Hi, James here. Hope you’ve enjoyed “episode zero” of our podcast. What feedback we’ve had so far as been incredibly encouraging, so thank you. We’ll be recording a new episode of the podcast soon, but while we wait, I thought I’d use this blog to link to interesting stuff that I’ve come across from the world of story gaming.
First up, there’s Storium, a new story game app for online play, which is currently being Kickstarted – if you back the Kickstarter you can be up and running with the beta version straight away. The lead game designer of the project is Will Hindmarch of Always/Never/Now and Project: Dark fame. Of course, online roleplaying is hardly a new thing – play by forum and email is almost as old as the internet itself. But this is an attempt to devise a system which is specifically designed for online play.
I have to admit that I’ve always struggled with play by email and play by forum – my attempts have come to a grinding halt pretty quickly. On the surface, Storium seems to fix a lot of the problems I have with it: it’s diceless, designed for asynchronous play and the website does the heavy lifting of the system for you. Most importantly, it’s an incredibly simple system. Each character starts off with a concept, a strength, a weakness and a subplot, and play is done by the game master setting a challenge level and players playing “cards” to meet that challenge. Although the beta version uses the traditional GM-and-players format, the players themselves have a lot of narrative control and a “shared narration” version is being considered after the finished game has been launched.
I’ve struggled a bit with getting my head around the system but after reading a few existing games, I think I’ve got the idea and I’m currently in the process of starting my own Monsterhearts-inspired game. The Kickstarter has been successful and they are now fully into stretch goal mode (which involves commissioning a number of guest writers to create more worlds for users to base their games on). Whether Storium has what it takes to still be around in five years time remains to be seen, but I’d certainly recommend you check out the beta and see what you think.
British designer James Mullen has just published The ‘Hood, an Apocalypse World hack for games based in the here and now, inspired by things such as Breaking Bad and The Wire. I haven’t had a chance to check this out so far, but have heard good things about it and love the concept. It’s definitely one I’ll be checking out soon, and you can currently purchase a print on demand version on Lulu.
James has started blogging about the game’s genesis. Interestingly, at one point the game was apparently heavily inspired by Agricola. This reminds me of another Apocalypse World hack (which I recommend) called Sagas of the Icelanders, which I pitched at the London Indiemeet as “Apocalypse World meets the Settlers of Catan“.
If you’re in London, there’s plenty going on. The London Indie RPG Meetup continues to grow, with its regular monthly meetup taking place this Saturday (19 April) and a new monthly weekday meetup scheduled to have its second session on Wednesday 7 May. In between on Saturday 3 May, Twitching Curtain participant Anita Murray is going to be hosting a “playstorm”. Like a regular Indiemeet, it will comprise of two sessions. However, this time the first session will entail designing a game which will be playtested in the second session. It sounds quite exciting. Check them all out on the Indiemeet meetup page.
That’s it from me for now. Think I missed something out? Give it a plug in the comments below! Thanks.