photo-originalIt’s been a while since I mentioned Storium, the storytelling game start-up that had a successful Kickstarter in 2014. Since then, Storium has been chugging along in beta, making improvements to its game system and hosting many successful games. Recently, Storium’s administrators have posted an update to the Kickstarter campaign indicating that the site is just about to come out of beta and open to the public.

Storium is a play-by-post-based storytelling game, of the sort people have been running on blogs, LiveJournals, or forums since time immemorial, with a simple game mechanic based on virtual “cards” that parcels out control over the story evenly to the players and the game runner. The narrator writes a prose installment to set the scene. Then the players can write their own prose sections to have their characters take action using their cards until they use the cards up, then they will get a new set of cards on their next turn.

The exact launch date has not yet been set, but they hope to be ready sometime this month. While access to Storium’s games is currently limited to only those people who are logged in, the public launch will open up reading the site and its games to anyone, whether logged in or not a member at all. It will also permit people participate in up to three games for free, as well as run one game with a single narrator and up to three players. Storium members can opt to pay a small yearly fee to play in more games or run games with more players or narrators.

The launch will include access to 40 of the 60 author-created worlds funded in the Kickstarter—a number of the worlds are still under development by their authors, editors, and artists, but even 40 worlds will be an incredible amount of content. Plus, of course, narrators are free to create their own worlds from scratch.

Not all Storium’s planned features will be available at launch, but they are pledging to continue working on the ones that aren’t yet. Of particular interest to Teleread’s audience could be the planned “Storium for Schools” feature, one of the Kickstarter’s stretch goals, which would adapt the Storium system for use in education, and also the Storium “world marketplace” which would effectively be a self-publishing marketplace for free or purchased user-created Storium settings.

I’ve had a lot of fun playing in Storium campaigns over the last couple of years, and even running one or two of them. The relatively simple rule system makes it easy to be creative. The one flaw I’ve observed is that it’s relatively easy to lose momentum on a story and let it falter and fizzle if the narrator or some of the players aren’t committed to continuing it. But I suspect that would be a hazard in any storytelling or gaming project.

Until Storium’s official public launch, Storium is still offering discounted membership at $20, $40, and $60 backer levels via its sign-up page. Given that it’s not clear exactly when it will launch, you might want to take advantage of this right away.


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