Cirsova 2023 Plans Revealed!

It can finally be all laid-out!

As the year progresses, some of these are bound to change. We may be going at break-neck speed for a bit. I haven’t even really had a chance to talk about Sky Dance of Winter Fire yet, but Michael sprang it on me fully formed and it will be done before our editing team would be able to get to the other stuff in the queue, so we’re sneaking it into the early 2023 lineup.

Misha Burnett’s Small Worlds is gonna be an absolutely fantastic collection and will round out and bring full circle some of Cirsova’s other offerings from this master of short fiction.

Mighty Sons of Hercules has been a project we’ve been teasing for a bit despite not officially announcing it yet, but it’s already got an amazing all-star lineup locked in with a few more we’ll be able to confirm by March/early April.

Wild Stars VI? Collected edition is incoming on the heels of serializing Part VII. Great stuff.

A Bad Case of Dead is a masterpiece from Jim Breyfogle that you’ll get an early taste of in Mongoose and Meerkat.

I’m very excited about all of this stuff!

  • Jim Breyfogle’s Mongoose and Meerkat 3
  • Michael Tierney’s Sky Dance of Winter Fire
    • Pre-Orders: Early Spring [As soon as Mongoose & Meerkat is funded]
    • Delivery: Late Spring, Early Summer
  • Misha Burnett’s Small Worlds
    • Pre-Order: Late Spring / Early Summer
    • Delivery: Mid Summer
    • Release: Mid/Late Summer
  • Mighty Sons of Hercules Anthology
    • Pre-Order: Mid/Late Summer
    • Delivery: Early Fall
    • Release: Early/Late Fall
  • Michael Tierney’s Wild Stars VI: Orphan of the Shadowy Moons
    • PreOrder: Fall
    • Delivery: Winter / Early Spring (2024)
  • Jim Breyfogle’s A Bad Case of Dead
    • Pre-Order: Late Fall / Early Winter / Mid Winter (2024)
    • Delivery: Late Winter (2024)/Early Spring (2024)
    • Release: Spring (2024)

Tales of the Mongoose and Meerkat Volume 3: Live on Kickstarter Now!

BACK IT TODAY!

Two years have passed since the fall of Alness. And two years have passed since the brash young sellsword Mangos teamed up with Kat, the mysterious Alnessi rogue. Together, they have made a name for themselves as the Mongoose and Meerkat!

The ravaged northlands still smolder as the warlord Rhygir holds Alness in an iron grip. Rumors swirl that a member of the Alnessi royal family may have survived, but Rhygir is intent on hunting down any resistance that might rally to a rogue prince who escaped the slaughter.

Though Rhygir has been consolidating power in Alness, the Mongoose and Meerkat have been hard at work, gathering resources and making alliances in Alomar and abroad. But can the new allies and old friends overcome the army of Rhygir before it can be bolstered by elite mercenaries? 

All of the pieces of the King’s Game are place! 

The Redemption of Alness collects the third year of Kat and Mangos’s adventures together, including:

  • The Flying Mongoose
  • Death and Renewal
  • Fight of the Sandfishers
  • Thunder in the North
  • Feast of the Fedai*
  • Trapped in the Loop – [Previously unpublished]*
  • The Redemption of Alness – [Previously unpublished]*

* : [We WILL be publishing these stories serially in Cirsova Magazine, however backers of Volume 3 will get these these last two stories before they are published in the Fall and Winter 2023 issues].

Additionally, this volume will include the previously unpublished short story Knots in the Thread of Time AND a teaser for Jim Breyfogle’s upcoming novel, A Bad Case of Dead!

The Books

We’re offering The Redemption of Alness in eBook and three physical formats:

  • $3 – eBook
  • $20 – Pocket Paperback
  • $20 – Trade Paperback
  • $35 – Linen-wrapped Hardcover
  • $70 – All Formats

As a bonus, we’re giving ALL backers a digital copy of Tales of the Mongoose and Meerkat Volume 1: Pursuit Without Asking and Tales of the Mongoose and Meerkat Volume 2: The Heat of the Chase so you can get all caught up!

