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
If you are a fan of science fiction roleplaying games, then you probably know of Marc Miller. Back in the late 1970s he designed Traveller, which is without doubt one of the most well-loved scifi games out there. Last year I got in touch with Mr. Miller and asked him if he was interested in answering a couple of questions for our readers and luckily he agreed.
I have done quite a few interviews with game designers in the past, but this time it was special. As some of you may know, Traveller was the first roleplaying game I bought, and even though I played it less often than I wished, it always had a special place in my heart.
Just recently I started to read up on the history of Traveller, its ups and downs, and I also started collecting Traveller material (in print and PDF). But I still didn’t know much about its creator, his ideas and his dreams for the future of the game. So when I had the chance to ask for an interview I immediately grasped the opportunity. But I digress. Without further ado, here are our questions and his answers:
Stargazer: Let’s start at the beginning. Could you please tell us about how you got into roleplaying games in general? What was the first game you played and what made you want to write your own?
Marc Miller: When Dungeons & Dragons came out, I was a wargame designer. In a sense, the fantasy role-playing idea was new, but in another sense, it was a familiar concept. I had done political role-playing exercises in college: model UN and model Organization of American States, and some campaign simulations.
Continue reading Interview with Marc Miller