Updated: Jul 31, 2020
I began a playthrough of my next Wretched & Alone game a few days ago. I chose the game Weaver, by Adam Boyes. Weaver holds a special place in my heart because Adam created it as a sort of response to Rigged, my own W&A game. Two solo games, telling a story from two different angles. In Rigged, you're a desperate hacker who is taking one last shot at the biggest, baddest, Corp out there: Atlas. In Weaver, you play a Weaver, a memory detective essentially, who is looking into the mysterious death of the Director of Cyber Security at you guessed it: Atlas.
Quick fun fact, Rigged just arrived in my online store in a beautiful full color zine print if you want to play it at home!
Not only do our games have a continuous story, but they inspired us to create a supplemental ruleset for Wretched & Alone games, so that you didn't have to play them entirely solo. We call it Wretched & Not So Alone (W&NSA). The same rule to your usual game apply, except you keep one card each turn, and can eventually use those cards to mess with the other person's games. Examples would be making them pull from the tower more, take more actions, or even flick their pieces out of the tower instead of pulling them.
Adam and I are currently in the middle of a playthrough of Weaver vs. Rigged. He is making some excellent videos on YouTube, where you get not only the daily log, but the card pulls and brainstorming for those logs. I really really recommend you check them out. I on the other hand am going to stick to written logs for this one. I'll be posting my logs below, and updating them whenever we each have taken our next turn. So far we've completed four turns, and so here are my first four Weaver logs, with some editorial notes to help you understand the W&NSA game happening at the same time:
Case Note Level 1. Arbiter, the deceased’s memory stack is surprisingly intact
despite the trauma from the fall. My authorization keys got me past their
rudimentary security protocols and firewall. It shouldn't be this easy! I will upload
any evidence I find to you from each level of the memory stack. Each will be a
matter of seconds apart but it will feel like days for me in here. Arbiter, I’m relying
on you to keep me safe. Upload initiated.
Case Note Level 2, Detective Campbell transferring evidence. I was too confident yesterday, thinking this would be easy. That confidence led me right into Atlas’ trap. I saw evidence of a key memory, a meeting the victim had 10 minutes before the estimated time of death. Too good to be true, and now Atlas knows I’m digging around in their former exec’s brain. I should take this as a sign, just lay low, but I can’t. Diving back in, I found something that gave me pause. Memories linked to two missing persons cases that had gone cold 5 years ago. The victims had no obvious connection to Atlas during the investigation, but apparently they did have a connection to the exec. Apparently the Director has been doing a little grey/black hat work on the side, and now I’m not so disappointed he’s dead. I’ll follow these leads when I have a chance, but I think those cases just got a little warmer. Wait, no...it’s actually warmer here in the construct. Shit shit shit, a fire. Stack is going haywire, might be a result of that trace from earlier. I need to try and stabilize things before I get fried too. I’m coming out of the construct now. Honestly, the only reason I’m alive right now is a dumb decision I made a kid, getting my adrenal gland chipped. Heightened sense caught the collapse before any permanent damage. Time to shut down for the day, and reassess my approach.
NOTE: I PULLED 2 KINGS ON THE FIRST TURN. This is horrible news for any W&A game, but at least I have an early pair I can use against Adam.
Case Note Level 3, Detective Campbell transferring evidence. I apologize, Arbiter, but today I needed time to recover from the collapse earlier. Plus, the stack is unstable and still in repair. I realize that time is of the essence, but I learned my lesson from my time in the academy. You probably can see my records, but in case you can’t, you should know I came out as top of my class. That adrenal chip I mentioned in Level 2, I pushed it to the limit during academy. Sure, to a powerful AI like you, the idea of writing a report in 5 minutes seems laughable, but for me it got me out of school a year earlier than I should have. People don’t really like Weavers. You know what they hate more? Over eager Weavers. I got the worst cases my first year. The memories I had to dive in...they aged me quickly. Guess you can’t beat time after all. Alright, that’s enough pity time, I’ll prepare the next level for you now.
