Category Archives: Articles

Kickstarter Wonk: February, 2021

Welcome to Kickstarter Wonk! It’s February, and you know what that means: ZineQuest! ZineQuest is off to a roaring start this year, and even after merely two days my eyes are already crossing from all the zines I’ve seen. To make it even crazier, there are also actual full-length games still being funded, and I’m trying, at some level, to cover both. First, here’s three full-sized Kickstarter campaigns which are all worth your consideration and perusal. Second, I’ve picked out 40 Zinequest campaigns that both look cool and are currently active. Don’t think that’s enough? Me neither! Since Zinequest campaigns traditionally last 14 days, 14 days from now I’ll be posting a special ZineQuest Wonk which covers all the zines which have campaigns starting after this publication date. For now, though, let’s check out some games!

Continue reading Kickstarter Wonk: February, 2021

Find Catharsis and Get Payback with Capitalites

Content Warning: Sexism

When we were kids, my sister and I played with dolls. I had a small team of GI Joes. I’m not sure when I fell out of love with them really. But sometime before they got their own movie, I had clearly decided that playing with soldiers from an American paramilitary organization was not, in fact, good wholesome fun. My sister played with Barbies which was potentially worse. Did you know she – Barbie, not my sister – runs in every presidential US election now? Her last ‘glam-paign’ promised to turn the White House pink. If this was an Onion article, I would’ve laughed. But it’s not – it’s a successful public relations program by a billion-dollar toy company. It’s a well-worn refrain nowadays that we live in a time where satire is complicated.

When I first heard of Capitalites by Samuel Mui Shen Ern, I thought it was satire – a la Crazy Rich Asians, a skewering of Asia’s wealthy. But I was wrong. Capitalites describes itself as “a slice-of-life, coming-of-age tabletop roleplaying game about young adults living in the big city” that explores “real-world themes like ambition, sex, family, and friendships and the sacrifices you make in order to grow up”.

Continue reading Find Catharsis and Get Payback with Capitalites

Disposable Heroes Review – Gig Economy Heroes Dying for a 5-Star Rating

A couple hundred years ago, an event called The Fold sent every living being across every dimension into a sort of nightmare reality. Very Powerful Beings were able to reconstitute themselves eventually, but the world was utterly trashed. Using magic and strange technology, lichs, dragons, demons, angels, capitalists, and other monsters built the sprawling megacity of Neo-Francisco. In one of those lost realities, you might have been the heroes destined to save it. In the neon-sick car crash of technological majesty, fantasy weirdness, dimensional rifts, and incredibly funky music that is NF, however, you’re gig workers working for the delivery app Disposable Heroes. It’s deadly work, but it pays! Sorta. This is the deck-based roleplaying game of long hours, high mortality rates, and blazing neon from Sandy Pug Games!

Continue reading Disposable Heroes Review – Gig Economy Heroes Dying for a 5-Star Rating

So You Don’t Want To Play D&D

It’s wildly common on Reddit: A thread complaining about the popularity of D&D, or a thread complaining about 5e being hacked into things it doesn’t work well for (I am guilty of that second one). Half the commenters will agree that yes, there are so many other games out there, and people should broaden their horizons! The other half will say that if people are having fun with D&D, why must you rain on their parade! And the fights continue, eventually, like they do in all discourse, repeating themselves. But you out there, venty thread creators and venty thread agree-ers, I see you. I know the real reason you’re creating these threads. You, personally, don’t want to play D&D, and either you can’t find a group to play something else with, or, more likely, your home table has you outvoted. Or, if you’re in a slightly better position, maybe you see these threads online and simply can’t imagine going back to playing only D&D (and you like fighting on the internet).

No matter the reason, I know the pain of playing a game you’re not really interested in because you still want to hang out with your friends and roll dice. There are ways to diversify your gaming experiences and be a happier gamer in general. Unsurprisingly, it doesn’t involve complaining on the internet. It also doesn’t involve slagging on D&D.

Continue reading So You Don’t Want To Play D&D

System Hack In Practice: Painting Cyberpunk 2020 Red

Welcome back to another System Hack in Practice! Last time, we made some considerations around Cyberpunk Red, and looked at potential ways to address early complaints from Cyberpunk 2020 fans (or not). This time, we’re looking at everything the other way around: How can we take the best parts of Cyberpunk Red and bring them into our Cyberpunk 2020 game?

Continue reading System Hack In Practice: Painting Cyberpunk 2020 Red

Skycrawl Review – Serendipitous Adventures in Strange Skies

In a weird, whimsical, endless sky, villages cling to small rocky spheres lit by sentient suns, brave souls voyage far beyond the reach of gravity toward rootless mountains in far-flung orbits, and strange skybeasts swim wild through vast and distant twilights.

Welcome to the Azure Etern.

Pick your fantasy tabletop roleplaying game of choice, consult your charts, and get ready to explore a universe of infinite skies with Skycrawl from Aaron A. Reed!

Continue reading Skycrawl Review – Serendipitous Adventures in Strange Skies

The Elusive Shift Review

Jon Peterson has done it again, my friends. The author of Playing at the World, arguably the most comprehensive history of the creation of Dungeons and Dragons on the market, has released another book. While Playing at the World covered anything and everything that led up to the first publication of Dungeons and Dragons in 1974, Peterson’s second book, The Elusive Shift, focuses narrowly on the time it took for ‘role-playing game’ to become an established medium. The story of how D&D and indeed the tabletop RPG itself matured in this roughly five year period is fascinating, eye-opening, and ends up asking a lot of questions about the state of the hobby some forty years later.

Continue reading The Elusive Shift Review

Kickstarter Wonk: January, 2021

Welcome to the first Kickstarter Wonk of 2021! I’ve been waiting nine months to write that. Now, even though the state of the world is pretty much like it was in December, we’re still facing the biggest collective New Year’s Hangover in quite some time. That collective hangover may explain why there’s…four Kickstarters this month. January is often a thin month but this is thin even for January. Still, these four are good ones, and if you stick around I’ll also throw in some commentary about the RPG Kickstarter market as a whole in 2020.

Continue reading Kickstarter Wonk: January, 2021

Four Years of Cannibal Halflings

Cannibal Halfling Gaming has been working to Bring Games and Gamers Together for four years, and this last one has been by far the strangest. Despite everything, while it has definitely been a year of two steps back, I think in the ways that mattered we managed to take three steps forward. Let’s take a look at what we’ve done, and have a think about where we’re going next.

Continue reading Four Years of Cannibal Halflings

Indie Frontiers: Ind Of The Year #2

The journal of a lone lighthouse keeper, their compatriots having vanished as a storm rages all around the island. The Dwarves of the Renidar Mountain Ranges, with all of their unique deities and cultural foibles. A project manager with little hope of success, filling out Status Reports and desperately trying to keep their job.  As we continue to close in on the end of the year we also continue to check out the Ind of the Year . . . Bundle of twenty-five different indie games from around the world!

Continue reading Indie Frontiers: Ind Of The Year #2