Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Most Favored Author - H. M. Hoover (Part 2)

And the experiment continues. 

Return to Earth: a novel of the future (1980)   

I really enjoyed this novel, one of the few that features both adults and children. Typically, adults are secondary characters for Hoover. 

Galen is a colony governor while Samara is a corporate magnate's child. This one novel could easily be a Traveller campaign all on its own. Dolmen assassins kill Samara's mother, thrusting the child into the role only Elon Musk could want, sole proprietorship of North America. Galen on the other hand simply wants to retire in his sleep hometown. At the end of the day, Galen and Samara don't need to merely defeat Dolmen, they need to counter the dying earth mentality that gave rise to his group. 

I reviewed Another Heaven, Another Earth (1981) back in April of 2021. It's a good book, I gave it 4 of 5 stars. But I'll skip the link to AbeBooks as a paperback is selling at $25. Too rich for my blood. If you follow the link to my review, you can keep an eye on prices without being driven to that high price point. 

The Bell Tree (1982) is another excellent novel, set in Hoover's default universe... which is also no available at AbeBooks. Jenny and her father discover the fossilized remains of fearsome aliens. This particular book is loaded with all kinds of details about alien lifeforms which are core to the central plot. 

The Shepherd Moon: a novel of the future (1984) is a solid performer in Hoover's universe. The protagonist is Merry, the daughter of two explorers. She befriends Mike, a young boy from the Shepard Moon. Later, Merry and Sara join forces with Merry's grandfather to counteract their one-time friend Mike as he unleashes strange forces upon the Earth. 

This novel is special as it clearly states the time period, the 48th century, and highlights some of the fantastic accomplishments of man, such as the artificial Shepard Moon of the title. There are odd references to the spacefaring culture Earth has created, and it is not without its problems. First and foremost, every spacefaring human is following "The Plan" much to humanity and every individual's detriment. There are dark hints that this culture is crazy paper AI, with every possibility arranged for by some long-gone author. 

Ah, Orvis (1987). If you like robots, this one is for you. Orvis is my all-time favorite robot tasked with an impossible mission: Destroy himself. Here is the link to my 5-star review, but I'll give you a little taste of how crazy this final mission is. I have not goofed on my tenses, I believe that Orvis exists beyond the end of all time. This bot was designed for war and after one war, all of the Orvis class bots were repurposed for space exploration. Orvis went to Venus for ground exploration. Not only does he survive a hell-scape planet for a long period of time, but he survived an Earth return mission. That is insane. 

The Dawn Palace: The Story of Medea (1988) is one novel I have never seen. It is one of Hoover's few historical fantasy novels. 

I recently picked up a copy of Away Is a Strange Place to Be (1990) but have not reviewed it yet. So, of course, I have a link. Be careful with this link as I see some copies for 6 bucks and others for $50. 

This one is an odd title, Abby and her friend Bryan are slaves in an artificial world and must escape before they age out and are euthanized. Whoa... tough love there. 

Not all stories about children are for children, but I would still place this in the YA group. 

Only Child (1992) is a strange title for Hoover as she tends to be more poetic in naming. However, it is an excellent book. Cody was born on a spaceship, illegally. Again, that strange paper AI rears its ugly head. In this return to Hoover's default universe, Cody discovers that the crew of the ship plans to colonize a world after they wipe out the sentient insectoid population. 

I reviewed The Winds of Mars (1995) in May of 2021. I feel that this one is one of Hoover's weaker novels, but it has a bit of charm to it. 

Annalyn Court is the daughter of the President of Mars. Mars experiences both rebellion and war with our child protagonist in the middle of it all. If you were concerned that she won't be able to survive, Hoover introduces the punniest robot guardian into the mix: Hector Protector. It's all right on the tin, "Hector Protect Her". 

If you like the Xanth novels of this time period, this would probably be a good read for you. While I did enjoy those Piers Anthony books, the charm of these types of stories rubs off rather easily on a re-reading. 

