The real strength of this game is the systems used for character and world creation.
Theme and What is it?
Very quickly, this is a Kickstarter preview of the game Maximum Apocalypse. Images and rules described in this article that are still subject to change from the final version. While the Kickstarter has multiple books, I’ve only read through the Player’s Handbook and will only comment on that. To this end I won’t be giving the game a score at the end of the article. That said, I will give my honest opinion of what I’ve read.
The end has come. Humanity has splintered into small groups fighting to survive an unforgiving world. You and a small band of survivors are now each other’s only hope. By working together, using your special skills, and being extremely careful, then maybe you can survive for a little while longer.
Maximum Apocalypse is a pen and paper RPG where you and your party will create survivors of a global collapse. You’ll create your own characters, populate your apocalypse, and find your way across the landscape while scavenging, sneaking, and fighting your way to safety.
Maximum Apocalypse employs a fairly easy-to-use percentile system for skill and conflict resolution. Your target number will be based on your statistics plus any skill and equipment bonuses you may have. If you roll equal to or less than your target number you succeed. If you score less than half of your target number, you get a level of success. If you roll less than a quarter toward the target, then you get 2 degrees of success. An unmodified 1 is a critical success. This is an easy-to-use system that should free you up from complex mechanics to allow you more freedom to play your character.
The real strength of this game is the systems used for character and world creation. One of the first things I dialed in on was that you choose 2 classes when creating your character. The first/primary class has the greater effect on your stats. The secondary class still affects your stats, but to a lesser degree. This allows you to set up a character who has a bit more freedom in what they can do. If you choose both Veteran and Surgeon as your two classes the order you pick them will have a tangible effect on your character. It would be the difference between being a MASH doctor and a field medic. I like this system. It helps define your character more and makes not only the classes you choose but the order you choose them mean a bit more.
The second thing that happens during character creation that affects your stats and skills is something you might have noticed. I haven’t listed what type of apocalypse you’re dealing with. This is very purposeful since you’ll choose that during character creation. That and the type of apocalypse you’ll be living in has a direct effect on stats, skills, and special abilities. These can range from being more used to dealing with hunger during a Food Shortage Apocalypse to gaining plusses when fighting giant monsters during a Kaiju Apocalypse. With the game including 11 different flavors of apocalypse with their own advantages, disadvantages, monsters, and threats you’ll have a fantastic mix of game styles.
The game also includes a couple of other mechanics that will add to the overall feel of the game. These include a system for scavenging and crafting gear that will allow you to build, repair, and upgrade your gear. This can give you a sense of advancement and evolution to your character that can be fun and dynamic. There are even rules for doing these during combat. Did the zombies jump you while you were away from your pack for some reason or maybe your gun jammed? Scour the battlefield for bits and get yourself a club in short order.
There’s also a really fascinating system for managing threat. You start the game with a threat level that goes up and down based on your actions and the amount of noise you make. Periodically, the game master will roll against this number to see if you’ve drawn the attention of those threats that exist in the world. This is complicated by the type of apocalypse you’re playing in. Zombies and similar threats will attack as soon as they detect you, however some other types of threats will begin to stalk you and look for an opening. Additionally, this threat could happen in the middle of combat. When I read this my mind immediately went to two factions of humans fighting over supplies when a horde of zombies come shambling into the fray. I’m excited to have this sort of action in my games.
I like apocalypse games. I think there is a lot of fun to have in these and you can do a lot with the worlds and the storytelling. While Maximum Apocalypse is based on a board game, it is one I’m unfamiliar with. So I came into this with limited baggage. However, quickly flipping through the book I saw a lot of things that initially stood out to me and am optimistic with where this game is going and what the finished product will be.
While this is a pre-release version of the game that I have, I enjoy the art and hope they keep it moving forward. It looks finished, so I think they’ll ultimately do that. However, this is a preview and these things are always up in the air until the final copy goes to print. The art has a nice indie comic feel to it that I enjoy ad I’m looking forward to seeing more.
This is a tabletop RPG. It’s a bit more realistic and shoots for a harsher survival feeling than some others. This is a game that will constantly challenge you and push you towards working hard to survive and succeed over the horrors of the end times. That said, I feel that the mechanics will be simple enough to give you the freedom to enjoy playing and not get bogged down in the minutia of tracking your bits of scrap that you have for rebuilding.
Age Range & Weight
Nothing I have lists an age but I think the rules are in the solid 13+ range. However, the setting might be too harsh for younger players. It’ll be up to you and the teen in question as to whether they can really get into this game.
Once again, I’ve only read the Players Handbook. I’ve not seen the Monster Manuel or the Game Masters Guide. Because of this I haven’t played the game. However, what I have seen looks good. I think that the game has some nice mechanics that will play nicely with one another. The game itself looks like it’ll be fun and easy to use with some good back and forth between the game master and the players.
I’ve looked into the Kickstarter and right now it lists 3 adventures which I feel are very important with any new game. I think you should include an adventure to show off the types of stories you can tell with the game. Giving us three is certainly a nice boost to that.
I’d like to give more information and opinion here but not having played the game my ability to do so is limited. I will say there are a couple of videos online that you can watch that show of the game in action and would encourage you to do so if you want a better look than I’ve supplied for what the game looks like in action.
As it stands now, I think the game looks fun and am anxious to see more.
That’s all for me. I hope this helps you with any decisions you’re going to make.
Until next time, stay safe and be well.
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