Monday, June 17, 2024

One Month In! The Book Standoff Continues - On Carbon 2185, Rokugan and More

 Well it's been a month since our move-in, and the vast majority of my book collection now has ample shelf space. I am still clearing out some books, several boxes to be specific, and eyeballing all the other stuff I have. I'd rather get it all to fit on the shelves I have rather than watch every ounce of free wall space be consumed by shelves of books....we'll leave that to my study, and of course my son's room, which increasingly growing in book volume as he absconds with my collection into his own (or adds new stuff). Some of this is just kizmet....turns out for example I was never likely to run Fallout RPG, but my collector's penchant made it super easy to simply give him the books I had on hand so he could then run it. I had a spare Call of Cthulhu Keeper's Book which is now his, too. Drew the line at the Malleus Monstrorum set, though. He made off with it, but in exchange for its safe return I promised him I'd snag him his own copy. 

This is the delicate tet-a-tet we have in house. As a gamer dad I have All The Books and All The Money and as Son of Dad he has to figure out how he can best whittle All The Books and All The Money away from me. Luckily for him I am fine with this! Now I just need to narrow down our understanding of what is definitively up for grabs vs. what I am using. For examples....

Carbon 2185 - a 5E-powered cyberpunk RPG I snagged in 2022 during the abominable Florida Expedition, has been lounging around in the collection for a while. I like the premise, but never could find the right time to try it out. Now my son has it, and is running games in it, and I have even gotten to play in one. It's fun stuff! So my buying this book then has profited for me in spades.

Rokugan - Off limits! Well, sort of. This book provides copious setting content and rules for the Japanese themed campaign in 5E I am running on Saturdays now, and as such I need the book very much. But my son has extracted much from it in the process for his characters, too.

Malleus Monstrorum - we solve this by arranging for him to work off and earn his own copies. He's drafted up a prolific Gaslight campaign for Cthulhu, and I expect we'll be playing in it sooner or later. My son is obsessed with Tarot and the Simon Necronomicon so it behooves me, as his father, to try setting him straight on his mythos lore by making sure he has copies of these books, at the very least. Must avoid summoning unintended things, right?!?

GURPS - For reasons perhaps caused by me talking it all up too much, my son wants to learn and run GURPS, too. Fine with me! As one oddball youtuber commented, GURPS is now "D&D, but for nerds" and that has never been truer than now in the zeitgeist of D&D becoming so mainstream. 

Anyway, the point of all this is that I am finally, at last, getting a chance to really let my collection breathe, watch it get more synergy thanks to my son, and also allow me to eyeball what I have and make realistic assessments of why I have collected some of the stuff I have, and whether or not it may be better suited elsewhere. We'll see! The new place has engrained a satisfactory sense of "no rush, I can take my time on this" that I hadn't felt before. 

I've written a lot but no pictures. Time for some! Here's our dominion (walking on a nearby trail):


My Son's disaster of a room (it's gotten better since this pick):


Some true order at last in my study:


Friday, May 24, 2024

Moved In!

 So we have a nice new house in the middle of the desert, in a development underway in west Los Lunas. This is the closest I can get to leaving Albuquerque without actually leaving Albuquerque. It's a 30 minute commute to work (my in-town commute was previously 15 minutes) on the highway but it's a very nice change of pace. We're the first owners in this branch of the new development so its laden with partially constructed and unoccupied homes. Fun! I am going to have to rewatch Poltergeist, the best movie about buying and moving in to a new development for new homeowners.

Even after securing 10 new book shelves I don't have enough room for all the books. Time to open up the Ebay shop again!

More to come...

Thursday, May 16, 2024

Imminent Closing!

 Closing on the new house, that is!

Many of you have had this experience like me: renters instead of buyers, never finding the right time or opportunity to feel like settling down is a good time, or never having the right job or the right level of job security. Maybe life just catches up with you (as it has with me) and you realize one day you're getting too old to move every few years, and the idea of not having to uproot and displace every now and then no longer feels liberating, it feels like maybe, to quote the old saying, "I'm getting too old for this S***!"

And so it is.

I'll have internet up at the new house next week....will blog post post move then! For those interested, this is a brand new house....so new that Google Maps shows an open plot of land where a house currently stands. So new that the local realtor and HOA contacts indicated we are literally the first people to move in to the new neighborhood. So new that we get to do a walk through tomorrow with the contractor who built the house! So...yeah, pretty new.