Or so I thought when I gave Winds of Mars three stars. In retrospect, the dynamic between Hector and Annalyn was a little more nuanced than I expected on my first read. First, Hoover follows Annalyn's life much longer than you would expect for a 190-page book. Annalyn goes from childhood to young womanhood. Initially, Hector is almost a god-like machine, but as Annalyn's world becomes much more serious and dangerous, his ability to cope with defending her was challenged. Hoover builds this slowly from the beginning to the end. There were zero surprises when Hector fails in his task. Which shouldn't have bothered me. The message of the story was growing up and doing stuff for yourself, with all of the knowledge and care of your parental units. 

(I like the term parental units, it's wrong and funny at the same time.) 

Whole Truth—and Other Myths: retelling Ancient Tales (1996) is yet another book I have never encountered. It was Hoover's last title as far as I know. 

Here ends the experimental post on Marketing and Monetization 101. I won't delete these two posts as I am using them for reference for future reviews. However, I have this powerful feeling that it's poor Marketing and Monetization. I hope it puts the nail in the coffin of non-DriveThruRPG links. 

In a future post, I'll be talking about DriveThruRPG. Stay tuned. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Most Favored Author - H. M. Hoover (Part 1)

Just a few posts ago I said, "all most all of the ads are gone." From an informal poll, I discovered that no one really noticed my ads for AbeBooks and found them unobjectionable. 

In this post, I am doing a cross-content post, I'm building a list of books to combo with ads and reviews.  

When I was a child, my favorite author was H. M. Hoover. I was perpetually perplexed that Helen Mary Hoover was not a household name. In fact, I don't think I have ever met someone who knew of her. You can read her bio over here

I have reviewed a great number of her books and I have made it a mission to grab one copy of every book she wrote. And herein lies the problem: I don't know how many books she actually wrote. I have heard it could be as many as 20. I've only honestly encountered 15 of her books and was only aware of 17. So this year, 2023, I mean to find, read and review as many as I can get my hands on. 

The list below is broken into bits. If I have a review, the title will be a link. The image is an ad for a copy on AbeBooks. This is part one of a two-part post. 

Here we go:  

Children of Morrow (1973) - I have a copy of this, but I don't have a review. This is a good place to start as this is the only book with a sequel. 

I'm not sure why I don't have a review of this as I consider this an excellent book. It features a pair of children guided on a mission to escape their humble and primitive situation by a voice. Obviously, it features telepaths and other fun. 

The Lion's Cub (1974)

The Lion's Cub is one of her historical fantasy novels set in the Court of Nicolas I. I cannot even find a source for this book, so there is no ad. 

Treasures of Morrow (1976)

Again, we journey with Tia and Rabbit as they attempt to escape the Base. 

Again, it is embarrassing that I have a copy and have no review. This book reads a bit like a Tomorrow People episode. It is a quick read and very exciting. Somehow, I forgot that this was a sequel to her first book. Very often, her books read so quickly that it is hard to tell where one starts and the another ends. 

The Delikon (1977)

This one is my favorite, therefore that link is to my review. Page one starts with a hell of a hook: 

"Three children played in the garden; Alta was ten, Jason was twelve, and Varina was three hundred and seven."  

Strangely, like The Loin's Cub, it is not available. 

The Rains of Eridan (1977)

I like this review. There is an odd bug on this website. Anything I write on my 1999 iBook has a white background behind the text. It's annoying and I meant to stamp that out. As you can see, this review was written on that computer. 

This book features Colony Base III, on Eridan. The planet has a secret that is a good cause for not staying there. Or at least, good cause to be very careful when traveling in the wilderness. It will make an awful colony someday. 

If you play any sort of Sci-Fi game, Eridan is an excellent planet to dump a band of characters on. 

The Lost Star (1979)

This book is simply poignant. You can check out the review for the details. Lian is a very sad child with some very big problems. 

This Time of Darkness (1980)

You know what's dark? When a city is built around a surveillance system doesn't care for children and parents show even less care. It's dark enough to make 11-year-old Amy run away.  

They are pursued by the Authority, Crazies, and secretive Watchers on their quest to escape this dysphoria life and explore the great Outdoors. 

Again, this would be an interesting setting for a Sci-Fi RPG. 

