Sunday, July 31, 2011

Gamma World: 1st Impressions

So, I keep seeing occasional references to D&D Gamma World, and I figured that I'd see about what it is.  Before looking up any reviews, I already knew that it had something to do with D&D, that it had to do with a nuclear post-apocalyptic setting, and that it was a bit silly.
Upon reading some articles and reviews, notably the two that are up on at the moment, I learned a few more things that helped me flesh out an idea of what I might expect.  First of all, my wikimancy revealed that D&D Gamma World is actually the seventh or so in a series of Gamma World products designed for various systems and settings (though largely D&D).  Reading the reviews told me a few things across which I hadn't stumbled before:

  • It's got one of those many-dimensions-merging-into-one things going on.  
    • Apparently, in 84% of parallel dimensions, the cold war went hot.  
  • D&D Gamma World uses basically D&D 4E rules as far as the mechanics go.  
  • Technology is "Omega Tech", and frequently has drawbacks like being single-use or breaking down if used more than once in a single encounter.  
  • It's got those old-fashioned randomized origins.  
  • It apparently has randomized booster packs that can be bought in addition to the main box.  
Most of what I saw seemed to reinforce what had been impressed upon me before.  Since I've played some 4E at conventions, knowing that it uses that tells me a lot about how the game plays; I think that the simplified mechanics of 4E would lend themselves better to a pickup game, a fast-paced romp, and the randomized ability generation that occurs during the game.  However, the notion of randomized boosters is a bit of a turn-off for me.  Partly, I don't like them anyway, as the money-making scheme that they are, but also, players are apparently supposed to be allowed to buy their own boosters to make their own power decks from which to draw if they so choose.  Not only does this end up favoring the character of the character who does the most collecting, but it also poses the issue of making sure that the cards don't get mixed up.
Overall, I like what I see, and will probably pick up the box at some point.  I'm fortunately in the position of not having a reliable gaming group, so I shouldn't have to worry about someone else bringing his deck to the table.  Though, I'll still impose a "no outside cards" house rule.  After all, it's still an RPG, and the house always rules.  

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