A Second Chance To SLA

SLA Industries 2nd Edition has now shipped to backers of the Kickstarter project, and as one of those backers I’ve had a chance to look over it and the various add-ons I obtained. I’m not going to do a full Kickstopper article on the project, because in terms of the management of a crowdfunding project I think Nightfall Games have done an entirely uncontroversial and smooth job.

Sure, I got my books six months after the estimated arrival date, but pandemic-related delays are going to do that, and more importantly at every stage along the way Nightfall were keeping backers appraised of where the project was, with a regularly-updated table of tasks to complete giving a good sense both of how much was left to do, and what had been accomplished since the previous update was sent out. In short, I have no real complaints there: Nightfall provided an object lesson in how to do Kickstarter right as far as I’m concerned.

Still, reading over the materials has left me with a lot of, shall we say, quite developed opinions about SLA Industries. Having thought I’d got my thoughts out in my review of the 1st Edition, it turns out I have more to say about it after all. So, strap in, I’m going to try and say it all here. What I’m not going to do here is give a general introduction to the game’s concept, however, since my 1st Edition review more or less covers it. Aesthetically and conceptually, the game is still a big silly 1990s mess, the sort of material which HoL was making fun of (to the extent that I half-suspect that the designers of HoL were primarily making fun of SLA Industries when they wrote it).

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The 1990s, Cranked Up To 11

For about as long as I’ve been into tabletop RPGs, SLA Industries (“SLA” pronounced “Slay” for comedy reasons) has kind of been lurking about there in the background. There was the original 1993 release that Nightfall Games helmed themselves; there was the brief period when Wizards of the Coast held the IP before they bought the wreckage of TSR and canned all their RPG properties that weren’t Dungeons & Dragons; there was the blink-and-you’d-miss-it period when Hogshead Publishing had the rights and put out “Edition 1.1” (basically the first edition with new cover art and a sprinkling of corrections and clarifications) before James Wallis pulled the plug on Hogshead; there was that fairly extensive period when Cubicle 7 were keeping the core book and some supplements in print but didn’t seem to be doing very much to promote it.

These days Nightfall Games have gone their own way again rather than relying on third party publishers. At the moment they are putting out a trickle of material with the hope of building up interest and reserves before ploughing ahead with a 2nd Edition of the game. In the meantime, Edition 1.1 is available for download via DrivethruRPG on a pay-what-you-want basis. That’s handy for me, because one of the members of my Monday evening group is going to be running some SLA after my current Ars Magica block wraps up, so now’s the perfect time for me to pick the thing up and see what it’s like.

My God, it’s full of 90s.

Continue reading “The 1990s, Cranked Up To 11”