We are almost half way there, so I am calling it quits right here. I will back again tomorrow. 

Monday, February 13, 2023

Inkscape for Rapid Mapping

The other day, I posted this picture of a castle and lamented that I didn't have a map. 

With Inkscape, it's easy to do a map or at least block out areas for a map. 

I took the photo and imported it into Inkscape. My next step was to decide what size I wanted the image to be. I picked about 8.5" by 11". This gives me all of the white space around the castle to build the exterior areas which might be important to the user. 

So, how does Inkscape help build a map from a photo of a drawing? 


My first step was to make a series of rectangles the same size as the tower bases in the image. As I did each rectangle, I duplicated it and turned the duplicate 90 degrees. I did not adjust for the depth-wise adjustment of the towers. I could have but didn't want to make it too complex. 

The corner of one rectangle met the corner of its duplicate, leaving an open square. Once I had done that for every box, I tried to do the same for the central palace-like area. 

Once I was done, I put a red box or rectangle in that open space between the two grey rectangles. This allows me to map out a proportional arrangement of the structures with no measuring of anything. I deleted the grey rectangles and roughed out the walls between the towers. This is far from a perfect match, but it is very close. 

On the right-hand side of the map, you can see that I moved one tower very significantly. I just thought it looked better. Also, the drawing shows a series of buildings that divided the structure in half. I removed them so there would be an open space inside. 

Of course, some of my towers are circular. I simply replaced a few squares with circles. The trick here is to make the circles slightly larger than the squares they replaced. 

The final step was to connect everything together using the Union tool. 

In some cases, I think I made mistakes. The two front center towers are far less imposing on the map. In other cases, I ran the union process only to realize the pieces didn't mesh up, and I had to undo it so I could make adjustments. 

This is far from a perfect process, but it's good enough to get a general idea of the arrangement of the map. Later, I will dress up the Castle and then cut it back to show levels and interior spaces. 

Sunday, February 12, 2023

Full of S*** on Valentine's Day

This post originally appeared on Valentine's Day, 2014. 
As a child, my favorite "toy" was a black corduroy tuxedo. It must have been a hand-me-down from lord knows who. It had black pants with a red stripe down the leg, and more importantly, a matching black vest.
With my toy blaster, it made the most epic Han Solo costume ever.
Not that I wore it for Halloween. It was my "Everyday Han Solo" costume. I wore it to school, and I wore it to church. I wore it winter, summer fall, and spring. I wore the hell out of that thing.
I wore it until it was ridiculously small on me; and even then, I did not give it up. I willed that thing to fit me for the opening of Return of the Jedi. I managed to hold on to it for years, no matter how hard my mom tried to dispose of it.
I told Jennifer this story, long before we ever got married. She laughed and said, "You are so funny but so full of shit."
My only reply was to pull the sad, little suit out of my closet and show it to her. She was so shocked and surprised, her eyes rolled back into her head.
On this Valentine's Day, I don't have any eye-rolling revelations, a tux, or wacky surprises in the closet, Jennifer Kitty Viverito. Only a great story about fun times. Thank you, today and every day, for laughing with me.

Macaulay - Great Books, Lousy Pictures

I'm tired tonight. I glanced over at my bookshelf an noticed a set of books by Dunder Mifflin.

On closer inspection, that was wrong. Very wrong. These books are by the amazing David Macaulay and published by Houghton Mifflin Company or HMCo. Each one illustrates a historically themed location, such as Castle, City, Mill, and Pyramid. The pen and ink drawings are spectacular.

I received Castle from my parents as a birthday present. The other three I picked up on Amazon, very cheaply. I plan on buying one every few months to complete the collection. I prefer the black-and-white editions, on paper, but he has updated the series in color and has many titles available for readers. 

Fast forward to something I didn't know. Some of them were adapted into documentaries by Unicorn Productions. Even better, they are on Youtube.

I have yet to find a better streaming source, but if I find these elsewhere, I will let you know. 



Roman City:

Mill Times:


I was going to watch a little Netflix, but this is much better. 

