Mixed Signals

Straight-forward gaming

If you design even just one game, it doesn't take long for you to realise that a game is mostly a maths exercise in disguise. You have a random selection of cards, and you compare numbers to see who wins. You roll dice, and the number you roll changes the state of the game. You count spaces on a boa...

Taking a break from the 31st millennia for a while, I just finished Cadia Stands by Justin D. Hill. Set solidly in the 41st millennia, this novel is about the planet Cadia, a sentinel guarding the massive Warp rift known as the Eye of Terror. This review contains major spoilers. You have been...

Good storytelling is usually about the process of achieving something. That's the story part of a story. A character wants something, but can't have it. The character goes through some transformative trials until the thing is "earned", at which point the character gets the thing and the story is ove...

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...

I've been playing a lot of Space Station Zero by Adam Loper and Vince Venturella. It's a simple system and a relatively small book at just 120 pages, and a side effect of that is that the potential war gear your crew can carry is pretty minimal. But the premise of the game is that a bunch of diffe...

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...

I'm re-reading the Horus Heresy, and this is my review of the fifth book in the series, Fulgrim by Graham McNeill. There are spoilers in this review.

The fifth book in the Horus Heresy continues to escalate the tension while simultaneously re-telling, like Flight of the Eisenstein did, eve...

Are you curious about roleplaying games, but not ready to buy a rulebook or to find a bunch of people to play with? There are tabletop games that can help ease you into RPG, or serve as alternatives to playing an RPG. Here are 5 of my favourites.

The obligatory disclaimer before the list is that p...

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...

I decided that during 2024, I'd design one game every month. This month, I've created Paper invasion, a wargame designed to be played entirely with pencil and paper. The design challenges for this one were that I didn't want to rely on dice for randomization, and there's a lot of notation required...

Most wargames are designed to be played as a single game event. You play a game, the game ends, and whatever story that game told is over. The game has no "memory", and the next time you field your army it's like you're fielding a brand new army, with no battle scars or past experience beyond what's...

The end! The crew fought bravely, but they've met their final challenge with Challenge 16 of the Space Station Zero book. This battle report contains minor spoilers, although there are a lot of branches in the campaign so what happens in my campaign is unlikely to also happen exactly the same in y...

Another challenge, another totally unreasonable target number. I'm playing Space Station Zero wargame with an aim to get through the entire station, and I've decided to post battle reports about each Challenge along the way. These battle report contain minor spoilers, although there are a lot of b...

I'm playing Space Station Zero wargame with an aim to get through the entire station, and I've decided to post battle reports about each Challenge along the way. These battle report contain minor spoilers, although there are a lot of branches in the campaign so what happens in my campaign is unlik...

I'm re-reading the Horus Heresy, and this is my review of the fourth book in the series, Flight of the Eisenstein by James Swallow. There are spoilers in this review.

This is an important book in the Horus Heresy series, as it transitions us away from standing next to Gavriel Loken, and gets...