I interviewed the developers at Sentient Cow Games about their debut tabletop game Escape from Dulce and their plans for an entire trilogy on their wonderfully weird Secret Unknown Stuff sci-fi universe.
An impressive ruleset that skillfully converts D&D 5E into a cyberpunk sci-fi setting, along with an excellent adventure that uses those rules.
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Designed by: D. O. Sebastian
I adore a good cyberpunk setting. Blade Runner. Shadowrun. Dredd. Altered Carbon. Even The Expanse, in some ways. In fact when I began DMing and playing online sessions via Roll20, we originally started with Shadowrun (and then switched to D&D 5E because Shadowrun’s rules are super ugly).
“Investigations & Androids” smartly takes the core malleable d20 gameplay of Dungeons & Dragons and converts it into a classic cybernoir theme. It’s extremely well written and organized, focusing on the most important changes while letting the original ruleset do most of the heavy lifting.
The 80+ page rule book includes four new classes, nine new races, four new backgrounds, new or altered techpowers (spells, basically) as well as biomods, weapon augmentations, and several new maps and NPC statblocks.
I’m also reviewing “Off World Colony,” a companion adventure that utilizes all of those rules. Sadly it’s only a part one of four (as yet unreleased), but the level 1 adventure includes three chapters that perfectly blends open world exploration within a structured environment, allowing for fun choices and character building within a space-staged murder-mystery plot.
Review of Clank in Space, and the Apocalypse expansion, by Dire Wolf Digital and Renegade Games Studio
Music by Kevin MacLeod
The life of a cloned, intergalactic bounty hunter is about what I expected, though with a lot more loot boxes. Brig 12 offers an interesting mix of character class progression, tactical turn-based battles, and crew management, but it’s hampered every step of the way by free-to-play card mechanics that turn the gameplay into a repetitive grind.
The basic loop of Brig 12 is simple: Select a bounty target, track them using my crew—a fun mechanic I’ll talk about more later—then beam down with my landing party for a series of turn-based battles.
It’s been five years since the release of Mass Effect 3, and a controversy surrounding the ending that proved the passionate fanbase could turn on a dime. BioWare would infamously take this vitriolic feedback to heart, eventually releasing post-launch patches to update and tweak the ending. The ending of the trilogy is still one of the most divisive and sour notes in gaming, brought on because the Mass Effect series has become such an important cultural phenomenon for gamers.
So it shouldn’t be a surprise that the fangs came out for Mass Effect: Andromeda.
Star Wars is once again the crowning king of box office blockbusters. Star Trek has been rebooted and revitalized for a new generation. In just a few months we will see the highly anticipated next chapter of Mass Effect, arguably gaming’s best sci-fi universe.
But with a solid cast, near-future speculative setting and a fantastic book series, no one comes close to achieving the level of sci-fi greatness on television of Syfy’s The Expanse. Here’s why you need to be watching when season two arrives on Feb. 1.
Starring an intriguing virtual reality gaming world, Ready Player One ended up one of the most dissatisfying books I’ve ever read.
Nearly 400 pages later I finally put it down, and thought about one of the most dissatisfying experiences of a book I’d ever read.
Published back in 2011 and written by Ernest Cline, Ready Player One stars Wade Watts, a typical gamer shut-in with poor social skills and obsessive attitudes. The fact that I just said ‘typical gamer’ followed by an awful stereotype is a big clue toward how I felt about the entire experience.
Wade’s world is a near-future 2044 (I don’t know why sci-fi authors insist on giving us an actual year) in which a gradual dystopia has made life generally terrible for everyone. No real apocalypse has taken place, but everything is awful, or at least written from someone with a tiresome, cynical and nihilistic view of the future. Continue reading “My Final Thoughts on Ready Player One”