I recently found a Kickstarter campaign for a very novel (pun completely intended) idea. Storium is a web-based multi-player story writing game. Take a second and re-read that last sentence, I’ll wait. From the Kickstarter page:
Storium is a web-based online game that you play with friends. It works by turning writing into a multiplayer game. With just your computer, tablet, or smartphone, you can choose from a library of imaginary worlds to play in, or build your own. You create your story’s characters and decide what happens to them. You can tell any kind of story with Storium. The only limit is your imagination.
Storium uses familiar game concepts inspired by card games, role-playing games, video games, and more. In each Storium game, one player is the narrator, and everyone else takes on the role of a character in the story. The narrator creates dramatic challenges for the other players to overcome. In doing so, they move the story forward in a new direction. Everyone gets their turn at telling the story.
The idea intrigued me so I dug a bit deeper. The Kickstarter campaign – which runs for nearly two more weeks – has already hit it’s funding goal. In fact, it reached it’s $25,000 goal in just under 24 hours. In the time since, it’s gone on to raise over $85,000 and hit several stretch goals. Many of the stretch goals have been additional story templates for the game library from established authors, but several other goals will add character artwork, etc.
Current backers can start a game right now. During the beta period, the game creator (Kickstarter backer/narrator) can invite other non-backers to take part in the story, but only backers can start a story. I was invited into a game in progress – a Sci-Fi story called Infinite Horizon.
The first order of business once you are accepted into a game is to create a character. You are given several options and archetypes that fit into the type of story being told. Naturally, I chose a Support Robot. After choosing your character type, you can then upload an avatar image – I really just searched for a cool looking robot – and type your character’s description. Each character has certain strengths and weaknesses (shown on a series of cards), which I’ll discuss shortly. After you’ve created your character, it’s up to the Narrator to approve or deny your access into the current game.
My Narrator was surprised but excited to see a robot, and though I’d entered into a story in progress, he was able to fit me in easily. When creating a story, the narrator sets challenges that must be completed. Each set of challenges forms a scene, and the narrator can close a scene when they are satisfied. Infinite Horizon is currently on Chapter 2, Scene 1. SR-71 was introduced at the end of Chapter 1 (Scene 6).
Gameplay starts when your character makes a move. A move has several key steps. First and foremost, you create a part of the story based on what your character is doing. This can be a few sentences, a few paragraphs, etc. Additionally, you can choose to work towards completing one of the challenges. Each challenge requires a different number of cards to complete. The Narrator can drop additional cards that may help or hinder each challenge. It’s up to the individual authors to incorporate their cards into each move. Challenges can be completed in a strong (generally positive), or weak (generally negative) fashion. If your character completes a challenge in a strong fashion, you win control of that portion of the story, and can help decide how it is finished. The Narrator can also chime in at any time to further the story, or just help out if the other players get stuck.
I’ve not confirmed how long each game can go on, but it seems there’s some flexibility for Narrators to keep a story going until they are satisfied with it’s completion. In addition to the main story, each game has a Commentary window. This can be used for planning a player’s next move, discussing the story’s direction, or just chatting between the authors. It’s a helpful tool for sure.
I can clearly ramble on about this project…Storium has really caught my attention. It’s allowed me to scratch a creative itch in a much less daunting way than writing a story on my own. The team is already off to a great start, though the more I see of Storium, the more I want to know. Maybe I’ll need to try and chat with the team behind this project to see what I can find out! If you’re like me, and want to help support Storium, check out the project video, and then go to their Kickstarter campaign at the source link below.
Source: Storium Kickstarter