On Table-Top Roleplaying Games

The best success I’ve ever had in describing RPGs to non-gamers isn’t saying its like fantasy or Star Wars or anything like that. This spiel has actually gotten the light to go on, where they get what it is to play a tabletop RPG. Usually something like this.

So in this game, let’s say you’re a character in a horror movie. You get to make him up, maybe you’re the Blue Collar Plumber who is trying to keep his kid safe. Or the cop that has seen too much. Or the college kid home for the summer to see his folks. But you’re out at the old farmhouse, and there’s a crazed killer with a big machete that’s been stalking you.

I’m running the game, which means I sort of set the scene. You’re at the top of the stairs, and the crazy guy is at the bottom, looking for you. What do you do? You could go and hide, maybe he won’t find you. Or you could make a run for it. Or you could grab a lamp and hit him over the head. Up to you, its your character.

So say you decide you want to make a run for it. You’ll have some scores on your sheet that say how good you are at running, and we roll some dice. If you roll well, you zip past him into the yard. If not, well he gets in your way and now he’s gonna try to cut you in half. If you try something else, we’ll figure out what to roll to see if it works, and then make up what happens next.

The first time I used this approach, the guy who had never played an RPG before had that light go on in his eyes and said “Oh, so the rules determine what happens next in the story! That sounds awesome!”

I find the horror movie approach much more accessible than a specific genre. If you can get them to get it from that approach, then explaining that there are other games that are like that but Lord of the Rings or Star Wars or whatever.

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Roll20 and Writing Adventures for Profit

Download NPC Cast Episode 160 – Roll20 and Writing Adventures for Profit

Aaron and Chris chat with Roll20 Co-Founder Nolan T. Jones and Roll20 Brand Manager Suzanne Wallace! (72min)

Things you may be interested in:

Roll20.net

WotC Announces OGL and DMs Guild for 5E.

Unpub 6

Prophecy of Dragons

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2015k Casties Part 1!

Download NPC Cast Episode 157 – 2015k Casties Part 1!

In this mega episode we narrow the field from our top 32 games of the year to the elite 8! 2015k Casties time! (119min)

CHECK OUT THE BRACKET FOR THE 2015k CASTIES!

Things you may be interested in:

Numenera Skill Building Game – A KS for a game by some of our friends!

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How to be a Good Player

Download NPC Cast Episode 156 – How to be a Good Player

We offer some of our advice for how to be the type of player your GM would love to have at the table! (73min)

CHECK OUT THE BRACKET FOR THE 2015k CASTIES. FILL IT OUT. MAYBE WIN A PRIZE.

Things you may be interested in:

Iron Gods Adventure Path

Pop Culture Playoffs – Aaron and Del’s other podcast!

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Boardless Bullet Points

Download NPC Cast Episode 155 – Boardless Bullet Points

We make some Bullet Point game design pitches about adapting classic board games to boardless versions! (56min)

Things you may be interested in:

Bullet Points: Monopoly

Tyrants of the Underdark

Under My Bed Print and Play Files

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Licensed Tabletop Games

Download NPC Cast Episode 154 – Licensed Tabletop Games

The NPC Cast boys chat about licensed tabletop games! What makes them good? What do we want in our licensed games? (64min)

Things you may be interested in:

Ashes Expansions announced!

Ghost in the Shell: Standalone Complex: First Assault

 

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Campaign Crucible – The House on the Moors

houseonthemoors

Download NPC Cast Episode 153 – The House on the Moors

The whole gang is back together and we are doing a campaign crucible! (71min)

Things you may be interested in:

Star Wars Armada

Fate of Indines

Sapiens

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Boardless Games

boardlessgames

Download NPC Cast Episode 152 – Boardless Games

Del is back and we talk about board games without boards! (53min)

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Star Wars Wrap-Up

My Star Wars game, which I’ve written about many times, finally wrapped up, with my heroes having freed a dangerous Moff as the general they needed to lead the war effort against an unfrozen Sith-out-of-time who was conquering the galaxy and proclaiming himself “The Returned God”

Since my players are the best players, I created a little video for them to check out of their adventures afterwards. I asked each of them for narration; some got back to me, and I used their text, others I filled in the blanks based on their characters.