It's also the largest house I'll have occupied in many an age. We have had large rentals in the past, but at 1550 square feet this house has enough room that my wife and I are contemplating the need for more furniture to fill up the copious extra space we will have. I am debating the possibility I may have enough space for as many book shelves as I need to get the entire collection out of the 150 boxes and on display. I still want to cut that total down by half, but....yeah I could totally do that at the new place if I wanted to. 

Alrighty then! Next blog post on the other side.


Wednesday, May 1, 2024

Moving and the Plight of Owning a Large Library

 I have now in my garage 120+ boxes just of books, all banker box sized because anything larger than that is a pain to haul (though I do use larger boxes for board games and lighter weight stuff). It's a lot of stuff! At 53 years of age I realize I have more books to read than I have time left on this planet, more games to play than I have any free time ever. I need to figure out what to do with this, or my family will be cursing my name at the wake. 

One fun exercise was establishing what not to pack before the time to move (later this month, presuming all goes as planned and we close on the house purchase around May 17th). Sometimes you get that moment of insight on what "really matters" when you are forced to consolidate and think carefully about what you both need and want access to in the coming weeks. For me, I effectively left out the core D&D 5th edition books, a copy of Cypher System, the Call of Cthulhu 7E core book, BRP,  Dragonbane, and the Traveller books. I had Savage Worlds out but ended up packing it, as it is very unlikely I'd be running it before I am fully moved in. I also now have the glorious deluxe boxed set of Mothership in hand (it arrived Monday), so that's staying unpacked for now while I absorb it. All of these are going into boxes for moving soon enough.....but not until mid May.

So if these aforementioned systems are the "core" of what I need to sustain gaming, then what the heck is going on with all those boxes? About 2/3rds of those boxes contain games. Many of them I know I am holding on to them purely for purposes of maintaining a collection, especially my 1st, 2nd, and 3rd edition D&D books and Pathfinder 1E tomes. I have collections I probably won't ever use, even if I enjoyed reading them at the time (Numenera comes to mind, as does most of what I have bought from Free League). I have a vast collection of Pathfinder 2E stuff which I think I have no further use for. I continue to play and enjoy the game, though less because I am enamored with the system and more because I enjoy gaming with my friends and the GM in question. For me....I kinda like the new revised PF2E but as a result I am not sure I need more than those core revised books now. All the rest of it? Probably best to find new homes for it.

Finding new homes for such a large volume of books is a pain in the ass, though. The hassle of assembling and shipping them anywhere is a nightmare, especially if selling it all on Ebay, though I did do that one summer a several years back and could do so again. I have thought about calling up local used book shops and inquiring if they purchase large volumes, such as an estate sale, and how they would go about doing that. 

I guess what I am trying to say is that while I know I will never reduce the collection down to zero (do not want to do that) I think 40 boxes would look a lot more realistic right now than 120 boxes. For the interim, though, I am stuck moving it to the new house when that time comes.....and who knows, maybe the much nicer, newer and more spacious house (it's a brand new house, too) will embolden me with its copious room for shelves and space. We'll see.*



*All of this is of course without considering the reality, which is that my son will likely confiscate a nontrivial chunk of my collection for his own purposes. He most recently absconded with my copy of the Fallout RPG and is now running it for his middle school group, and I think he has designs on my Alien RPG collection, too.

Thursday, April 25, 2024

The Ambernic RG556

A while back I concluded I was settled on the handled PC/console gaming cycle, with a Steam Deck on the one hand, a Switch OLED in the middle and a Asus ROG Ally on the other. Well, I lied. Since then I have acquired an Ambernic RG556 and a Legion Go. Oh yeah, I have also had access to a Logitech G Cloud, about which I have some thoughts as well. Why? Well I have at last concluded that, as a kid, I had a deep fascination for the concept that one day you could have handheld devices that did all the cool stuff. It explains my obsession over tablets and e-readers, and now of course handheld console and console-like PCs. It is not a healthy obsession, and the only good news I have is I regularly see guys on Youtube posting videos about their own obsessions, from their recording rooms laden with dozens of such devices. Admittedly, they probably get some revenue from Youtube or freebies from the manufacturers and can subsidize their bad habits accordingly, but many of these guys have maybe a few thousand subscribers at most, so I doubt they are benefitting from the views....only a handful have very popular shows. 

