I don’t remember when I first learned about Simon Stålenhag‘s work. It might have been the article from The Verge in 2013, or a random blog post I stumbled upon while aimlessly surfing the web. What I remember is that I thought someone should create a roleplaying game based on these images. Simon Stålenhag’s art shows the ‘80s that never was. A world where the mundane reality of that decade meets the extraordinary. The protagonists in these pictures were often kids, perhaps 10 to 12 years old. Exactly the same age I was back in the mid ‘80s. Perhaps it’s what makes his art so compelling, he shows the years of my youth exactly as I wished they had been.
In 2016 Fria Ligan, the Swedish publisher behind games like Mutant: Year Zero and Coriolis, joined forces with Simon to create a roleplaying game based on his works. The Kickstarter campaign for the Tales From The Loop RPG was unsurprisingly highly successful. A lot of gamers had just watched the Netflix series Stranger Things which was about a group of kids confronted with technology gone awry, and a world stranger than we deemed possible. The time was definitely right for the Tales From The Loop RPG!
Disclaimer: This review is based on the digital edition which I got from Modiphius as a complementary copy. Thanks again, Chris!
It’s no secret that I enjoyed Fria Ligan’s (aka Free League) Mutant: Year Zero. This game came to me as a total surprise and when I finally got my hands on it, I was blown away. It had it all: Simple, but elegant mechanics, a great setting, and extremely high production values. Coriolis is their attempt to adapt the successful M:Y0 formula to the space opera genre. Did they succeed? This review is trying to find out.
The Coriolis – The Third Horizon corebook is a 388-paged book with the same high production values you’ve come to expect from products created by Fria Ligan and Modiphius (which are co-publishing the english-language version of the game). This review is based on the digital version of the game which has been provided gratuitously by Modiphius. Thanks again, Chris!
Middle Eastern Space Opera
One thing that immediately sets apart from other space opera games is the setting heavily inspired by Middle Eastern culture and myths. There’s also a strong element of mysticism and religion in Coriolis. Praying to the Icons is even part of the game’s mechanics but more about this later.
The setting of Coriolis is the Third Horizon, which consists of 36 star systems which are connected by mystic portals. In the settings’ past two colony ships were launched towards Aldebaran. One of the ships, called Zenith, eventually reached its destination, surprised to find that the worlds were already colonized by humans. The other ship, Nadir, vanished without the trace. While Zenith and Nadir travelled through the dark void of space, Earth’s powers discovered one of the ancient gates which connect the Third Horizon and used the portal as a shortcut. So the Zenithians who left Earth first, actually are the newcomers to the Third Horizon. The earlier colonist call themselves the Firstcome and have already claimed the worlds the Zenithians wanted to claim their own. So eventually one group of the Zenithians colonized the planet Kua, while the remaining ones rebuilt their massive colony ship into a space station: Coriolis.
Continue reading Review: Coriolis–The Third Horizon
A couple of days ago Modiphius released their eagerly-awaited Star Trek roleplaying game. Star Trek Adventures is the latest game in the long line of Star Trek games which have been pretty much hit or miss. Luckily Modiphus’ game is one of the winners. Here are five reasons why you should check it out:
- It’s Star Trek
Sure, that’s what it says on the cover, but it’s also one of the best reasons why you should get it – especially if you are a fan of the franchise. Star Trek Adventures also does a great job of introducing the setting to people who haven’t watched every single movie and TV episode. I also think that Modiphius managed to create a game that definitely feels Star Trek.
- It’s a Modiphius game
Games published by Modiphius always have one thing in common: awesome production values. Their games look great, if printed they feel great, and overall they also play great. Sure, there are exceptions, but Modiphius has managed to churn out high-quality products in such a short time that it boggles the mind. The Star Trek Adventure game is definitely one of their best-looking books to date.
- It uses the 2d20 System
Initially I was not sure if the 2d20 System was a good fit for Star Trek. But what I didn’t know at that point was that Modiphius always make sure they adapt the system to the settings. While the core mechanics stay intact, they totally pull apart the system to make it fit to the setting at hand. This especially worked great with Star Trek. I played several of the playtest adventures and with each new rules iteration, it got better and better. The final result is definitely one of my favorite 2d20 implementations.
- It supports all eras
One issue I had with other Star Trek games was that they didn’t support all the eras I was interested in. Star Trek Adventures will be the first game to support everything from Enterprise to Voyager. The only omissions are the new Kelvin timeline and the upcoming Discovery series – which I don’t mind at all. I am especially excited to be able to play in the Enterprise era.
- The PDF is very reasonably priced
Often the PDF versions of games with similar sizes and production values set you back $20 or more. Modiphius chose another route this time and released the digital edition of their core rulebook for about $15. That’s actually a very good price for a game book of 350+ pages.
If you want to learn more about this fine game, I recommend checking out my friend Jay’s extensive article series about Star Trek Adventures.