My latest project is coming all well. I had a long hiatus with gaming and I am coming back to it now that the end of the year is here and my job search is naturally slowing. While I am still plugging away at it every day I’ve decided for mental health reasons to take some time off once a day to put some work into this game.
The game is Attack of the Mutants. It first came out in 1981 and was one of the first game purchases I ever made. There was a great game store in Fanueil Hall, Boston, Massachusetts. I loved going in there. I rarely had the money to afford the games but my two favorite game purchases came from that store. Attack of the Mutants was one of them. The game sold for $8 back then. It is a simple game about the survivors of a nuclear accident near a college attempting to perfect the science of teleportation before mutants overrun the building.
One of the major aspects of this game will be to recreate the science building. To do that I envision 28 wall sections laid in an interlocking grid, surrounded by 4 outer walls. So far that work is going well. I did a prototype interior wall and I am please with the results.
- Some interesting notes from this test:
Most of what you see is taken from real life. The doors are photos of real doors. The same goes for the clocks.
- The chalk board is a photo of a real chalk board from the Fermilab! Yes, those are real physics equations.
- I toyed with the idea of doing the game in 15mm since there are a lot of science fiction miniatures in that scale but I decided that for a 4 person game that was too small.
- The wall images will be pasted onto foam core and the doors will be cut out. They can be put back into place or removed to show if they are intact or smashed.
- By printing a prototype I discovered the single doors needed to be scaled up. The double doors however were correct scale. It was hard to tell on the computer screen as I was creating the wall.
- There will be 3 or 4 dozen posters, diagrams and other interesting “props” on the walls to reflect science and the political positions of professors.
The 1944 US Marines I have in the picture are stand-ins since I don’t have all the miniatures for the game yet and none of them are painted. The zombies I found cheaply on the internet are sadly on back order. Hopefully they will come before the end of next month.
I’m really jazzed up by this initial prototype. It tells me the look of what I am doing is going to work. I am sure it will be a lot of fun and this building can be used for a wide variety of scenarios and game types. Reuse is big for me. Any project I build I consider ways in which it can be used over again.
One question I am sure a lot of people will have is if this will be a faithful reproduction of the game. The answer is no for a few reasons. The main one being that I don’t want to have a copyright violation on my hands. The game is themed after the first one with some noticeable changes. I’m adding a card driven element to the game to better tell the story. Each card will present a rule change and a one-liner as if this were a film. The 1950’s B-Horror film style will be updated to more reflect 2010. The jokes in the original game had a strong liberal bias – half the defenders were ROTC and depicted as expendable morons whose descriptions lead one to believe they were former Nazis. I am getting rid of the ROTC element entirely. I am adding two other professors and spreading the jokes around a bit more. There will be pokes at left and right, plus nerds and hippies. Penny Applewhite’s boyfriend Buck will go from being a jock douchebag to a statement about diversity on campus since he will be a Tea Party supporter. Professor Applewhite will be the sterotypical liberal professor. The two other professors will represent the right and the nuts. In fact the Ad Astra project is the brainchild of Professor Trip Moonbeam this time. Professor Applewhite and Professor Richardson will be the robotics professors, with Richardson being the one responsible for the military grants that have kept the project alive.
The overall flavor of the game will remain the same though. The humans have to cooperate vs. the mutant menace! There are 10 turns until Ad Astra can be turned on. Can they hold out? In the original game the question of holding out was simply a matter of how many barricades the humans got at the beginning. The number varied for 11 to 15. At 15 it was a shoe in for the humans. At 11 it was a win for the mutants. Anytime a game is determined before the first die is rolled turns me off. So I am trying to make the game more dynamic and less deterministic.