Anyway, to add to the pile of what has been discussed before, here's my quick takes so far on the Ambernic RG556 and its unique gateway into Emulation-based handhelds. I'll talk more about the Legion Go and G-Cloud soon.

This is the first emulator handheld console I have purchased.* I snagged this one based on the plethora of reviews suggesting it had a high level of functionality, a nice OLED screen, was easy to get in to without having any real prior emulation familiarity, and would potentially stave off my son's recent obsession for collecting relics and antiques from The Before Times, what he sees as ancient gaming history and I see as "stuff people played when I was in my 20's and 30's." Like Gamecube, PS1/PS2, Nintendo 64, Game Boy Advance, PSP....that sort of stuff.

When you get a device like this, its power determine how much you can emulate. The 556 can mostly emulate on up through Dreamcast and PS2 without issue, but Gamecube and Xbox seem beyond its scope of ability (although I've learned the Xbox emulator crowd is much smaller than for other consoles). It works out of the box. Emulator enthusiasts will give you lots of seemingly useful advice, on the surface, but it is bad advice for a novice; the onboard emulators are just fine to start, and you can gradually learn to mess around with other, better emulators at a later date. I may write more about how to do this.....but trust me when I say that if you don't know a lot about emulation to start, be very careful of the advice from the pros, they are not writing for people with no real knowledge of how to go about doing emulation, and it will lead to a fairly useless or limited device quickly if you are not careful.

Part of this is probably due to the tricky issue of emulation and piracy, although the vast majority of the games on these old emulators are essentially unattainable by any other means, short of trawling through garage sales or occasional retro game stores for used copies. Not even products such as the Evercade offer most of these games, and many are consigned to oblivion due to licensing issues (as an example, I was completely unaware of how many 2D arcade side scrollers from the 80's and 90's existed for the Aliens franchise until the Ambernic showed up). I am not entirely sure how Ambernic can do this, but assume its because they are A: under Chinese law and don't sweat lawsuits from Nintendo and B: are selling a piece of hardware, and presumably the "loaded stuff" that comes with it is just a courtesy? No idea, but if someone knows I'd be interested in details, as the emulator community dances around this subject constantly.

That said, the device out of the box, with me adding more ROMs from specific sites for my favorite specific games from back in the day (mostly PS1, PS2 and Dreamcast) have almost all worked great,  and the Ambernic RG556 screen is a very nice device, super comfortable and easy to figure out. I got one for my son and wife as well, and they play these things constantly now. It hasn't quite solved my son's desire to keep collecting old games, and may if anything have backfired a bit as he is now even more interested in finding the original cartridges just for bragging rights to his Zoomer buddies, but overall this product was well worth it. It's not bad an an android device, either, though it is disappointing just how few android games are really worth any time or effort these days; the modern landscape of mobile gaming is just a repulsive sea of grifters, con artists and pure garbage, with only a handful of gems floating in the murk. As such, the Ambernic shines best as an emulator, reminding us of how, not too long ago, games were made to be actually fun and complete experiences, and not as pure cash grabs using predatory tactics to part consumers from their money. 



*I do also have a couple Evercades (the original, the Vs. and the remake from a year or so back) but those are licensed products with new releases of classic games, most of which no one has ever heard of or remembers, with the gimmick being that you can buy collections of games on cartriges for the system. It's a cool system, but I stopped collecting after a while when it became clear that any genuinely interesting games were unlikely to get licensed out to Evercade. A few exceptions have happened, but the Evercade does not have analog thumbsticks which means its a limited experience outside of a specific era of gaming; their Duke Nukem collection, for example, borders on unplayable without an analog stick. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

The Slow Roll Gaming Show of 2024 - Swords & Chaos, Comae Engine, and More

 This is a remarkably quiet year for a D&D 50th Anniversary. Some stuff is coming out, which is cool, but the key new edition books are all delayed to the end of the year and in the case of the Monster Manual, next year. But luckily I expect to have Tales of the Valiant in my hands in maybe just a few weeks? We shall see!

