‘Storm Hollow: A Storyboard Game’ – A Tabletop Game Review, Part 1 of 2

Storm Hollow Game Game Title Image

For a game of this size, one article just isn’t enough. For ease of consumption, and out of love and respect for my hands and fingers, I will be splitting this particular review into two parts. This part will cover the overall aspects of the game, the components, then preparation and setup for our first set of adventures. In the second part, I will use our first scene as an example of how to play, then I will wrap up the second part with my opinions of the game. Buckle up, kids, I have lots and lots of words for you on this one. And that is a good thing, I think.

Storm Hollow At a Glance

Storm Hollow Box Art
Storm Hollow Box Art

At first glance, Storm Hollow looks…big. But big doesn’t quite cover it. The box is enormous. And heavy. You’ll quickly realize why that is once you start unpacking the box and checking your components. We’ll get to that part in a few minutes. First, I want to tell you what Storm Hollow isn’t. It is not a typical board game. Sure, it has a couple boards and lots of cards. And quite a few markers and pieces and dice, but at the core Storm Hollow is an RPG. It is a game of guided storytelling that lets the narrator/storyteller weave a spell of magic for her adventurers to complete with their choices and their imaginations.

I have played many an RPG in my day but have never been a DM (or GM depending on the game). The very idea intimidates the crud out of me. So an opportunity to do that but in a more controlled and guided way appealed to me from the get-go. I was also drawn to the visual tracking for both the Storyteller (what we call the DM in Storm Hollow) and the players. I’m an easily distracted gal so one thing I’ve always struggled with during other RPGs was keeping track of everything while so many people are talking and moving and rolling dice around me. Storm Hollow expertly removes that burden and lets the Storyteller weave her spell and the players enjoy molding that story along the way all while tracking progress visually on character cards. Love this!

Storm Hollow Components

**A warning, dear readers. Some of the pictures will show contents of the cards/books themselves. With any RPG there are components of the game you do not want the players to see in advance. Just be aware of that while looking at my photos. I suggest you not look at them with your children, at least in a close-up fashion where they might catch the text. We wouldn’t want to spoil their upcoming adventure, would we?

Contents from Storm Hollow Box
Entire contents of Storm Hollow box. Yes, I had to stand on a chair to fit everything into the shot.

Storm Hollow components are quite impressive. My version of the game, the Treasury version, includes everything except the Kickstarter backer perks. I mean, look at that picture above! I had to climb to get that picture, I’m just saying.

Part 1: Preludes

Storm Hollow Preludes - total contents
Storm Hollow Preludes – total contents

This is the ‘base set’ for lack of a better phrase. With the Preludes items, you get everything you need to run 5 scenes plus the ending scene where you wrap up the overall adventure. You do not get the cat that appeared out of nowhere in that chair in the above picture. Though perhaps she came to bring us word of a new adventure in Storm Hollow?

The Preludes part includes:

Books/Pages

Storm Hollow Preludes Books. Storyteller's Guide, Poppin's Guide to Storm Hollow, and Preludes Adventure Book
Storm Hollow Preludes Books. Storyteller’s Guide, Poppin’s Guide to Storm Hollow, and Preludes Adventure Book
  • Storyteller’s Guide, a 48-page hardcover book
  • Poppin’s Guide to Storm Hollow, a 64-page hardcover book
  • Preludes Adventure Book, a 120-page hardcover book
  • 4 Blank Adventure Planners

    Storm Hollow Preludes Blank Adventure Planner, pages 4 & 5 of 8
    Storm Hollow Preludes Blank Adventure Planner, pages 4 & 5 of 8

Boards

  • Map of Storm Hollow board 22″ x 22″

    Storm Hollow Preludes Map Board
    Storm Hollow Preludes Map Board
  • 6 Double-sided hero boards

    Storm Hollow Preludes Hero Board Example
    Storm Hollow Preludes Hero Board Example
  • Storyteller Board

    Storm Hollow Preludes Storyteller Board
    Storm Hollow Preludes Storyteller Board
  • 4 Tracker Boards
Storm Hollow Preludes Tracker Boards
Storm Hollow Preludes Tracker Boards

Cards

Poker-sized (88mm x 63mm)
  • Artifact Cards
    Storm Hollow Preludes Artifact Cards
    Storm Hollow Preludes Artifact Cards
    • 36 Treasure Cards
    • 12 Folklore Cards
  • Power Orb Cards
    • 12 Fire Cards

