Tales From The Loop

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Tales From The Loop

Postby toucana on March 15th, 2021, 7:31 am 


Tales From The Loop ((Ur Varselktotet) was originally a thematic art book created by Swedish artist Simon Stålenhag published by the Free League in 2014. His strange atmospheric drawings of anachronistic machines and dinosaurs depict an alternate version of rural Sweden in the 1980s. In 2017 an RPG (role playing game) based on Tales From The Loop designed by Nils Hintze was published by Freedom League on behalf of Scandanavian publishers Fria Ligan AB and Modiphius Entertainment. The RPG which uses the Mutant Year Zero game engine has been widely praised for its atmospheric feel, and ease of use.

In April 2020 Amazon Prime Video released a TV series of the same title but with the action reset in the American township of Mercer Ohio. The series was directed by Nathaniel Halpern and has been compared by some critics to the Netflix TV series Stranger Things, albeit with a more anodyne and beguiling tone to it. In both cases a small rural township is overtaken by the paranormal side effects arising from the work of a reclusive government scientific research station located nearby

In 2020 a board game version of Tales From The Loop designed by Martin Takaichi was released on Kickstarter by Freedom League and it achieved its funding targets in just three hours. It is currently scheduled for delivery in May 2021. The developers have already made both a print-and-play and digital Tabletopia versions freely available for play-testing by potential backers.


The backstory is set in the pastoral Mälaren islands which lie in a large freshwater lake just to the west of Stockholm. A large underground particle accelerator had been built here between 1954 and 1969 which is known to the local inhabitants as ‘The Loop’. Over the years since it was built, strange phenomena have started to appear in the area - mysterious creatures stalking the land, and machines that malfunction in inexplicable ways.

The story is told through the eyes of children whose exploration of this strange dream-like world is sandwiched between the mundane realities of attending their local school, doing their homework, carrying out their domestic chores, and obeying parental rules.

The slow pace and poetic tone of the narrative owes much to the cinematography of European film-makers such as Andrei Tarkovsky and Kryzysztof Kieślowski - The film Stalker (1979) by Tarkosky in particular comes to mind. The narrative focus on the perspective of children struggling to understand this world by themselves with little help from their aloof and disinterested parents is reminiscent of The Chrysalids (1955) by John Wyndham, a scifi novel set in a post-apocalyptic future where children living in a rural farming community discover that some of them have developed telepathic abilities that must be concealed from their parents and community elders.

ETA - Polish illustrator Jakub Rozalski who created the artwork for the Stegmaier board game Scythe (2016) also uses quite similar anachronistic imagery of automata set in an alternate 1920s European dystopia.

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