I hope you enjoy it and it gives you a few ideas for how to wrap-up your games at home.

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Optimizing PCs in RPGs

Download NPC Cast Episode 151 – Optimizing PCs in RPGs

Chris and Aaron have a chat about the optimization of player characters! (43min)

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What We’ve Learned

Download NPC Cast Episode 150 – What We’ve Learned

EPISODE 150! Chris and Aaron look back at what they have learned about RPGs, Board Games, and themselves since the show has began! (60min)

Extra-Life

Some things you may be interested in:

Mafia de Cuba

Shinobigami

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RPG Character Concepts

Download NPC Cast Episode 149 – RPG Character Concepts

In this episode, Chris and Aaron give some love to the players and talk about character concepts! (54min)

Extra-Life

Some things you may be interested in:

Bob Ross on Twitch

Noah Bradley on Twitch

Moltenink on Twitch

Islebound

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The Big Picture in RPGs

Download NPC Cast Episode 147 – The Big Picture in RPGs

In this episode, Aaron goes solo and talks about big picture story arcs in RPGs! (22min)

Extra-Life

Some things you may be interested in:

Pop Culture Playoffs –  Aaron and Del’s other podcast!

 

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Cypher System – System Mastery

Download NPC Cast Episode 146 – Cypher System – System Mastery

In this episode, Aaron and Chris are joined by Friend-PC Matt as they talk about the Cypher System from Monte Cook Games! (73min)

Extra-Life

Some things you may be interested in:

Cypher System RPG

Our Cypher System Actual Plays on Youtube.

Pandemic Legacy

Mega Civilization

Star Wars Battlefront 3

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Edge of the Empire Trading Sub-Game

My players in my Edge of the Empire game are leaning into their role as traders and traffickers. To facilitate their dreams of hauling space cargo, I created a very, very simple trading sub-game to let them make money outside of literal quest rewards. The set-up is pretty simple: Each time they touch down on a new, populated world, I roll a d8 six times, and record the result on a form I created and then laminated (so I can re-use it):

trading2Players can then buy any amount of any good they want, at a standard (0) rate of 100 credits per unit. Goods that roll a (-) cost just 50 credits per unit; Goods that roll (+)’s add 50 credits per plus (so if Contraband rolled ++, it would buy and sell at 200 credits per unit). Each unit also takes up a set amount of Storage on their ship, so contraband (such as glitterstim or spice) takes up almost none, while heavy ores and fabrication materials take up a *ton* of space. To offset this disparity, I have made it easier to make money on essential items like food and ore, since those are always relatively in demand. The chart for what items will be in demand at each starport is available here:

goodsNote that Contraband and Weapons are black and red, respectively. These items are either illegal or restricted, and carrying and selling them could come with additional risks, requiring a Streetwise or Negotiation roll to find the right buyer.

Luxuries (like the dwindling supply of Alderaanian Pinot Noir that survived by being in off-world cellars) are rarely found cheap, and most of the time command a fair price – but once in a while, you find a whale that is desperate for that Rancor-foot desk wastebin you’ve been hauling around.

You could even use these randomized, simplified rolls to generate story – did you roll an 8 on Medicine? Perhaps there’s an outbreak on the planet. If the players think to run to Thyferra to pick up Bacta cheap, have them keep in mind that everyone will have this info, so they’ll need to be cunning astrogators to get to Thyferra and back in time to cash in on their plan.

This isn’t a super-deep system, by design, but it’s a little something to make your home game a little more interesting and hopefully give your players something to do with all their ship’s cargo space.

Happy Gaming!

