A Long Time Until Now by Michael Z. Williamson: a review.

zlong

The premise of “A Long Time Until Now” is an unusual one. In the book, 10 US soldiers are displaced in time and travel back to the Paleolithic era, where they meet people who are similarly affected, such as Imperial Romans, Neolithic Europeans, and East Indians. The soldiers try to make alliances with these groups, as well as the locals, which proves to be difficult.

In my opinion, the bad part of this book is the beginning, and the characters. There is no foreshadowing, no introduction. They’re part of a convoy, a bright light appears, and boom, time travel!  They also immediately know that: they travelled back in time, and they are in the Paleolithic era, in Afghanistan.  The characters just happen to have encyclopedic knowledge of ancient languages, plants, hunting, geography, history, architecture, and everything they need to know if they travelled back in time. The reason they know this is poorly explained. “Oh, I just happened to stumble upon that page in Wikipedia.”, or: “When I was in high school, this guy I knew told me about it while we were walking to class.” These reasons are more plausible than what the author gave the reader! The book has an interesting premise, though it’s poorly executed. I’d give this a 1 out of 10.

This is only my opinion, you should read the book and comment what you think.

 

 

zrouge

 

Rogue Trader and TRPGs.

Rogue Trader is a Tabletop RPG (roleplaying game) set in the Warhammer 40k universe.  If you don’t know what a TRPG is, it’s like Dungeons and Dragons. If you still don’t know what I’m talking about, here’s an explanation. People assume the roles of a character they created, and when they want to do something, for example: climb a wall, they roll dice to see if they succeed or not. One person, called the GM, creates the game world and referees the game.

Now that you know what a TRPG is, I’ll explain what Rogue Trader is about. Rogue Trader is a TRPG set in the Warhammer 40k universe. Warhammer 40k is a sci-fi universe, in which a tyrannical empire, called the Imperium of Man rules the galaxy. The Imperium of Man is ruled by the God-Emperor, an undead god resting on the Golden Throne, from which he protects the Imperium. In Rogue Trader, the players create characters who are the explorers of the Imperium, called Rogue Traders. Rogue Traders are above the law, and they don’t mind working with enemies of the Imperium, such as aliens. “Mechanics” wise, Rogue Trader is a 100 sided dice (sometimes called a d100) system where you roll under a skill value to resolve actions. For example, if you wanted to investigate something, and you have a “Search” skill of 52, you have to roll 52 or under to succeed.

I like Rogue Trader and other TRPGs, because they encourage creativity and math skills.  Improvising solutions to given problems, and creating an adventure or a setting requires imagination and creativity. Though modern games like Rogue Trader require less math skills than old games, such as Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, it still requires math skills such as percentages, fractions, and arithmetic. Above all else, however, I find TRPGs a lot of fun. I get to play with my friends and have a good time. I hope you, dear reader, decide to take up this excellent hobby and have fun too.

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