      Storm Hollow Preludes Fire Power Orb Cards
      Storm Hollow Preludes Fire Power Orb Cards
    • 12 Essence Cards

      Storm Hollow Preludes Essence Power Orb Cards
      Storm Hollow Preludes Essence Power Orb Cards
    • 12 Music Cards

      Storm Hollow Preludes Music Power Orb Cards
      Storm Hollow Preludes Music Power Orb Cards
  • 6 Hero Adventure Kit Cards

    Storm Hollow Preludes Adventure Kit Cards
    Storm Hollow Preludes Adventure Kit Cards
  • 6 Hero Talent Cards
Storm Hollow Preludes Talent Cards - Female Side
Storm Hollow Preludes Talent Cards – Female Side
Storm Hollow Preludes Talent Cards - Male Side
Storm Hollow Preludes Talent Cards – Male Side
Tarot-sized (120mm x 70mm)
  • 20 Rift Cards

    Storm Hollow Preludes Rift Cards
    Storm Hollow Preludes Rift Cards
  • 15 Ally Cards

    Storm Hollow Preludes Ally Cards
    Storm Hollow Preludes Ally Cards
  • 15 Enemy Cards

    Storm Hollow Preludes Enemy Cards
    Storm Hollow Preludes Enemy Cards
  • 23 Scene to Go Cards

    Storm Hollow Preludes Scene to Go Cards
    Storm Hollow Preludes Scene to Go Cards
  • 15 Scene Cards – Preludes Adventures Version

    Storm Hollow Preludes Scene Cards
    Storm Hollow Preludes Scene Cards
  • Opening Scene Card
Storm Hollow Preludes Opening Scene Card
Storm Hollow Preludes Opening Scene Card
Other Pieces
  • Dice
    Storm Hollow Preludes Dice
    Storm Hollow Preludes Dice
    • 12 White
    • 2 Black
    • 1 Grey
    • 6 Colored Talent Dice
  • 6 Wooden meeples

    Storm Hollow Preludes Meeples and Gems
    Storm Hollow Preludes Meeples and Gems
  • Plastic Gems
    • 7 Circular Pink
    • 12 Circular Grey Smoke
    • 12 Circular Clear
    • 18 Teardrop Orange

Part 2: Tales of a New Age

Storm Hollow Tales of a New Age Total Contents
Storm Hollow Tales of a New Age Total Contents

Books/Pages

Storm Hollow Tales of a New Age Books
Storm Hollow Tales of a New Age Books
  • Poppin’s Guide to Venture, a 64-page hardcover book

    Storm Hollow Tales of a New Age Inside Poppins Guide to Venture
    Storm Hollow Tales of a New Age Inside Poppins Guide to Venture
  • Pieces of a Broken World Adventure Book, a 112-page hardcover book

    Storm Hollow Inside Pieces of a Broken Wold Adventure Book
    Storm Hollow Inside Pieces of a Broken World Adventure Book
  • Battle for Storm Hollow rules booklet
  • Battle for Storm Hollow Dark Enemy sticker sheet

Boards

  • Map of Venture board 22″ x 22″

    Storm Hollow Tales of a New Age Map of Venture
    Storm Hollow Tales of a New Age Map of Venture

Cards

Tarot-sized (120mm x 70mm)
  • 15 Ally Cards

    Storm Hollow Tales of a New Age Ally Cards
    Storm Hollow Tales of a New Age Ally Cards
  • 15 Enemy Cards

    Storm Hollow Tales of a New Age Enemy Cards
    Storm Hollow Tales of a New Age Enemy Cards
  • 30 Scene Cards

    Storm Hollow Tales of a New Age Scene Cards
    Storm Hollow Tales of a New Age Scene Cards
  • 10 Campaign Cards

    Storm Hollow Tales of a New Age Campaign Cards
    Storm Hollow Tales of a New Age Campaign Cards
  • 30 Blank Cards

    Storm Hollow Tales of a New Age Blank Cards
    Storm Hollow Tales of a New Age Blank Cards
Poker-sized (88mm x 63mm)
  • 36 Artifact Cards
    Storm Hollow Tales of a New Age Artifact Cards
    Storm Hollow Tales of a New Age Artifact Cards
    • 12 Famous Poppins
    • 6 Kumaji
    • 6 Legendary
    • 6 Mirror
    • 6 Quizzelrod
  • 48 Power Orb Cards
    Storm Hollow Tales of a New Age Power Orb Cards Part 1
    Storm Hollow Tales of a New Age Power Orb Cards Part 1
    • 12 Fairy
    • 12 Grumbok
    • 12 Venture
    • 12 Winter