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Playing RPGs Online


Download NPC Cast Episode 145 – Playing RPGs Online

In this episode, Aaron and Chris are joined by Friend-PC Stephanie Straw to talk about playing Tabletop RPGs over the world wide web! (68min)

Extra-Life

Some things you may be interested in:

City of Egress Episodes on YouTube

Scythe

Legion of Everblight

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Campaign Crucible – Cel


Download NPC Cast Episode 144 – Cel

In this episode we do another Campaign Crucible! (62min)

Some things you may be interested in:

Masks: A New Generation

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2-Player Games


Download NPC Cast Episode 143 – 2 Player Games

In this episode we talk about playing board games and role-playing games with 2 players! (61min)

Some things you may be interested in:

Board Game Design Time

Battle for Zendikar

Infinity RPG Kickstarter

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Food and RPGs


Download NPC Cast Episode 141 – Food and RPGs

In this episode we chat about the food we eat at the RPG table, and also food INSIDE of our RPGs! (63min)

Food We Eat: 03:31
Food Inside: 30:50

Some things you may be interested in:

Codenames

SPACE WHISKY

Long Walk to Valhalla

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TPK Primer: The City of Egress

City of Egress Map

This TPK is named for Bruciare, the crowning jewel of the nation of Contarini, it provides a gateway to the sunless sea.  It is a city of art and innovation, where inventors and creators toil away in great contests to win renown for their patron nobles. Those nobles are equally tied up in a constant power struggle to be The First House and create policy for the city, and embroiled in the far reaching conspiracies that keep Bruciare entrenched in the supernatural currents that bubble and churn in the depths of the city.  

It is an important era for Bruciare, as a safe and navigable path has been charted across the Sunless Sea that was once thought endless.  On the other side lies a mysterious land, and now the nobles have a new contest to be embroiled in: exploring and claiming this new land, which for now remains unnamed.  The second house, house Toritzi sees this as a way to claim the coveted first spot, and house Embroli now races to defend its hold.  Each house has began to prep a powerful fleet for their expedition.  House Ytroo, recently descended from second to third seat, finds itself with no ships following a cunning economic maneuver from house Toritizi.  Even lesser houses nip on their coveted position.

This has drawn away attention from the budding supernatural powers that lie hidden beneath the shining facade of the city, which has long considered the dark arts as forbidden and supernatural, something that the savages of other nations partake in.  Even now there are stories of golems and clockwork men roaming the streets of the city at night, wandering the maze of canals seeking something…

But Contarini is not the only nation seeking something from the lands across The Sunless Sea.  Her neighbor to the north Prahovia, has begun to prepare a journey with its own Ghost Fleet, a dozen galleons painted white that seem to drift across the ocean at supernatural speed.  Prahovia’s King, Rurick Vost, rumored to be immortal, even helms a ship in the fleet himself.

Meanwhile Arthfeal, the mysterious lands on the other side of The Shadewood, have decided to use this opportunity to assess Contarini’s strength.  Spies of all sorts have journeyed south through the wood, using their magicks of illusion and charm to worm their way into Bruciarian High Society.  Even former exiles hope to earn redemption by spying for The Emerald Nation.

OUR CHARACTERS:

Muka Xofed – An exiled soldier of Arthfeal, who always puts his own survival at first priority, he schemes to find a way to infiltrate Contarini’s expeditions and return the intelligence gained as leverage to end his exile.

Mighug Ytroo – The second son of House Ytroo, Mighug is desperately searching for a ship to get across the Sunless Sea. Given his house’s reputation as a house of outsiders and foreigners has bubbled up again with their loss of status, Mighug seeks revenge on house Toritzi.  At the same time he must keep his dark arts hidden, or else further expose his family to ridicule.