Part of me acknowledges I am just getting old, but even DriveThruRPG's picking have been....weird....lately. A disproportionate amount of content over on DTRPG seems to have either an intentional or unintentional lack of polish, as if the idea is to throwback the product to a bygone era when your only art resource was you high school buddy who doodled a lot, but meanwhile the rest of the products all have a pristine AI generated polish to them that has that "uncanny valley reality, tinged with anime thematics" look to it that is a grotesque turn-off and an immediate warning that there may have been less actual effort put in to the product. But hey, interesting stuff does slip in the cracks. I am debating ordering the brand new Smoke and Aces BRP book which looks interesting, and I just received my print edition of The Comae Engine, a rather unique reductionist redesign of the BRP/D100 system, and I also ordered a copy of Swords & Chaos RPG, a non-Troll Lord published SIEGE engine RPG heavily flavored for traditional Swords & Sorcery; barbarians only need apply, no pesky hobbits here!

So far, of the two Comae Engine looks a little heavy on the "storytelling mechanics" approach to play which for me is the equivalent of telling me that you can substitute any meat in any meal with an impossible burger patty and it will be just fine. I am not yet decided, and plan to try running it before I make any determination. Some elements such as the skill system approach are pretty cool.....and in terms of trying to make a condensed, modest system that can quickly be skinned for any genre or feel it seems like it might work pretty well in many cases. I think the book could have benefited from about 20 pages or so of examples of how to use it, and example genres/scenarios. 

To contrast, Swords & Chaos RPG from Blackspire Fantasy is a SIEGE engine powered RPG, a sort of updated version of Castles & Crusades which refines the experience to a distinctly classical swords, sorcery and sandals approach to RPGs, with humans as the only species to play, classes that fit Hyboria, Atlantis or Mu, and an excellent roster of monsters that only poaches a handful of classic OGL familiars that best fit the darker S&S vibe (e.g. cloakers, darkmantles), then fleshes the list out with a lot of more traditionally pulp fantasy beasts. No orcs, elves, halflings or dwarves here! 

Put another way, Swords & Chaos is for better or worse more my cup of tea these days, a known quantity my old brain, suffused like a marinade for decades with the swords & sorcery genre, can wrap itself around....like a tasty spinach wrap, maybe. Hmmmm now I'm hungry.

What I like most about S&C is that it is a "all in one" book laden with exactly 100% of what you need to run the game. I am sure you can swap stuff in from Castles & Crusades if you want....but you totally don't need to. This book has it all. I am really big on "one tome to rule it all" lately. I will grant systems where the rules are dispersed over 2 or 3 tomes a pass, so long as those 2 or 3 books combined are 100% complete together.

Despite this, I am still extremely keen to explore the other slightly more traditional yet nonetheless totally cool Dragonbane. I really have too many flavors of classic and pulp fantasy floating around (see also ACKS). I need to wrap up the current D&D campaign so we can get to the other fantasy games all waiting in the wings. Conundrums!

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Pathfinder Monster Core is Out - Some Thoughts

 I snagged the new Monster Core for Pathfinder's 2E revised series, and have to say this is a nice, robust tome with a larger page count and content than the original. Like the new ORC licensed editions it expurgates as much OGL styled content as it can, which is to say that you won't find any distinctly D&D-brand level monsters anymore, not even the ones which served some general purpose. Owlbears - gone. Mimics? Gone. Darkmantles and other oddities such as the Chuul? Gone. Some of these monsters may be repurposed or renamed....ones which had already been given a distinct Pathfinder identity (Allgholthu, caligni, and xulgath for example being faceless ones, dark creepers and troglodytes) still lurk in these forms, but if you take a look at the section on demons and devils: whoo boy, this is where the identity of Pathfinder now feels more defined by what is absent than what is present. 

Amidst this are the many monsters out of myth and folklore oddly untouched, even the poor Medusa who deserves to be properly renamed a Gorgon, but oh well. 

I haven't decided yet if this is a good thing or not. Sure, the old Bestiaries work fine with the revised rules and provide those old OGL stats, but I'm a bit of a purist and want to look at the current state of the game for what it is trying to be going forward. Right now it is....interesting. A GM with this book will want to take some extra time to start looking for what will be the new oddities players come to associate with PF style fantasy, and what will be the useful staples for impromptu encounters. They are definitely not going to look like the old D&D stuff.

On the plus side, this actually makes the experience of reading the Monster Core feel a bit novel and different. There's effectively a new and different experience here, and the excision of so many OGL elements makes it feel more distinctly its own thing. On the negative side, it really does feel less like "something new and different" after a while and more like something defined by an absence, probably because ultimately Pathfinder really has always been the "Other D&D" for all practical purposes. What is a fantasy world (or Golarion) like without so many of these monsters that used to define it? What is everything in Pathfinder now, a game which was originally the de facto flagship for the D&D 3rd edition game system, now that it has been rendered neuter by corporate chicanery and a need to brand one's IP more distinctly? It feels a bit.....hollow, almost performative. 

