Mixed Signals

Straight-forward gaming

With the exception of a handful of pioneering academics and specialist publications, serious critical consideration of gaming as an art form feels, to me, to be seriously lacking. Sure, it's commonly accepted that gaming is now very much mainstream, but it's pretty clear that what most people are t...

Most tabletop roleplaying game systems have the concept of rolling dice as a way of determining whether a player character in the game succeeds or fails when attempting a non-trivial task. A die roll doesn't itself have any meaning. A 20 on a 20-sided die is just a number, no better or worse than a...

At the time of this writing, I'm preparing to run Tomb of Annihilation for the first time. It's been out for a good 5 years, and I've played scenarios from it, but I've yet to run it. As I read through the book to prepare for the game, I've decided to post about my impressions. This review contai...

At the time of this writing, I'm running Tomb of Annihilation for the first time. As I read through the book, I've decided to post about my impressions. Although I started this review before the campaign started, I'm now running this module (using Pathfinder 2, incidentally) for my weekly session,...

I'm a hobbyist game designer. I love looking at games for ideas on how to improve or change them for fun, and I enjoy making up new games. I've arbitrarily decided that during 2024, I'm going to publish one new game each month. Some will be mods of existing games, others will be new games I've devel...

At the time of this writing, I'm running Tomb of Annihilation for the first time. As I read through the book, I've decided to post about my impressions. Although I started this review before the campaign started, I'm now running this module (using Pathfinder 2, incidentally) for my weekly session,...

I love the concept of all-in-one starter sets. I think they're the answer to providing an entry point into gaming for people who don't know anything about gaming. Recently, I happened to purchase a Lord of the Rings boxed game plus a mostly-unrelated Lord of the Rings wargame rulebook, and the d...

At the time of this writing, I'm preparing to run Tomb of Annihilation for the first time. It's been out for a good 5 years, and I've played scenarios from it, but I've yet to run it. As I read through the book to prepare for the game, I've decided to post about my impressions. This review contai...

Although one of the most famous characters in Lord of the Rings is a wizard, I think many people consider Tolkien's setting to be "low magic". It's a matter of comparison, but in RPG settings like Pathfinder's Golarion or Frog God's Lost Lands, powerful violations of the law of physics can be...

I used to hear how bad resin was for board game miniatures. Every time somebody mentioned Forge World, they ended their sentence sadly with "too bad it's resin." I had no idea why, just that they were bad. Recently, I wanted some historical miniatures that I just couldn't find from any miniature ven...

I decided I wanted a Roman and an Egyptian army so I could play out some skirmishes around the siege of Alexandria and the Battle of Actium. I figured Rome and Egypt were probably pretty popular armies, and a cursory search online suggested that there would be lots of miniatures to choose from. So I...

The Army Painter products are probably the first miniature paints I remember seeing in hobby stores. Before I was fully aware that people bothered painted miniatures, way in the back of my mind I knew that there were paints available for...something. Now that I paint miniatures myself, I still have...

In addition to not being a particularly good miniature painter, I also have no fashion sense. Life has taught me one great truth about how to combine clothes, and that's that black goes with everything, especially more black. Left to my own devices, I'd probably just paint every miniature I have Bla...

The Curse of Strahd (5e) and Expedition to Castle Ravenloft (3.5) modules feature the use of fortune teller cards to determine certain aspects of the adventure. For Curse of Strahd, the deck of cards is called a Tarokka deck, and in Expedition to Castle Ravenloft you're told to use a Thre...

I'm a lifelong Lord of the Rings fan, to the point that (for better or for worse) my name is even in the credits of some of the movies. I've yet to read the Silmarillion, I can name the individuals in the Fellowship but I couldn't tell you all the stops they make along the way, and I don't love...

Before there was Curse of Strahd (CoS), possibly the most famous 5e adventure, there was the 3rd edition adventure Expedition to Castle Ravenloft. Instead of running CoS, I sometimes run Expedition. It's fun for players who have never experienced Ravenloft before, and it's got a few surprises...