Set Igew – Even Set himself doesn’t understand his background.  He remembers nothing from before his 18th year.  He practices a magical art that allows him to infuse the inanimate with life, but at the cost of a memory or two.  It stands to reason that at some point he merely gave too much, but the consequences of that are unknown.  Now he gets by on his wits and connections, which have told him of a ship left practically unguarded.

Stausk Wioslea – Stausk hails from Prahovia originally, where a ghost’s curse has given his life purpose. While the curse provides him some benefits, he searches for ways to undo what has befallen him, though his curiosity often distracts him.  Now he finds himself entangled in the supernatural underbelly of Bruciare, where the abilities of a particular nobleman have drawn his attention.

The first episode of The City of Egress will be streamed this coming Friday, September 11th at 7:30PM PST.  You will be able to find episodes on Youtube and in audio form on our Podcast feed shortly after.

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Checking in with the Games Industry


Download NPC Cast Episode 140 – Checking in with the Games Industry

In this episode we chat about the current state of the games industry as a whole! WITNESS US! (68min)

Some things you may be interested in:

Adventure Time Love Letter

The Eyrewood (Formerly Thornwatch)

Mad Max

RYŪ

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Minigames in RPGs


Download NPC Cast Episode 139 – Minigames in RPGs

In this episode we chat with about making and using minigames for your RPG campaigns! (55min)

Some things you may be interested in:

Duelyst

The Massing at Sullest – A Star Wars Armada Event

Roll20

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Board Games that tell Stories – with Plaid Hat Games’ Isaac Vega


Download NPC Cast Episode 138 – Isaac Vega

In this episode we chat with Plaid Hat Games designer Isaac Vega (Bioshock: Infinite, Dead of Winter, Ashes) about Board Games that tell stories! (83min)

Some things you may be interested in:

Unpub: The Unpublished Card Game

Cypher System

JUGGERNAUT

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Campaign Crucible – M.A.V.R.I.C.


Download NPC Cast Episode 137 – M.A.V.R.I.C.

In this episode we bang out another Campaign Crucible featuring cryptography, parallel universes, and war games! (67min)

Some things you may be interested in:

Acadecon Kickstarter

Hardcore History

Lobotomy

 

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Gen Con Recap 2015


Download NPC Cast Episode 136 – Gen Con 2015 Recap

Del hosts this episode, and asks us all about what we did at Gen Con! (54min)

Some things you may be interested in:

Ashes

Isle of Skye

East Texas University RPG

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Magic: the Gathering – System Mastery


Download NPC Cast Episode 135 – Magic: the Gathering System Mastery

This episode we’re at GenCon, but we’re still here to chat with you about Magic: the Gathering! (72min)

Some things you may be interested in:

Nova Blitz

Wytches

Penn and Teller: Fool Us 

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GenCon 2015 Preview


Download NPC Cast Episode 134 – GenCon 2015 Preview

This episode, we get hype about GenCon 2015! (52min)

Some things you may be interested in:

This Google Doc with ALL THE GAMES.

GenCant – A con for those that can’t go. Created by our friend @425Suzanne!

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The 3rd House – Campaign Crucible

See page for author [CC BY 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons


Download NPC Cast Episode 133 – The 3rd House

This episode, we take on yet another Campaign Crucible! (74min)

Some things you may be interested in:

Arena of the Planeswalker

Worlds in Peril – Superhero roleplaying with the Apocalypse World Engine!

Splendor on iOS

RPG Talk – Aaron’s live stream show!

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Magic in RPGs

Download NPC Cast Episode 132 – Magic in RPGs

This episode, the NPCs discuss a variety of different Magic systems in RPGs! (66min)

We’re nominated for an Ennie! Click here to be taken to the ballot!

ennies2015nominee

Some things you may be interested in:

Malifaux Two-Player Starter Set

Mask of the Pirate Queen – An adventure for Edge of the Empire

Pop Culture Playoffs – Aaron and Del’s new podcast!