Case Note Level 4, Detective Campbell transferring evidence. The victim was under a great deal of duress during the beginning of the construct, nervous. I could feel my own heart beating faster, smelled sweat. Fear. The Director was at his desk, pacing back and forth. I walked around and noticed two stacks sitting there, hooked up to one another. He was muttering, but even with access to his thoughts in the moment, it was gibberish, just something to fill the quiet. And then he just turned on his heel, walked over to the computer, and hit a button. It was a stack transfer, which already is shady shit, but doing it in his personal office? Just when I was about to note it, the stack skipped, and there I was in a room with the mayor and the victim. The stacks were still on the desk, though they weren't connected anymore. There's that smell again, fear. The victim was trying to explain something about stack safety, way past my understanding and the mayor didn't seem to give a shit. It's raining outside, the stack is starting to shut down for a cycle. The mayor pushed past, grabbed a stack from the desk and left. Wait, the stack isn't shutting down like it should. Why is the stack on the desk vibrating. What's going on? Fuck fuck fuck. I managed to get out before I was stuck in a collapsing construct. That's two close calls, which can't be a coincidence. That's enough for now Arbiter, we'll wait for the stack to reboot and try it again shortly.
NOTE: I played my first cards against Adam. I "used" both of the Kings from earlier, which means he has to do an extra pull from the tower next turn. Now I wait and see if he's going to return the favor.
Case Note Level 5, Detective Campbell transferring evidence. Don't give me that look Arbiter, I just need to catch my breath a second. The stack needs to fully reboot and go through diagnostics anyway. That's almost two collapses with me inside. Something isn't right with this stack. The lab didn't find any structural damage with the stack itself, so something else is causing these disruptions. Why are you looking at me like that? How the fuck would I know why the stack is "off"? I mean, I remember learning about stack traps in academy, but those get disabled before being handed off to a Weaver, or should be. You don't think someone handed me a trapped stack do you? I've seen what that can do to someone, I can't keep the image out of my head. A friend of mine got trapped once, had a construct collapse on him while he was inside. When they finally found him in his apartment a week later, he'd literally torn himself to pieces, like he was trying to dig his way out of his own body. Isn't there some law against trapping stacks, Arbiter? Are you going to say something, or just sit there giving me that look. Fine, be that way.
Note: I played another pair against Adam after this turn. If you're wondering how I've done this so soon, it's because while normally you only keep 1 card in hand after a turn, you can also use the cards you have to keep, such as Kings, as if they were in your hand. So essentially I had a free pair from the Kings, and now this pair I finalized during turn 5. Enjoy the extra tower pull, Adam!
Case Note Level 6, Detective Campbell transferring evidence. Sorry for the delay Arbiter, my captain just sent me a message, saying that I have even less time to put this case together than I thought. I entered the construct to find the victim looking rather desperate. He was jacked into his computer, but covered in sweat. I checked the computer to see what he was doing, and the little shit was trying to play hacker! They were trying to access some Black Box. It's a data node of some kind as far as I can tell, but a data node that the Director of Cyber Security doesn't have access to? Or maybe he's just pretending to be a hacker so the trail doesn't get traced back to him...Wait what the fuck, is he looking at me? I go for my sidearm, but he's already knocked it from my hand, lightning quick. This isn't supposed to happen, stacks aren't supposed to be responsive. Defense mechanism? Just as the victim is tackling me to the ground, I remember my note. Arbiter, something strange is going on with this stack, and this case. If I hadn't remembered my note, I think I would have been stuck in the construct, with whatever that thing was. My note? No, I don't think I'll be showing you that. Once someone else knows a Weaver's anchor, it loses its purpose. I'm running an alternative diagnostic on the stack before the next cycle. I have no doubt the stack is trapped, but it almost feels alive when I'm in there.
