Games, Games and more games. From digital to live play we all love our games. From big names like Dungeons and Dragons to the Indie players at the table like Bounty Hunter (from Guy Sclanders) and Apocalypse World (from D. Vincent Baker and Meguey Baker), Angel’s Citadel has purchased and backed on Kickstarter all kinds of games. We talk about how to game, and write reviews on the games we have bought. The reason this article came into being was the question: Why? Why does Angel’s Citadel back and buy so many games?
Well, for that, we’re going to have to go back to ancient history (Not really, but imagine it with me.) The year is 1974, Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson come up with a new concept, instead of standard war games with multiple characters to control, what if it was reduced to one, a single character in a group of six, a group of heroes. Thus, Dungeons and Dragons was born. Now, flash forward twelve years, to 1986, an eight year old little boy discovers this magical world of fantasy watching his older friends play a game that came out of a red box with a dragon and a hero fighting on the cover. His love was born.
That eight year old spent the next thirty years playing games, mostly rules heavy, starting with Dungeons and Dragons to Shadowrun. Josh played them all, and then, we met. Shadowrun was our drug of choice at the time and over several years we became best friends, then several years after that, husband and wife. However, every happy cloud has a dark side. Five years ago boredom hit, we were tired of feeling like RAW (Rules As Written) prevented our stories, or perhaps more accurately, fought against our efforts to tell the kind of stories we wanted to tell. We were also tired of trying to house rule when we’d get a rules lawyer at our table. We didn’t know any other way, though. Not really. We had some ideas but then… Josh found something that sparked his interest again: a game called Numenera written by Monte Cook (they have since moved to a second edition), someone he was already very familiar with. To his mind, the GM advice section of that book was a breath of fresh air. It was the tip of the iceberg and like kids in a candy store… we wanted more.
The problem with wanting more is discovering problems that you’ve never noticed before. How underrepresented anything not Dungeons and Dragons is. We poked around on the internet for a while, not quite sure what we were looking for or how to find it. Sure there were a few people that did reviews, or posted good talks, but there wasn’t a lot of cohesion, and most of what we found was Dungeons & Dragons related. It made sense – it was still the popular kid on the block. I’d usually have to go to the third or fourth page of my google search to find something that wasn’t about Dungeons and Dragons or Matt Mercer. Now, I’m honestly not ragging on Dungeons and Dragons, sure I have a few issues with Wizards of the Coast but it’s not a bad product and I know a lot of people love it. Hell, it isn’t like we threw away our Dungeons & Dragons books or adventures (and there are quite a few of them) when we stopped playing it regularly. You can even see them on the shelf, and we still pick one up from time to time when something catches our eye. However, they have an entire PR team and the others, the indies, the ‘little people’ are underrepresented.
Angel’s Citadel was a concept that we had tossed around some. It had evolved from a brick and mortar store to some sort of online property, but we didn’t really know what we wanted to do with it. It came to fruition in August of 2020. We started with the simple concept, ‘publish or perish’. A friend of ours recommended I post a bunch of articles the first week or so, then move to a schedule. So we did. From the articles, we decided to write reviews to join the other few that do so. Eventually those reviews even started getting broadcast to a larger audience with news aggregate services (Looking at you GeekNative and RPGfyi). Every Monday became Advice Monday and Friday became Review Friday. Because by then we were fairly steeped in Monte Cook Games material, we decided to start there, but the idea was always to branch out and go further afield.
What we’re trying to do with the reviews is to both a) give those underrepresented a voice on the field, and b) One of the men Josh greatly admires became the go to man on games and gaming for his favorite non-TTRPG called Advanced Squad Leader and Josh would like Angel’s Citadel to become a voice like that for the TTRPG world. There is a vast difference in the amount of content between the two. Every day, more material is coming out for the tabletop roleplaying space, so keeping up the way this individual did is an impossibility. Of course, we’re not perfect, but we’re trying.
We are willing to review just about any product and we try to purchase the products we review rather than go hat in hand for review copies. That isn’t to say that occasionally people don’t come to us asking us to review a free copy, but most of the time, that doesn’t happen. However, the things we purchase or back are also things that we’re either interested in playing, or things that we intend to mine for ideas because we are big on borrowing from other games. Setting books, and games with unique settings are really high on the list for us because we are always looking for “new feeling” stories to tell and there are many creatives out in the tabletop roleplaying game space that we admire.
Ultimately, this is still our hobby. It is a hobby that both Josh and I have had for many years and that has brought us a lot of enjoyment, and each other. One of the ways we feel like we can give back is by helping the creators in this hobby with advice or publicity for their content. But we have so many books because we still play these games too and hope to be doing so for a very long time to come.
- Joann Walles
Now on DriveThruRPG, from Angel’s Citadel… A brand new, original setting for the Cypher System! The Hope’s Horizon Starter Kit requires the Revised Cypher System Rulebook from Monte Cook Games.
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- Twitter: @JoshWalles or @JoannWalles
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- The NEW Angel’s Citadel Discord: https://discord.gg/aeMrw8FfAv