More Lists of 10

This is post number 4 in the series “30 Days of Tales from the Loop,” a celebration of the game set in an 80s that never was.

Scattered throughout the Tales from the Loop rulebook are lists of 80s-era things, such as Ten Movies, Ten Music Videos, and Ten Tabletop RPGs. I really like the way these lists spur the nostalgia engine and give ideas for including 80s flavor in your game. With that in mind, here are some additional lists I thought of.

Ten Toys

  1. Cabbage Patch Kids
  2. Care Bears
  3. Micro Machines
  4. My Little Pony
  5. Star Wars Action Figures
  6. Teddy Ruxpin
  7. Transformers
  8. Speak & Spell
  9. Simon
  10. Garbage Pail Kids

Ten Fads

  1. Breakdancing
  2. Hackey Sack
  3. Rubik’s Cube
  4. Walkman
  5. Aerobics
  6. Smurfs
  7. Valleyspeak
  8. Video arcades
  9. Trapper Keepers
  10. “NOT!”

Ten Cars

  1. DeLorean DMC-12
  2. Volkswagen GTI
  3. Ford Fiesta
  4. Chevrolet Camero IROC-Z
  5. Pontiac Firebird Trans Am
  6. Ferrari Testarossa
  7. Ford Mustang GT 5.0
  8. Jeep Cherokee
  9. Mazda RX-7
  10. Toyota Celica Supra

Ten Snacks

  1. Pop Rocks
  2. Reese’s Pieces
  3. Jell-O Pudding Pops
  4. Big League Chew
  5. Candy Cigarettes
  6. Now and Later
  7. Nerds
  8. Fun Dip
  9. Fruit Roll-Ups
  10. Easy Cheese

Ten Books (or Book Series)

  1. The Indian in the Cupboard
  2. Goosebumps series
  3. Where’s Waldo
  4. Choose Your Own Adventure series
  5. Matilda
  6. The Baby-Sitters Club series
  7. The Restaurant at the End of the Universe
  8. Superfudge
  9. Neuromancer
  10. Sweet Valley High series

Ten Fashions

  1. Ray-Ban Sunglasses
  2. Air Jordan Shoes
  3. Shoulder Pads
  4. Big Hair
  5. Swatch Watches
  6. Mullets
  7. Jelly Shoes
  8. Parachute Pants
  9. Flat-Top Hair
  10. Members Only Jackets

BONUS! 10 More Songs

(taken from my iTunes library–my 10 most played 80s songs)

  1. Experiment IV (Kate Bush) 1986
  2. Baby Love (Regina) 1986
  3. Running up that Hill (Kate Bush) 1986
  4. Invisible Sun (The Police) 1981
  5. Trouble (Lindsey Buckingham) 1987
  6. Eye of a Needle (Art of Noise) 1986
  7. Gypsy (Fleetwood Mac) 1982
  8. Not Like You (The Bangles) 1985
  9. Take it Away (Paul McCartney) 1982
  10. Let’s Go (The Cars) 1985

Got a list to share? I’d love to see it! Please share in the comments.

Kids’ Guide to 80s Slang

This is post number 3 in the series “30 Days of Tales from the Loop,” a celebration of the game set in an 80s that never was.

Even players who grew up in the 80s could probably use a refresher course in period slang. Let this be your guide to sprinkling your Kid’s dialogue with colorful phrases. I’ve provided Tales from the Loop-appropriate examples for each entry.

