|Here's a pic I took of the event poster, in where else? The bathroom (no lie).|
The Source held two sessions (11:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.) each running about four hours. Since I'd been offered tickets to go see the Gopher game in the morning (they lost--surprise!) I went to the latter. After signing up, I was placed at a table with four other players (three of whom who were pals) and another fellow. They all seemed like nice guys, the three who knew each other seemed to be regular--or at least non-novice-- 4E players and had things down pat. We all began as 1st Level PCs. Our little A-Team of mutants consisted of:
- Chitter-Chitter: a rat swarm in humanoid form that had psionic powers and wielded the Skillet of Justice™
- Catnip: a feline plant who later acquired a Heavy-lift Harness (think Ripley in Aliens)
- Frank: I misheard his origin, but I think he was an enhanced human of some kind with a hoverboard and and fantastically high mechanics skill
- Kenshiro: again, chargen was somewhat chaotic, but I think he was made out of rock or metal, he swung a brick flail
- Zeke the Beak: a giant hawkoid who swung a full-sized mailbox and a harpoon gun, and donned armor made of salvaged ironing boards
STR: 18 (+4)
DEX: 14 (+2)
CON: 16 (+3)
WIS: 16 (+3)
INT: 10 (n/a)
CHA: 7 (-2)
HP: 28 / Bloodied: 14
Zeke had a Nature skill with a +4, which came in completely useless as he had a habit of rolling natural 1's. Oh, and being a hawkoid, he could of course fly his speed (6).
There has already been plenty of reviews of the material included in the new set, unboxing videos, and plenty of discussion, so I won't rehash, but I will tell you my initial impressions. For ease, I'll just bullet:
- First off, we'd all purchased our own booster cards as required by WotC and the store, though the GM was a swell guy and I want to say he'd have been lenient and let us share or borrow a few from his deck.
- As we all know, 4E is heavy on the crunch, and that's not diluted in Gamma World, however it does play a bit faster and looser. For instance, stats on single and two-handed weapons are listed without going into every permutation thereof, my two-handed mailbox was just as as deadly as say a two-handed parking meter.
- I'll admit, I'm an idiot sometimes, but I was annoyed that the character sheet and stat blocks for powers (in the manual) are an overcrowded nightmare. Half the time I couldn't tell what I was looking at, let along what blank I had to fill in. Being an idiot in a rush to complete his character didn't help.
- We did roll quite a few skills that (if it were an OSR game) we likely didn't need to roll for. Frank's mechanic skill (padded through bonuses and some equipment he'd acquired) often ended up in the 30+ range. Yet the GM had him roll his mechanics skill at least three times--twice to defeat door locks. After a while the GM did relent, again, in the interest of moving things along. I wish this were less a GM-style issue, and more encouraged by the rules themselves.
- Damage in GW is insanely brutal, with many rounds running like a live-action cartoon of carnage. While fun, we were warned early and often that we may have to roll up new PCs.
- The prospect of chargen during the game seems ridiculous to me since it took so long in the first place. The GM had his hands full with the five of us rolling up shiny new PCs. Even with 4E players using a photo copy of the armor and origin tables, it took nearly 40 min. While it would go much faster once you knew what you were doing, each origin has it's own inherited powers so you'd better be familiar with the book if you want it go faster. I had my own solution.*
- Apart from these, I'm actually a big fan of the random booster cards. They were definitely the stars of the show and made for an exciting game overall. Early previews of the game had criticized it with more power-boosting/munchkining, but since the game's main strength is its outlandishness (and frankly, it's point) I see this as a benefit.
- Alpha mutations make up not only your origin, but play a big part from encounter to encounter.
- Omega tech is likely far too powerful for OSR tastes, being plentiful in the way of a deck each player can collect, and having the ability to be "overcharged" to enhance performance, but often limits it to single or limited use.
- All in all I had a lot of fun and I'd play again, though it's quite apparent that so much of the game is sucked up checking rules. This seems like it would be the case for anyone (GM or PCs) learning a new game though, so might not be a big issue in the long run.
While all four of the guys playing were great roleplayers, Frank's player sort of became the default "leader" tracking initiative, helping move things along, and knew his rules (even helping the GM) and this made for a better, smoother game experience.
In the end, Zeke flew away with:
- 420 XP
- A downed robot's head, which he sported as a hat
- A kalidoscope that which he eventually traded with Chitter-Chitter for a pair of swim goggles
|While it would have been nice to have them included in the box, I had the chance to pick out my own set of "irradiated die", pictured above with the Freesboro module.|
|Zeke's favorite tactic was to "deliver the mail" using Brickbat.|
|Zeke was careful not to use the shriek too often since his buddies were often too close to enemies in combat.|
A list of the booster cards Alpha (mutation) and Omega (technology)
Overviews of origins and character generation
Overview of gear