Favorite Post-Apocalyptic Game?

Trippy

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For me, Mutant: Year Zero is the best post-apocalyptic game on the market right now and it's well augmented by spinoff games. Gamma World has some interest, because of its venerable status, but there isn't a current edition out right now (although POD copies of previous editions are available). Judge Dredd has post apocalyptic elements (Cursed Earth) although I'm not a fan of the system (particularly character generation). Apocalypse World is, in my view, one of the weaker games in the 'Powered by Apocalypse' group of games, if I'm being honest, although it has it's fans. If you want to go more left field, then Paranoia is a post-apocalyptic setting, technically speaking. So is Low Life for Savage Worlds. So is Eclipse Phase. And yes, technically you could count All Flesh Must Be Eaten, as with other games like the End of The World line by FFG.
 

Moonglum

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I'm embarrassed to say, but I honestly like 1E Gamma World about a billion times better than any other post apocalyptic game I've played or read. I know it is sort of cheaply put together in a lot of ways, but the light hearted vibe and very open sketch of a setting still appeals to me. Plus a massive dose of good memories.
 

Gringnr

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I picked up a lot of the All Flesh Must Be Eaten line when I was first getting into RPGs, and have always liked the way the various genres were adapted to the core concept.

I mean, if we're doing zombie stuff, I'd say Rotworld, because it's zombies, and it uses the Chill1e mechanics.
 

FreeGamer

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I'm going to have to go with Apocalypse World.

Sure, it's the only post-apocalyptic game I've ever played, but I found it extremely intuitive and an absolute blast. 1e, that is. 2e introduced an expanded combat system and other complexity, which detracted from many of the original's strengths. I loved that entire skirmishes could be handled in a handful of moves.

I played quite a bit of Apocalypse World, Monsterhearts, and even Urban Shadows. US is another game that went the way of AW2e over the course of its development. I got to play in an early playtest, and the game played quite similarly to AW1e. I then got to play in a later playtest, and they had added so much complexity. There was just so much to keep track of during play. At least the combat system was still pretty quick and brutal. But yeah, the Urban Shadows we got was extremely different from the Urban Shadows that got us early playtesters on board.

*coughs* So in conclusion, Apocalypse World. Thank you.
 

Toadmaster

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Well as my favorite genre I have a few favorites, although most of them eventually drifted over to HERO or GURPS for the actual system.

Aftermath
The Morrow Project
Twilight 2000 (1st ed's Cold war turned hot timeline, not a fan of 2nd's revised post Cold war history except for the MERC 2000 branch with a , slow decay vs nuclear war).
Car Wars

Yes I lean very much towards the more mundane, less gonzo end of the spectrum. I suspect it has a lot to do with growing up in the 1970s & 80s after the worst of the in your face threat of nuclear war (Cuban Missile Crisis, Duck & Cover drills et al), but still with the cold war and nuclear war or other civilization ending event being a popular theme in the media of the time.
 

PolarBlues

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Both Bounty Hunters of the Atomic Wastelands and Mutant Bikers of the Atomic Wastelands have a special place in my heart because... I wrote them. I don't know as the count as "real" games given they are just free downloads, but the thing about writing your own game, beyond parental pride, is that you can priorities the things you are interested in and gloss over the ones you don't, so it is really no accident that I enjoy running those games. BHAW in particular really streamlines things on the GM side which frees me up to focus on the important stuff when I run the game. Love it.

In terms of proper, commercial games, Gamma World is also very special to me, especially the 1992 (like the OP). That said it was more about the setting for me than the rules. Back when I was running it I had a long list of house rules to make the game more cinematic. These days, if it were not for BHAW I'd probably check out Barbarians of the Aftermath as I regard Barbarians of Lemuria as one of the great rules-light game designs of recent times.
 

Nobby-W

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Probably Twilight:2000 1e, which is perhaps more an indication of how recently I actually played a post-apocalyptic setting. At one point I did a minor rules hack and produced a character 'Trev' from New Zealand, rocking a Land Rover and a Bren Gun. The system also formed the basis of a hacked about versions I did for sci-fi and moderns settings, so I got a lot more mileage from the system than the setting, which had dated pretty badly by the end of the 1980s, maybe 5 years from the game's publication.