Last month, I pledged to take all ads down from These Old Games with the exception of DriveThruRPG ads. In that process, an informal poll revealed that most people didn't know that the text links to AbeBooks were ads at all. It kind of explains why this ad format received no traction here. As an experiment, I will continue to offer Abebooks ads and label them like so: 

David Macaulay on AbeBooks. 

Clicking the link will take you to the website and perform a search for all David Macaulay available. I do receive remuneration for purchases made through the links. Additional links below. 

Monday, February 6, 2023


The past two nights, I took a couple of hours off, disconnected from the electronic world to pursue things I really enjoy. By setting aside this time, I managed to complete a couple of tasks that no longer seem like tasks. 

You see a lot of what I think right here, but you can follow what I do in two (now just one, I deleted my locals.com page) other places, Ko-Fi, and Locals. Each outlet is for different aspects of the things I enjoy. Locals is the easier of the three outlets. I talk about several of my other hobbies, from gardening to artwork to travel. Ko-Fi is for a project I am working on, a rule-set agnostic campaign setting based on the romantic period. It is odd and quirky and I hope to garner some backers over there to support it. Of course, there will always be a blog where I post about any game topic that strikes my fancy. 

Operation Spartan Restoration

I started restoring my Mechs tonight. I picked one and ran with it. 

The tools and supplies are rather basic. I used a fine-point sharpie instead of the pencil I normally use for photo quality. I also needed a razor and a couple of files. For glue, I used Tacky Glue and Superglue together, which is an interesting trick. 

The final item is the material needed to resculpt the arm, a piece of soapstone. This product is found in the welding supply section of your local hardware store. Soapstone is incredibly soft yet heat resistant, which means you can mark materials and hit them with enough energy to melt metal without burning up your markings. 

It comes in two forms, a flat bar, and cylinders that fit into a pen-like holder. The cylinders are nice for columns and such. 

The first thing I did was roughly trace the arm I wished to sculpt. It doesn't have to be a work of art AND it needs to be bigger than the arm you want. 

Soapstone has a grain just like wood. Unlike wood, it is remarkably honorable to your tools, meaning you can push and pull against the grain. What soapstone does not like is compression or impact. It will shatter like very soft glass. 

Whittling down this one piece took about 15 minutes most of which was spent taking pictures. One item I did not mention was a plastic bag to sweep all of the dust and fragments into. I didn't take a picture of that because it looks like a bag of crack. 

I try to roughly carve the arm down to the right size and proportions. Notice that I don't cut the arm away from the larger piece. It's too small for that. 

I used a mech to size up the arm as I work. Luckily, I have mechs with broken right and left hands, so I have a model to work from. 

Once I am down to the right size and proportions, I carefully... Carefully... cut the arm away from the bar. When making these cuts I work my way into the bar, not away from it. 

These are actually cuts, every bit of work so far is with a razor. This is the other reason you don't remove the piece from the bar. You'll have nothing to hang on to and cut yourself. The other devastating disaster is dropping the part on the floor and chipping it so badly it's useless. 

I skipped all of the pictures of sanding with files. It's super boring to look at. A file will knife right through soapstone, so go slow. You can't exactly put the material back. 

Well, actually you can add material back but it is annoying, time-consuming, and labor-intensive. It also makes fine-tuning your model very difficult. 

Remember the bag of soapstone dust and chips? You can apply layers of glue to the damaged portion and add soapstone chips and dust to it. The problem with this methodology is it takes time to dry and the glue/stone laminate is really tough stuff. Filing becomes much harder. It's also super sad if the glue slips off the model and you have to glue it back on a second time. Thankfully, the glue and soapstone mix will keep it's shape, it's only annoying. 

Anyway, the last step is to add the details, like the etched-in lines. You can get remarkably detailed in this work, like scrimshaw on ivory. You might be tempted to use a razor to do some of this work. Don't. Instead, use a pin with a handle. I personally like removing a rubber eraser from a pencil, shoving a pin through it, and gluing it back into place. 

In order to mesh the parts up, I filed the metal of the model down into a V-shaped point and did the reverse on the soapstone part. This increases the surface area and allows you to feel when the part is in the right place. I've shown you the final image, but I want to show off one more trick with the second last image. 

