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  • Writer's pictureHinton Magazine

The Twenty-Sided Tavern

The Twenty-Sided Tavern is an interactive adventure where the audience decide what the characters do by making choices and playing games all though their own phone. New technology, running seamlessly in the background, allows for the real time choosing of heroes, battling of monsters, and solving of riddles to influence the narrative as it unfolds.

After sell-out shows inThe USA, we talked with Producer, David Carpenter and Creator &Gamesmaster, Davis Laws about Gaming and bringing this game to life.

Do you think gaming needs to permeate more layers of society?

David Laws (DAGL): I think it should and that it already does more than we realize. I know David Carpenter will have lots of thoughts on this but, briefly, the brain wants to play. We know this from study and we know this from experience. Whether the intent is to entertain, educate, enlighten, or inspire, gamification is an incredible resource, and I’m thrilled with the way we’re exploring it.

David Carpenter (David C.): Does it need to or does it already? When you think about the history of entertainment, games and competition have been woven into the fabric of society since the beginning of civilization. The human brain loves a puzzle. It loves the heightened dramatic tension when watching two sides square off. We love to compete with ourselves. It’s no surprise that the more technologically advanced we get, the more ways we find to play games in everyday life.

As gamers grow older, would you say that the way the gaming community is viewed by the people outside of it is starting to change?

DAGL: I’m sure it’s happening as a result of folks getting older, but it’s also just a consequence of “nerd culture” becoming more mainstream, isn’t it? For one, there become fewer people “outside” the broader the appeal gets. And then, the more likely you are to know someone “inside” a nerdom, that will certainly change your perspective as well.

David C.: Absolutely, we’ve seen the explosion of gaming happen across generations. We have generations of people playing the same game. People passing down board games and card games has been happening for sometime and with each new generation, a slayer is born….whoops I mean each new generation wants something new and different than the one that came before. So, the pool gets larger, ideas evolve, the systems become more complex. I think it’s astonishing that you can play monopoly with your grandparents and then our generation can play a re-release of Legend of Zelda with our own

The show is always changing, as the audience is interacting with its path. Do you think that actors find it more difficult to be in such a show or, on the contrary, it’s a much more liberating experience?

DAGL: Personally, I find it to be the most liberating onstage experience. There are enough milestones in the show that even if we get completely off the rails, I know we can always find our way back to a satisfying conclusion. And in the meantime, I just need to listen, think, react, and trynot to embarrass myself.”

David C.: What DAGL and Sarah Reynolds have created is absolutely mindblowing. They have taken the element of chance to an entire new entertainment artform. It forces the audience and actors to stay present at all times, just to keep up with each other. I love watching every night how well every person on that stage is listening to each other and the room. It never gets boring.

What’s the longest time you’ve spent gaming?

DAGL: Tabletop gaming? Probably six hours at a time. And that’s rarely. I know some folks do full-day D&D sessions, but that burns my brain out pretty quickly the way I play. Video gaming? There were times when playing the original Sims that I’d realize I’d forgotten to eat or go to the bathroom at all, and the dopamine was blocking my body’s ability to communicate these needs to myself. The Sims player had become the Sim….

David C.: I’ve lost entire weekends playing video games. But hands down, Game of Thrones board game. Minimum 5-6 hours of play and you will emerge the other side with less friends. It’s epic.

Some people take gaming very seriously. Would you say having a sense of humour makes you a better gamer?

DAGL: Absolutely. Some games might be about winning, but all games are about fun. If you’re not having fun or if someone’s fun is being diminished, what’s the point?

David C.: As everyone who knows me knows, I have no sense of humour. I’m here to win.

From your past experience, which age groups tend to have the most fun at your shows? Do some audiences get more into the tech, or does everyone grasp it pretty quickly?

DAGL: The single individual who has had the most fun at one of our shows was the four-year-old in a sea of adults whose voice cut through the crowd to name the evil NPC “Bwipey McDougall”. Beyond that, nearly everyone has had the time of their life at this experience, from our target demographics to the less tech-savvy. Even those who don’t own a cell phone and don’t want to play along in that way still have enough to interact with: riddles to solve in their heads, comedy to laugh at, and an adventure to watch unfold.

David C.: The beauty for me is that we have audiences from 8 to 80. We have parents bring their kids. We have older groups and younger groups and everything in between. I love that this delights people on a multi-generational level and there is an entry point that isn’t anything about age. That’s a top notch entertainment to me. Something that can bring an entire community together. And at this point, everyone knows how to operate a smart phone. It’s a tool in our pocket that we all use so there isn’t any barrier to entry for anyone.

The Twenty-Sided Tavern, Pleasance Dome (King Dome), 4.30pm, 3-28 August (not 15)


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