25 June 2022
Storm Weavers is an odd beast. A hardback book with choose your own path passages, a character sheet with stats, and combat maps and standees put it in a weird place between solo roleplaying game and a tactical skirmish game. Oh, and it comes in a classic Eurogame shoebox.
We take the role of a dwarven warrior off on an adventure, and to save your trapped friend, as you might expect. The player moves through the adventure book from passage to passage making choices – with the occasional roll thrown in for (in my case) bad luck. When combat occurs players are instructed to whip out a specific combat map and pop the various standee figures for monsters and the hero. From here it’s like a tactical skirmish game – move your hero, roll some dice against the opponent, the difference (after armour) is the damage you do or get done to you. Then the monsters do the same, and you rinse and repeat.
There are smart ideas in the combat – the push moves mean you can kick a monster into obstacles on the map, doing extra damage, and some scenarios give monsters interesting traits. An early example of this is wolves attacking you at night, in the dark, the lit up area near the campfire hinders them and the dark hinders you – after you make a successful attack, they’ll try and drag you into the dark. The environmental effects are the highlight of a combat system that can be a bit of a grind sometimes. There’s only so much dice rolling we can put up with in one encounter.
The writing isn’t particularly strong in the game book, but does have genuine moments of intrigue and wonder. There’s always a bit of a tonal mismatch between your intentions and that of the character’s on-page experience, and it’s not all bad. If you can allow for some odd phrasing, it might be worth it for the moments of fun.
The real selling point is how open the world feels. If you want to try and run off in a single direction, you can. You might get beaten up quite badly, but you can. Whether it’s a world worth exploring is another question – what we saw on our journey had enough interest, as long as you’re forgiving of some of the fantasy tropes.
There’s a really good idea at the heart of Storm Weavers. It solves complicated battles for solo gaming, and gives a bit of tactical crunch to an experience that is often weakest around conflict. The exploration (and map drawing that is encouraged) is the highlight, and if there was a bit more love given to the writing of the game, it may have had us coming back for repeat visits. One for those who want to try a bit more theatre in their solo adventuring, and having it all in one box.
Christopher John Eggett
PLAY IT? MAYBE
A mixed bag of a game in a great format. There’s something clever here, even if this isn’t the best presentation of it. A designer worth keeping an eye on, regardless.
TRY THIS IF YOU LIKED Alone Against The Tide…
This Call of Cthulhu solo adventure might not give you standees, but will give you a more direct adventure.
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