Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Review: 6 Iron Spikes & a Small Hammer #1

I received my issue of 6 Iron Spikes & a Small Hammer, Issue #1, earlier this week.  It is written by +john yorio, proprietor of Tabletop Diversions blog. 

The Physical
John's zine is 16 pages long.  This includes the front and back cover.  It is made of 20# paper, not cardstock cover.  It is bound together by some fancy use of floss.  It works really well.

The art is clipped and pasted and gives the zine an old time zine feel.  I think of safety pins, mimeograph machines and inky stuff everywhere. He does provide an example of what he doesn't do the art himself.  I would love to see more of his art in it.  It's childishly creepy.  He's hand drawn the maps.  Did an excellent drawing of a sea monster.  The cover, the guy has got a mustache to twirl.  It's killer.  I have to say, when I saw the cover I thought the zine was going to be western themed. 

As you can see on the front cover this is a Sandbox of Dr. Moreau.   John gives us an introduction.  He sites H.G. Wells' Little Wars as an inspiration and reintroduced him into gaming again.  But it was The Island of Dr. Moreau that "grabbed his brain like a Leopard Man tearing off the head of a rabbit."  How can you argue with that?

John provides information to plug in Moreau's Island into your campaign.  There are no stats to tweak.  You'll need to do those yourself.  The map is simple with a few sites of note.  My aged eyes needed to look a couple times to find the location noted.  He provides some adventure seeds/hooks.  Then a random encounter table.  Most of which are one time encounters.  I do the same with mine also.  He provides a second table for more generic encounters.

One of the things that I thought was very cool was the Beast Folk Generator.  Five tables to roll on to develop your own critters. 

I really enjoyed reading 6 Iron Spikes & a Small Hammer.  It has a real zine feel and look.  I mean come on, he sewed the pages together with thread or dental floss.  It will require work to stat the NPCs and a few weird creations.  But finding a place to put in your campaign should be easy.  This could add a mad scientist/mage element to a campaign.  A man creating his own race. 

If one does as God does, enough times, he becomes God.

That makes an excellent premise to build an adventure upon.

It's $2.  For the print version.  Go get it. 


  1. Sweeet. Thanks for the heads up, Tim.

  2. thanks for the review, Tim!

    The map is definitely hard to read and on my list for things to improve.

    Glad you liked the Beast Folk generator (easily my favorite part) and my illustration! I was thinking about trying to do some more of my own "art" next issue.

    The stats were left out because I thought GMs would want to stat things to fit their PCs/Campaigns. Do you think providing stats is a better way to go? After all GMs can always change it anyway.

    Thanks again!


    1. No stats are fine. Especially when you have precious space. Most of us uber goobs can figure it out. And please do more illustrations. once I saw yours I rethought about adding one of mine to the current issue and put it back in.