      Storm Hollow Tales of a New Age Power Orb Cards Part 2
      Storm Hollow Tales of a New Age Power Orb Cards Part 2
  • 6 Adventure Kit Cards

    Storm Hollow Tales of a New Age Adventure Kit Cards
    Storm Hollow Tales of a New Age Adventure Kit Cards
  • 6 Battle for Storm Hollow Cards

    Storm Hollow Tales of a New Age Battle for Storm Hollow Talent Cards
    Storm Hollow Tales of a New Age Battle for Storm Hollow Talent Cards

Part 3: Whispers of Wonder

Books/Pages

  • Whispers of Wonder, a 36-page booklet

    Storm Hollow Whispers of Wonder Booklet
    Storm Hollow Whispers of Wonder Booklet
  • 4 Blank Adventure Planners
  • Create-a-Kit Sticker Sheet

    Storm Hollow Tales of a New Age Create-A-Kit Stickers
    Storm Hollow Tales of a New Age Create-A-Kit Stickers

Cards

Poker-sized (88mm x 63mm)
  • 12 Artifact Cards (Party Machine)

    Storm Hollow Tales of a New Age Artifact Cards
    Storm Hollow Tales of a New Age Artifact Cards
  • 6 Adventure Kit Cards (Trusted Ally)
  • 13 Power Orb Cards
    Storm Hollow Tales of a New Age Power Orb Cards
    Storm Hollow Tales of a New Age Power Orb Cards
    • 12 Towers
    • 1 Riftwalker Special
  • 60 Venture Rumors and Resources Cards
    Storm Hollow Tales of a New Age Venture Rumors and Resources Cards
    Storm Hollow Tales of a New Age Venture Rumors and Resources Cards 1 of 3
    Storm Hollow Tales of a New Age Venture Rumors and Resources Cards 2 of 3
    Storm Hollow Tales of a New Age Venture Rumors and Resources Cards 2 of 3

    Storm Hollow Tales of a New Age Venture Rumors and Resources Cards 3 of 3
    Storm Hollow Tales of a New Age Venture Rumors and Resources Cards 3 of 3
  • 71 Lodran’s Lost Pages Cards
    Storm Hollow Tales of a New Age Venture Lodran's Lost Pages 1 or 4
    Storm Hollow Tales of a New Age Venture Lodran’s Lost Pages 1 of 4
    Storm Hollow Tales of a New Age Venture Lodran's Lost Pages 2 of 4
    Storm Hollow Tales of a New Age Venture Lodran’s Lost Pages 2 of 4
    Storm Hollow Tales of a New Age Venture Lodran's Lost Pages 3 of 4
    Storm Hollow Tales of a New Age Venture Lodran’s Lost Pages 3 of 4

    Storm Hollow Tales of a New Age Venture Lodran's Lost Pages 4 of 4
    Storm Hollow Tales of a New Age Venture Lodran’s Lost Pages 4 of 4
Tarot-sized (120mm x 70mm)
  • 7 Ally Cards

    Storm Hollow Tales of a New Age Ally Cards
    Storm Hollow Tales of a New Age Ally Cards
  • 7 Enemy Cards

    Storm Hollow Tales of a New Age Enemy Cards
    Storm Hollow Tales of a New Age Enemy Cards
  • 6 Whispers of Wonder Scene Cards

    Storm Hollow Tales of a New Age Scene Cards
    Storm Hollow Tales of a New Age Scene Cards
  • 5 Scene to Go Cards

    Storm Hollow Tales of a New Age Scene To Go Cards
    Storm Hollow Tales of a New Age Scene To Go Cards
  • 6 Create-a-Kit Cards
Dice
  • 10 white
  • 2 black

Part 4: Story Souvenirs

  • Storm Hollow Fold-out Map Poster

    Storm Hollow Story Souvenirs Map Poster
    Storm Hollow Story Souvenirs Map Poster
  • Storm Hollow Coloring Book

    Storm Hollow Story Souvenirs Coloring Book
    Storm Hollow Story Souvenirs Coloring Book
  • 6 Bookmarks

