I had the privilege of sitting down with Monocle Society Founder Kyle Kinkade, and the new chief operating officer of Monocle Society, Mike Fehlauer, to talk about their revolutionary storytelling game,Weave.
Before I dive in, I should mention that this is the third of a three-article series on Weave. While each is fairly self-contained, I do build on themes and observations from the previous articles in this one. So, if you haven’t I would read those first, then return to this one. You can use the Weave tag above this post’s title and the navigation tool beneath it to explore those or find them here and here.
When it comes to TTRPGs, Weave is a standout. While most others require heavy frontloaded commitment through making a character, learning about the world, meshing with the party, etc., Weave is card-based, and the degree of flexibility and rapid pacing that offers is surprisingly impacting.
What’s so special about using cards?
Consider each card a sort of story prompt. With its heavy emphasis on storytelling at the forefront, Weave is a narrative-driven game, but also a game-driven narrative.
Each card has a picture with some specifics. These can be interpreted through the app, or in the storyteller’s mind. They can be symbolic, literal, or somewhere in between. By using the cards, storytellers can construct narratives as complex or basic, as detailed or simple, as they choose.
When each card is drawn, the storyteller incorporates the card into the narrative. For example, if a storyteller draws the Mountain card, perhaps the players have to go to a mountain. Maybe there are mountains in the distance that offer the promise of treasure? It could be the NPC the players encounter is built like a mountain or perhaps has stony features. The possibilities are endless, literally limited only by your imagination.
The card-drawing aspect keeps the pace up, while minimizing the time it might take to conceive a response from scratch. By using the cards as prompts, it also prevents stale responses and mixes things up. What’s more, the idea of a storytelling game fueled by tarot feels like a natural extension of each element (no pun intended).
Cards and dice together? What?
At first, the idea that a game might use cards and dice in equal measure might throw some veteran RPG’ers for a loop. However, many board games utilize both cards and dice. Even classic games such as Clue utilize storytelling, dice, cards, and worksheets in tandem.
It might sound petty, but many people that I spoken with about Weave at my own FLGS (Friendly Local Game Shop) expressed confusion or distaste for a game that utilized cards and dice simultaneously. Even when I pointed out that many Dungeons & Dragons players use things like spell cards, I was met with, “But those are optional.”
I suppose, to a degree, that’s fair. It’s a matter of perspective.
As a seasoned D&D player, my go-to means of explaining new RPG systems defaults to comparisons with the granddaddy of TTRPGs. However, even in my interview with Kyle and Mike, I had to come to terms with the notion that Weave isn’t trying to be another system or build off of its foundation; it’s a wholly different experience.
Weave and D&D are the proverbial apples and oranges of the TTRPG world
While many more traditional TTRPGs (including D&D) rely on heavy preparation and freeform storytelling, Weave focuses on accessibility through more guided sessions.
Many players enjoy the rewards of hours-long preparation sessions and detailed character creation. Traditional TTRPGs fill this niche well.
Other players just want to sit down and play a game, even if it’s with random strangers. Through its multifaceted gameplay, Weave facilitates this.
As mentioned in our first article, players can literally drum up a Weave session while waiting in line at Gen Con. This is possible because of the cards guiding the story’s flow. It isn’t as much positive or negative as it is a simple fact.
Weave doesn’t try to supplant other TTRPGs. It adds cutting-edge content and methods for the ever-expanding genre of TTRPGs.
But rather than continuing to gush about Weave and its innovative contributions to the genre, I think the best means of you understanding this new, revolutionary game is to play it for yourself.
What do you think of Weave?
Have you played it? Do you think it fits into the TTRPG genre, or is it birthing a whole new “thing?” Let us know your thoughts in the comments!
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