I have to admit that I was first motivated to pick up Wreck Age from DriveThruRPG mostly due to my current rekindled love for the Fallout RPG franchise. Post Apocalyptic settings have always been of interest to me, and each one always brings something new to the table.
So when I saw the entry for Wreck Age as both an RPG and a miniatures tabletop game, I was intrigued. Aside from Savage Worlds, this was a combination that was pretty rare in the current RPG marketplace. So I decided to grab a copy and take a peek.
Wreck Age is a new franchise from Hyacinth Games, and delivers an interesting vision of a post-apocalypse world.
In the 23rd future, Earth was a pretty screwed up place. A combination of economic and ecological factors forced mankind to flee the planet in a bold effort to colonize other planets to save the race. The plan was to send wave after wave of colonists to settle in the stars, a promise of a great exodus that woudl insure mankind’s survival.
The Exodus, it turns out, was a lie.
After the cream of humanity took to the stars, it became apparent that there was no intention to take anyone else. The rest of humanity had been forced to fend for itself in a planet that was barely holding together. Society crumbled, and humanity bore the worst of natural disasters.
Generations later, whatever was left of mankind clings desperately to life. A new world has emerged and mankind once again forces itself to pick up from the rubble and rebuild.
It’s a stunning (and all too possible) scenario that plays up the idea of mankind’s apathy towards the less fortunate in a way that strikes very close to home. I like that the scenario isn’t a spectactular end like a meteor, but an apocalypse that had happened even before anyone else realized that it was too late.
Wreck Age has several factions of differing philosophies and levels of technology.
The Stakers are community and family-centric settlers who focus on sustainability and survival who are slow to trust strangers.
Drifters are nomadic barbarian clans who wander and attack stable communities in a throwback to ancient warrior raiding cultures.
Stitchers are gruesome medically trained survivors of an Exodus Ship that crash landed near TooSon. While initially benefactors to their community, the dependence of the ignorant to those with knowledge led to a strange warped sense of entitlement and control their communities with fear and knowledge.
The Order of Reclamation are those who struggle to rebuild from scavenged technology and data. Operating from Data Havens, they are a cult of techophiles that travel the wastes to find lost technology for their own ends.
The ARHK, or the Autonomous Region of Hong Kong are a highly industrialized and technologically capable faction who have forces in Merika in an attempt to scavenge lost technology to support their own society. Following directives from the Board of Directors in the hermetically sealed city of Hong Kong, the ARHK troopers are a strange and terrifying sight in the wastes.
In the midst of an utterly depressing world, The Church of Fun espouses excess and hedonism. The very ethos of “Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die” the Church of Fun are a drug-crazed group that is a force of chaos in the wastes.
Unicephalon are a conspiracy of hidden operatives who seek to shape humanity towards the concept of Re-Birth, a plan to recreate society to what it should be. Part illuminati and part knights templar the group is perhaps one of the closest to the “Good guys” despite their reliance on espionage and secrecy as their methods.
The Vale are a death cult that hold the belief that mankind has existed past its due date and they exist merely to clean up by destroying what’s left of humanity.
Caravaneers serve the basic need of trade between settlements. They travel the dangerous roads between civilized settlements, braving raiders and dangers to make sure that they make a sale.
The Fringes are not so much a faction as a catch-all term for small crews that have been forced to work together. They are not members of any of the Factions and simply work towards survival. Many Adventurers fall under this category as they are often mercenaries working for one Faction or another as needs dictate.
Wreck Age is designed to be playable as both an RPG and a Tabletop Game. As I am predominantly an RPG player, I’ll focus mainly on the RPG side, but I’ll see if I can throw in a comment or two with regards to the Tabletop side of the equation as well.
Wreck Age mechanics involve rolling a pool of d6’s against a given Target Number. Unlike other Target Number based systems, the TN applies to each die, much like a Difficulty number from the Classic World of Darkness. Therefore rolling against a TN of 4+ means that dice rolling a 4 or greater count as a success. Some tests also require multiple successes.
Rolling a natural 1 is an automatic failure regardless of any bonuses. While rolling more than a single 6 adds a value of 1 to one of the 6’s’ rolled. This took me a bit to understand, but is fairly simple when you get the hang of it. Rolling three 6’s for example, will add +2 to one of the dice, giving an end result of 8, 6, 6
Creating characters start with the group getting together to put together a community. This dictates which Faction (if any) the player characters will be coming from and the Archetypes that they can choose from.
There’s a large list of archetypes, ranging from “generic” ones with no faction affiliation to those belonging to specific factions. These are then customized later by spending points. Interestingly only the Reclaimers, Stakers, Stitchers and Drifters get full archetypes.
Scenarios and Campaigns
Wreck Age finishes up with the standard Tabletop game rules for scenarios and stringing such scenarios together into a campaign as well as a few pages of advanced rules.
Wreck Age is a Post-Apocalypse game that makes a good effort at being both an RPG and a tabletop game. Part of me feels that the RPG part is a little thin, and the way that the mechanics are presented at the same time make it difficult to learn one without having to try and slog through the other. I also found myself going through the rules several times just to get a few mechanics.
The setting and artwork are very evocative, and I’m definitely interested to run and play games in the setting as presented, but learning to run it is going to require a night or two of focused study.
Wreck Age will be easier to learn if you’re a tabletop player, of course, and the various units and factions are compelling and have a strong visual identity for hobbyists that enjoy the painting aspect of it. From the images of the miniatures in the book, the figures are pretty neat.
Overall, I would definitely recommend giving Wreck Age a shot if you’re a fan of post-apocalypse settings. Tabletop players will find it easier to get into, but rpg players with a taste for tactical combat will find that Wreck Age is right up their alley.