UKGE Best RPG: Devils Run
In advance of the review, we’d just like to say that we think Tina Turner in Chainmail would have approved of this game…
This is Devils Run, from Red Scar publishing.
The apocalypse has occurred, there’s zombies in the wasteland, and everyone’s driving around in cars that are far spikier than they used to be, it’s like George Romero writing a Mad Max film…
Wait, George Romero’s Dead…
Well, that never stopped anything in his films before…
Devils run is the roleplaying game of the Devils Run board game, taking the dark future to the tabletop, where “Witness me” accompanies every dice roll and “Mediocre” accompanies every fail. It’s a good, solid book, full of detail on the world as it is, less on how it got into that state, which is entirely appropriate given that day to day life isn’t about wondering how we got to this place, it’s about wondering how we’ll make it to tomorrow.
It’s clear that the artwork for the book has in many places been taken from the board game, and indeed, is sometimes reused within the book itself, but this doesn’t detract from the feel of the game, enhancing it if anything, and there’s art on most pages to break up the text. The rules are simple, it’s 2d20 with setting specific changes, and there’s a conversion set for allowing the RPG to be used with the Board game rules and vice versa. This is the sort of thing you’d expect when seeing a cross over game, and it’s done very well here.
There’s sufficient material to start up a campaign easily, no beginning adventure, which is becoming the norm for this years entries, and everything you need to progress a campaign to its logical conclusion, but nothing to show you how to build the narrative that you’d need.
Quite what that logical conclusion would be is another matter entirely. As with the Mad Max films, there isn’t an encompassing narrative, it’s survival in a world where humanity has gone tribal, but rather than pledging allegiance to God, it’s allegiance to Gas. It’s a colourful world with colourful characters and if the GM was willing to put in the time, there’s a compelling game to be had in this.
Judges liked the variety available to play and the concise rules that allowed gameplay to begin in reasonably short order, production values are very good, but it has the problem that all post-apocalyptic games do, which is what do you do when society has failed, what’s the hope for a better tomorrow when all around you are ravening lunatics.
We don’t need another Hero? Well, no we don’t, but we do need a reason.
The Judges considered that a game like this needed a campaign, because at present, the game is played in runs and trafficking (downtime) with little in between the two. It could be played as a one shot, but if you did that, you might as well take the board game for a spin, so more information on how to build something that could go on and on would have been a very good thing to include.