  • 411 – Information; 411 was the number for telephone directory assistance in the US. “We’ve gotta get the 411 about sasquatch feeding habits before our new buddy decides to eat US!”
  • As if! – No way. “You? A computer genius? As if!”
  • Awesome – Something exceptionally good. “You should have seen the explosion! It was awesome!”
  • Bad – Something especially cool. “I gotta get some Ray-Bans like those. They’re so bad!”
  • Bag Your Face – I suggest you put a bag over your face, either because you are unattractive or I wish you’d shut up. “Bag your face, Tina! If I say I saw an alien, then I saw an alien!”
  • Barf Me Out – That totally disgusts me. “Did you see what was left of that cow? Barf me out!”
  • Bodacious – Extremely attractive. “So what if she’s a robot? She’s still totally bodacious.”
  • Bogus – Extra bad. “Homework on a Friday? That’s so bogus!”
  • Book / Book It – To flee. “Here come the clones again. Let’s book it!”
  • Bitchin’ – Superb. “So our school got flung into another dimension? Bitchin’!”
  • Cool Beans – Cool. “You like comic books, too? Cool beans!”
  • Don’t Have a Cow – Remain calm. “Don’t have a cow, Mom. It’s just a little blood.”
  • Dweeb – Someone uncool. “I know Johnny’s a dweeb, but who else do we know that can translate this Latin spell?”
  • Eat My Shorts – An insult. “Haha! Eat my shorts, robot!”
  • Fer Sure – Absolutely. “Will I go to the dance with you? Fer sure!”
  • Gag Me With a Spoon – You’re being disgusting. “Oh, gag me with a spoon! If I see another one of those hairy purple bugs I’m gonna barf!”
  • Get Bent – Go away / leave me alone. “Get bent, Steve. Can’t you see Mary’s upset?”
  • Gnarly – Superb. “I’ve never seen such a gnarly bike!”
  • Grody / Grody to the Max – Disgusting. “Dude, it pulled his arm right off. It was grody to the max!”
  • Gross Me Out the Door – You’re being extra disgusting. “Stop telling me about the arm! Gross me out the door!”
  • I’m So Sure – Expression of sarcastic disbelief. “A girlfriend? Todd? I’m so sure.”
  • Later Days – See you later. “I’ll meet you back at the hideout. Later days.”
  • Like – Wildcard. “That was, like, the deepest underground I’ve ever been.”
  • Most Triumphant – Impressive. “Did you see how Bernie outsmarted that T-Rex? It was most triumphant!”
  • No Duh – Obviously. “Oh, you think he’ll notice his gun is missing? Like, no duh! But we have to take it!”
  • Omigod – A run-together exclamation to a higher power. “Like, omigod, where did you get that metal hand?”
  • Psych – Reversal of what was just said. “Sure, Cindy, you can tag along with us. We’d love to have a 6-year-old slowing us down. Psych!”
  • Radical – Extremely cool. “Radical! It’s a time portal!”
  • Righteous – Amazingly cool. “I don’t know what that pill did to you, Jenny, but those are some righteous wings.”
  • Stoked – Very excited. “This is proof of psychic phenomena! And just in time for my science project! I’m so stoked!”
  • Take A Chill Pill / Chill Out / Chill – Calm down. “Take a chill pill, Mrs. Cook! We were only borrowing the Necronomicon!”
  • Totally – Exceedingly or absolutely. “We are TOTALLY going to flunk the math test if we don’t get away from this cult before school starts.”
  • Tubular – Excellent, cool, or otherwise rad. “These hoverboards are totally tubular!”
  • What’s Your Damage? – What’s wrong with you? “You tore apart my boom box to make some weird contraption? What’s your damage, you little dweeb?”
  • Wicked – Excellent. “I just had a wicked idea! Let’s send our clones to school while we hit the arcade!”

Tales from the Loop Resources

This is post number 2 in the series “30 Days of Tales from the Loop,” a celebration of the game set in an 80s that never was.

Although the game is new, it already has a respectable amount of online support available. Here are some of the things I’ve found so far.

Free League’s Tales from the Loop website. This is the official site for the game. It includes a nice Downloads section with the character sheet, maps of the setting, and maps for all the adventures in the book.

Modiphius’s Tales from the Loop website. Modiphius Entertainment is the co-publisher of the game, and their site has more info about the it, as well as a few introductory videos. More importantly, this is where you can buy the book, dice, GM screen, and more.

Free League’s Tales from the Loop forums. The link is to the English version, which is broken into three sections: Rules, Setting, and Scenarios. I find it interesting that the most-used section is the one for Setting.

