Storytelling, The Heart of Any Amazing Game

Storytelling; the art of weaving words together to convey a clear thought, emotion, or series of events. Will it be lost in this digital age, where people are miles away while sitting side by side?

Things like Rivals: Masters of the Deep give me hope.

I’ve been a huge fan of storytelling ever since I got into Dungeons & Dragons with the red box and some books I (permanently) checked out from the library. I was instantly hooked when I unknowingly escaped into another world of dwarves, elves, dragons and literally anything else I could imagine. Think of that: UNLIMITED space to be creative, imaginative, and invent anything you could ever dream of. How could a kid not fall in love?

Over the years, there have been some games to tap into this same space, such as Legend of the Five Rings, which was my most passionate past-time of my teenage years. It holds a very dear place in my heart, as does AEG, the company that produces it.

Now comes Rivals: Masters of the Deep

Steampunk and Cthulhu have been extremely popular in the gaming world over the last 5 years. There are at least 20 games I can think of within those genres, but sadly most of them leaned too heavily on the theme and not enough on story or mechanics.

This game is not one of those.

They originally kicked off their line with painted and DIY (do it yourself) Steampunk Designer Toys and Steampunk Designer Toys – Set II with great success, funding both campaigns. These super cool designs came with a bit of story and so began the Rivals world.

Right after I found them on Instagram I immediately went to their site and ordered a t-shirt for the Nautilus side, because CLEARLY the children of The Great Old Ones will be far superior to those puny steam-people. When I received the shirt, it came with a few story cards with some art on them. That little touch brought me back to my teenage years, when stories and depth (pun intended) to a product was superior to how cheaply you made it in China.

So I excitedly wrote to Chase, one of the designers of the game, to get some more details on their story. He was ecstatic at the idea of being featured on I’m A Social Gamer and when I asked him for more story, he said the best possible answer imaginable:

“It’s your story and you decide where it goes.”

I absolutely LOVE story integration and do you recall that game I mentioned earlier, Legend of the Five Rings? Well, it turns out Chase is a huge L5R player as well. Not really a shock, and UBER awesome to make that kind of connection with a fellow gamer, designer, and storyteller.

Upon further discussion it turns out they had some fan-fiction that had been submitted, so I’ll share that with you here. They are great! Rivals gives people a door into another world, and we get to blast through it and create our own adventure!

Without further babbling, here are the tales, woven by true pioneers and a adventurers:

• Introducing Dr. Sparks by Preston (PDF)
Cog Propaganda by Walsh (PDF)
The Guilt of the Deep by Stephanie Bryant (PDF)
Rivals by Sean (PDF)

And as for the boardgame, I haven’t even touched on the ridiculously beautiful art, amazing quality and the BADASS vinyl figures you get with the game. I can’t wait to paint mine!!!

Nautilus Heroes

Nautilus Heroes


Cog Heroes

Cog Heroes

UPDATE: All of their Early Bird specials are gone, and the other limited options are almost filled up!

I suggest you get in quick if you want your awesome copy at a super awesome price!

All art used with permission and © World of Rivals 2015