  • $50 Pocketbook Catchup – Get all 3 volumes in pocketbook format
  • $50 Trade Paperback Catchup – Get all 3 volumes in trade paperback format
  • $88 Hardcover Catchup Pack – Get all 3 volumes in linen-wrapped hardcover format
  • $180 The Works – Get all 3 volumes in all 3 formats!

Add-Ons

  • $10 – Mongoose and Meerkat Volume 1 Audiobook 
  • $10 – Signed Bookplate

Original Artwork

$275 – Gate Demon

$225 – The King’s Game

$300 – Kat Killing Mangos

$275 – Mangos and the Submarine

$275 – Mangos Fighting Marumbi

$350 – Killanei

$300 – Mangos and the Dragon

$300 – Mangos and the Gladiator

$375 – Runway Kat

$300 – Karn Crucified

$300 – The Feast of the Fedai

$300 – Kat Fighting in the Loop

Stretch Goals

$3000 –  RPG Bonus Content

Like with Volume 1 & 2, we will be adapting elements of these stories into gaming content! The hardcover’s appendix will contain additional stats, items, and more! Plus, updated character sheets for Kat and Mangos.

About the Author

Jim Breyfogle is one of Cirsova Publishing’s break-out stars. His swashbuckling duo Mongoose and Meerkat have become one of Cirsova Magazine’s most popular features.  Cirsova Publishing released the smash hit collection Tales of the Mongoose and Meerkat, Vol 1: Pursuit Without Asking in 2020, Vol 2: The Heat of the Chase in 2022, and his fairytale romance, The Paths of Cormanor in 2021.

Jim began inventing stories to keep himself occupied during the school day, and later, as all good writers, created stories for the entertainment and delight of his children. He is a regular attendee of the World Fantasy Convention and in 2010 was accepted to attend the prestigious Odyssey Writing Workshop. Since that time, Jim has been published in numerous magazines.

About the Publisher

Cirsova Publishing began in 2016, launching its flagship fantasy magazine, which is now on its 20-somethingth issue. Cirsova has been serializing Mongoose and Meerkat’s adventures for a number of years now. They are also known for publishing Michael Tierney’s Wild Stars science fantasy saga and the strange fiction of Misha Burnett.

Risks and challenges

We’re trying really hard to time this release in early summer 2023. We want to do this to accommodate a brief break in the scheduled publication of Mongoose & Meerkat in Cirsova Magazine. Backers will get the “conclusion” to the series a bit earlier but we don’t want to deprive the people who have been following as magazine-only readers! So, we’re aiming for this sweet spot. Of course, we also need those last stories reviewed by our copy-editing staff and we need art for them. The biggest challenge is for all of these parts to come together at once and in time to ship out before we run those last two stories in the magazine.

Tales of the Mongoose and Meerkat Volume 3 Pre-Orders Live This Friday!

The Kickstarter for Tales of the Mongoose and Meerkat Volume 3 goes live this Friday!

Two years have passed since the fall of Alness. And two years have passed since the brash young sellsword Mangos teamed up with Kat, the mysterious Alnessi rogue. Together, they have made a name for themselves as the Mongoose and Meerkat!

The ravaged northlands still smolder as the warlord Rhygir holds Alness in an iron grip. Rumors swirl that a member of the Alnessi royal family may have survived, but Rhygir is intent on hunting down any resistance that might rally to a rogue prince who escaped the slaughter.

Though Rhygir has been consolidating power in Alness, the Mongoose and Meerkat have been hard at work, gathering resources and making alliances in Alomar and abroad. But can the new allies and old friends overcome the army of Rhygir before it can be bolstered by elite mercenaries? 

All of the pieces of the King’s Game are place! 

The Redemption of Alness collects the third year of Kat and Mangos’s adventures together, including:

  • The Flying Mongoose
  • Death and Renewal
  • Fight of the Sandfishers
  • Thunder in the North
  • Feast of the Fedai*
  • Trapped in the Loop – [Previously unpublished]*
  • The Redemption of Alness – [Previously unpublished]*

* : [We WILL be publishing these stories serially in Cirsova Magazine, however backers of Volume 3 will get these these last two stories before they are published in the Fall and Winter 2023 issues].

