My FLGS, Phantom of the Attic Games, had to post-pone their Gamma World Game day until this weekend. I had kind of forgotten about it any how, but I stopped into the store on Friday to pick up Rogue Trader - Edge of the Abyss. Jeff asked if I had any interest in playing. I've never played any edition of Gamma World, but I'm familiar with the basic setting. Since D&D Gamma World is going to be one of the games my Tuesday night group is going to try out when we take a break from the 4e campaign, I figured it would be good to get a sample of the game play first hand. I sent an email to Dave, who has volunteered to run our home game adventure, to get him in on the game store festivities.
We didn't know the other players or the DM, but they all seemed to be familiar with each other. I'm guessing they all play in the D&D Encounters program or Living Forgotten Realms or something. The RPGA stuff doesn't really interest me that much, so I've never participated, but all the folks were friendly.
The session started with character generation. One of the things I'm really liking about this new edition of Gamma World is how quickly a character can be generated. Most the the creation is randomized and I was able to get something together in less than 30 minutes when screwing around at home. You roll for two mutations, you get an 18 in the related attribute for your primary mutation and a 16 in the attribute for your secondary mutation. You roll your other 4 attributes, 3d6, straight, in order. You get a bonus to a couple skills. You get a couple abilities and powers. You get armor (simplified to heavy or light), a couple weapons (again from a simplified list) and some other junk. You do some math to figure out your defenses, attack bonuses, and damage. You draw an Alpha Mutation and Omega Tech card from your decks. That's it. Done.
Our group of five broke out as the following (working from memory here, so bear with me):
- Me - Sigmund Krang, the Empath Telekenetic
- Dave - Pineapple, the Plant Gravity Controller
- Dad - Cat something or other, the Felinoid Speedster
- Kid - Flash, the Electrokinetic something or other
- Other guy - Flamebot 451, the Pyrokinetic Android
Since it was a one shot, the GM kind of glossed over a reason for us to explore an old warehouse. Actually, she sort of hand-waved most of the RP opportunities. We kind of just jumped from one fight to another. That's fine with me, since I was mostly interested in learning out the system worked more than anything else. I had fun with the game. It was totally wacky and unpredictable. Every time you start a new encounter (and every critical miss within an encounter), you draw a new Alpha Mutation, so your powers are constantly changing. It made for some strange scenarios. I rolled two ones in a row and sprouted manibles, which disappeared before I figure out how to use them, then ended up with the giant mutation, which made me large sized. The combat was pretty deadly, with the enemies doling out a lot of damage on a hit. There are very limited resources for healing, and 2 - 4 hits with good damage rolls seemed to be enough to take out a character. We actually had a couple deaths in the first combat, but the GM allowed the players to rejoin when the encounter ended, since it was just a demo game.
All in all, I had a blast and I'm excited to try it with the guys on Tuesday nights. It's certainly not a game for all types of players. The randomness of the game will probably infuriate a lot of the Munchkin Min-Max crowd, at least. Some people are pretty offended about the booster packs for Alpha Mutations and Omega Tech, but in practice, I liked the mechanic. I also liked that a player doesn't need to build any kind of deck. They can just draw from the GM deck at any time, so it's not at all required or anything. It looks like we might try to insert it in December. Dave is going to run it. We'll try a couple sessions, then move on to something else. It will be my first time playing with Dave as the GM. I think he'll do a great job with this stuff and it's about time he took his turn behind the screen. If people like the feel of this, I may eventually try to do a one-shot of Mutant Future, the Goblinoid Games OSR Gamma World clone, using the Labyrinth Lord engine.