Article Archives

  • Tabletop Games
    Tabletop Games

    Gamesmasterclass: Here there be dragons: the art of improvisation

    - by Chris Cunliffe

    Have you ever seen an old map with large stretches that say: “Here, there be dragons”? This was often done because the cartographer didn’t know what was there. When you are creating your own world, it’s a sign that you haven’t decided yet. In this writer’s opinion, one of the most vital skills for a gamesmaster (GM) is improvisation. No matter how well you’ve prepared, there will always come a time when the players ask a question that you don’t have an answer to,…

  • Tabletop Games
    Tabletop Games

    Review: The Lord of the Rings: Journeys in Middle-earth

    - by Christopher Jarvis

    The Lord of the Rings: Journeys in Middle-earth is a new miniatures-based board game from Fantasy Flight, featuring a campaign, modular maps, experience points (XP) and upgradable equipment. It’s a co-operative experience for 1–5 players. I’ve been playing solo, trying one campaign with two heroes and another with three. Journeys is smooth and wonderful to play. Each character’s small deck represents both their abilities and their skill checks, and there are a couple of excellent mechanisms which help you to manage your success in…

  • Video Games
    Video Games

    Press A to jump: mobility in video games

    - by Sam Long, Tom Grundy

    Jumping has been a part of gaming for as long as any of us can remember. It’s no surprise that the jump mechanic holds such an important place in video game history, dating back to 80s arcade games. Today, games have moved on in nearly every way — but it’s a rare game that doesn’t have a ‘jump’ button. Why? In early video games, vaulting over obstacles was a core element of gameplay. The first to ever utilise the jump mechanic was a 1978…

  • Books
    Books

    Classics of science fiction: Frankenstein

    - by Tom Grundy

    This is the semi-regular feature in which we look back at the seminal works of science fiction. The stories that outraged, baffled, and appalled; the books that posited answers a generation before anyone thought to ask the questions; the novels that bent society’s collective consciousness around them and seeded popular culture and humanity’s vision of itself to this day.  This month, Frankenstein. In 1851, in a house near Lake Geneva, George Gordon Byron challenged his friend Percy Bysshe Shelley, Percy’s wife Mary Shelley, and…

  • Fiction
    Fiction

    Don’t call them faeries

    - by Marie Hendricks

    The stay-at-home order was designed to minimise chances of the virus spreading through the population. It was a fairly simple idea to grasp, and even easier to execute if you were a non-essential employee, which Jo was. But, the part that no one seemed to understand? How bored one could be when there was nothing to do. Jo groaned into the carpet from her spot in front of the sliding balcony door. Her cat, Furbo, was perched between her shoulder blades, chittering at the…

  • Video Games
    Video Games

    I’ve been here before: Outer Wilds

    - by Sam Long

    I have fallen into a wormhole and been spat out at the very edge of a solar system. The debris of an alien space station lies scattered around me; lost to time, it drifts further into the void. My spacecraft is 15 kilometres away, with no means of recovery. I am entirely alone. My oxygen tank is depleted. I can hear my character gasp for air with each passing second, watching the steam form on the glass of my helmet. All I can do…