Additionally, this volume will include the previously unpublished short story Knots in the Thread of Time AND a teaser for Jim Breyfogle’s upcoming novel, A Bad Case of Dead!

Cirsova Needs Cash Badly!

While we managed to finish out 2023 with a few rounding errors and personal items claimed as expenses for tax purposes [hey, technically, any Kickstarters we back are research] shy of turning a profit, real personal expenses [mostly plumbing, but also automotive] have wiped out our cash reserves!

We’ve got a few big projects that are bound to make us some money fairly soon [Mongoose & Meerkat Volume 3], and our royalties are in the $500-$700 a month range from Amazon, but…

We just bought a roll of 100 ISBNs! If anything, this commits me to at least another 3-4 years of doing Cirsova, so you guys are in luck. But this costs nearly $600, all on credit at the moment.

Want to help us out ASAP?

Check out our eBay store!

I’ve listed some of my Dad’s old boardgame collection [mostly titles that didn’t have sentimental value], as well as some original Cirsova artwork and artwork by me.

I’m currently auctioning off this painting I did of Kyoka Jiro from My Hero Academia in hopes to raise some immediate funds.

You can also buy the original painting of Chen I did for the 5th Anniversary Variant Cover.

The good news is that a lot of what’s on tap is already paid for.

Already Paid For:

  • All Magazine stories for 2023
  • All Art for Mongoose & Meerkat Volume 3
  • Spring Cover
  • Spring and Summer Edits
  • First Installment on Summer Cover
  • ISBNs [even though the credit card isn’t paid off]

What Needs to be Paid For:

  • Fall & Winter Edits
  • Second Installment on Summer Cover
  • Fall Cover
  • Winter Cover
  • Mighty Sons of Hercules Cover
  • Mighty Sons of Hercules Stories
  • Wild Stars VI Collected Edition Cover
  • Additional Wild Stars VI Interior Art
  • Edits on Forthcoming TBA project
  • Edits on Forthcoming TBA Jim Breyfogle Novel

Please note that the expenses for both of these columns total well into the thousands of dollars.

Anyway… Like I said, check out our eBay store and pick something up! This is the least delay between you buying something from us and us actually seeing the money that we’ve got available to us right now.

Power DoLLS Quick Start Guide

Power DoLLS has become one of my favorite DOS-era games, and I’ve recently been revisiting it, in part because of an old blog post I found that talks some about the franchise [though the post is newer than my review for it]. It’s really a franchise I’d like more people to check out, and I hope that at some point we get translations of at least some of the other earlier games in the franchise, but the series is mostly known for its steep difficulty curve.

When you first get into it, the game looks impenetrable because of the loadout customization, but really there’s a pretty easy logic to it, it’s just not laid out anywhere. So, I’ve decided to do a write-up on how best to equip your girls.

So….

Enemies are mixed-unit forces, mostly tanks and mechanized infantry but with a handful of mecha.

Weapons load-outs should take this into consideration.

Power DoLLS is an Action Point-driven system, and anything added to your load-out drags down your total AP, reducing both movement and fire rates for the turn. Keep this in mind, and make sure that no load-outs put a girl below 20. [22-25 range is acceptable for missile/support troops, 25-29 is acceptable for balanced combat load-outs, and 30+ is ideal for scouts and hand-to-hand fighting mechs]

Missiles
Missiles are king and essential for quickly taking out enemy armor before they can call in airstrikes and offboard artillery.

Heavy Missiles (DRu35) – These have 2 shots per load, so you want to save them for heavy tanks. If you can’t one-shot a heavy tank, finish it off with a Light Missile.

Medium Missiles (DRu25) – These have a few more shots and are more versatile than heavy missiles. They won’t one-shot a heavy tank, but they’re good for medium tanks and finishing off a heavy tank that’s at half strength.

