What’s your favorite edition/simulacrum of Gamma World?

I’m not talking battlebabes and gunluggers here; I’m talking mutated badgers and dudes with ears where their eyes should be fighting their way through a bunker against golden androids in search of a prized cache of ancient tech, which is really just a box of MIB copies of The Jane Fonda Workout. On Betamax.

And you’re not limited to actual editions of Gamma World; if there are other gonzo post-apoc RPGs you feel capture this feeling well, you’re welcome to name them.

(I’m going to refrain from naming any myself yet so as not to poison the wells.)

44 thoughts on “What’s your favorite edition/simulacrum of Gamma World?

  1. It’s the right kind of gonzo for me! Out of the box, it’s super-grindy and terrible: most of the time you spend outside your Ark you’re running up against getting radiation poisoning the Rot, which is pretty grim. But there’s also a good chance you’ve got butterfly wings, or electric eel skin, or are half-mongoose. The mutations themselves are zany, but I love it because the setting and situations are heavy.

    Something about Gamma World I never liked is that it always felt like the wandering-around-the-ruins business was low-stakes, just D&D in different clothes. 

    EDIT: The first expansion added saurians, lizardpeople mutants. The second I think has shark-people. The third is, I believe, full-on furries — mutant rabbits and shit. That is the wrong kind of gonzo for me, but it’s modular.

  2. < ![CDATA[It's the right kind of gonzo for me! Out of the box, it's super-grindy and terrible: most of the time you spend outside your Ark you're running up against getting radiation poisoning the Rot, which is pretty grim. But there’s also a good chance you’ve got butterfly wings, or electric eel skin, or are half-mongoose. The mutations themselves are zany, but I love it because the setting and situations are heavy.
    Something about Gamma World I never liked is that it always felt like the wandering-around-the-ruins business was low-stakes, just D&D in different clothes. 
    EDIT: The first expansion added saurians, lizardpeople mutants. The second I think has shark-people. The third is, I believe, full-on furries — mutant rabbits and shit. That is the wrong kind of gonzo for me, but it’s modular.]]>

  3. I’d like to investigate MY0, but I haven’t dropped the cash yet. That said, I prefer the first edition of GW to those that came later. Editions 1 and 2 were similar enough that 2 felt like a cash-grab and the art in 1 is better.

    I’m currently playing Other Dust and it’s OK, but maybe a little bit sterile or not gonzo enough.

    Also, the Caves of Qud roguelike is pretty rad and the right setting, but probably not what you’re looking for.

  4. < ![CDATA[I'd like to investigate MY0, but I haven't dropped the cash yet. That said, I prefer the first edition of GW to those that came later. Editions 1 and 2 were similar enough that 2 felt like a cash-grab and the art in 1 is better. I'm currently playing Other Dust and it's OK, but maybe a little bit sterile or not gonzo enough. Also, the Caves of Qud roguelike is pretty rad and the right setting, but probably not what you're looking for.]]>

  5. I actually kind of enjoyed the hell out of the 4e system reboot, warts and all.  It only broke down for our group because (for one thing) the card expansions were no longer available and (for another) when you have a party of eight PCs, this means that you go through those decks like nobody’s business in a single four hour session and (for a third) my luck with dice is horrible, be I GM or player, so Very Tough encounters are either cakewalks or TPK.

  6. < ![CDATA[I actually kind of enjoyed the hell out of the 4e system reboot, warts and all.  It only broke down for our group because (for one thing) the card expansions were no longer available and (for another) when you have a party of eight PCs, this means that you go through those decks like nobody's business in a single four hour session and (for a third) my luck with dice is horrible, be I GM or player, so Very Tough encounters are either cakewalks or TPK.]]>

  7. I continue to be torn between 1e and 2e Gamma World. Basically, I love the esthetics of 1e but I appreciate the better organization/clarity of 2e. Mutant Future would be my preferred clone if I ever needed it, but, so far, I just use my original GW books whenever I’ve played.

  8. < ![CDATA[I continue to be torn between 1e and 2e Gamma World. Basically, I love the esthetics of 1e but I appreciate the better organization/clarity of 2e. Mutant Future would be my preferred clone if I ever needed it, but, so far, I just use my original GW books whenever I’ve played.]]>

  9. Christopher Weeks James Maliszewski I ran Legion of Gold for a Gameday using 1e and have to admit that it felt nigh-unplayable to me. I seem to remember both the artifact flowcharts and the poison rules being essentially broken. I later played a short stint (1-2 sessions) of 2e and enjoyed it quite a bit.