Case Note Level 7, Detective Campbell transferring evidence. Arbiter, this is truly fucked. I ran alternative diagnostics, cleaned the stack, and when I hopped in for this cycle was immediately met with power failures. There is something draining this stack. That only happens if someone is accessing, and I should be the only person doing that. I had to do something they don't teach you at academy. I had to directly interface with the stack to complete this cycle. I can still taste the blood in my mouth from the whole thing, but at least the power leak isn't happening like when I had it connected to my rig. You do something like that, and your own memories mingle with the stack. I'm in a dorm room, where I was staying during academy. I see an old friend of mine. He's offering another chance. Not for me, but for him. I can smell the ozone smell, of a stack that's fried, and see the hole in his head. Sorry about that Arbiter, I'm still coming down from the cycle. When I was in the victim's office again, I noticed correspondence between the Director and ex-hackers. He's looking to run a trace and hunt on anyone messing with some registry, a Black Box. The name boyzie came up, apparently the Director has it out for them. Possible suspect, what do you think Arbiter? Someone is in the construct with me. I see a figure, holding a Black Box. They aren't in the office, the Director doesn't notice. Are they in the construct with me? Stuck in the stack? Or something left behind for me, to find here?
Case Note Level 8, Detective Campbell transferring evidence. This evidence doesn't come from the stack, Arbiter. That shadow program I found needs analysis, purging ideally. But I think it's important to consider other elements other than the Director's personal stack. That's something we Weavers need to remember, big picture stuff. One of my first cases was a nightmare of a case in terms of the memories I had to relive, but also in that the case just couldn't be solved with my skills alone. Most of my fellow detectives rubbed my nose in it, making it oh so clear that Weavers weren't fuck all to them. One detective took pity on me, and she helped me cracked the case. I shit you not Arbiter, she was digging through actual physical files of cases decades ago for this. I admired her, still do. You know, you can't help but look at something like Atlas and be impressed with that too. I mean, they have their fingers in every pie you can imagine, but when they shake your hand it's squeaky clean. It takes a lot of foresight to do that. As a Weaver, stuck in the past, foresight isn't something I think a lot about. I don't know, I'm just rambling. Diagnostics done, lost a bit of time to it, but let's see if I can get back in there.
Case Note Level 9, Detective Campbell transferring evidence. A slow day in the stack, because the victim was laser focused on something. Apparently Atlas was being probed, repeatedly by the same hacker. The office was silent most of the day, though I swore I heard him mutter "Boise" at some point. What the fuck does a city in Idaho have to do with this. Oh, good point Arbiter, "boyzie". Sorry, the mind is a bit fried ever since switching to this direct interface. The victim installed new security protocols before their death. A new brand of ICE that traps intruders. Previous trap ICE would drive people mad if they got caught in that tar, but this stuff is sophisticated. It turns the hacker into a rat in a maze. They feel like they are making progress, but it's Sisyphus in action. I wonder if he managed to trap anyone like that, if they are still stuck in the maze...
Case Note Level 10, Detective Campbell transferring evidence. Arbiter there has to be something you can do! The stack just went through its repair cycle. While I was doing that, I looked back at my evidence so far and noticed that some of my evidence is missing. What is this? What caused this? I...I know I found something, but I can't remember what...Ok, back to work.
Have to remember my training. I got into this to help people, to solve crimes everyone thought was unsolvable. I'm not going to let some shit stain corp exec take that from me. The exec was laying a trap, for a hacker by the looks of it. Why the interest in a hacker all of a sudden? What was that, Arbiter? Apparently the victim has dirt on this guy, a lot of it. After looking at the file he's got addresses of people that "wronged" the hacker, might try and dangle them as bait. I don't envy this guy. The construct was different this time around, a small but subtle change. I don't think this is the true version anymore. The exec is rarely in the office, and the furniture has been moved, like someone has rummaged through the place looking for something. Don't forget the shadow, the Black Box. Arbiter, what information do you have about personalities being trapped inside stacks? No, not memories, personalities, people. When I was in there, I saw a message floating by the window "Good morning, detective." Now how the fuck would the stack know to do that? I had my note, thank God, so I knew it was the construct, and not...well the real world. I'm beginning to think I was put on this case to fail, Arbiter. That stack isn't normal, it's fucked and I don't want anything to do with it. That's enough trips in for today, I need to rest.
Note: Adam hit me with a straight flush, which makes it really really hard for me to "win" the game by finding the memories I'm looking for. I've got back and changed the font of some text to white, to show that something is messing with my case files. In return, I'm sending a flush your way Adam, so enjoy that ;)