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LokRobster 02-13-2021 09:14 PM

Opinions on Genlab Alpha, Mutant Year Zero?
Kinda along the general lines of my post in the GURPS forum, I want to run a After The End and Furries game, with a little more story and background cohesion than exist in Palladium’s TMNT and Other Strangeness.

I’m looking to mine Mutant Year Zero mainly because it looks neat. I’ve read through the free Starter booklet and am interested in delving deeper. I wanted to ask around before investing; has anyone played Genlab Alpha?

I’m intrigued about the story, but wondering how much relies on their game mechanics and how mineable it is for a GURPS campaign. I’m leaning towards just getting it and finding out. I’d love to hear others opinions first!

Mark Skarr 02-13-2021 11:03 PM

Re: Opinions on Genlab Alpha, Mutant Year Zero?
I have it, and the two continuations/expansions, Genelab Alpha and Mechatron. I love the world but really don't like the system. I don't, quite, remember what all I disliked about it, it's been a while since I've read them.

There are some really, really good ideas in the game (I like the idea of how you map out the world, session by session). But, I remember there being some simplifications that I didn't like and some assumptions I wouldn't have made that were forced into the system and, thus, meant you had to play it their way.

I'm toying with it as a future idea for a GURPS game.

Genelab Alpha tells a specific story, but, once that story is done, you're free to introduce mutant animals into a MYZ game. As does Mechatron. That was one of the things I didn't like. The metaplot is almost mandatory. It is fortunate that it's mostly just more backstory, and you can do what you want once you explore it.

LokRobster 03-11-2021 11:35 PM

Re: Opinions on Genlab Alpha, Mutant Year Zero?
I picked up and read through Genlab Alpha. It’s an interesting story, I do think I’ll run a GURPS game in the setting. The story/campaign in it is not really a straight “After The End”. To me it’s more like Logan’s Run; a restricted prison/lab environment to be escaped. TL9 Terminator and Reign of Steel type robot guards and energy weapons, suppressing the TL3 Furry Folk makes for a tough start; but could be fulfilling and fun if done right. Once the critters are *out*, then it’s more the “Explore the Post Apocalypse” thing.

The system is odd and not very intuitive on a cursory read-through. Basically rolling D6, more dice for more skill (d6 WEG Star Wars-ish), where each “1” rolled means you succeed and a “6” means you fail. They use nuke symbols and biohazard symbols for the 1 and 6. All other faces are “filler”. So if you roll 4 dice, only the ones and sixes contribute to the result... 16% x 4 , but basically a 50/50 chance on the result being good or bad... or something. “Pushing” was a big thing, rerolling to get a better result while risking failing badly. I didn’t plan on using the system so glazed over the details, just got an idea of stat meaning for character descriptions to convert.

Their game mechanics did give me the idea of Pre-War Artefacts giving weird stat bonuses, like an old teddy bear giving Will bonus. A +1 to skill in GURPS could be a psychological effect from possessing something that the user believes gives them the bonus....

The story campaign really relies heavily on the “Dominate” skill, but in a GURPS conversion any Influence skill would be fine, though Intimidate is closest to the concept. I could see cribbing the Resistance vs Sentinel mechanic almost as presented and actually using it with a group of PCs to plan/execute the Rebellion scenario overview. The authors have a VERY in-depth story and give quite a few variations and ideas in an attempt to not be too railroady, I could see it going ok and working out with my players. I’m curious to see what they’ll do, which is a decent endorsement of a story for me.

Black Leviathan 03-15-2021 04:13 PM

Re: Opinions on Genlab Alpha, Mutant Year Zero?
Like most folks I like the story, but really struggle to find the value of the mechanics. They don't deal with hardship in a meaningful way and I prefer the weight of mechanical support for things like hunger, or sleep deprivation. I think it's maybe still an improvement over After the Bomb, if only for simplicity. I think there are a lot of systems that would do this sort of story better. I think there are better stories for anthro-mutant apocalypses.

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