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July – 2016 –

Monthly Archives:


There is a new live action movie, The Legend of Tarzan. I caught the attention deficit trailer a few months back, which repelled me. It had the whiff of 300 about it (a movie I despise). Some positive responses by friends of mine convinced me to take the kids to go see it. Edgar Rice […]

There is always a bit of a learning curve on the better tabletop game designs out there. But if you try to play things on instinct, you will invariably miss the sort of rules were engineered specifically to address issues that emerged from the early drafts of the game. How many times I’ve played a […]

Vulcan’s Workshop by Harl Vincent appeared in the June 1932 issue of Astounding Stories. From Kirk’s escape from the Ice Planet to Riddick’s mad dash out of Crematoria, there’s nothing like a Sci-fi Prison Break story. It’s got all the thrilling suspense of a regular prison break story, but with wild and woolly twists, usually […]

The design notes for the classic TSR game Divine Right contain yet another data point regarding the literary inspirations of game designers during the late seventies: In the interim, we discovered the Chaosium game of White Bear, Red Moon. This game was something new in our experience – a game of heroic fantasy…. There was […]

If you haven’t been following The Player’s Aid over the past month, you’re really missing out. In addition to digging in to a number of games I haven’t even seen before, they have an excellent interview with Marc Gouyon-Rety, the designer of the upcoming Pendragon. Up until now the COIN series entries from GMT Games […]

Being an improvisational medium, role-playing games necessarily have much in common with jazz. I couldn’t help but reflect on this when my friends wrote about their recent games. Brian Renninger says things went off the rails when he dropped the characters into a Legends of the Flame Princess adventure module. Alex had plans of dropping […]

One thing I don’t think we’ve actually done since SuperversiveSF began partnering with Castalia is actually articulate in a concise way what our deal is. I’ve mentioned our mandates: Good storytelling, heroic characters, and a sense of wonder. There’s a certain tone we’re looking for in our fiction, a certain sense of something greater, usually […]

Play report: 1st Edition AD&D, and 1st Edition Oriental Adventures. Summary: It was a mixed bag ending in Total Party Kill. The party consisted of three first level characters: a Wu-jen/Ninja, a Shugenja, and a Samurai. All three characters had been ordered by their respective superiors (father for the Samurai, Abbot for the Shugenja, and […]

There was a time between the collapse of sword and sorcery publishing in 1985 and before George R. R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones came out. In that time, David Gemmell (1948-2006) almost kept sword and sorcery alive single-handed. We lost David Gemmell ten years ago on July 28, 2006 from complications after heart surgery. […]

In the previous issue, the editorial staff of Planet Stories put it to the readers whether or not to ax the Letters section. Given that sentiment regarding the Vizigraph typically ranges from it being a worthless waste of space to the only part of Planet Stories worth reading, there are strong arguments both for and against […]

The third Ghostbusters movie is out (confusingly named Ghostbusters – In what I believe is a cinematic first: a science fiction series reboot with the identical name as its original cinematic inspiration.) Despite a massive marketing budget, a passionate built-in franchise fanbase, and a massive amount of additional free media publicity due to crafty hot-button pushing […]

I am probably going to make myself rather unpopular with this opinion, but I don’t really care for Panzer Leader. Avalon Hill’s Panzer series, beginning with PanzerBlitz, going on to Panzer Leader and eventually even being adapted to more recent tank warfare with The Arab Israeli War, is considered one of the pinnacles of tactical […]