Light Missiles (DRu15) – These don’t do a whole lot of damage, but they’re almost a guaranteed hit on tanks. Use them for finishing off things that aren’t killed by heavier missiles or for taking out mechanized infantry. Unlike the other two, you’ll have enough of these that you can fire them at mechs, too, without feeling like you’re wasting them.

Rockets – These are unreliable but they are AOE. There are a few missions where you need to hit areas where lots of units are tightly grouped. You might want to include a few units with these, but don’t go all in on them.

Make sure that you give any girl with a Missile rating of +6 or higher a mech with two shoulder-mount slots. Give them some combination of Heavy + Medium, Heavy + Light, Medium + Light. You may want to give one girl double light so she can finish off units hit by heavier attacks so you don’t have to burn a unit’s entire AP pool on a single target.

You might give missile mechs a machine gun or a rifle, but you don’t want to give them anything that will weigh them down more than they already are.

Gunners
You can’t take care of everything with missiles, so you’ll need some girls to act as gunners. If a girl doesn’t have a +6 or better Missile rating, make her a gunner.

Gatling Guns – These are probably my favorite weapon in the game. They’re versatile and do all right against both tanks and mechs. Plus, they’re pretty good for attacks of opportunity during enemy movement. There are a lot of different ways you can go, but to me, best bet is having a couple girls with Gatling Guns and Grenade Launchers to cover for your missile troops. These also can do massive damage to clustered enemies. The downside to Gatling Guns is they burn through ammo fast. Shoulder-mounted guns have more ammo, so a good combo is a recon mech [one with a built-in shoulder-mounted scanner; normally scanners are hand-equipped] with a shoulder-mounted Gatling Gun and a Gatling Gun in the hand. And if it doesn’t put her AP too low, you can give her a grenade launcher.

Cannons – The 105mm and 85mm shoulder mounted cannons are the best anti-mech weapons, and they’re also okay against tanks. However, given that most of your enemies will be tanks, you’ll probably only want a few mechs with cannons. They’re heavy, so sometimes I’ll give a girl who’s got a heavy missile a cannon instead of a light missile so that they’ve got some anti-mech capability.

Scouts & Bruisers
Some girls aren’t great at missile but have better than decent scanning. Or maybe they don’t, but they’re not useless, and getting them into fights will make them better.

Your missile mechs are your most valuable troops, and there’s nothing worse than one of them getting blown up before you can fire off all of their missiles. So, you need to be able to protect them, and scouts and bruisers can run interference to do so.

There are a few key things you want to do with these:
-keep their AP high, 30 minimum
-high HP mecha, 75 or greater
-light loadouts (this helps with high AP)

Assault Rifle – You may want to give a scout an AR; they have good range and good accuracy, even if they do low damage. This can help with cleanup if there’s something heavy troops missed or failed to finish off.

SMG – I’m not a huge fan of the SMG; it’s better as a backup weapon for heavy troops because of its light AP cost and opportunity fire, but some girls have AP to spare and you can give them a Gatling Gun instead.

Sensor – If you can keep a girl’s AP above 30 and still give them a sensor, give them a sensor. Scanning range is everything in this game.

The reasons you want to keep AP high for these girls:
-Scouting: Everything in this game comes down to spotting. Being able to either use standard or safe movement to detect enemies outside of opportunity fire is huge. Spot them and take them down with your missile troops. If they can’t see you, they can’t call in air/artillery strikes.
-Drawing Fire: Okay, this is also why you want high HP for these girls, too, but with high AP, you can make multiple safe moves to draw enemy opportunity fire and still have a little AP left over. And with safe moves, machine gun fire is less likely to chip away at you [maybe 5 HP when it hits, and if you’ve got 75-95, you can take it].
-Charge: The only guaranteed way to damage an enemy in Power DoLLS is hand-to-hand combat. You need to move into an adjacent enemy hex, but tanks are no match for your mecha. So, with high AP, once you’ve drawn fire, you can use “Quick” movement to close the distance and punch through.

Remember: the key to Power DoLLS is patience.

You’re ALWAYS going to be outnumbered and outgunned. Strategy is the key to victory. If you go charging in and your girls get isolated, they’ll be picked off, and you’ll lose.