Not exactly a favourite, but perhaps I should give a shout out to Aftermath!, FGU's 1980-vintage opus in the genre, published when the cold war was still a thing. This had a combat system so crunchy that they provided a card with a flowchart to explain how to use it. Parts of the flowchart were printed on both sides of the card.

I have actually played Aftermath!, but not all that much. The baroque monstrosity of the rules were a significant inspiration to get into doing my own game systems.

Aftermath - Combat Flowchart Page 1.JPG
Aftermath - Combat Flowchart Page 2.JPG
 
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Marco

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When you take a mildly complex algorithm and break it down into a flow chart you get something like that almost no matter what--but yeah: those tables scared me off.

On the other hand the "roll to figure out" artifacts from gamma world we LOVED (for no really good reason other than that using it seemed dramatic to us).
 

Séadna

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Deadlands: Hell on Earth. Full of weird monsters, over the top powers, walking dead, AI led robot armies, ghost storms ruined cities and wasteland roaming organistions. Basically smash every 80s/90s post-apocalyptic move together.

It's Michael Bay post-apocalyptic though, not gritty/realistic.
 

Nobby-W

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When you take a mildly complex algorithm and break it down into a flow chart you get something like that almost no matter what--but yeah: those tables scared me off.
[ . . . ]
And also the oft-misunderstood reason why visual languages have not - and probably never will - replace traditional text-based programming languages. q.v. Deutsch Limit.

 

AsenRG

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Did anyone else mention it? Atomic Highway!
Closely followed by: Barbarians of the aftermath, and Apocalypse World.

And surprisingly, Aftermath!
Though I might change that opinion if I ever got to play a game of it where I was to actually interact with the player facing mechanics. For now, my experience of it is limited to "I tell you what I'm doing, you tell me what to roll and then what happens".
 
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Supervisor194

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Put me down for Mutant Year Zero as well. That said, I'd love to see a new edition of Gamma World.
 

K_Peterson

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Tribe 8, hands down. The system is quite nice, the art incredibly evocative, and the setting is fascinating unique blend of post-Catholic Myth, Neolithic Tribal societies, and Clive Barker-esque horror. I'd say it manages to hit some strange equilibrium between The Dark Crystal and Mad Max,
Yeah, I've got a soft spot for Tribe 8. I ran a short campaign of it back around 2003 and we had a good time. It was quite a different experience for many players who were use to D&D 3.x.

I'm a fan of the Silhouette system, and like a lot of the mystery/untrustworthy-first-person-perspective in the T8 core book. 16 years ago, I had all of the supplements and read into all of the metaplot material. These days, I think I'd be content to just use the core book and shape the direction of the campaign myself.
 

Antiquation!

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Mine is a toss up between Darwin's World and Mutant: Year Zero.

Darwin's World is a d20 game that borrows heavily from Fallout but still manages to be its own thing. It's d20 Modern based and I have to admit I've fallen out of love with 3e/Modern/Pathfinder.
Darwin's World is an interesting case. I didn't love the system, but I played in an extended campaign run by my friend Dom (DW's creator), who really made the setting itself sing. From what I understand he is no longer involved significantly with DW (most of his game work slowed significantly once he had his first kid; "Abandon All Hope" was the last game I remember him working on along with my other buddy Miguel, which I additionally helped playtest and contributed a terrible piece of artwork to), however last I checked the person who took the reins was going to be producing Savage Worlds supplements for DW it in place of its old D20 Modern chassis.

Gamma World I have little to no experience with, except for the D20 "4th edition" modern version which didn't do the setting much justice in my eyes, but I have read good things about the older versions.

Does GURPS count? I do like Gamma World for zany silliness. But one thing I like about GURPS for post apocalypse games is that it doesn't give away the situation. I like it for Horror for the same reason. The system used doesn't give away the nature of the threat.
Indeed! Generic systems like GURPS are fantastic for "couching" your setting premises and provoking a fear or wonder of the unknown; particularly with homebrew settings that lack the same context players might approach the table with, having played in a published setting already. I also enjoy that, once having played more than once in such a homebrew setting, you have certain veteran players become "sages" of your setting, in a way.

