May 16, 2013

[Let's Look At] Mutants & Machine-Guns: A Gonzo Post-Apocalyptic RPG, Part 1: Overview

Several weeks ago, I was delighted to find a couple friends of mine in my hometown have been up to something exciting, and I thought what better way than to launch a new series of posts to revive this long-dead blog. [Let's Look At] is where I try to read through and dissect every chapter and corner of a new RPG that I have yet to play, and explore it with all of my musings about its design, some notes, and experimental plays to better understand it. I don't really intend these examinations to be a review of the game, but rants and raves may seep through the seams at times.    
Mutants & Machine-Guns A Gonzo Post-Apocalyptic RPG by Robertson Sondoh Jr. & Daniel Marcus of Experimental Playgrounds

Mutants & Machine-Guns: A Gonzo Post-Apocalyptic RPG is a post-apocalypse roleplaying game made by Robertson Sondoh Jr. and Daniel Marcus, who form the duo of Experimental Playgrounds. If you haven't heard of Experimental Playgrounds, these guys are from my far-away homestate of Sabah in Malaysia and they have been up making simple and free print-and-play boardgames/minigmaes that have gained some small notoriety on BoardGameGeek (check out their games that are available on BoardGameGeek) until now. 

Mutants & Machine Guns is the first RPG from Experimental Playgrounds and I'm excited to see a local RPG made by local talents. While it is still very much still in-development, the Experimental Playground folks were kind enough to send me a free copy of their latest version, which you can acquire at their website.

Disclaimer: While I do know both of the creators on a personal level, I do intend to view this RPG as objectively as any roleplayer would, giving my views that would hopefully be taken as constructive criticism to improve this game further.


Sticking true to their love for simple to play games, Mutants & Machine-Guns is designed in the pocketmod format, which means that it is printable on an A4 paper and folded in 8 pages (10, if you include the character sheet and battlegrid). This makes it quite literally a very light RPG with all the rules (and then some) that can be fitted into a piece of paper to read through and learned almost at a glance.

Describing itself as a Gonzo Post-Apocalyptic RPG, the introduction to Mutants & Machine-Guns says that it takes its inspirations from classical post-apocalypse materials (movies and games) such as Thundarr the Barbarian, Gamma World, Mutant Future, Mad Max and Fall Out.

All you need to play this RPG, other than the necessary stationery and players, are just the easy to find D6s, which makes it friendlier for most gamers because polyhedral dices aren't a common thing you will see from where I come from.

Given it's format, I would generally breakdown the 'chapters' of this game down to the following, though they do not appear in that order:

  1. Character Creation - the four main stats, combat-related stats, and task resolution 
  2. Mutations - possible mutations that you can have as a character
  3. Combat - combat rules, actions and healing
  4. Wasteland Economy - equipment
  5. GM rules - radiation and critters. 
So that's how I will be delving into each 'chapter' of the game. Look for more Mutants & Machine-Guns in my next post!

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