An Apocalypse World Review

In my previous participation, talked about other options besides Dungeons and Dragons, and I proposed to talk a little more about them at length.

So without further ado, I leave you with a review of Apocalypse World:

Apocalypse World is a post-apocalyptic role-playing game designed by Vincent Baker and published by Lumpley Games in 2010. The game is set in a post-apocalyptic world, and players take on the roles of survivors struggling to survive and rebuild society. The game is known for its emphasis on player-driven narrative, simple mechanics, and the use of moves to drive the story forward.

Apocalypse World has received widespread critical acclaim since its release, with many reviewers praising its innovative mechanics and immersive world-building. The game has also spawned numerous spin-offs and adaptations, including Dungeon World, Monsterhearts, and Sagas of the Icelanders.

Gameplay Mechanics

One of the key features of Apocalypse World is its simple and intuitive gameplay mechanics. Players are tasked with describing their characters’ actions in detail, and then rolling two six-sided dice to determine the outcome. The result of the roll is then compared to a list of moves, which determine the outcome of the action and drive the narrative forward.

Moves are actions a player can take to trigger specific outcomes, such as attacking an enemy or investigating a mysterious object. The moves in Apocalypse World are designed to be flexible and adaptable, allowing players to create their own moves and tailor the game to their own preferences.

Another important aspect of Apocalypse World is its emphasis on a player-driven narrative. The game is designed to be collaborative, with players working together to create a shared story that reflects their characters’ motivations and desires. This focus on narrative allows players to create rich and immersive worlds that feel alive and vibrant.

Setting and World-Building

The world of Apocalypse World is a bleak and desolate place, filled with danger and uncertainty. The game is set after an unspecified apocalypse has occurred, and the world is now populated by a variety of factions and groups struggling for survival.

One of the strengths of Apocalypse World is its world-building, which allows players to create their own unique versions of the post-apocalyptic world. The game provides a detailed framework for creating a world that is tailored to the players’ preferences, with rules for creating factions, landscapes, and threats.

The game also features a range of interesting and engaging NPCs (non-player characters), each with its own motivations and goals. These characters can serve as allies or enemies to the players, depending on their actions and choices.

Reviews and Reception

Since its release in 2010, Apocalypse World has received widespread critical acclaim and has become a cult classic among role-playing game enthusiasts. The game has been praised for its innovative mechanics, player-driven narrative, and immersive world-building.

John Walker from Rock, Paper, Shotgun called Apocalypse World “the best RPG I’ve played in a decade,” praising the game’s “incredibly smart mechanics” and “strong emphasis on character and narrative.” In a review for The Escapist, Andrew Groen described Apocalypse World as “a revelation,” praising the game’s “simple, intuitive mechanics” and “focus on storytelling.”

Apocalypse World has also been recognized by the gaming industry, winning a number of awards and nominations. In 2011, the game won the Indie RPG Award for Best Role-Playing Game and was nominated for the Origins Award for Best Role-Playing Game. The game has also been recognized by the prestigious IndieCade festival, winning the Audience Choice Award in 2011.

Spin-Offs and Adaptations

The success of Apocalypse World has led to a number of spin-offs and adaptations, each exploring different aspects of the post-apocalyptic world. Some of the most notable spin-offs include:

Dungeon World: A fantasy role-playing game based on the Apocalypse World mechanics, set in a world of swords and sorcery.

Monsterhearts: A game about teenage monsters and their struggles.

Some recommendations for playing Apocalypse World

  • Embrace the Narrative: One of the key features of Apocalypse World is its emphasis on player-driven narrative. Players are encouraged to create rich and immersive worlds and to let their characters’ motivations and desires guide the story.
  • Experiment with Moves: The moves in Apocalypse World are flexible and adaptable, and players are encouraged to experiment with creating their own actions. This can lead to some truly unique and creative gameplay experiences.
  • Focus on Character: The characters in Apocalypse World are the heart of the game, and players should focus on creating compelling and interesting characters. This can involve creating detailed backstories, motivations, and personalities, and allowing these traits to guide the story.
  • Be Open to Change: Apocalypse World is a game that is designed to evolve and change over time. Players should be open to unexpected twists and turns in the story and should be willing to adapt to new situations as they arise.

Until the next installment of more about alternative options to D&D.


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