To bring it back around to GURPS post-apoc, I have always LOVED Reign of Steel (though I have not gotten the opportunity to run it, yet). After the End is a fantastic post-apoc resource as well (I love the bullets-as-currency thing).
 
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TristramEvans

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Yeah, I've got a soft spot for Tribe 8. I ran a short campaign of it back around 2003 and we had a good time. It was quite a different experience for many players who were use to D&D 3.x.

I'm a fan of the Silhouette system, and like a lot of the mystery/untrustworthy-first-person-perspective in the T8 core book. 16 years ago, I had all of the supplements and read into all of the metaplot material. These days, I think I'd be content to just use the core book and shape the direction of the campaign myself.

Yeah, I never ran through the metaplot myself, though I do appreciate what they did with 2nd edition - laying it all out clearly upfront for GMs.
 

Marco

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Indeed! Generic systems like GURPS are fantastic for "couching" your setting premises and provoking a fear or wonder of the unknown; particularly with homebrew settings that lack the same context players might approach the table with, having played in a published setting already. I also enjoy that, once having played more than once in such a homebrew setting, you have certain veteran players become "sages" of your setting, in a way.
Some of our best post-apocalypse gaming was done in GURPS. One game that was notable was a pretty basic "road warrior" style game where the PCs were given the choice at the start between regular guns that were decent or gauss weapons which were considerably more powerful but had a chance of exploding (for . . . a lot of damage).

For whatever reason, this choice *captivated* the players--everyone had an opinion about it--how many of each weapon the group should have (they were guarding a tanker caravan). This was one of those light-bulb moments where we realized that "shopping" could be (under specific circumstances) a lot of fun (where the decisions had in-game impacts, could define character-personality, etc.).

When making JAGS Have-Not, which is a GURPS-style (generic system) over-the-top crazy post-apocalypse (like Gamma World 1e) we put a big focus on having the option of a lot of collateral (tons of artifacts, guns, melee weapons, etc.)--just for that reason.
 

Antiquation!

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Some of our best post-apocalypse gaming was done in GURPS. One game that was notable was a pretty basic "road warrior" style game where the PCs were given the choice at the start between regular guns that were decent or gauss weapons which were considerably more powerful but had a chance of exploding (for . . . a lot of damage).

For whatever reason, this choice *captivated* the players--everyone had an opinion about it--how many of each weapon the group should have (they were guarding a tanker caravan). This was one of those light-bulb moments where we realized that "shopping" could be (under specific circumstances) a lot of fun (where the decisions had in-game impacts, could define character-personality, etc.).

When making JAGS Have-Not, which is a GURPS-style (generic system) over-the-top crazy post-apocalypse (like Gamma World 1e) we put a big focus on having the option of a lot of collateral (tons of artifacts, guns, melee weapons, etc.)--just for that reason.
That sounds awesome! I'll have to check that game out. I have absolutely found that the gear porn / shopping addict factor increases tremendously in post-apoc settings versus fantasy or even modern games, for instance. Rivaled probably only by cyberpunk in my experience. The scarcity element does a lot, I think, helping every bauble you scavenge or barter for, or weapon/armor choice you make, feel unique and impactful.

Edit: Oh, and god forbid the players find or barter for an actual car or something! I don't think I've ever listened to as much extensive in-game bickering before; who gets to sit where, what upgrades they're going to make/what trophy to tack onto the hood, where they're stashing their gear, who gets to drive, etc.
 

Marco

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That sounds awesome! I'll have to check that game out. I have absolutely found that the gear porn / shopping addict factor increases tremendously in post-apoc settings versus fantasy or even modern games, for instance. Rivaled probably only by cyberpunk in my experience. The scarcity element does a lot, I think, helping every bauble you scavenge or barter for, or weapon/armor choice you make, feel unique and impactful.