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ENnie Awards and NPC Del’s Voting Slate

We love games here at the NPCCast, and we’re honored to be nominated for the 2015 ENnies. While you’re free to vote for anyone you think deserves the accolades, I’ve got a few suggestions if you find yourself voting. We don’t offer a consensus opinion on every category, and do be aware that it is instant-runoff voting, so even if you prefer another product more, consider giving down-ballot votes to some of our favorites.

Best Monster/Adversary: 13th Age Bestiary. In no other monstrous folio would there be such care and attention – not to detail and Gygaxian Naturalism as in other books – but attention to fun as the 13th Age Bestiary be given to the lowly Bat. The creators of this Monster Book give so much love, and so many great, evocative adventure hooks to even the most pedestrian of opponents that we have to strongly endorse it.

Best Adventure, Best Cartography, Best Production Values: Horror on the Orient Express. It’s a bona-fide classic, and this upgrade/re-release gives it all the love it deserves. Featuring gorgeous, well, everything – from train tickets to usable telegrams. Absolute perfection.

Best Art – Interior, Best Miniatures Product, Product of the Year: IRON KINGDOMS UNLEASHED. The Adventurer’s Kit is the most value we’ve ever seen at its price point, from intricate pre-assembled minis to amazing modular terrain. The full core book’s art is just as full-metal-mayhem-filled as anything put out by Privateer Press.

Best e-Book, Best Writing: Ken Writes About Stuff. Show guest and FriendPC Kenneth Hite is probably the most correct person working in RPGs today.

Best Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games. In addition to all the tabletop offerings with their attention to detail and high-quality components, FFG has been killing it on the RPG front by releasing 3 compatible RPGs in the various eras of the Star Wars mythos, each with production values and writing and especially art to top the last.

and of course, Best Podcast: NPC Cast! Thanks for voting!

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Bullet Points – Expansions

Download NPC Cast Episode 131 – Bullet Points – Expansions

This episode, the guys design bullet point expansions for some of their favorite games! (65min)

We’re nominated for an Ennie! Click here to be taken to the ballot!

ennies2015nominee

Some things you may be interested in:

Rat Queens

Magic Pro Tour Changes

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5 Of Our Favorite RPG Episodes!

ennies2015nominee

We’re incredibly honored to be nominated for a 2015 Ennie Award! (click here to go straight to the ballot) We definitely have our listeners to thank for keeping us going, we couldn’t have done it without you. Trust us, putting an episode out each week for the past 131 weeks hasn’t always been easy, but you all have made it totally worth it! With that said, we wanted to give the influx of new listeners some places to start and so we thought we’d list a few of our favorite RPG-centric episodes from the last year or so. Here you go:

Episode 78 – Luchicago

Download NPC Cast Episode 78 – Luchicago!

Okay, this one is there for a couple reasons. First and foremost it is on there because it is an example of one of our “Campaign Crucible” episodes. Secondly, it features Kenneth Hite, who through no coincidence whatsoever, is also nominated in the Best Podcast category! In this episode, we combine some crazy elements to come up with a totally fresh campaign setting on the fly, and it was awesome having Ken on the show!

Episode 93 – Balance in RPGs

Download NPC Cast Episode 93 – Balance in RPGs!

In this episode we discussed an article by John Wick and whether or not Balance in RPGs was something that designers should shoot for in their games. We all come at it from slightly different angles, and feel like the discussion was a lot of fun and had us thinking more about the effects of design on the games we love!

Episode 97 – Winging It

Download NPC Cast Episode 97 – Winging It.

In Episode 97, we broke down how we improvise during our game sessions. This came about because NPC Aaron had recently went through almost 24 straight with next to no prep. We give a bunch of tips that anyone can adapt to their groups, whether they want to improvise a lot or a little!

Episode 109 – RPG Preludes

Download NPC Cast Episode 109 – RPG Preludes.