  10. < ![CDATA[Christopher Weeks James Maliszewski I ran Legion of Gold for a Gameday using 1e and have to admit that it felt nigh-unplayable to me. I seem to remember both the artifact flowcharts and the poison rules being essentially broken. I later played a short stint (1-2 sessions) of 2e and enjoyed it quite a bit.]]>

  11. Henry de Veuve I played a single session of the D&D 4e edition, and despite liking 4e at the time, it just didn’t work for me. I found the cards intrusive and awkward. This was the same shot-lived campaign as the GW 2e game I mention above — we switched off, porting the characters from one system to the other — and the inherent nature of 4e as a skirmish game was made readily apparent to us. In the 2e phase, we spent most of our time exploring; in the D&D 4e phase, it was all minis and cards.

  12. < ![CDATA[Henry de Veuve I played a single session of the D&D 4e edition, and despite liking 4e at the time, it just didn't work for me. I found the cards intrusive and awkward. This was the same shot-lived campaign as the GW 2e game I mention above — we switched off, porting the characters from one system to the other — and the inherent nature of 4e as a skirmish game was made readily apparent to us. In the 2e phase, we spent most of our time exploring; in the D&D 4e phase, it was all minis and cards.]]>

  13. Reid San Filippo Yeah! I ran it as a one-shot, and while the adventure I picked was absolutely terrible (Mutant Master maybe?), I actually thought the rules were pretty tight, with everything you needed in one 192-page rulebook. I kick myself for selling off my copy.

  14. < ![CDATA[Reid San Filippo Yeah! I ran it as a one-shot, and while the adventure I picked was absolutely terrible (Mutant Master maybe?), I actually thought the rules were pretty tight, with everything you needed in one 192-page rulebook. I kick myself for selling off my copy.]]>

  15. Two FMWs ago, Mike Holmes ran a game set in Gamma World using a system that’s his own design, but looks very much like Coretex. It was fun, but I’d need more time playing to feel confident that the system (instead of just Mike GMing) deserves credit for that.

    The next game like that, that I want to run looks like this: 1) make characters using TMNT After the Bomb books and The Metamorphica, 2) convert them to a World of Dungeons chassis, 3) play WoDu while respecting the OSR’s random table fetish.

  16. < ![CDATA[Two FMWs ago, Mike Holmes ran a game set in Gamma World using a system that's his own design, but looks very much like Coretex. It was fun, but I'd need more time playing to feel confident that the system (instead of just Mike GMing) deserves credit for that. The next game like that, that I want to run looks like this: 1) make characters using TMNT After the Bomb books and The Metamorphica, 2) convert them to a World of Dungeons chassis, 3) play WoDu while respecting the OSR's random table fetish.]]>

  17. Mark Delsing As they say, your mileage may vary.  I didn’t like the way your alpha mutation changed every encounter, for example, and the random species chart got a bit clumsy by the time you added in the expansions.   Aside from those, though, we had a blast…but then our group does a LOT better with skirmish games.  As a system of choice, I’d shoot for something like Masters of Umdaar (Fate Accelerated).

  18. < ![CDATA[Mark Delsing As they say, your mileage may vary.  I didn't like the way your alpha mutation changed every encounter, for example, and the random species chart got a bit clumsy by the time you added in the expansions.   Aside from those, though, we had a blast...but then our group does a LOT better with skirmish games.  As a system of choice, I'd shoot for something like Masters of Umdaar (Fate Accelerated).]]>

  19. Heh, yeah, you were both in that game.

    Because nobody has mentioned it, and because I like the premise, I’ll give a shout out for Metamorphosis Alpha. I’ve only seen the original, but I’ll bet the new version is better.

  20. < ![CDATA[Heh, yeah, you were both in that game. Because nobody has mentioned it, and because I like the premise, I'll give a shout out for Metamorphosis Alpha. I've only seen the original, but I'll bet the new version is better.]]>

  21. < ![CDATA[Yeah, I might have some irrational attachment due to nostalgia to GW1 because it was my first non-D&D game and my first experience playing an RPG with people who weren't my parents.]]>