In the ruins of civilization, rugged survivors must contend with a harsh uncaring world and with each other!
Thankfully you have unique skills that other survivors need. But that doesn’t mean you all get along. Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.
Apocalypse World is the progenitor of the Powered by the Apocalypse phenomenon. First published in 2010, it is now in its second edition, and has had a massive impact on the tabletop roleplaying hobby.
The game’s mechanics emphasize the constant injection of drama. It also presents each player character as a unique archetype – there is only one Gunlugger in the campaign, for example. Finally, it provides the GM (MC in Apocalypse World parlance) with tools for steadily increasing dramatic tension.
Here’s how publisher Lumpley Games describes Apocalypse World:
It used to be better, of course it did. In the golden age of legend, when there was enough to eat and enough hope, when there was one nation under god and people could lift their eyes and see beyond the horizon, beyond the day. Children were born happy and grew up rich. Now that’s not what we’ve got. Now we’ve got this.
Publisher’s content warning: In addition to horror, violence, and adult themes, Apocalypse World includes sexual content, including implicit discussions of consent and power dynamics in romantic and sexual relationships. If you’d like to review this content before you buy, please download the playbooks for free below [on the Lumpley Games website], and if you’re sensitive to sexual triggers, please proceed with care.
What Fans Love About Apocalypse World
- Succeed at a Cost – A roll of 7-9 results in an action that succeeds, but with negative consequences. This provides rich narrative possibilities between unmitigated success and sheer failure.
- Intraparty Dynamics – Apocalypse World is as much about what happens between the player characters as what happens in the larger world.
- The Psychic Maelstrom – The destruction of the old world created windows into a strange, unpredictable storm of psychic energy that can provide insight or insanity.
- “After 4 sessions and reading through the book multiple times, I can honestly say I haven’t been this excited about a game since I was introduced to the role playing at the age of 10.” – Ross Cowman, RPGGeek
- “The whole book really does wonders to evoke the subject matter, and the mechanics themselves are very ingenious as well.” – Kris Vanhoyland, RPGGeek
UJ note: If you‘re an adult seeking to understand the history and range of tabletop roleplaying, Apocalypse World is one of a handful of games I unequivocally recommend you read and if possible, play.
See Apocalypse World in Action
- Lumpley Games runs an active forum and provides a variety of free downloads.
- Check out Apocalypse World on Reddit.
- Get answers to your Apocalypse World questions on RPG StackExchange.