Has anybody gotten the Parchment version to play? For me it just hangs forever loading.

It works for me. I encourage you to email the organizer ( with details of the problem (including your OS and browser).


It seems to work for me in Firefox but not IE.


H J Hoke



If one reads that carefully, one can see that this is not a game that simulates combat, but that it simulates a simulation of combat, which (when one thinks about it) is rather odd. My combat action is described in two different ways: as swinging a sword and rolling dice. So I am simultaneously to imagine myself (a) as an adventurer in a magic fantasy world, fighting a goblin and (b) as a person playing an RPG.

Such a system has its difficulties. I haven’t played an RPG for more than twenty years, but as I recall the combat, strange as it may seem, the physicality of the dice was actually quite an important part of it. Dice are a peculiarly satisfactory way of generating random integers. They feel and look interesting. They make a noise. And I suspect that we all feel (even though we know it’s not true) that in some curious way the things we do with them – the way we shake them, or touch them – may actually affect them. Test it this way. It would be very simple for those who play RPGs to abandon dice altogether in favour of, say, an app on a phone. I daresay there are such things. But how many RPG players prefer them? Or, if one is using actual dice, it would be possible to get someone else to make all the rolls. How many of us would actually do that? It seems as if it is part of the game, even a rather important part, that the player actually makes the roll. With a computerised system this is all lost, and something seems to be lost with it. We are not only watching someone else fight, but we are watching something else do the job of simulating someone else fight.

A still more important problem here seems to be that there is little scope for strategy. Compare, for instance, Kerkerkruip. In that game there is some strategy to the combat, and (more importantly) the game depends on how you learn about the best way to approach the various combatants, the order in which you will attack them, their particular characteristics. Even then, I have to say that it tood some time before I appreciated the strategic elements of that game, so perhaps I’m misssing something in Arqon too. But the combat system in Arquon seems to lack any really interesting strategic qualities. There are some limited choices (such as whether to learn spells, or what weapon to use), but they seem rather one-dimensional, and as far as I can see the optimal decisions were pretty clear.

The end result is that the experience is almost voyeuristic: one simply watches the computer as it fights, doing little more than moving from place to place.

Of course, that is in one sense not the fault of the author here, who has taken the system from Reliques of Toti Alph. But that is still a choice, and it was also a choice to embed that system in a story which seems to offer little opportunity or reward for planning. There is a backstory, but not much of a story, and the environment is not of any great intrinsic interest. In the end, it’s all about combat, which is largely random. I couldn’t get much out of it, and after dying a couple of times, I gave up. Bear in mind the comments I made about skin-deep fantasy in relation to Kas the Betrayer (short story: genre fantasy is not my thing) but in this case it was more the design than the setting that didn’t resonate with me.

To be fair, the author is absolutely up-front about the fact that this is a game about combat, and that if you don’t like combat in a fantasy setting it is not the game for you, so I’m definitely not in the target audience. But I hope I can be just about objective enough to say that I think the problem here isn’t just that it’s a combat game, but that it’s a combat game in which the combat itself is insufficiently interesting. I suspect that the author, whose enthusiasm is evident, plans future sequels; I hope that they can find a way to make the core gameplay mechanic more rewarding.[/spoiler]