Edit: Oh, and god forbid the players find or barter for an actual car or something! I don't think I've ever listened to as much extensive in-game bickering before; who gets to sit where, what upgrades they're going to make/what trophy to tack onto the hood, where they're stashing their gear, etc.
Let me know what you think--the PDFs are free (you pay for the gorgeous print on demand books)
We released our own post apocalypse world JAGS Have-Not (free). This is a link to the PDFs.
Vol 1 (The world): https://ab900f1d-e970-4efa-ba0e-38cde90742f0.filesusr.com/ugd/0cf371_97d565af28524407b962a118b8475d74.pdf
Vol 2 (Making adventures): https://ab900f1d-e970-4efa-ba0e-38cde90742f0.filesusr.com/ugd/0cf371_8a8b8394048544bb8cf078f76b17526d.pdf
Vol 3 (Monsters and artifacts): https://ab900f1d-e970-4efa-ba0e-38cde90742f0.filesusr.com/ugd/0cf371_7aacd97d76044ad680679af25454eee6.pdf
 

Antiquation!

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Let me know what you think--the PDFs are free (you pay for the gorgeous print on demand books)
We released our own post apocalypse world JAGS Have-Not (free). This is a link to the PDFs.
Awesome, thanks! Will give them a look-see. :thumbsup:

Edit: First impressions, this art is just great!
 

3rik

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I mean, if we're doing zombie stuff, I'd say Rotworld, because it's zombies, and it uses the Chill1e mechanics.
Both AFMBE and Rotworld are pretty great.

I also backed the KS for Punkapocalyptic.
 

ORtrail

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That sounds awesome! I'll have to check that game out. I have absolutely found that the gear porn / shopping addict factor increases tremendously in post-apoc settings versus fantasy or even modern games, for instance. Rivaled probably only by cyberpunk in my experience. The scarcity element does a lot, I think, helping every bauble you scavenge or barter for, or weapon/armor choice you make, feel unique and impactful.
So true. I've got random loot/junk tables from 3-4 different PA games and the players LOVE rolling on them as they find stuff. If it's useful that's a bonus, but they take almost everything they find (40yds of orange yarn and a new package of plastic coat hangers for example). Everyone loves free stuff and a PA setting only intensifies that.
 

Toadmaster

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Probably Twilight:2000 1e, which is perhaps more an indication of how recently I actually played a post-apocalyptic setting. At one point I did a minor rules hack and produced a character 'Trev' from New Zealand, rocking a Land Rover and a Bren Gun. The system also formed the basis of a hacked about versions I did for sci-fi and moderns settings, so I got a lot more mileage from the system than the setting, which had dated pretty badly by the end of the 1980s, maybe 5 years from the game's publication.

Not exactly a favourite, but perhaps I should give a shout out to Aftermath!, FGU's 1980-vintage opus in the genre, published when the cold war was still a thing. This had a combat system so crunchy that they provided a card with a flowchart to explain how to use it. Parts of the flowchart were printed on both sides of the card.

I have actually played Aftermath!, but not all that much. The baroque monstrosity of the rules were a significant inspiration to get into doing my own game systems.
Funny thing with Aftermath, it really wasn't nearly as complex as they tried to make it seem. We never used the flow chart, it was unnecessary and just added to the impression of being complicated. I think Aftermath just happened to come out at a time where people were looking for charts and tables so FGU obliged.

Now it is kind of a clunky system, but for the time (1981) it was a pretty solid system. There are a lot of solid bits to it and I've fooled around with cleaning it up some over the years. More for fun than any real intent on using the rules, but there is a lot of potential in them.


All that said I think Aftermath is still probably the best Post Apocalypse source book out there. So much good stuff for world building and filling in the holes of a PA campaign. The modules were pretty fun too, with several set in Australia, I'm assuming due to the Mad Max / Road Warrior influence.
 

Nobby-W

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[ . . . ]
All that said I think Aftermath is still probably the best Post Apocalypse source book out there. So much good stuff for world building and filling in the holes of a PA campaign. The modules were pretty fun too, with several set in Australia, I'm assuming due to the Mad Max / Road Warrior influence.
IIRC one of the authors of the modules was Australian. One of the folks I played it with in Christchurch was in contact with him,[1] but I can't remember his name. Maybe Phil something?
_____________________________
1 - Claimed to be in contact with him, at any rate.
 
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Rob Necronomicon

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Um... In no particular order.

Deadlands HoE
Other Dust.
BoTA.
Belly of the Beast (not your typical post apoc).
ERA the Survival.
 

Vile

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In spite of the character generation (or perhaps because of?), Aftermath!
 
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