    Storm Hollow Story Souvenirs Bookmarks
    Storm Hollow Story Souvenirs Bookmarks
  • 6 Postcards
    Storm Hollow Story Souvenirs Postcards 1 of 2
    Storm Hollow Story Souvenirs Postcards 1 of 2

    Storm Hollow Story Souvenirs Postcards 2 of 2
    Storm Hollow Story Souvenirs Postcards 2 of 2

Preparation For Storm Hollow

So how does one get started in a game such as this? Storm Hollow makes that extremely easy. You’re told right away to read Storyteller’s Guide as your starting point as the Storyteller and it lays everything out so perfectly for you. All my stress about running my own campaign just melted away when I realized how easy things would be. Both for me and the players. The books and the cards/boards make everything so easy to keep track of for everyone that I could immediately tell we were going to be able to relax and really get into the stories ahead of us.

Read Storyteller’s Guide and The Poppin’s Guide to Storm Hollow

The first page (after the poem) provides a brief introduction, a table of contents, and introduces you to the two guides that will help you along the way as you embrace your role of Storyteller. The two guides highlight the two different play styles you can choose to embrace when building out your adventures. Fidgewik Roga is the rule-follower. He likes to embrace the campaigns as provided in the game exactly as they are so you can calm the chaos and keep your players on track at all times. Gumparus Fletch, on the other hand, thinks of rules as recommendations. He prefers to use the rules as guidelines only and let the story take center stage.  I, as in most things I do, will ride that fence right in the middle of these two approaches in the future, but for my first adventure, I relied heavily on the rules to guide me.

The Introduction chapter in Storyteller’s Guide walks you through the types of players, the components included in the game (see above) and the 2 basic rules of Storm Hollow. Rule 1 is that the story guides the rule, not the other way around like in most classic tabletop games. Don’t be afraid to adapt the rules a titch when the story needs to be nudged one way or another. Rule 2 is to make it believable. Note that this is believable, which is different than realism. You’re running adventures in a made-up world, for crying out loud, it won’t be realistic but within that magical realm you can make it believable, so just keep that in mind. If the players can’t get invested in the story then they won’t be invested in moving it along.

I wanted to highlight that portion of Storyteller’s Guide here in the preparation area because it went a long way in helping me determine how to set up and run my first adventure. The next parts of the book go into how Adventures contain Scenes and Scenes are a series of turns but we’ll get into that more when we go through the first adventure in Part 2 of this review. For now, we’ll move on to choosing the adventure and prepping to begin.

Once you finish reading Storyteller’s Guide I highly recommend you take some time to at least skim The Poppin’s Guide to Storm Hollow. It isn’t required reading for anyone who plays, whether as Storyteller or Poppin (what the players are called in the game), but is useful. And if you have plenty of time before your adventure starts have the players read this book, too. It tells them all about what a Poppin is, how will they choose their character (there can be only one of each kind in each adventure, after all), explains the talents for each character type, explains the importance of choosing the right Adventurer’s Kit, and even goes into great detail on the different creatures/characters they may meet along the way in Storm Hollow.

If you are eager and want to get into the meat of the game faster, skim The Poppin’s Guide to Storm Hollow and you can just help your Poppins choose characters as part of the initial session.

So you’ve finished Storyteller’s Guide and skimmed or read The Poppin’s Guide to Storm Hollow. Now what? Head on over to Preludes Adventure Book so you can choose and read your first adventure. Page 5 is, in fact, titled “Choose an Adventure!” and will walk you through the different adventure options and even makes recommendations on which order to do them in, but of course, that order is totally up to you.

Each adventure uses a specific map, title page, and 3 scene keys. For the premade adventures included in the books, you’ll be provided all the info on which pieces to use. For our first adventure, I chose “No Place Like Nome.” This adventure requires the Storm Hollow map, The Quizzleplex Rift Card, Nomes Ally Cards, and the Tyrannosuarus Plex Enemy Card (shhhh, that’s a small spoiler there!). Once I gathered up these items we were ready to begin.

To be continued in Part 2… Please come back next week to follow along with how we kicked off our first adventure in Storm Hollow’s magical world

Are you already convinced of your need for this game? You can pre-order this version just as you see it in this review on the Game Salute website. This version is $250. I know, I know, a little sticker shock on that price? Scroll back up and take another look at what comes in this box. Those hardbound books alone make this price point more than reasonable.

A copy of this game was provided to GeekDad for the review.

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