See the white spot of glue on the metal model? That isn't just glue, it's soapstone powder on the tacky glue. I put the super glue on the soapstone part and touch them together. There is a quick chemical reaction between all three substances and the dry time is about 5 seconds. It's pretty cool. 

I am saving another trick for my next post. See you there. 



Sunday, February 5, 2023

The Weird Unboxing - Gifts from the Past

I've made an effort to push past certain things that happened in the past two years, but I want to bring something up that I have been ignoring because it's strange and interesting. 

After the house fire, the ceilings fell down, revealing a stack of cardboard boxes we had in the attic. It was very odd because the attic entry was in the garage and the attic is over the house. These boxes were stuffed "way in the back", which corresponded to the center of the house where most of the destruction was. We had no idea what was in these boxes until Jack, our contractor got a ladder and recovered them. 

Well, having lost nearly everything, anything in the boxes would be surprising. 

Inside was my wife's Cabbage Patch Kid from when she was a child, 3 packets of photographs from right before our wedding, a cat carrier, a dishrack, a baby bathtub, and a few of other oddities of mine. Exactly how these cardboard boxes survived in the center of the house, where the ceiling collapsed is a total mystery to me. 

I'd like to detail the gaming things found in that box. 

The first is a paper, hand-drawn map from when I was in high school. I recall putting it away after spilling something on it. Back in the 90's the only way to fix such a thing would be a lightbox or tracing paper. In 2023, the magic of photo editing software can do this in seconds. 

This was one of my first campaigns with a good map and spilling Coke or coffee on it annoyed me to no end. I stuffed it in a box and tried to forget about it. I can't believe how easily this problem is fixed now. 

The map pairs nicely with the dozens of photos I found. In 2021, I made an effort to scan every photo I had and backed them up to the cloud. Boy, I am glad I did. We were vaguely aware that some photos were missing that we attributed to moving right after getting married. 

We were half right, they made the move... to the attic. 

I figure I can spend next weekend scanning like a nut. 

Next up are a series of Reaper minis in the package and a blister pack of Micro Machine Star Wars figures. The packages were at the very top of the box and suffered a lot of smoke damage. They probably protected the things underneath them. Once I disposed of the packaging, the figures looked (and smelled) brand new. The Star Wars figures are plastic and the Reaper figures are soft metal. I'm shocked that they survived at all. 

By way of comparison, I had a box of Battletech Archers (or Robotech Spartan, if you like,) in the basement. Oddly, some of them are super clean like they were never painted and others are slightly charred. Notice the damage to the arms. I liked to kitbash models and often replaced or repositioned an arm. The glue vaporized, leaving me with armless figures. 

Presumably, the arms fell off and were swept up as debris. Understandable considering how much of the first floor fell into the basement. 

I am not too worried about that. I've modded hundreds of Battel Mechs and I have new material to work with. If you zoom in on the Grey mecha, (top row, second from the right), you can probably see the wood grain on the left arm despite the painting. That's because it's balsa wood. 

A while ago, I discovered a different material for figure mods: soapstone. I am going to fix all of these figures up in the coming weeks and I can't tell you how excited I am to try this new material and method. Soapstone is super soft and easy to carve and cut with hand tools. But relative to a metal figure, it is about as durable. 

Soapstone is ironically fireproof.

I am so done dwelling on what has happened. But there is this odd comfort in remembering what DID NOT happen. We all survived to get to this point of moving forward. Finding this box was a sort of gift from the past. I look forward to putting these things right and I will probably post a lot of images as this little project progresses. 

Saturday, February 4, 2023

Creeping Issues

Just a brief heads up. I have noticed creeping issues with my blog, such as odd fonts and strange formatting issues. I'm using a super old theme and I am going to change it this weekend. Theseoldgames.com hasn't been hacked, I'm just really bad at code.

Friday, February 3, 2023

If Airplanes Were Shooting Stars...

Yes... Yes... Paramore is more my thing than B.o.B. but damn, can Haelly Williams sing. 

"Can we pretend that airplanes in the night sky are like shootin' stars?
"I could really use a wish right now, wish right now, wish right now."

