Is Weave the Perfect Game for the Times?
As a Project Alpha subscriber, I remember seeing promos for Weave Society several months ago. The web series’ terrific cast of Amy Dallen, Whitney Moore, Becca Scott, Stef Woodburn, and Gina DeVivo would stream the storytelling game Weave from Monocle Society. The game looked slick. I didn’t catch the show, but Weave was on the radar. A couple of weeks ago, after our Ingest Quest campaign wrapped up, I started thinking about what the group should do next. No small amount of options became the short list. Then Weave crossed my mind. I learned more about it and grew enchanted. Then I sat down to talk with Weave creator Kyle Kinkade. Now I’m completely fascinated by Monocle Society’s launch title.
Weave is a sea change
I’m going to come right out and say Weave feels like the perfect game for me at this moment in time. From what I’ve seen and read, coupled with insights shared by Kyle Kinkade in our conversation, Weave hits all the notes I’m looking for in a tabletop game. I’m super excited about getting my hands on the Weave: Storytelling Redefined set (en route to me now) and running some fantastic games with my friends.
“Weave is a 21st century storytelling platform for everyone. With just two decks of cards and a handful of dice, you and your friends can create adventures in any genre, from sci-fi to high school comedy. When combined with the free companion app, Weave provides all the power you’ll need to discover new worlds, imagine amazing characters, and save your stories online in minutes.” – from the Weave website
Why is the hype real for Weave? Let’s break it down. In this first part of a two-part look at the storytelling game Weave, I’ll share the top 5 reasons I’m stoked about the game. In part 2 I’ll share what I learned through talking with Kyle Kinkade about Weave.
Weave is stylish
It’s the book cover, the model home, the Tiffany Blue Box — Weave looks great and you want what’s inside. The cards have an elegant design and art quality, remarkable color pallette and stylized art. The logo and design is sharp, colorful and persistent. The dice have intriguing symbols on them. And everything works in tandem with an equally snazzy mobile app.
Weave looks cool.
The striking visual quality of Weave is no accident either. Brand Director and Lead Designer Brianna Johnson, an accomplished art director and graphic designer, drove the creative engine forward to develop Weave’s complete visual components. Everything from the woven “W” icon to the interface of the app is put together with such clear vision and care.
Weave’s game design, writing, and mechanics are just as elegant as the design and look, too. Kyle Kinkade, who conceived the Weave storytelling game and app has accomplished something extraordinary. Kyle created the app, dedicating many long hours there as well as gathering a team to help develop his concepts and ideas for Weave’s game mechanics and drive the project to completion. The game demands your attention with its impactful appearance and holds onto it through every element of the game. Weave looks clever and sophisticated. If that’s not stylish I don’t know what is.
Weave is simple
Four players and a Storyteller collaborate together to tell the tale of four characters as they move forward through a story. The characters have abilities, gear and traits and tackle challenges presented by the storyteller using dice pools. Analogs for stats, the elements of Brooks, Flames, Gales and Stones govern characters’ actions. The Storyteller plays challenge and story cards tethered to these same elements. Over the course of play, the cards played by the Storyteller are laid out to form a Tarot-style arrangement representing the episode.
When the Storyteller plays a Challenge card, they set the challenge rating, and players work together with them to determine the appropriate dice pool based on character abilities, situational qualities and the element of the Challenge itself.
The dice are rolled, and any dice matching the suit of the Challenge are a success. Dice results with Weave symbols are also a success, and explode (re-rolled and added to results). Results of a Strike can result in a Strike on the character themselves if the Challenge is failed, and the effect is related to the suit of the Challenge. If a character received 3 Strikes during a scene, they are removed from the remainder of the scene.
Character creation in Weave is very fast, easy and results in multi-faceted characters complete with strengths and weaknesses, backstories, flaws and cool stuff they can do. Players draw a series of cards, each of which have several options on them. Players scan these cards into the Weave app, making choices along the way. The results can vary immensely, but the interpretive and improvisational nature of Weave gives players opportunities to turn their collection of traits into meaningful choices during play. And because the game’s foundation is strongly centered on collaboration, other players and the Storyteller are encouraged to work together as a group so players who might not be as comfortable with improvisation aren’t left on their own.
And for those wondering, no, there’s no math! All the rules for a particular scenario are interpreted through the selection of cards involved and the dice pool.
