Ad Space in Cirsova Issue #2: Cirsova is Looking for Sponsors!

While we’re planning on plugging ahead at full steam, one of the biggest things that will help us become a sustainable publication is sponsorship.

We’ve got very affordable rates on advertisements and can sweeten the deal by throwing in some physical copies that you can either sell to recoup some of your costs or keep for posterity.

Contact cirsova at yahoo dot com with the subject line “AD SPACE: Issue 2” to confirm your slot(s) and receive payment details.  Issue 2’s Lineup can be found here.

Right now we have 26 slots + the back cover.  These can be purchased separately or combined to make a half-page ad.  The following rates are good until we begin taking pre-orders via our Kickstarter.

$60 – 1 slot (1/4 page) + 5 copies.
$80 – 2 slots (two non-consecutive ¼ page ads OR one ½ page ad) + 5 copies
$100 – 4 slots (up to 4 non-consecutive ¼ page ads, two non-consecutive ¼ page ads and one ½ page ad, two ½ page ads, or 1 full page advertisement) + 5 copies
$140 – Back Cover + 5 copies

We also have a single weird 1/3 page slot that we could sell you (along with the 5 copies) for $70

Additional copies may be added for $20 per 5 copies. Note that these are the softcover copies.

Ad specs:
Images should be .pngs, .tifs, .gifs or .jpeg  B/W or Greyscale, at no less than 200DPI.

Image Dimensions:

1/4 Page – 3.5″ w x 4.5″ h
1/2 Page – 7.5″ w x 4.5″ h or 3.5″ w x 9″ h
Full Page – 7.5” w x 9” h
Back Cover – 7-8″ w x 8.75″ h

Advertisements will appear in the .pdf, the ebook, and the softcover print editions of Cirsova Issue #2.  Note that our Kickstarter-exclusive hardbound dust-jacketed editions are presented advertisement free.

Zine News & Reminder

Just a reminder, we’re still offering our early-bird pre-Kickstarter ad rates for Cirsova #2.

We will be at River City Comic Expo June 11 & 12 selling copies of issue 1. We will also have a VERY SMALL quantity of Issue 2 proofs for sale. These variant cover* ad-free copies will NOT be made available elsewhere.  We’ll be selling them for $10.  I’ll also be trying to unload as many copies of The Worst Music Dracula Ever Heard as I can because, after 5 years, I really want all of these CDs and LPs out of my back room so I can turn it back into an office.  I will also maybe have a bag of kettle corn from which I will proffer handfuls in lieu of an answer for those who ask about my Chuck Tingle: Legends of Science Fiction shirt.

Tomorrow, we will announce our full lineup for 2016.

Things may be slow here the rest of the week while I try to catch up on content for Wargame Wednesday and Short Reviews.

*We ended up with our variant cover done before our regular cover. All will be revealed when both covers are ready and we launch our Kickstarter for issue 2.  I can guarantee you’re going to want to get both!


#notatmytable: Making Tabletop More Welcoming and Inclusive by Spouting Off What and Who Are Not Allowed

Amazingly enough, I was too busy to talk on #NotatMyTable when it was going on.

I didn’t even know that it started out as a Social Justice hashtag, but I guess it makes sense as, from my experience, gaming bloggers need neither twitter nor hashtags to say “not no, but hell no” about things.

Of course, it likely was meant to be “goobergrapers, puppies, and white people playing cishet characters #notatmytable”, but quickly became “5e, d6 thieves, Paizo, whitewolf, elven blade dancers, splatbooks #notatmytable”, because if there’s one things that tabletop rpg gamers love its edition warring and crusading against ecumenicism just for the fun of it.

In fact, if someone didn’t know that #NotatMyTable had been a social justice hashtag, they might have unwittingly stumbled into it and had a grand old time. The average gamer is more concerned that one of their players may be insistent on being an Elf in every game (even ones set in space!) than that they may have some outside interest or belief that is contrary to their own.

So, Kudos to those gamers who took to NotAtMyTable to have some fun with it.

Not at my table 1.png

Honestly, this is the only one that made me laugh out loud.

Not at my table 2

You guys who are taking this #NotAtMyTable thing super-serious? This is what you look like to everyone:



Skelos – The Journal of Weird Fiction and Dark Fantasy

I hadn’t gotten around to blogging in depth about this, and I probably won’t for awhile, but I just wanted to give anyone here who hasn’t already heard a heads up about the new Skelos Magazine.

It looks incredibly awesome, and much like our own issue 2, issue 2 of Skelos has a new piece by Adrian Cole! I would not be surprised if 2017 saw even more crossover.

I’ve already thrown in for a lifetime physical subscription. I believe in what these guys are doing and sense a weird pulp fantasy renaissance is on the horizon.

Final Thoughts on the Gray Prince

Some of my rantings from last year about Vance inspired PC Bushi to pick up The Gray Prince and write a really good review of it!