In this episode, we talk about why you should consider a prelude adventure for your RPG Campaign, and walk you through a variety of different types of prelude adventures you could run for your group on the first session.  We cover Origin Stories, Disposable PCs, and more!

Episode 110 – RPG Foreshadowing

Download NPC Cast Episode 110 – RPG Foreshadowing.

In Episode 110 we talk about a few ways that you can use foreshadowing in your sessions! We go over using foreshadowing as a way to hint at what is to come in the form of an omen or portent, and we cover how you can use foreshadowing to set up realizations later on!

Thanks again for checking out our podcast, we really hope you enjoy it!
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How to Teach Games

Download NPC Cast Episode 130 – How to Teach Games

This episode, the guys chat about their process for teaching games! (66min)

Some things you may be interested in:

Sense8

Paperize.io

GoPlay NW

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Starting a New RPG

Download NPC Cast Episode 129 – Starting a New RPG

This episode is brought to you by our Patreon backer Derek, and features Aaron and Del talking about what they do when looking to run a new RPG! (44min)

Some things you may be interested in:

NPC Cast Episode 109: RPG Preludes

Monster Truck Mayhem

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Playing Games with Strangers

Download NPC Cast Episode 127 – Playing Games with Strangers

In this episode, the guys are joined by friend-pc Stephanie Straw, to talk about playing games with strangers! (67min)

Other things you may be interested in:

Meetup.com – A place to find events near you!

Epic Spell Wars of the Battle Wizards 2

Plaid Hat Podcast

 

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Boonville – Campaign Crucible

Download NPC Cast Episode 125 – Boonville

In this episode, the guys record the first Campaign Crucible of the year! (82min)

Other things you may be interested in:

Penny Press – A worker placement game about chasing down stories!

Mad Max: Fury Road – Del’s favorite action movie of the last decade.

East of West – A revenge graphic novel involving Death!

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D&D 5E – Bullet Points

Download NPC Cast Episode 124 – D&D 5E Bullet Points

In this episode, the guys offer up some bullet points about what they would do with the next Dungeons and Dragons product! (78min)

Other things you may be interested in:

BattleBards – SFX for your role-playing sessions!

Coup Rebellion G54 – A Coup expansion with 25 characters!

The Muppets are back!

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Game Accessories and GameWireGirl

Download NPC Cast Episode 123 – Game Accessories and GameWireGirl

In this episode, Chris and Del are joined by their friend Brittanie (aka @GameWireGirl) while they talk about accessories in games! (60min)

CLICK HERE TO SUPPORT BRITTANIE AND THE TOKEN FEMALES IN THE GAUNTLET: MOXTROPOLIS!

Other things you may be interested in:

Campaign Coins – Metallic coins and more for your RPGs or other games!

Inked Playmats – Custom playmats on demand!

The Noteboard – A dry erase mat you can fold up and fit in your pocket!

The Broken Token – Quality box inserts for the most popular board games!

Daft Concepts – Custom box inserts for your favorite games!

Meeple Source – Custom painted meeples and other premium components!

Player’s Choice Card Sleeves – Del’s favorite sleeves OF ALL TIME!

Kigi – A beautiful card game designed by Daniel Solis!

Apocrypha – A brand new card game from friend of the show Mike Selinker

The Twin Flip ‘n’ Tray – The most glorious thing Brittanie has ever held in her hands.

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Real-Time Games

Download NPC Cast Episode 122 – Real-Time Games

In this episode, we’re back to talk to you about Real-time games! In real time! (78min)

Things you may be interested in:

Pit

Ghost Blitz

Anomia

Space Alert

X-COM

Discount Salmon

Patchwork – A two-player game by Uwe Rosenberg

Zen Bins– Containers for your favorite Dice-dueling games!

Deadly Class – A comic about assassins in high school!

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The Zombie Finale!

Download NPC Cast Episode 121 – A Zombies Episode Part 4

In this episode, we reach our conclusion, and go behind the screen! (52min)

Part Three is right here!

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