Sunday, January 31, 2010

WOTC Gamma World 4e?!?

Well THIS came outta nowhere. It seems that Wizards is gonna release a boxed Gamma World set built upon the 4th edition D&D ruleset in October 2010. They will also be releasing updated adventures based on Legion of Gold and Famine in Far-go (or as they call them, "Expansion Kits").

There's a lot of angst in the blogosphere about the collectible-card-mechanic of the mutations/character generation, so I won't go into it here. (Search Google for discussions elsewhere.) To summarize, there are 40 cards available in the boxed set and more mutations can be purchased in booster packs of cards. Yup, just like any other collectible card game. So
instead of getting to choose your mutations or rolling on a table, you must apparently own a certain card to have that ability.

As I read elsewhere:

Player: “OK, so here’s my Gamma World character. His mutations are Kinetic Bolt, Precognition, and Anti-Necrobiosis.”

DM: “Anti-Necrobiosis? Cool! So you are collecting the boosters now?”

Player: “Uh, actually my buddy just told me about the mutation and I wrote down the details. But you can check it with your DDI subscription.”

DM: “Sorry, go out and buy a few boosters if you really want that mutation.”

Player: (mumbles and starts thinking about Mutant Future.)

And, with that, we return you to your Mutant Future news and info already in progress...


  1. It strikes me that, in the above example, the problem lies with the DM, not with the fact that extra cards are available for those who want them. Isn't that correct? Isn't the above example simply using a pointlessly restrictive DM in order to try and illustrate a perceived problem with the system?

  2. I think so. I read that example elsewhere and thought it illustrated a basic point - that of the cards = character attributes/abilities. Of course, until the game is released, we don't know if this is hyperbole or accurate, but I'm not a big fan of "booster packs" (or whatever they're gonna be called) to supplement an RPG. Not likin' the artificial collectibility of that part of the game system. ("Hey! I just got the ultra-rare, silver-foil, embossed and signed "Matter Eater" mutation card!")

    Anyway, I'm somewhat gladdened to see Gamma World coming out again as well as Dark Sun. Perhaps we'll see a new Ravenloft setting soon!

  3. I think the point of it is like the WFRP3e designer said: It is more flexible vs a table since you can add more cards latter without having to reprint the table, and all the players have everything in front of them.

    Now I don't think they are crying over the extra money any, but I do think its better then 'which sourcebook was the most recent version of that in again?"

    I also agree: That DM is a dick.


  4. I really don't understand all the angst about the cards. First off, I am excited that Wizards is releasing a game with random char gen! That is a radical departure for them, and Gamma World would not be Gamma World without it.

    Secondly, there are 80 cards in the boxed set and 120 total.

    Thirdly, this isn't Magic the Gathering where you have to have the official card to use it (Player 1 - I play a Black Lotus. Player 2 - Uh... that is a piece of paper with the word "black lotus" scribbled on it...). This is a RPG, a collaborative endeavor by definition. The cards are there for people who want to spend the money to have cool cards with cool art. Those who just want to play the game can print out a sheet and cut it them up and there is no difference in game play.

    And finally, as far as I understand it from talking with some people that got to playtest it at the D&D Experience 2010 convention yesterday, there are base mutations that don't change (one of the playtesters had a character that was a mutant Yeti/Cockroach cross that could spit acid) and then there are the daily mutations that you draw from the random card deck. The game is playable as is with the cards coming in the boxed set, and if any of the players have the booster cards, there is no reason at all that all the players couldn't draw from the total pool of cards. Like I said, this is not a competition between players like MTG, this is a RPG.

  5. I made cards for the players in our OD&D / Weird West game, and I'm in the middle of making them for monsters, locations, spells etc.

    I think it's a very good way to present the info to players.

  6. WOTC continues to impress me with their evil overlord ways. CCGs for RPGs? This must stop now before it spreads to other companies.

