Mixed Signals

Straight-forward gaming

I was chatting with Jamie, the store manager at my local Warhammer store, about painting and he pointed out that there were lots of different colours for undercoat spray painting available. Depending on what you're painting, it might just be more efficient to undercoat a miniature in black or blue o...

The Internet's a funny place. You make friends you never meet, and sometimes inevitably you lose a friend, too. In June of 2024, the Internet lost Craig Maloney, a creative contributor to free culture, RPG, podcasting, and open source.

I never met Craig, or even talked to him, but I became a fan o...

Zombies are the perfect mindless threat. I'm a fan of zombies in movies and video games and tabletop games. Do you want to know why? Well, there are 10 reasons.

1. Zombies have no soul

You can kill them without remorse. You'll never walk into the back room of a bunker to find the innocent zombie...

It's widely (although not universally) accepted in tabletop gaming that it's fun to roll dice. Broadly speaking, that tends to be correct. There's a guarantee in rolling dice. You're either going to be happy because you get what you want, or else you're going to be surprised. We humans like getting...

A gaming miniature usually has a base it stands on so that the miniature doesn't tip over during your game. After you paint a miniature, the finishing touch is to clean up the base, because inevitably paint has splattered on to it as you've been painting. Some people decorate the base with tiny shru...

Like much of the existing Tolkien work outside of The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings (LOTR), the content of Children of Húrin was written long ago and stashed in Tolkien's writing desk for half a century. Parts of the story were published here and there, including in the The Silmarillion, but...

When I first read The Silmarillion as a kid, I didn't understand what it was and I didn't understand what it was trying to say or do. But I recently decided that reading Tolkien was a little like collecting lore achievements in a video game. The main quest is to understand The Hobbit and The Lo...

Do you have an irrational fear of painting miniatures, because you just know you'll mess it up? I had the same problem, and still do every time I sit down with a freshly primed miniature. Unpainted, the miniature is basically perfect. It's just really really plain. But perfect. And when you start pa...

I've been painting exclusively with Citadel Contrast and Vallejo Xpress Color paints lately. The idea of a high contrast black is a little strange, though. There's no contrast to black, it's just all black. If there's something blacker than black, then the first black wasn't true black. And yet ther...

I'm the developer and publisher of Skuffle Wammer, the universe's smallest wargame. It's designed to be played in 5 minutes or less, with the intent of being the tabletop gaming equivalent of a good stand-up-and-stretch at work. The play area is an A4 sheet of paper, you throw out some miniatures...

I don't like sports. I tend to think of geek culture in general as being against sport, but that's a sentiment influenced strongly by my own social experience. If you think about it, sport and tabletop gaming share a lot in common. They're competitive, they're games, people play them for fun, there...

I like re-playing RPG adventures and I don't let my knowledge of the module interfere with the way my character follows clues. Should you re-play an adventure, though, there are some important things to keep in mind.

1. Yarn wall

My primary rule is pretty simple. If I can't trace a decision my...

I get bored during action scenes. Books, comics, movies, it doesn't matter what it is. But sometimes an action scene actually works for me. The scene somehow manages to be engaging, maybe even tense, and something makes me want to read or watch it. What's the difference between a good action scene a...

As a newcomer to miniature painting, I'm, er, fortunate to have made lots of stupid mistakes early in my hobby journey. In my own defence, I did a lot of research before starting to paint. That saved me from some really egregious errors. But I managed to make a mess of a few things. Here's what they...

Last year, I developed and published Skuffle Wammer, the universe's smallest wargame. It's designed to be played in 5 minutes or less, with the intent of being the tabletop gaming equivalent of a good stand-up-and-stretch at work. The play area is an A4 sheet of paper, you throw out some miniature...

Player characters in an RPG can be tricky. A player character is an imaginary person who you're meant to speak for and control. The character is meant to be distinct from you (in reality), and you're also supposed to be mindful of fellow gamers at your table (in reality) which obviously your fiction...