Nathan B. Weller
CATEGORY: Storytelling

The Storymatic: A Review

The Storymatic Classic is the flagship product of Storymatic Studios. It provides those using it with "six trillion stories in one little box." An impressive feat! But one only possible with the help of a willing storyteller to use it.
The Storymatic Classic
Featured Image via The Storymatic

The Storymatic Classic is the flagship product of Storymatic Studios. It provides those using it with “six trillion stories in one little box.” An impressive feat! But one only possible with the help of a willing storyteller to use it.

I’ve been just such a storyteller for years now. Ever since I discovered this delightful little box in the stocking stuffer section of a department store, completely by chance. What a find!

The Storymatic

So while yes, this is technically a review, it’s also an endorsement from the start. I love this product. It’s an excellent aid to writing and versatile enough to be a party game or creative tool for other types of artists too–like illustrators or improv actors.

In the sections below I’ll tell you what comes in the box, explain how it works, and share some of the interesting storytelling combinations I was able to create just by drawing some cards. A feat you’ll be able to match within seconds of opening it for yourself.

If you’re a creative writer, visual artist, actor, or in any way tied to the creation of fictional narrative for your art–you’ve got to check this thing out!

The Storymatic Classic

The Storymatic with cards drawn.

The Storymatic was created by Brian Mooney. He created the first one as a teaching aid while leading a fiction workshop at Marlboro College. He then refined it over several years teaching high school classes. At the urging of his students he finally decided to take his home-brewed teaching aid and create a product for the masses.

If you get your own Storymatic, here’s what you can expect to find in the box:

  • 540 unique cards with trillions of combinations. Half geared towards character creation and half for plot direction.
  • Interesting and sometimes odd prompts that will lead you (and your characters) into unexpected places.
  • A booklet full of instructions, suggestions, and games.
  • Plain cardboard separator cards. These are great for allowing you to neatly separate cards you’ve already used from those you haven’t.

How it Works

It couldn’t be easier to use The Storymatic. The basic use case goes like this…

Step 1: draw two gold cards. Use them to create your main character.

Step 2: draw two copper cards. Use them to kickstart your plot.

The official booklet that comes in the box also provides two laws that must not be broken.

Law 1: The main character should change and develop from the start of the story to the end of the story.

Law 2: You cannot kill your main character.

It’s also suggested that you begin writing right away and for as long as you’re able to without stopping or taking too long to think. Let the cards and your imagination go where they may.

Examples of Story Card Combinations

The Storymatic example 1
The Storymatic example 2
The Storymatic example 3
The Storymatic example 4
The Storymatic example 5

Who it’s For

As you might expect (and as I mentioned above) there are a lot of folks who might like to use a tool like The Storymatic. I’ve outlined some of the most obvious ones below and included at least one likely use case for each group.

Teachers & Students

Seeing as a teacher created The Storymatic as a classroom tool for his students to use, this one should come as no surprise. The classroom is the perfect place for a Storymatic.

Likely use cases include:

  • Timed story writing
  • Take-home story assignments
  • Group storytelling exercises (see included booklet for tips)

Serious Writers & Hobbyists

No matter a writer’s experience level or seriousness The Storymatic can be a useful and enjoyable aid to writing. It can be used for quick free-writing exercises that help to loosen up the storytelling parts of the brain and typing fingers or to unblock tricky parts of an ongoing story.

Actors

Actors, particularly those interested in improvisation, might use The Storymatic to quickly create characters and a suggestion of plot to begin a scene.

Visual Artists

Visual artists, be they illustrators or animators or something else, might wish to use The Storymatic as a quick and easy way to kickstart a demo scene or aid in character design.

Anyone looking for novel, creative fun!

Even if all you ever do with The Storymatic is pull cards out and imagine the stories you might tell–it’s still incredibly fun! You can also use it to pass time on long car rides, as an ice breaker, or any way you can think to put the simple to card system into practice.

My Conclusion

The Storymatic is loads of fun and extremely useful. I couldn’t recommend it more. But of course, you knew that already.

The real value proposition however, to me, is highlighted when you consider the price. For less than $30 you get more than a literal lifetime of story prompts. It’s affordable on just about any scale you can imagine. Making it an easy purchasing decision to make.

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