Yesterday, I did my Top Ten Post for 2022 which I enjoyed doing. But it was straight-up math that created the post. I was charmed that a couple of posts made it to the Top Ten, but that is your top ten, the top ten created by the readers. 

Today, I will do my Top Ten Posts. A post of wishes. 

10. The "Going off the Rails" series of posts. These five posts covered the several times when I goofed as a DM, much to the delight of my players. When I think of D&D campaigns, these examples come to mind first.  

9. "Unreview - The Gardens of Ynn". I'm not sure what The Gardens of Ynn is. A module, a campaign setting, a strange detour? I do know I love it. The preface mentions that it was written to break a serious case of writer's block. That is incredible because this is a page-turner of a title. Rather than attempting to review it myself, I linked to a bunch of great reviews of this classic book. 

8. "Another Assassin Post - The Swindle Pig". Obviously, I like Assassins as a player character. The Swindle Pig is a sketch of a fun character I use as an NPC. Very often, the players never learn his name or background. But he is one of my favorite background characters. 

7. "B2 Session - Standout Play during Keep on the Borderlands". I like playing games with my kids. They really enjoyed B2 and did a ton of creative and wacky things in their very first session of this classic module. To top everything off, we played outside, between a hot tub and a garden. It was very memorable. 

6. "Live Another Day Or Buy Mac A Drink". One of the most important pieces of tech that keeps this blog going is my 1999 iBook. It survived so much in the past 24 years. 

5. Back in the early 80s, a friend of mine wanted to get us all into Traveller. I enjoyed it a lot, but I actually suck at Traveller. Do you know what makes it so interesting to me? The character generation process. In 2021, I used Cepheus Light to create a Bad*ssed Scholar Character. I really love the name Cepheus Light. It is a nerdy as it is perfect. 

Besides one or two posts like the above, you won't find any information on Traveller. I suggest you check out SAFCOcast.com for some amazing content. 

4. I gave "Star Wars: Roleplaying Game Core Rulebook" only 4 stars. I know why I did that, but I really wanted this RPG to be 5 stars. It was the rule set that got me into 3.5 D&D. I really like the mechanics and setting. 

3. Now, is the time for me to plug my all-time favorite game Star Smuggler. This was one of those ingenious games that have a lot of replay value. I've dedicated hundreds of posts to it and for one brief moment, I might have made an actual improvement to Tom Maxwell's maps by flipping them. 'Tis stupid that I feel this way but I do. 

2. You Can't Buy That! is a post dedicated to several great games, including Star Smuggler, that are now print-and-play titles. Half of it is the games, but the other half is the amazing FANactics who keep these games alive. 

1. Finally, my personal favorite post - The Moldy Unicorn Review. This is a wonderful 6-page "book" by Nate Treme that really captures the wonder of gaming for me. Every time I look at it, I am taken back to my youth when I first discovered gaming. 

Here ends my favorites, my imaginary I wish top ten. Let me know what you think in the comments. 

I would also like to thank Griffin for pointing out a dead link in my last post. There is nothing more embarrassing than accidentally dead-linking something and he caught it for me. 

Thursday, February 2, 2023

Top Ten Posts of 2022

I had hoped to go out this evening, but the bitter cold is killing my shoulder. I had wanted to throw so dice and push mecha around. Instead of that, I will do a Top Ten list.  

I've never done a top-ten list for two reasons: 

1. Google Docs Templates for D&D

2. TGT-1415C-1 Embark 9Person Tent by HKD International

What the heck are those? 

The first is a post about a great D&D 3.5 found in Google Docs, by Benjamin Connell. At some point, Google Docs changed its search format making everything hard to find, which meant coming to a website like this is a good choice for content. Damn you, Google. I really think that it is a good public service to provide great links to content, and Benjamin Connell’s 3.5 D&D character sheet is amazing content. I've thought about deleting it, but I would be doing a disservice to 3.5 fans. 

The next item is a walk-through post on my favorite tent. This tent went on dozens of trips and graced our backyard when we weren't on trips. It was one of my all-time favorite Christmas gifts. It died a good death, we wore it out. We probably spent 365 days in that tent over all the years. I'd take the post down but it has been on one or more of my websites for a ridiculously long time. 

