#25: Reviews and re-Views 👁️‍🗨️

Good day, readers! It’s a milestone 25th issue of this newsletter so it’s a great time to share it with someone that you think might like it. Lots of great links in this week’s edition.

This next week is looking packed for me gaming-wise - primarily because I’ll be finally done with work and have some time. I’ve got a one-shot of Prime Time Adventures scheduled for Tuesday evening. I have prep work for the Session Zero convention, a Philippines-based convention that takes place on the adorable Gather Town platform - it essentially feels like an old game boy. I also have an essay to do Capitalites, one of the games in the Our Shores kickstarter.

Wishing you a happy sunday!

- Thomas

I. Videos of the Week

This obviously isn’t about tabletop RPGs but as someone who has never played the seminal video game Planescape: Torment, this one-and-a-half essay by Noah Caldwell-Gervais was a pleasure. It’s hard for me to believe that a game like that was ever made. Planescape: Torment is clearly so much more than quote-unquote similar games like Baldur’s Gate that I struggle to understand how it was ever made. I can’t imagine ever playing it - the pause-unpause combat would drive me crazy - but the storyline and themes are genuinely fascinating. The video also covers the spiritual successor of the game, Torment: Tides of Numenara - which (and hey this is an indie connection) uses the Numenara setting from Monte Cook Games. By all accounts, the new game seems like a wonderful introduction to the setting - albeit not really a good successor to the older title.

And a second recommendation this week, a video breakdown of Cyberpunk Red by new-ish youtuber, XPLoveCat. The channel seems primarily focused on Lovecraft and Chaosium games but if you’ve been meaning to read Cybepunk Red, the video walks you through what each section contains.

II. Links of the Week


  • The Atlantic speaks to a rabbi who use RPGs as a part of his work with his community.

  • “Over the decades I have periodically received letters from prisoners regarding the bans against role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons (D&D), asking me to share the research about the benefits of RPGs, try to talk the warden / superintendent, administrative staff, boards, and other stakeholders into removing or at least modifying their bans. I have been receiving letters from prisoners asking for help, because of the research.” RPG Research writes about using roleplaying games in prisons.

  • The designer of Brindlewood Bay talks potential MCs through the challenges of revealing clues in a game where clues aren’t keyed to locations or actions.

  • A way to add mechs into the darkly-tinted fantasy game, Trophy Gold.


  • “At the surface, it’s really a planet-hopping adventure game that isn’t really terribly unique from a distance, but it also digs in deep to profound concepts like how memories define who we are… It’s beautiful and daunting. I love this game for that. I love that reading this book feels like boundaries are being torn open and beyond them is that infinite “post-life” universe where anything is possible. Necronautilus is all raw potential and progressive energy, but manifesting it is an alchemical process that requires players and a GM who are fearless and willing to explore themes, concepts, and ideas that are quite unexplored in the games medium.” A lovely review of Necronautilus on There Will Be Games.

  • A thorough overview of Skycrawl, a system-neutral supplement that tackles the complexity of making a hexcrawl in the up-down-back-front-sideways world of the sky.

  • A review of Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Soulbound from the always admirable philgamer blog.

  • Also, talking about reviews, the second issue of Knucklebone Magazine, titled ‘Re:View’ is out. If you like this newsletter, you’ll probably love the mag.


Good Deeds

III. Small Ads

This section contains sponsored links and advertisements.

  • Check out Space Aces: TNG (The New Guidebook) a rules-lite, light-hearted, low-prep game of rollicking romps through space a la Hitchhikers Guide meets Futurama, currently funding on Kickstarter!

These ads help keep this newsletter going and I’m very grateful for them! If you’d like to advertise with the newsletter, the submission form with all the guidelines can be found here.

Hello, dear readers. This newsletter is written by me, Thomas Manuel. I’m half-man, half-beast, half-journalist, half-game designer.

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