OmegaZone Review

OmegaZone is a game I picked up at GenCon last year. It sat on my shelf for a while, as we are currently awash in post-apocalyptic role-playing games: Gamma World, Mutant Year Zero and the related anthropomorphic animals and robots book, Tiny Wastelands, Apocalypse World, Mutant Chronicles, Degenesis, and Dystopia Rising currently on Kickstarter. OmegaZone consists of a setting guide and deck of cards. It is not so much a full game as a toolkit meant to be run using the Fate Accelerated System. This is not called out on the exterior of the book itself, but instead on a small box in the corner of the cards. The main component seems to be the deck of cards, with the text as supplement, which I found to be a curious design choice. Normally cards are the peripheral, a value add to the game play experience.

Character generation consists of drawing a couple character definition cards and one mutation card. You are then left to build off of what you drew to fill in the details of the character and their motivations. The options here are all fairly standard fare, and nothing too outrageous or game breaking. Once you have done this, you add a High Concept and Trouble aspect to the character and you are more or less done. The cards define your approaches, so depending on what you draw, you may be wildly capable in certain areas, and completely useless in others, or have a low spread across the board. This cedes a great deal of the player’s narrative control and agency to random chance, which I do not love, but I do not see another workable approach when you are using cards for this mechanism.

Digging into the game, the setting information contained is fairly constrained, which is likely a function of needing to fit the relevant information on to a standard sized playing card, along with art and design components. The cards themselves are well made and feel nice. They certainly did not go cheap on them, which is good, because this is a concept that relies heavily on the cards and is going to live or die by them. The art is fun and fanciful, which fits the wacky feel of the game. The settings, called Locations, on the cards consist of the Location name with a one sentence description, a couple sentences on a Group that can be found in the Location, and a sentence or two on the Leader for that group. The Locations are expounded upon in the book, by which I mean you get one or two additional paragraphs about that area and the leader character found within.

For example, one Location, The Reach, is described as: “The Reach is treacherous, but riches are there for the taking.” What does that mean? It is entirely up to the GM to expound up on that one nugget to make it meaningful. The book itself does not provide any additional information as to what the author envisioned for The Reach. Is it an old technology park? A military compound? An underground bunker? That is up to you to decide, at which point you have created everything yourself anyway.

If you are looking for an out of the box setting that is ready to go, I would recommend the Mutant Year Zero zone books instead. While there are some good story seeds and interesting ideas in OmegaZone, you are left to do the heavy lifting and world building. There is a section that discusses generating your own Locations, but only to the extent you get the same three item block of information. The Mutant Year zone books, conversely, are fully fleshed out and more or less ready to go without much work from the GM. I am a big fan of presenting me with more information and letting me carve away and shape the area to my tastes. There is more to work with that way.

My major criticism of OmegaZone is that there needs to be more of just about everything. Fitting all of the mutations, items, locations, and story seeds into a single 52 card deck means not much space could be given to anything, which really narrowed what was able to be presented. This book could easily have been twice as long and likely would have benefited from it. The settings and story seeds should have been their own deck, giving more room to breathe life into the world and give the characters more options.

With so many options for post-apocalyptic games at the moment, it is difficult to recommend OmegaZone over something like Mutant Year Zero, which is far more developed, or Gamma World, which clearly inspired OmegaZone. The decision is going to depend entirely on how you feel about the cards and using them as the primary driver for the game. It does benefit from being incredibly cheap compared to the other options, with the deck usually costing $12 if you find it at a convention. A pdf of the cards can be had on Drive Thru RPG for $8, and the Setting book PDF is $10. Personally I don’t know that I will get much use out of OmegaZone, as I tend to love and collect these type of settings, and already have plenty of material to work with.

BONUS EPISODE – Klara Herbol, Onyx Path, Helmghast, Writing, and Horror

Yo cultists, it’s BONUS EPISODE O’ CLOCK!

On this episode we have a much belated interview with Klara Horskjaer Herbol.

We discuss:
– The Atavistic Urge Towards Horror
– Freelancing
– Writing Systems
– Breaking In
– Darkness
– Vampire 5
– Women in gaming, 21st Century Edition

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BONUS EPISODE – Pat Lewis, Mantic Entertainment, Deadzone, Kings of War, Vanguard, Warpath

Whaddup cultists?! In this episode we are doing something a little different and talking to Pat Lewis, the community director for Mantic North America. If you are not familiar with Mantic’s line of exceptionally written miniature wargames, we hope that you’ll stick with us and take a listen!

In this episode we talk:
Kings of War
Terrain Crate
Starfall Summer Campaign

We hope that you will join us for the Phoenix branch of the Starfall Summer campaign starting Thursday, August 23rd at Games U, 5pm.

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BONUS EPISODE – Zak Smith – Demon City, LotFP

Whaddup cultists!

Brendan and Adam are back from Gen Con roused from slumber by a guest that they met at the Lamentations of the Flame Princess booth, Zak Smith aka Zak Sabbath! We’ve wanted to have Zak on the show for a very long time, so this was the culmination of a big goal for us.

Zak joins us to talk:
Demon City
Horror Gaming
Game Design
Gen Con 2018
The Future

Check out his next level Kickstarter below:…g?ref=user_menu

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See you out there cultists!

Episode 53 – Crit Hit 3 – Chris Kohler, the Warlord Amanda, Wild in the Streets

Well ladies and gentlemen, as this post is going up, it’s the final hours of the 15th, but the 15th none the less. Crit Hit 3 is all wrapped up and on the books. It was a crazy weekend and a lot of work. But we met a lot of great people, picked up a ton of games, and made a whole host of new friends. We busted our asses, and still managed to get this podcast out…barely.

In this episode we discuss:
Crit Hit 3
Dr. Horrible Boardgame
Conversation with the Warlord Amanda
Wild in the Streets

We hope you’ll check this episode out as well as the contacts below:….%20horrible%20

Check it!

BONUS EPISODE – Dani Ross and Susi Stuart of Mammary Alpha

Whaddup everybody?! Dropping in real quick with a BONUS EPISODE for you all.

This evening I am joined by Dani Ross and Susi Stuart, two members of the cast of the all-female Actual Play Mammary Alpha!

In this Episode we talk:
Star Trek
Which Star Trek is Best
and even…

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And make sure to take a listen to Mammary Alpha!