Means To an End

The End of the World is a series of small, self-contained RPGs from Fantasy Flight Games, being translations of games originally released by Edge Entertainment, a major Spanish game publisher. (As well as producing their own material and being FFG’s Spanish-language licensees, they also put out Spanish-language versions of a range of other games, including FiascoCall of CthulhuTrail of Cthulhu, and Eclipse Phase.) So far as I can make out, these are straight translations, with the art and format unchanged from the Spanish versions beyond the sort of layout changes which would obviously be necessitated by the translation process.

Each of the four games in the series provides the same game system, along with a set of end-of-the-world scenarios playing on a particular theme – zombie plagues, divine wrath, alien invasion, and a Terminator-style machine revolt. The basic conceit of the game is that rather than play made-up characters (though the door is open to do that if you like), the players play themselves, faced with a world-shaking catastrophe and trying their best to survive. Since each book provides a range of different scenarios, it helps avoid to a certain extent OOC knowledge contaminating the game – even if somebody has read the core book, they don’t know which scenario you intend to use, and it isn’t necessarily safe, easy, or even sensible to try and work out which scenario is in play.

Where’s the Kaboom? There’s Supposed to Be an Earth-Shattering Kaboom!

One variety of apocalypse not depicted in the original series, and not presented in the translated game line, is the good old-fashioned nuclear armageddon. Given the recent revival of Mad Max and the strong reception of Fallout 4, this seems to be a bit of a missed opportunity. It’s possible that the developers decided that such a scenario was a bit too close to the bone to develop a game around, but given that we’re already dealing with a game in which you speculate about the gruesome ways in which you and your friends may die in the wake of various catastrophic events taking radiation sickness and nuclear blasts off the table feels coy. Still, with the system here it should be simple enough to improvise a nuclear war scenario if you like.

Continue reading “Means To an End”