Archive for the Book/Game Review Category

Southern Reach; Roadside Picnic; Stalker

Posted in Book/Game Review with tags , , , on 06-Aug-14 by K-Slacker


So I started reading some weird fiction lately – specifically Annihilation and Authority, the first two books of Jeff VanderMeer’s “Southern Reach” trilogy. The Southern Reach is a secret agency that manages expeditions into an area known as Area X. Area X is an uninhabited and abandoned area that nature has begun to reclaim. The third book (Acceptance) doesn’t come out until September, so I’m going to wait until then to review the trilogy.

Some of the features of Area X got me thinking about Tempora Mutantur again, and I started hunting for books with a similar theme. Earlier, I had read about Roadside Picnic, by the Soviet sci-fi authours Arkady and Boris Strugatsky. The text of the story is available online, and epub versions are easy to find. I downloaded a copy, and read it through in a day.

I must say I’m still confused about the ending, but the idea of the zones is very compelling. The story inspired the Ukrainian FPS S.T.A.L.K.E.R., and the Finnish diceless RPG Stalker. The latter is of particular interest, as although I’m lukewarm about the whole “diceless” idea, I quickly realized that the minimalist Tempora Mutantur ruleset could be adapted very easily to this setting.

We’ll see if I get inspired enough to do a “Stalker” edit of Tempora Mutantur, but in the meantime I provide the following ratings for Roadside Picnic and the Stalker RPG.

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A Dark Room

Posted in Book/Game Review with tags , , on 17-Jun-13 by K-Slacker

A Dark Room

A Dark Room ( is a minimalist post-apocalyptic online text-based game!

Here is a decription:

A Dark Room is strictly text-based, but requires you to wait for bars to tick down before performing activities over and over again. It all starts off in a dark room, where you find a fire that you can light. From there, you just keep stoking the fire every time that the bar cools down. Nothing much seems to happen until a stranger bursts into the room with you, shivering and murmuring in the corner. Not long after this, you’ll start to run out of wood with which to stoke the fire with, prompting you to go into the forest and gather some more… How much wood you have determines what you can build and what you can do as the story progresses.

Its author describes A Dark Room as “an experiment in minimalism and paced narrative”. I say it’s fun and addictive, and give it a strong recommendation:

A Dark Room: ☢☢☢☢☢ (5/5)

I’ll add more as I get further along in the game…

RPG Review – Metropolis Rho

Posted in Book/Game Review with tags , , , on 02-May-13 by K-Slacker

Metropolis Rho – hereafter shortened to Met Rho – is a 2005 supplement by RPGObjects for Darwin’s World describing a degenerate society confined within a domed mega-city.

Here is an excerpt from the Introduction:

Met Rho

The world is a desolate wasteland.

In this dark future only one last enclave of life remains, the ruins of a once-great domed city sitting in the middle of the wastes. One of many domed cities constructed during the time of the Ancients to house the world’s ever-increasing population, it is a true metropolis. Here the last holdouts of the human race cling to survival within the boundaries of the city, protected from the mindless mutated creatures that are said to dwell beyond the walls by the “Barrier”, a great killing zone erected long ago by the ancestors of your people to keep the city isolated from the rest of the world. As the last remnants of humanity died out, the Barrier’s minefields, automated turrets, and other devious traps kept desperate killers and mutants from destroying what your ancestors had so carefully preserved:

Civilization. The seed of humanity.

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RPG Review – Other Dust

Posted in Book/Game Review with tags , , on 08-Apr-13 by K-Slacker

Other Dust

I’m not that great at reading book-length RPG supplements on the computer (or tablet). I usually skim them, but miss the interesting bits.

On a related note, I finally printed out Sine Nomine‘s Other Dust supplement last weekend. I can’t recall when I actually picked up the PDF, but the datestamp is from July ’12. I don’t remember it from last summer, but I’m sure giving it a good read now.

It bills itself as a sandbox guide for “roleplaying after the end” and is inspired by the “classic role-playing games of the seventies and early eighties”. Both statements are accurate.

Read on for a review, as well as a preview of how I’m planning on swiping stuff for Tempora Mutantur

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Third Shift – Pact

Posted in Book/Game Review with tags , , on 29-Jan-13 by K-Slacker

Third Shift - Pact  a Silo Story

The third (and final) Shift story — Third Shift – Pact — was released last Friday. I’ve already raved about Hugh Howey and his Silo series, and I’m not disappointed in his latest release. (A review will follow eventually.)

Since my first WOOL post, Hugh’s stories have been picked up Random House and film rights have been optioned by Ridley Scott and Steve Zaillian. So if you haven’t read these stories yet, then get on board now! Pick up a copy before it has “now a major motion picture” on the cover! (They already have “by the New York Times bestselling authour”.)

Radiated Wasteland

Posted in Book/Game Review with tags , , , , , on 14-Oct-12 by K-Slacker

UPDATE: Looks like they’ve changed the name to Mutant Badlands. The old links will still redirect you to the new site.

I recently joined, a directory of websites, blogs, and services related to the post-apocalyptic genre. Today I received an e-mail invite to the Radiated Wasteland beta-test.

Radiated Wasteland is a free browser-based MMORPG from Pixel Pandemic. The developers describe it as follows:

In a future not far from now, Earth has been set in f lames. The once civilized world is now a radiated wasteland. As a player you are one of the few survivors facing the challenges of a postapocalyptic world, fighting against radiated ghouls, fierce mutants and merciless raiders. To survive, players must establish their own safe houses, team up and scavenge for scarce resources.

Although I’ve never played any of the popular MMORPGs, I have a soft spot for browser-based offerings based on my enjoyment of the (minimalist) Urban Dead game.

So I logged on and made a character and was promptly eaten by mutant rats. (It was actually cooler than I make it sound.) Concept and graphics were awesome; there are a couple fiddly bits in the interface but nothing critical (and it is a beta-test).

Anyhow, consider this a plug for both and Radiated Wasteland. I’ll post my thoughts later after I play some more.

Book Review – Wool Series (Hugh Howey)

Posted in Book/Game Review with tags , , on 26-Aug-12 by K-Slacker

On a whim, I picked up a short story last Friday for the e-reader. It’s called WOOL and is by Hugh Howey. The story of WOOL takes place on a post-apocalyptic Earth. Humanity clings to survival in the Silo, a subterranean city extending hundreds of storeys beneath the surface.

Here’s the ad copy:

Thousands of them have lived underground. They’ve lived there so long, there are only legends about people living anywhere else. Such a life requires rules. Strict rules. There are things that must not be discussed. Like going outside. Never mention you might like going outside.

Or you’ll get what you wish for.

Within a couple hours of reading WOOL, I picked up the WOOL Omnibus, which collects the first five WOOL stories. By the next day, I had read through all of them and picked up First Shift – Legacy, which is set in the same fictional future.

Needless to say, I recommend the series.

More (spoiler-ridden) commentary and discussion follows the jump…

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