Tales from the Loop Facebook group. With 250+ members as of this week, the unofficial Facebook group skews toward Swedish postings, but even non-Swedish-speakers like myself can get a lot out of the posts thanks to Facebook’s translator. The group features artwork and photo inspiration; links to streaming play sessions; music recommendations; and lots of 80s nostalgia (Swedish and otherwise). I wanted to mention two specific resources that members have posted in this group:

Tales from the Loop RPG Google+ group. Currently at 180+ members, the unofficial G+ group doesn’t feature as many Swedes, but don’t hold that against them. Here you’ll find actual play reports; links to streaming games; artwork by Simon Stålenhag;  other inspirational images; rules Q&A; and more 80s nostalgia. (Which also serve as adventure seeds!) This group also curates a list of resource links that I haven’t mentioned here. My favorite resource so far is Kane Cathain’s fan-made player reference sheet.

Tales from the Loop Reddit community. Features mystery ideas, session reports, and rules Q&A. (I’m not much of a Redditor, so that’s all I know!)

Simon Stålenhag Resources. The man who started it all is active online, and here are some places you can find him and his work:

Free League’s Twitter. This is full of photos both official and fan-submitted, as well as tweets about the game.

Lost and Forgotten Worlds podcast. This is the first podcast I’ve found that features actual-play sessions of Tales from the Loop. They recently posted the fifth episode of their ongoing Tales from the Loop story.

Did I miss anything? If you know of other noteworthy resources for the game, please let me know in the comments.

Introduction to Tales from the Loop

Tales From the Loop is a roleplaying game set in an “80s that never was.” And I like it so much that I’m going to write something about it every day this month.

A Little Background

The game is inspired by the paintings of Simon Stålenhag, who depicted realistic scenes of an alternate Swedish suburbia in the 1980s. Stålenhag’s art featured robots, dinosaurs, giant floating vehicles, and other weirdness alongside Swedish scenery and curious kids. In 2014, Stålenhag’s art saw print in the Tales From the Loop art book (2015 for the English version). A second art book, Things from the Flood, followed in 2016.

In November 2016, the art books’ publisher, Fria Ligan (Free League), launched their Kickstarter project for the roleplaying game set in the world Stålenhag created. This is when I first found out about all this coolness, and jumped on board immediately. At the time, I thought it was inspired by Stranger Things, not realizing Tales From the Loop predated that show! But it IS certainly inspired by E.T., and Goonies, and similar 80s-era movies and shows featuring plucky kids.

The game started shipping in April 2017. My copy arrived on April 24th. (That’s my copy in the photo up top!) I was only a few pages in when I fell in love with the book, and realized I needed to tell the world about it, whether they wanted to hear it or not!

What’s the Game Like?

Remember all that cool stuff I said is in the art books? Robots, technology, dinosaurs, weirdness? The RPG features all that cool stuff too!

In Tales from the Loop, players take the roles of Kids aged 10-15, living in a town that contains a giant underground particle accelerator. The default setting of the game is the Swedish Mälaren Islands, but the book also details an alternate American setting, Boulder City, Nevada.

The game’s rule system is a simple one, based on another Free League game called Mutant: Year Zero. Players roll a number of 6-sided dice equal to the value of an attribute plus a skill that are appropriate to what they’re attempting, and any 6 rolled counts as a success. (Usually only one success is needed.) The game also includes ways to re-roll failures in interesting ways.

When creating your Kid, you’ll start with an archetype (such as Bookworm or Weirdo) and customize it. Some of the ways you’ll make your Kid unique are your Iconic Item (such as a boom box), your Problem (e.g. unrequited love), your Drive (e.g. motivated by thrills), your Pride (e.g. I’m the smartest kid in school), your relationships to other Kids and NPCs, and your Anchor (such as your parents or science teacher).

One of the character types. The one I identify with.

(I’ll talk more about options for playing your Kid later in this series.)

In addition to the rules and setting info, the book has tips on creating Mysteries (the game’s name for adventures), four complete Mystery Stories, and a Mystery Landscape—a mini-setting useful for sandbox play without a predefined plot. Also, on page 185, you’ll find my name as a backer. (If you meet me at a con or something I’ll autograph that page for you.)

What’s Next?

Some of the things I plan to talk about this month include music that would be great to play in the background during a game; how to host a killer Tales from the Loop game party; 80s-era info like fashions and slang; adventure ideas, and more. If you have something specific you’d like me to talk about, let me know in the comments!