I always thought that the Post-Apocalyptic setting is one that has always been near and dear to my heart. There’s something about the struggle to preserve civilization and survive despite incredibly poor odds that calls for amazing stories of heroism.
And yet, despite knowing this, and having played a multitude of different takes on the post-apocalypse, nothing really prepared me for Mutant: Year Zero.
Mutant: Year Zero is perhaps the hardest hitting post-apocalypitic game I know of. The setting is beautiful and bleak, carefully balancing themes of hope with the cruel realities of your poor chances of making it past this generation of survivors. Few games attempt to bring this sort of conflict onto the table, and even less manage to pull it off so spectacularly.
Part of this is from the rules. Mutant: Year Zero’s mechanics tie themselves so well with the themes of the game that I can’t imagine running this with any other system. It’s a triumph of game design when every mechanic serves to further the mood and tone of the game and that taking anything out will lessen the impact of the game.
That said Mutant: Year Zero is not a game for cathartic action-hero style mass murder. I would caution GMs to warn their players ahead of time that this isn’t one of those games just so you can set expectations right off the bat.
But if all expectations are aligned, and the players are willing to suffer for their victories, then I can promise you that Mutant: Year Zero will deliver an incredible experience.
I know that I’ve been very, very positive with my words regarding Mutant: Year Zero, but trust me when I say that if you only have one pick for a post-apocaclypse RPG, then make it Mutant: Year Zero.