Posted on : 04-24-2014 | By : Brian | In : Reviews, Role-Playing Games
Storium is like the Matrix: nobody can be told what it is, you have to see it for yourself. If you’re aware of the Kickstarter but on the fence about backing because you have no worldly idea what it is, I’d like to help you.
What follows are a series of screen grabs that comprise the first scene of my Venture City Stories Storium game. I used screen grabs because I want you to be able to see Storium; the UI, the way it presents information, and so forth.
First, these are the characters in my game:
A Storium scene starts with a move from the narrator. In that move, the narrator can play obstacles, goals, assets, people, or places in any combination. Here’s the first move:
Those cards under Challenges are obstacle cards. The little pips are challenge points; each challenge (obstacle or person) has a number of challenge points assigned by the narrator.
Once the scene has started, the players can start posting their own moves to respond to the narrator and to each other.
In this move, you’ll see that Ghalib has played three cards: two strengths and a subplot. Each card a player plays to a challenge marks off one of that challenges points; when all the points are marked off, the challenge is considered resolved. Which cards you play matter though. Strengths push a challenge toward a strong outcome, while weaknesses point a challenge toward a weak outcome. Other cards mark off points, but don’t push the challenge in either direction; they maintain the current status quo in that challenge.
Players are limited in the number of cards they can play in a scene: three per scene. You can still make moves without playing cards, but you won’t be affecting the direction of the fiction in any mechanical way. So, on Ghalib’s first move, he played all three cards on that challenge, winning control of it with a strong outcome. That means he gets to narrate what happens, given the constraints of the challenge. These were the constraints of that challenge:
And here are the next several moves in this scene:
Here you can see players going back and forth, playing cards and shifting the direction in which the challenge is headed. You can also see that, as the narrator, you can continue to make moves. You don’t have to play challenges to make a move. Also, you can play other cards like assets or goals, or you can give them directly to individual players.
Here’s the rest of the scene:
One more thing: there’s a commentary channel where you can have out-of-character chatter. Here’s what that looks like:
And them’s the basics! If you like what you saw, if you think it sounds like your cup of tea, go back the Kickstarter!