Despite that criticism, I am still keen to explore this book in depth and see what sort of ideas for a campaign it may bring me. We shall see! I have to reconcile my deep dislike of Pathfinder 2E as a player against my deep appreciation for it as a GM. I haven't quite managed to resolve this internal schism in my feelings about the game yet. 


Tuesday, March 26, 2024

ACKS Has Arrived!

A brief note! My ACKS (Adventurer, Conqueror, King System) core book, Playe's Companion, Heroic Fantasy Companion and Barbarian Conquerors of Kanahu tomes have all arrived. I just wanted to point out that I often order from NobleKnight.com, and for exactly this reason: the books were all rated in EX/NM condition and that is exactly what showed up, in fantastic shape. 

I'll be bringing these along to show off to my game group next Wednesday. We're currently in a D&D 5E campaign in my Pergerron/River Kingdoms of Anansis setting, but it is heading to a finale soon and we will have a good opportunity to break if we want to try out something new. I actually have a campaign setting designed around a very gritty old-world theme, the Lands of Selentar, about which I don't think I've posted much on the blog (come to think of it, I need to get back to posting more on the other setting I ran PF2E adventures in, Oman'Hakat, as well). 

Selentar is a fictional analog to Europe around 60-90 AD if it turns out the Roman Empire analog collapsed abruptly after the totally-not-Nero like Emperor of the Eorma was killed in a vicious civil war driven by germanic-like people who realized that the aristrocracy of the empire was riddled with demon worship. All of the gods and beliefs in this setting are derived, at core, from what is known of the various peoples around the equivalent historical time period, albeit with some extra sword & sorcery twists. So...it might be an excellent fit for the ACKS system, in other words.

As long as I am posting something I just wanted to comment that Mothership Kickstarter just charged me for shipping so it looks like we may finally see the giant boxed set soon! I will in the interim continue our bi-weekly weekend Traveller games, which have been the polar , opposite of Mothership, especially this weekend's session when the group pulled off a Star Trek style rescue of stranded ships captured on an ancient asteroid turned into a relic defense weapon by a lost civilization. Not a shot was fired and yet everyone was gripped with excitement at the mystery and task at hand, followed by success in their rescue. It was a fun turnabout from games involving high levels of death and violence, and does reflect the fact that Traveller is above all else a multifaceted system reflecting the many  concept spaces in science fiction, allowing for a vast swathe of the genre to be represented. In other words....what I am saying is it would be hard to pull off such a pleasant and optimistic (yet still exciting and fun) mission in a system like Mothership. Even if I ran a completely straight mission in Mothership like that the entire party would be constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop, for mayhem and murder to ensue. But in Traveller? They can take it at face value and conclude that there was no need to assume a xenomorph analog around the corner. Next session they get invited to an Aslan wedding of high importance, and may discover a trafficking ring of non-spacefaring species who are being exploited by a local Evil Empire. If you are one of my players forget you read that sentence!  

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Adventurer, Conqueror King System - My PDF experiment failed

Not too long ago I dived in to several systems, one of which was Adventurer, Conqueror King System. ACKS as it is known is an OSR-adjcent RPG from Autarch Publishing which has an interesting fusion of mechanical aspects from B/X D&D, AD&D 1E and AD&D 2E. It uses "class as race" for example but does so by constructing unique classes that are custom focused on the race. You don't play "elf" for example, you pick from elven spellsword or elven nightblade, with each demihuman type having a couple base classes in the core rules and lots more in the expanded companion books. It's a decent happy medium between simpler class choices that are also meaningful in flavor and style. "Spellsword" sounds cooler than elven fighter/mage, after all, or even just "elf!"

Anyway, lots of other things in ACKS appeal to me - proficiency systems, cool subsystems, a distinct sword & sorcery flavor that leans heavily into early pulp fantasy more than later post-Tolkien fantasy, etc. etc. But...ACKS is still ultimately another OSR variant, even if it is dolled up and more original than most. As such, I decided to try an experiment: I snagged all the ACKS books I wanted on PDF through DriveThruRPG.com and decided to see if I could engage with the system purely in PDF format. Could I, in fact, read, learn, and plan for a game with a system entirely held in electronic format?