These two posts are my highest clicked posts every year for many, many years. I guess it's time to just ignore them for the next 10 posts. 

Number 10 is a surprise entry, a fragment of a short story called Ghouls. I don't often write fiction on the blog. This post is one of my favorites as it uses a trick I learned to embed a Google Doc into a webpage. The downside of this is, everyone can see when I edit the file. 

This short follows the adventures of Rolf, a cleric of Mercury, and his family against a wild and creepy threat in the forest. 

Number 9. Question From The Hive Mind - Variable Damage in B/X. In this post, I weigh the pros and cons of variable weapon damage. I am solidly on the side of variable weapon damage, but there are some wonderful side effects of not permitting it. I have a collection of house rules to offset the difference between the two styles of play, hopefully realizing the best of both. 

8. Finally, a review! In The Hollow Of The Spider Queen is a great little solo game Powered by the Apocalypse. It's nice to see reviews in the top 10 because of a stupid promise I made to myself. In 2021, I tried to post 52 reviews, one a week. Then my house burned down. Ultimately, I was successful, but it was a success that stung a bit. Like a spider bite you can't itch. 

7. Next up is another House Rule entry: Refined House Rule Armor Class in Old School Essentials. I have a ton of house rules and to be honest, it feels strange to see this one in the top 10. It was posted at the beginning of December and cracked the top 10 of the same year. That makes me super happy. 

Number 6 doesn't surprise me at all. A Review of Hexcrawl Basics by Todd Leback. If you need a good intro to hexcrawling, this is a good one. 

Number 5. This is a review entitled: "Oh, Dear. What Happened? Review of Farscape Roleplaying Game". Sometimes a favorite has worts. This game is 99.9% D&D 3.5. In fact, it really wouldn't be hard to use Benjamin Connell's D&D sheet at the top of this post for Farscape. It'd be weird, but not hard. That is fun of 3.x D&D. It's a great tool kit. 

4. I have over a hundred reviews on this website and I am really glad to Necrotic Gnome's Old School Essentials Advanced Fantasy at the top of the list. The OSE rules are amazing and now my go-to ruleset. If I am doing fantasy, OSE is my game. 

3. Up next is another review. The Review of Into the Wild (Kickstarter Complete!). This was my first foray into Kickstarter and it was perfect. The book holds a special place in my heart because it survived our house fire sitting out on a table. It does smell vaguely of laundry soap and campfire, something I don't mention in the subsequent mocking posts about another Kickstart by Todd Leback. I flat-out claim that Todd Leback's books are fire-resistant, which is maybe a lie. 

Good fun, though. If you don't laugh at some things, you'll go crazy. 

2. Sundiver By David Brin Review. This is one of my favorite books of all time, and for it to be number two on this amazes me. I can't believe how many hits this book review got. This review is strictly by the numbers, so I am really happy with how far up the list it is. As a bonus, David Brin is on MeWe and you can follow him. I'd be remiss if I didn't share a second review, GURPS Uplift an RPG based on the books.  

I have to say, I didn't plan it this way but... now for the ad. 

Number 1 on this list is a post about a title I made available on DriveThruRPG called The Hex Pack. The title of the post is "And another thing... 6 Mile Hex pack". Yeah, number one is one of my products and that really should surprise no one. But it does. Let me tell you a secret, you can totally skip this post. I won't even link to my #1. 

Back at item 2, I gave you three links because of the surprise, wonder, and sense of discovery I had at realizing the readers love something I love. What a great thing.  

What I would really like you to do is check out Steamtunnel's The Hydra's Grotto and his post about 6-mile hexes. This was my source of inspiration not just for a product I made, but it was also THE THING that inspired me to review Todd Leback's Hexcrawl books. In turn, those review couple of review inspired me to continue post reviews through all the wacky and crappy things that happened in 2021-2022. 

It's an amazing thing to be a part of the OSR community. It really gives me a sense of awe and wonder, exactly like the first time I sat down to play a game with people that loved the fun of imagination.