If someone gets damaged but still has missile capability, keep them back and do everything you can to have them end the mission alive. While I don’t think your girls ever die, injuries and MIAs carry over for as many as two missions.

If you’re spotted, clear the area. You don’t have to move far, but you have to move. If they enemy has air superiority or off-board artillery, you can be sure they’ve called it in on your location. Save AP to move at least 2-3 hexes from your last position.

Similarly, keep in mind that enemies who’ve spotted you or are on the march won’t stay still for your airstrikes or artillery; if you had an unseen spotter, great; if not, go with saturation bombing of key strategic areas and make sure you don’t move into them yourself before the fireworks go off.

Happy New Year! – Illustrated Stark Coming Back into Print!

Happy New Year, everyone!

As you all know, last year, we terminated our relationship with our printer/distributor Ingram Spark due to their perpetual quality issues and refusal to distribute Cirsova Classics. In the switchover, a few of our titles fell out of print, and we’ve had to deal with some issues in getting several of them available on Amazon again. One of these that hurt the most, though, were out Illustrated Stark books, which should have been an evergreen title for us.

Well, after lots of wrestling and wrangling, we managed to get the first, Queen of the Martian Catacombs, back into print! Now that we’re sure that we can get them back up, the other two will follow soon.

Shuriken, New and Old

I’d shared a photo awhile back, but I’d been meaning for some time to get a decent scan of this portrait of Shuriken that Timothy Lim [Kamen America, Black Hops] did for me at a con earlier this year. With Reggie Byers finally dropping the book this week, it seemed like a good time.

I love the look of youthful trepidation that Tim captures in this piece, evoking the earliest days of Kyoko’s career.

Shuriken may have been one of the first major martial arts girl books of the Black & White boom, but it’s this very strange thing in the history of indie comics. It’s art and writing aren’t really on par with what came later, and it was hurt more than other Amerimanga by real manga becoming more widely available. But even with all of its flaws [it’s very cheesy, the art is often serviceable at best], I love it. Why?

Because it’s so filled with the creator’s love, and that love shines through in every one of Shuriken’s smiles.

Reggie Byers’ Shuriken is a wonderful example of how passion and love can overcome a creator’s limitations and drive success.

Despite being “okay at best” by most technical measures, the book was hugely popular when it was originally coming out.

One of the reasons that the licensed sequel series which Byers himself was uninvolved in feel lacking is that the passion for the project and the love and joy for the characters are almost wholly absent. Cold Steel turned the character in a far more generic 80s action ninja girl with an almost totally different characterization.

Hellbender was a step in the right direction with better artwork that would carry onward into the second full-length series without Byers.

While the second series was probably the best of the bunch by most objective standards and at least felt some connection to the original, it was still missing that spark.

Whether Reggie is able to recapture the “glory days” of Shuriken remains to be seen. While the book itself is promising and some of the charm and aesthetic is there, it’s a little late and it’s aiming to be the first of a series rather than a one-off.

But whether the new Shuriken succeeds or fails, classic Shuriken is a reminder that enough passion and effort can lead to the breakthrough success of an indie creator. Even if you’re doing goofy stuff like this.

At the same time, I would like to add that I don’t want it to sound like I’m coming down too hard on Reggie and his talents when I describe it. A few years ago, I tried to check out Billy Tucci’s Shi, when he was doing his IGGs for the new books. While the art was great and the writing was fine, there was just nothing about it that really clicked with me.

I’ll take this:

There’s a reason why I shelled out over $200 for Reggie’s Kickstarter across two different accounts. I’ve gotten a lot of joy out of this IP since I discovered it a few years ago, but since I’ve acquired it all second hand [including that beautiful portrait that I got for $20 that was just listed on the memorabilia site as “anime girl”], Reggie hasn’t seen a dime. So I’m happy to be able to have the opportunity to reward him for coming back to his signature IP.

I’m also hopeful that Reggie’ll be able to keep on track and continue to deliver. In the meantime, I’ll be happy to continue to support him.