  7. As for me, I'll withhold judgment on WOTC's coming iteration of Gamma World. I don't have anything against the creative use of cards for mutations but the idea of constantly having to upgrade through booster packs does not appeal to me. Nonetheless, I'll be watching and waiting first to see how all of this will turn out...

  8. I loved the original Gamma World though not a huge fan of the mmorpg style of 4th ed. I will withhold judgement until i see it for myself. Good article though!

  9. Wow, new Gamma World stuff! Even though I'm repulsed by the idea of having to collect cards to get powers I have to admit I'm really intrigued by the notion of a WotC return to that universe.

  10. All design comments aside, I think it really comes down to Old School vs. New School. Folks who loved D&D 1e probably aren't gonna like (or even recognize) D&D 4e. Ergo, they'll play LL or S&W. Same with Gamma World. Folks who grew up on the original version probably won't be too keen on the new version and will therefore play MF.

    Gamma World 4e will probably appeal to newer gamers looking for a new post-apoc RPG to try though.

  11. "Folks who loved D&D 1e probably aren't gonna like (or even recognize) D&D 4e."

    That's me. When I started and stopped playing D&D there was only basic, expert, and advanced. All those version numbers just go over my head. I was shocked to google "Gamma World" and find so many versions and variations. My GW rulebook has the black & white cover. :)

    I like the idea of cards as a way to present info, but I'm just going to make my own.

  12. "I like the idea of cards as a way to present info, but I'm just going to make my own."

    That's exactly right. And there's no reason you couldn't post your own set of mutation cards for other people to download and print. I've seen people do that for out of print CCGs like RAGE.

  13. The only 4th edition of Gamma World I am interested in was printed in 1992.

  14. Wow....
    I think it's a fun idea. As opposed to random power charts, you are active and draw from the deck.

    I hadn't heard about buying boosters to play with more powers and such. But there is nothing stopping a group or a single player from just using the core set. Same is true for all the 4e stuff.
    My group is only playing with the core rule books, with the exception of myself who is using the core set, plus MM2 and the adventurer's vault series. Otherwise, we're using pdf's from the web for our cards and character sheets. I create home-made tokens for monsters, and the pc's use their own figures(or mine).

    I'm an old school gamer,and I still have my plastic cyan dice with crayon rubbed into them, but I like trying new games. See what works, and what doesn't work. The game is still being produced, and there is no reason why they won't change the whole thing before its release.

    The Giants module that came out last year was originally going to be a boxed set, instead it was a single book. So things are still up in the air until it's released.

  15. So your post is over a year old, but since it still comes up on net searches for Gamma World, you should probably amend or change your original post, now that it has been proven completely incorrect (Gamma World does not use cards for character creation.)

  16. What? Are you guys serious? I loved the idea! As noted above, nothing is stopping anyone from making their own cards. And the idea of bringing a table to a deck of cards is much more fun!

    A breath of fresh air, I'd say. And the old-schoolness is in the GM and players, not the rules.

    There's a loot deck. It would be devilishly great to have your characters almost die battling a herd of spidergoats and recovering a nonfunctional TV for loot! Maybe that's whay they needed for their techie to build a radio? Who would be listening to radio then? Would they find a last bastion of civilization? Would that be some sort of Mad Max's Barter Town?

  17. i find the complete lack of seriousness the biggest flaw - i prefer gams as more like 2000AD comics or judge dredd - horror and humour side by side. The card mechanic now used in DnD is horrible - why not just sell cards in a set, o encourage players invent own. AS a gamma fan since 84 there is nothing for me in this new edition. I like that kids find it amusing and wacky - good for them but but i find usable content in every other version. I have heard of cocroach yetis so many times it is not wacky it is a boring game flaw. Thankfully fans on rpg net wrote up all cards and posted them if anyone does care. My family are rabidly anti gambling - i cant play acquisition based card games or the state lotteries. I gave up bubblegum cards as a kid too - id rather a book or a good blog.