Category Archives: RPGs

KICKSTARTER, Backing the Underdogs

I’m currently backing three projects on Kickstarter: Shadows of Esteren: Tuath, COUNTERBLAST, and World of Twilight: Travels through Anyaral.  None of these are mainstream brands, but based on the quality of their products and design alone they should be more well known than they are.

Shadows of Esteren is the most successful of this group.  With three very successful Kickstarters under their belt, the Esteren team has built up a reputable brand and can rely on a strong customer base to propel their projects along at this point.  I don’t foresee myself ever having time to actually play this RPG, but as an example of artistic design and deeply imaginative world-building, it has few contenders.  In many ways it reminds me of the efforts Rackham put into similar products when they were still leaders of the avant-garde in this industry.

COUNTERBLAST.  My preferences in miniatures have always been eclectic.  I don’t obsess about a particular scale, probably because I rarely  game, and I’ve never been particular about a single genre over the others.  In recent years, however, I’ve noticed a growing trend toward historicals, pulp, and more old-school flavors.  I’ve also started moving away from highly detailed miniatures in favor of models that are simpler in design.  Currently, for example, I’m working on some Copplestone Back of Beyond and High Adventure models, a Crusader Miniatures Carthaginian army, Warlord Soviets, Flames of War Soviets, Gripping Beast/Ebob Normans, and Baueda Vikings for DBA.  COUNTERBLAST appealed to me in part due to its apparent influence from Star Frontiers, which scratches a nostalgic itch, but also the simple yet characterful designs of the models, something that also distinguishes some of the models noted above.

COUNTERBLAST - Miniatures Game -- Kicktraq Mini

World of Twilight.  I first encountered Mike Thorp’s work when he won a sculpting contest on Frothers for his unique Traveling Court of the Brownie King model.  I’ve been following his related Twilight project ever since.  I was lucky to get one of the old Twilight starter kits when they were still available from Hasslefree, and have collected the odd model from his range from time to time.  The Twilight Kickstarter has rekindled my interest in a big way, and I count myself lucky that I got in at the early bird level.

World of Twilight
World Of Twilight: Travels through Anyaral -- Kicktraq Mini

KICKSTARTER, Shadows of Esteren

Shadows of Esteren is billed as a “medieval horror RPG.”  That’s not what sold me on this project.

The package for this Kickstarter campaign at the Hilderin Knight level was too good to resist.  I don’t play RPGs (if I had a compatible group, I’m sure I would); it was the art, mood, and universe that made me finally pledge.  Truth be told, I’ve avoided a thorough investigation of the project for weeks, knowing full well that I’d be compelled to pledge once I’d seen more.  So be it; life is short.

Don’t believe me?  Watch the video, check out the updates, and indulge in the art below.


OG7 - Ogre Mage

Otherworld Miniatures has just uploaded painted versions of some of their latest releases.

All of these were painted by the very talented Mr. Andrew Taylor.

You can purchase these models from the Otherworld online store now.  Click on an image to be taken to the corresponding section of their catalog.

DR1 - Drow Warriors I

DU1 - Duergar Warriors I

HH1b - Expedition Mule II (equipment)

WE5c - Lizard King

WE17b - Giant Snake (constrictor)

WE17c - Giant Snake (amphisbaena)

WE18 - Manticore


D&D Retro Clones

(Image taken from To the Blogmobile!)

RetroRoleplaying and To the Blogmobile! are home to some of the best sources of information on the Web about retro clones of old Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying games.  Be sure to check out the following articles, if you’re interested:

“Old is New Again: A Guide to ‘Retro-Clone’ Roleplaying Games” (To the Blogmobile!)

“Retro-Clones” (RetroRoleplaying)

Nostalgic Image of the Day, 05 November 2009

Star Frontiers

Star Frontiers advertisement from Dragon Magazine 7, no. 8 (69) (January 1983).


I think Surfacescapes has lots of potential.  But it’s still too clunky, and the dice are awful (don’t try to replace real dice!).  Also, there should be a way for players to interface with the table via their PDA, iPhone, or laptop, which might actually help to speed things up.  While one player is taking their turn, for example, the others can plan and input instructions for their characters in advance (alterable on the fly when necessary, of course).  Also, a color screen more akin to the kindle might be better as well.  Finally, animated monsters should be an option; there will always be people who prefer miniatures to “digital dragons.”

Article Archive, John Tynes’ Minotaur

The Minotaur bust in the old WotC game center

The Minotaur bust in the old WotC game center

A few days ago I reported on the partial settlement in a case concerning illegal online distribution of the 4e D&D Player’s Handbook 2.  The following day a lengthy discussion ensued in a thread over at on this case.  While skimming the through the responses, I happened upon reference to an old article (March 2001) on the rise and fall of WotC before Hasbro: “Death to the Minotaur,” by John Tynes.  This was the first I had heard of the piece; and since I found it interesting, I feel compelled to share it with those of you who never saw it the first time around or would like to read it again.  Below are links to parts 1-2 and 2-2.  Enjoy!

How Wizards of the Coast sacrificed its geeky, Gothic, sex-for-all idealism for Pokémon-size profits and Magic moola. First of two parts.

After a disastrous corporate drinking game, Wizards of the Coast grows up — and loses its soul. Second of two parts.