As it turns out, months later, I have decided that the answer is a resounding no. While having the documents in PDF format is handy enough, actually sitting down and working with them on a tablet or big screen is far more utilitarian, and the horrible truth is that, at least for me, the tactile element of a physical rulebook I can flip back and forth through is more useful and honestly quicker than trying to do the same with a PDF. The only true advantage of the PDF is you can search fairly quickly (as long as it is indexed and your search parameter is correct). Beyond that, books hold the decisive advantage in that you can mark and annotate more easily (if you like defacing your books!), you can bookmark more clearly, you can search about as quickly but also with more intuition because you have a measurable quantity in hand and can know roughly where to look. It's just a more visceral, intuitive experience. Some may have adapted well to electronic documents, but for me? Nope. A lot of people I think feel this way.....it is evident in my son and his friends (of those who do read or play games) that the physical book is far more valued than a PDF. On the other hand, they are all playing D&D 5E, and there are no searchable PDFs out there, but they do use D&D Beyond for character generation in their middle school group, so whadda I know.

This is all a long way o saying I decided to buy the phsyical ACKS books instead with the idea toward running a campaign soon. I grabbed some decently priced copies on NobleKnight.com and the rest in POD through Drivethru. I will write more on ACKS as soon as I have the real books in hand! It is a very interesting system, managing to hew close to OSR norms while still innovating and achieving its own distinct flavor, and I like it. I may be able to blend it a bit or at least utilize it for some of the OSE modules I have accrued, too.....there's a lot to like about OSE, which takes a different and equally neat approach to consolidating various early OSR editions of D&D together, but its flavor is incredibly vanilla as a result, and I am really loving the sort of "Howard/de Camp/Carter/Wagner/Lieber" style that ACKS exudes. 


Thursday, March 7, 2024

Dreams & Machines - Some First Thoughts

 This is a very brief post to mull over a couple odd thoughts about Dreams & Machines, the new 2D20 powered RPG from Modiphius. I snagged it yesterday, and am still ploughing through it so this is not a review, but this game evoked some immediate comparisons and observations to me. 

First and most interestingly when I read the back cover text I got this "exploring the unknown, Gamma World style" vibe but the books were sealed in plastic wrap so I bought them sight unseen based on this.

Second, on opening the book I was surprised that the books had a lot less art than I was expecting. Some of the art and the text blurbs are evocative of a kid's observations, and indeed there is some subtext to that effect.....but the game is, unlike its closest obvious influence (Tales from the Loop) not necessarily about rolling up kids in a world of abandoned giant robots. It's about rolling up adults in a world of abandoned giant robots. 

The Tales from the Loop comparison is inescapable. The art is varied in D&M but the best color pieces evoke people (sometimes kids) walking around giant robots. Some of the images look fairly menacing, but mostly its due to the spartan "shadows on shadows at night" style of the artist. The actual text of D&M is a lot more whimsical and youth-friendly; I haven't encountered anything (yet) that would suggest to me you couldn't hand this game to a 12-14 year old and regret it. 

I also felt like there's a slight bit of Numenera evoked in this book, but mostly Tales from the Loop. 

There's a lot of expository text setting up the world, how humans got there, and how and why robots are everywhere. The foes book is not all robots though. All told so far its an interesting read. 

The layout and style of the book is weird, though. It is not nearly as art-heavy or evocative as I thought, and the book barely manages to capture any style of its own; it feels too easy to draw comparisons to other RPGs that already occupy this same niche-within-a-niche genre. It feels to me like maybe an earlier draft of D&M really did focus on kids and robots, and someone midway said, "That's too on the nose, lets make them adults," but a lot of the sample text remained narratively from this kid. 

All that aside, I am still reading and it is quite interesting. A lighter side apocalyptic exploration book is cool enough, and there is ample room in the market for this kind of take. I could not dig the Tales of the Loop "kids on bikes" adventure theme anyway, I spent all my life trying to get away from being a kid, so I am content with D&M focusing on a broader picture. 

I'll post a more proper review soon enough, but wanted to share these initial thoughts!


EDIT: Worth mentioning, the book is starkly white pages with line drawings (meant at times to look simple or childish deliberately, I think), and it is so stark and simple that I feel this is the consequence of Modiphius being overly sensitive to the complaints about prior books (especially Star Trek) having white text on black backgrounds. Now it feels somehow....readable but almost plain and undercooked? Not a real critique, just a comment on how the layout feels to me. It still works for its intent.