PC Bushi

So hard to find time for the finer things when you’re wasting it all on vidaya games. But I’m done with the Gray Prince and I’m all the richer for it.

If you’re interesting in a more thoughtful and insightful review than I’m about to lay down, I’d point you to the excellent write-up over at Cirsova. I’m not confident I would have made the connection myself, but the Uldras do present as the inspirational precursors to the Elder Scrolls’ Dunmer, in both appearance and background.

He’s also got some great observations about the SLU (Standard Labor-value Unit), which I’d have skimmed right over, and some of the technology and devices that would be well-suited for tabletop adoption.

For my part, I’m going to start on the negatives to get that out of the way. First, as I mentioned in my initial impressions, there is a certain laboriousness to some parts…

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Mixed Feelings About Bioshock Infinite

“It’s all right, I’m not like the rest – I’m a progressive!”


I got a lot of enjoyment out of the original Bioshock. It was a very flawed game in many ways and felt more like a visual novel that used an FPS engine, but the shooter part was fun and had a lot of physics toys to play with and was a more than competently done survival horror with some really good set pieces and a the delightful twist that we’d see later in games like Arkham Asylum where you realize that YOU are the monster that everyone else is trying to survive.  I skipped Bioshock 2 because when I heard the whole “Play as a Big Daddy!” pitch, I was all “really?  That was the WORST part of the first game! No thanks!”, but I’d heard great things about Bioshock Infinite, it was on clearance, so I decided to give it a go.

I spent much of the first two hours absolutely hating Bioshock Infinite. Being dumped in the sky city with little introduction was a poor repeat of the original Bioshock not because we’d done this before, but because without Atlas to be your guide and without the immediate threat of the crazy splicer holocaust you’ve been dumped into, you find yourself alone in a very picturesque but dead and static world digging through trashcans on your way to the story.  Despite the dozens of citizens of Columbia hanging around, none of them pay you the least bit of mind or seem to notice your presence.  And if you’re like me and like to thoroughly explore your surroundings in games like this, it becomes even more pronounced that you’re in this very wide linear path for nearly an hour looking for a depth that just isn’t there.

Ian Miles Cheong recently shared this meme:

FPS Level Design

Even moreso than its predecessor, Bioshock Infinite is the middle there, in spades.

Once the actual action finally got underway (and I died several times, losing all of the loot I’d spent the previous hour scrounging garbage cans for; but hey, I was playing it on hard), I was even more aggravated because it wasn’t doing the FPS part well either!  Unlike the original Bioshock, where enemies could be seen fairly clearly because they were, y’know, in the room with you, enemies in Bioshock Infinite are difficult to see to the point of being downright hard to find except for when you’ve been shot at by one.  It’s gone the freaking Call of Duty route to crouching and running from unseen shooters and taking shots at enemies either from a great distance or trying to close the gap and getting mowed down by suppressive fire.  Oh, yeah, and you can only carry two guns!  LAAAAAAME!

Also, I don’t think its look at Patriotism and Apotheosis of the founders is as interesting or nuanced as the first game’s look at Objectivism vs. Collectivism. The Randian may have been a self-important asshole and his paradise failed, but the labor thugs absolutely had a hand in Rapture’s failures, and the union boss is the game’s big-bad.  The weird Lost Cause prophet guy and his klansmen aren’t nearly as interesting as villains as Andrew Ryan and his mad scientists and libertine artists.

So far, Elizabeth has been the only redeeming aspect of Bioshock Infinite.  She does a good job at evoking the whole “video game caring potential” trope.  She has a likable personality, she’s actually got some decent mechanical uses (“here is money I stole”, “here is a first aid kit I found”, “take this gun I took”, “let me pick this lock for you”), you don’t have baby-sit her, and a lot of her AI interactions with the environment are charming and fascinating.  The last point, I think, is where Elizabeth really shines – here movement is both responsive to the player’s and predictive – rather than following on some typical AI path-finding trail behind your character, if you’re moving in the direction of some goal in a safe area, she’ll be moving ahead of you; if you’re just wandering around, she’ll wander as well at a safe distance, sometimes looking at things or out windows or getting a snack; if you’re really derping around, she’ll lean up against a wall or sit on a bench and wait for you to get your shit together.  It’s cute, it’s interesting to watch, and it really breathes life into the NPC character.  Elizabeth is a companion character done right.  She’s also the kind of dame who’s usually paired up with the hero in the pulps, but that’s a whole nother can of worms.

Even if everything else about Bioshock Infinite is terrible and tedious and unfun (and it looks like that’s the direction it may be going), Elizabeth is amazing and nothing short of a breakthrough.  I’d like to see her as a model for future AI companions in other games, perhaps those that will be more fun (at least to me) than Bioshock Infinite.