Weave is stream-friendly
Right off the bat, Weave games fit snugly into the streaming landscape by organizing games into episodes and seasons, rather than adventures and campaigns. It’s right there, waiting for you to live stream your Weave game!
The best live stream games are the ones where the story is at the core, where both viewers and players become immersed in the unfolding narrative. There are dice rolls and skill checks and all of the elements that make it a game, certainly, but the live stream experience leans into the storytelling aspect above all else and Weave is positioned perfectly to enhance this.
For the Storyteller, Weave’s Challenge and Story cards help move things along in concert with the collaborative improvisation at the table. This is a major benefit for any tabletop storytelling game, since the Storyteller can simply look at their hand of cards and find inspiration for the next scene or in response to character actions.
Everything I’ve learned about Weave so far leads me to believe it is ideal for streaming. The rules are simple and easy to understand, the game is designed to encourage engagement between everyone at the table and gameplay moves along at a great pace. The collaborative spirit is strong, and the cards and app help progression by keeping everything organized cleanly and providing the resources players need to nudge each other forward.
Weave is stimulating
The more I learn about Weave, the more my enthusiasm and interest grow. At first, I thought it was just a roleplaying game with an app. But it’s really not. Players create characters and take on a role within the story, sure, but Weave forges into new territory. The game builds on concepts from both tabletop board games and roleplaying games, mixing them together to create something fresh and exciting.
It’s different than a traditional board game in that there’s no winner. Players aren’t competing against each other or against the Storyteller towards a single victor. But it diverts from a traditional roleplaying game too through the use of cards to develop everything from the characters to the story itself, all done in minutes together among all the players involved.
Frankly the entire affair looks exhilarating. Everything a group of friends needs to create compelling, dramatic, exciting stories together is packed into a single box, enhanced through the Weave app to propel the collaborative storytelling experience forward together.
Weave is state-of-the-art
The physical components of Weave come inside a box with six custom dice, 56 challenge cards, and 22 story cards. The six-sided dice are customized with strikes, Weave, and the four elements of Brooks, Flames, Gales and Stones. But where Weave stands apart is through integration of a free companion app to organize and guide the game.
Once a Storyteller has set up a game through the app, players are invited to join. Through the app, players create and manage their characters by scanning an assortment of the cards drawn during character creation. The app keeps all this information coordinated with a clean interface to help make gameplay smooth and immersive.
When a Storyteller creates a new season, they select one of Weave’s settings through the app and scan in story cards to represent a theme, location and boss for the first episode. During play, additional cards drawn from the Challenge and Story decks will determine the course of the story. All of the cards used during an episode are scanned into the app and stored, creating a record of each game.
The free Weave app is so seamlessly enmeshed with the physical components of the game and intuitively easy to use. I’ve never encountered something quite like this.
Weave is special
Weave gives players the tools to create complex, unique and interesting characters quickly. Storytellers can construct a new season and episode just as easily and play can begin. The Weave app keeps everyone on the same page, sharing and storing everything that happens during a season in real-time.
If you’re as excited as I am to explore Weave, you can download the free app and start discovering more about the game right away. While I await delivery of my own copy, I’ve been poking around the app, which contains all the rules clearly and concisely. If you’re wondering why I didn’t get more into gameplay specifics here, it’s because everything is so easy to access and understand on the app, I would only complicate things trying to explain them here. I often struggle with new games, especially tabletop board games, to grasp how the rules and gameplay go, but with Weave I already feel like I understand how its played — and I don’t even have the game yet!
The app also connects players to the Weave Discord channel, an already vibrant community of creative and passionate players.
As a follow-up to my thoughts on why I believe Weave is the perfect game for its time, keep an eye out for my conversation with Kyle Kinkade coming soon. Kyle is an amazing creator and his already fantastic game will only continue to get better. We discussed everything from Weave’s settings, like The Gloomies and its kid movie asthetics, to the community around the game.
If you’re already energized to give Weave a try, you can head over to the Weave website and order your own copy.
Have you played Weave yet? Are you curious about the game and want to know more? Are you a streamer who runs Weave on your channel? Sound off in the comments with your thoughts and questions on Weave. I’m hooked and I’d love to hear more from others about their own experiences with this wonderful game!
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* This post was updated June 26, 2018 at 6:40 p.m. EST to include a correction about the design team responsible for Weave.]