Mixed Signals

Straight-forward gaming

The back of Magic: The Gathering cards are iconic. Mimicking, more or less, the leatherbound cover of a spellbook, it has five gemstones inset in the center, and the words "Magic The Gathering" at the top. Mysteriously, there's also the word "Deckmaster" at the bottom. It's very much an artefact o...

I've written about one shots before, and one of my tips for a successful quick game of D&D is to bring prebuild characters. However, there are two potential problems with that advice:

  1. Somebody needs to build those characters

  2. A player may want to build their own character just for the...

The base rules of Magic: The Gathering are no more complex than any other card game, such as Poker or Bridge.

Setup

You start the game with 20 life pointns and a deck of 60 cards, unless you're playing the Commander variant, in which case you start with 40 life and 100 cards.

At the start of...

Can you play Magic: the Gathering by yourself? Is there such a thing as solo magic?

Well, now you can!

Single-player Magic: the Survival format

Single-player Hagic: the Gathering is a survival-mode game. You (the human) are pitted against on onslaught of brute force mechanics by two d...

In my previous post, I wrote about why D&D shouldn't be seen as a half-day hobby and instead ought to be seen as a 2-hour board game. To many people, the idea of a 2 hour game is baffling, either because they grew up playing in 8 hour sessions as kids with nothing better to do, or because they're u...

Most people seem to think that D&D takes, at a minimum, 4 hours to play. I understand the desire to play an extended game, and indeed 4 hours isn't really that long, especially if you have memories of 8 or 12 hour marathons as a kid. And if you can afford that kind of time, then you may as well...

I got to play a PC in a Starfinder recently, which was nice because so far I'd only played as GM. One of the most interesting aspects of Starfinder is its game-within-a-game system of starship combat. Played on a hex grid with a unique initiative system (a lower roll is arguably better, because t...

In my previous posts about converting monsters from 2e and 3e to Fifth Edition, I mention that many monsters have been converted already. I mentioned that to dissuade you from feeling like there's a need to sit down and struggle through the math to convert your favourite monster, at least not b...

I got a lot of great feedback about my previous article, How to Convert D&D monsters to 5e, so it's obviously time for the same article for Third Edition (or 3.5, realistically).

For the longest time, I never really bothered converting from 3.5 to 5e, because I found them to be relatively...

D&D is often called the world's oldest RPG because, well, it literally is. With a history of over 40 years, if you're a player of D&D, you have decades of material at your disposal. Thanks to digital technology, the bulk of that history is available in electronic form, so you don't even have to r...

If you're new to the hobby, you may not have ever heard about THAC0, or you may only have encountered it in video games like the classic Baldur's Gate. There's no real reason to know anything about THAC0 now, of course, because neither Pathfinder or 5e use it. However, if you want to turn back th...

The Evil Dead film series is a collection of [arguably] loosely-connected horror movies (and a TV show and comics...) that helped define both modern horror and modern fantasy. If you have never seen the original masterpieces of cinema (Evil Dead, Evil Dead 2, and Army of Darkness), then you s...

In my 3 Pillar XP and Ultimate Intrigue posts, I explained the D&D 5e and Pathfinder (largely compatible with Starfinder) implementations of noncombat-based XP. Such systems are useful when you find that your gaming group isn't playing for constant non-stop combat.

I don't think of myself a...

In my previous blog post, I explained the D&D 5e implementation of noncombat-based XP, because sometimes your gaming group isn't playing for constant non-stop combat. Now, that doesn't mean your gaming group shouldn't play only to fight; treating D&D as a series of skirmishes with some looting...

Not everybody wants to fight. I learned this through "subtle" clues given to me by one specific group of players, including blank stares in reaction to combat encounters, and persistent attempts to negotiate with villains so vile that even Dr. Who wouldn't bother parlaying with.

Yes, it turns...

In 2014, probably not on April Fool's day, Frog God Games released the Book of Dirty Tricks, a sort of DMG (Dungeon Master's Guide) addendum containing advice for dungeon masters on how to make a game more challenging.

It's a fairly small book, being only about 78 pages, but it's packed...