The apocalypse came, not with a bang but with a whimper.
Or maybe the world was saved and no one even knew. I think I like that one better.
Either way, my idea for a post apocalyptic game set in the early days of the Second World War never gained all that much steam, as evidenced by the lack of columns publically exploring that development here in the illustrious Illuminerdy. I wanted to take this column to close Cycling to the Apocalypse, do a bit of a post-mortem in the hopes of learning something, and announce a new project.
I still think setting a post-Apocalyptic game in the early 1940’s is a good idea, even if it’s already been done by some excellent, professional game designers. There’s lots of good horror and apocalyptic themes to draw on there. The world is already on the brink. Isolation is easy to arrange for players — a trapped unit, a crashed plane. Resource management and acquisition, which I think should always be a part of post-apocalyptic games, are also easy to come by. Players can look for ammo, fuel, and other necessary items as they wander and fight the risen dead, Nazi mutants, or whatever crawled through the rift in time and space.
There’s also lots of nice source material. My game idea was essentially “what if the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark had gone very differently.” Any of the pulp fiction, from Indiana Jones to Doc Savage could be drafted into game service. And there’s a wealth of readable history available on World War Two, of course, from the straightforward and heroic, to the straightforward about the weird, to the just weird. (Warning: crazy blogger in that final link!)
Lots of good ideas, there. So why no game? Or no game development? The simple answer is players. One thing I’ve learned about myself during this process is that it’s hard for me to simply create without something to create for, at least where gaming is concerned. Motivation is hard to come by, even when ideas are not, if the material is going to sit on the shelf and not get played. I recognize that this is something I need to get over, as the creative process is valuable in and of itself. Making things is important for me, players or no. But it’s easier to make things for the game I am playing, rather than find players for the game I am making. Add to that standard issue gamer-ADD and I just never got very far on this project, good idea or no.
Yet never fear! The Illuminerds have come up with another creative idea sure to provide you with all sorts of wonderful fodder for your Weird War Two games, apocalyptic or no. Beginning next month, I’ll be writing Dispatch Ultra, a Weird War Two column scheduled to appear monthly here in The Illuminerdy. Each column will feature an actual historical figure or event with one interesting wrinkle. I’ll then “what if” that wrinkle, extrapolating some weirdness from real history. It’s an idea column, one I hope will spark interesting NPC’s and plots for World War Two games everywhere.
Did you know J.R.R. Tolkien almost put his linguistic skills to use cracking Nazi codes?
What if Kirby’s iconic cover for Captain America #1 was drawn because Kirby saw it happen?
Dispatch Ultra has the answers. And more!