Ravenous Reviews: Wreck Age

Just the Facts

Title: Wreck Age: Tabletop Skirmish and RPG

Author: Anton Zaleski

Publisher: Hyacinth Games, LLC

Price Point: $12.50

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In the 23rd century, the Earth verged on total annihilation. Rapid climate shifts, caused by centuries of industrial pollution and nuclear waste, had brought the planet to the brink of an ecological meltdown. Countless reparative efforts had failed; each solution was too little and far too late. Left with no alternative, world leaders collaborated on a last-ditch effort to save humankind: the Exodus. It was a bold plan involving several waves of evacuations, with the end goal of colonizing new planets. The Exodus promised survival for everyone. It was an escape from a decaying planet.

It was hope.

It was a lie.

Cover Art

Score: 4 out of 5

The rough-looking art evokes the feel of the game. By “rough” I’m thinking “rough ‘n’ tumble” not “roughly drawn.” Please don’t take the use of that adjective as a disparagement. It’s not. The near-destroyed city in the background with what looks like a drone flying overhead really sets things up. The people in the foreground of the artwork make me wonder just how they survive, and the equipment/garb they have shows just how tough that survival is.

Mechanics

Score: 4 out of 5

The game is quite crunchy and heavy, but from what I can see in the text (I’ve not played the game yet, so I can’t fully assess this with 100% honesty), the game system merges the different systems within itself quite well. This makes me think the gameplay will be smooth and fairly easy to run. There are quite a few skills to pick from. This turns off some players, but I enjoy larger lists of skills myself. This gains bonus points for me. There is a tabletop skirmish section. Those types of games just aren’t for me. I did skim those rules, but only briefly. I mainly focused on the RPG side of things because that’s where I like to live out alternative lives for myself. I haven’t played many skirmish games (outside Battletech) in the last 20+ years, so I don’t feel fully qualified to comment on the skirmish rules and their ability to be played fairly and smoothly.

Prose

Score: 5 out of 5

I know I keep coming back to theme and feel of the stories that can be told. The history, community, and faction sections suppose these ideas very well. Even the character creation process feels right to me. I’m not talking about the numbers and the crunch, but the development of a character in this grimdark world.

Layout

Score: 3 out of 5

This is a well laid-out book. The look/feel of the fonts chosen, the watermarks applied, and the headers kept me in the mood the words set. This is subtle, but vital, work by the publisher. Well done. My chief complaint is the front-loading of the “about the world” instead of getting me into the game itself. This is a personal thing of mine. I prefer the front pages to be character creation, and allow the “world building” section to live near the end. That’s just how I prefer flows to books. Fortunately the “history” section is reasonable brief, but when you add it in “community” and “factions” it gets a little long in the tooth. These sections are important for gameplay in the pre-built setting, but can be skipped (and, honestly, usually are in a game book) for those that just want to get to the heart of the game system itself.

Interior Art

Score: 5 out of 5

Not once did the interior artwork throw me out of the “dark and rusty” mood this book set. It ranges from colored artwork (that is very well done) to gritty pencil/charcoal artwork. I really don’t know what else to say about the artwork at this point. It fits the theme very well and is good eye candy. My favorite piece was the German shepherd with what appears to be “war gear” on and is ready for battle. That evokes quite a few feels for me. It can be found on page 99 (page 100 in the PDF).

Bonus Points

Score: 4 out of 5

My bonus points here come from the creators keeping consistent with the themes of the game throughout a lengthy book. This is very difficult to do, but they nailed it. Well done!

Overall Score: 25 out of 25

Overall Thoughts

If you’re a fan of anything resembling Fallout 4, I can highly recommend this game. I could even see someone taking the movie Elysium (starring Matt Damon) and adapting that world to this game system. It all fits together quite nicely. Having said this, I think I’d rather be a player in this game system than a game master. These are the types of games I want to play.

NOTE: I purchased this book myself. It was not given or donated to me for the purposes of the review. The author and publisher of the book have no idea I’m writing this. The only way I make any gains off of writing this review is if you go out and purchase the book using the link provided with my affiliate ID intact. It doesn’t cost you anything extra to use the link for your purchase, and it’ll allow me to build up credits to use on future purchases for future reviews.

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