of his cell? Suddenly there was an EXPLOSION and Batman saw the Joker and Harley Quinn running out of a SEWER EXIT PIPE and diving into a waiting VAN. Batman jumped into the BATMOBILE and prepared to give chase.” The capitals are the images we rolled.
A nice touch for larger groups of people is to give players a couple of dice each and then everyone adds a part to the story depending upon what they’ve rolled. This is actually a potentially hilarious way to play, as you can put Batman in some ridiculous situations that the next player then has to try and sort out.
This feature originally appeared in Issue 3 of Tabletop Gaming. Pick up the latest issue of the UK's fastest-growing gaming magazine in print or digital here or subscribe to make sure you never miss another issue.
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