The Mutant Epoch (TME) is a fantastic game and an incredible labor of love...and to think I almost passed on it! I'm old. I have been gaming since the '70s, and I love it. But I have a family, job, etc. it's hard for me and my friends to find time to game or even prep. At 246 pages, TME seemed like more rules than our group wanted. But I kept hearing great things about the game, and as some of my group really enjoys the post-apocalyptic theme, I decided to give it a try. I am so very glad I did.
I was surprised to find that the actual rules comprised only about 26 pages of the game. You can learn the rules in less than an hour! And the rules are good...simple, straight forward, but rich in detail. Almost every conceivable situation seems to be covered by a rule that is both logical and intuitive. Combat is detailed, and hazards are frightening. The game is a joy to play...and to read.
Most of the page content is devoted to detail that brings the setting to vivid life. The book is lavishly illustrated with Mr. McAusland's beautiful black and white art. There is an illustration on almost every page, and 3-5 on most. Character creation is richly detailed, provides a framework backstory, but still only takes about a half hour or less to roll up a new one. I think the 30 page selection on creatures has a piece of art for all 104 original creatures...and they're pretty horrifying!
That's one of the best things about TME. The creatures and encounters are all so new and original that the games are absolutely filled with suspense. No boring goblins or ho-hum orcs here. With brand new creatures and scores of horrible mutations, my PCs have no idea what to expect! There hasn't been this much "fear and loathing" around my game table since the 1st edition of Call of Cthulhu. Our games are young again, and the world bright and terrible.
Finally, the folks at Outland Arts obviously put a lot of love into this creation of theirs, and it shows in the excellent products the make. But they also value their customer and fan base, and cheerfully answer questions and provide support for their game. If you are interested in a post-apocalyptic game, I can not urge you to purchase this product strongly enough. It's just so much fun!
Reviewer's Note: one criticism of this game that I have seen a couple of times deals with sexism and the prevalence of non-voluntary sex labor in the game setting. I would like to point out that we have a sorrowful amount of that in the real world today. I can't imagine why anyone would assume that the situation would improve in a desperate post-apocalyptic future. It's a grown-up game that tries to envision both the good and bad aspects of this grim future. That being said, it's a subject that has never been the focus of our group's games. You have the complete liberty to ignore it in your games as well. Please, let's censor ourselves, and let our artists create in freedom.
[5 of 5 Stars!]