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August – 2016 –

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Appendix N (Hooc Ott) Tarzan the Cimmerian And Conan of the Apes — “Conan and Tarzan are both clean-(cut)-limbed, black haired, blue/grey eyed, black Irish, super agile, big kitty killing, noble savages made of steal and Iron. Howard and Burroughs use some similar words phrases descriptions, scenarios and reference Plato’s Atlantis. Convincing evidence in my […]

A new series! I’m taking a break from overarching principles of wargaming to look at specific Wargames and what they do well. This examination stems from a belief that a perfect Wargame has not been made and the best is yet to come. I’m something of a game designer, which means I spend way too […]

If the pulp ethos can be summed into just one thing, it’s this: There is always a woman. It’s in everything, really. No matter how outrageous the setting, how dangerous the threat, or how weird the the situation is in the opening hook, honestly… it’s all just prelude for the entrance of a dame. Whether […]

Apologies for the long title; it seemed appropriate for what, as tends to be my wont, is a long post. Also, by the way, prepare yourself for spoilers. It’s unavoidable, so I’ll just get the warning out of the way now. Nothing from here on out is going to be marked, so if you don’t […]

The literary inspirations of Traveller are significantly harder to pin down in comparison to D&D. In the first place, there is no counterpart to the “Appendix N” list in the pages of its core rules. The idea that the game could have drawn from a diverse range of short fiction is thus something that most […]

Play report 3b: 1st Edition AD&D, and 1st Edition Oriental Adventures. Anchors aweigh! Part 2 When we last saw our intrepid barbarians they had hit the town like a storm: punched out the town guard; kidnapped the headman and sold him into slavery to a southern pirate queen; signed on as crew to a large […]

       Military fantasy has antecedents that go back more than 80 years. Robert E. Howard had an interest in medieval warfare that showed in some of his fiction. “Kings in the Night,” “The Scarlet Citadel,” “Black Colossus,” and Hour of the Dragon all have set piece battles described in detail. One could add Howard’s crusader […]

Back before I did the Appendix N survey, I really didn’t think too much of short stories. I know I skipped over them in things like Dragon and Omni magazine back in the eighties. The ads for things like Amazing Stories just weren’t that convincing at the time, either. I couldn’t imagine it being worth […]

Short Reviews will return next week! In the meantime, enjoy this rejected bit of click-bait I wrote a while back. Short fiction has entered a strange, new and exciting phase, particularly in the realm of Science Fiction.  While we hear in some quarters that short fiction is dying and no one reads short fiction any […]

The Adventurer Conqueror King System is modern variant of the “Basic” iteration of the original fantasy-role playing game. It has well developed rules for the oft-neglacted domain-level play, a large selection of variant classes and a GURPS-style system for making new ones, an excellent set of mass combat rules, and one of the best mega-dungeons […]

We have a bumpercrop of great posts on wargaming posts for you here this week! At the top of the heap is The Player’s Aid, weighing in with an exclusive interview with COIN Series creator Volko Ruhnke. If GMT going overboard with all these new COIN titles? Volko responds: Calling a design “COIN Series” at […]

Joanna Russ was perhaps the most influential critic of the seventies fantasy and science fiction scene. Here she is unceremoniously hurting a lot of feelings in her column in the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Ficiton: I know it’s painful to be told that something in which one has invested intense emotion is not only […]