Atomic Punk 2160 is a post-apocalyptic OSR roleplaying game set in the nuclear wastelands of the former United States of America. Jonathan Torres, the game’s designer has stated that he was heavily inspired by the Classic Fallout series of video games when creating this game. First, I have no real knowledge of or experience playing the Fallout Franchise, but I didn’t find that to be an issue. The game stands on its own as a unique setting with ease of mechanics. Fans of Mad Max, Hell Comes to Frogtown, Cherry 2000, The Road, or any dystopian setting will have a field day playing Atomic Punk 2160.
Right off the bat, I’d like to tip my hat to the game’s designer, Jonathan Torres (The Basic Expert). He did the work on the game in-house. From the artwork to the layout, Torres was a one-man army. “This idea, this guerilla warfare game designer thing is at the heart of the hobby,” states Torres in the game’s introductory video. https://youtu.be/4827hwKk2bs
Honestly, I couldn’t agree more.
The game is designed to use the classic OSR system modified to fit the particular setting. In this case, the setting is designed to simulate the feeling and settings of the retro-futuristic tropes found throughout pop culture from post-World War 2 to around 1969, as such the backgrounds or races are meant to reflect this retro futuristic feel as well.
Character creation is simple and streamlined. Roll 3d6 and tally the results for each ability score. Atomic Punk 2160 stays close to its roots and offers four backgrounds.
- Human: Has no level cap and +1 to any three skills.
- Mutant: Level cap at 8, features a robust d12 table for rolling mutations.
- Revenant: Level cap at 10. Long lived ghouls.
- Robot: Are tanks but the cost of repairs offsets their power.
Atomic Punk has six classes, based on the classic OSR classes, with each class having two sub-classes.
- The Bastard: Sniper, Knave.
- The Caravaneer: Smuggler, Merchant
- The Gunslinger: Hit-Man, Bounty Hunter
- The Doctor: Disease Specialist, Field Medic
- The Survivalist: The Hunter, The Prepper
- The Wasteland Warrior: The Mercenary, Raider
The game features a large skill system that adds to the immersion of the character within the game’s setting. The equipment section features a deep dive on the settings weapons, armor, and currency, including sections on weapons modifications and demolitions. Tables for radiation poisoning as well as drug addiction are included too.
In the adventuring section Torres has included multiple tables for encumbrance and movement, wilderness travel, and various other random encounters. A short section on followers’ details how characters can hire NPCs as mercenaries or adventurers.
Combat encounters are explained in detail covering topics and events such as reaction rolls, moral checks, surprise, and initiative, and of course combat actions. Included are tables for ascending armor class for the various classes.
Perhaps my favorite part of the book is section six. This chapter deals specifically with vehicles in the wasteland. It covers everything from armor class and hit points to vehicular combat. At almost thirty pages the back of the book is a smorgasbord of monsters and loot charts, who doesn’t love those.
My experience playing the game.
I was privileged to get to playtest the game in its beta stage and it was a blast. I took a pre-generated robot gunslinger, think Maximilian from The Black Hole film. In the first session, my robot was an absolute tank. Mutants and raiders alike cowered from his lethal aim. He held the line for the adventures during bunker crawls, reviving one teammate multiple times. Reality set in once the party had made it back to base. The high cost of restoring the robot to optimal condition far outstripped the loot from bunker crawls. The robot realized he had to be cautious or learn to depend on his teammates to shoulder the high cost of keeping him combat ready. For me, this aspect makes the game challenging and worthwhile.
In the next session we had traveled until midday before we were ambushed by raiders. Anson, the party leader, barely survived, forcing us back to base to recuperate. Upon healing we headed back to an abandoned bunker searching for weapons and loot…
My experience running the game.
Braden – A Mutant Gunslinger, a conjoined.
Ben – A Revenant Gunslinger, a holdover from a bygone era.
They rolled up characters with the game standard of using 3d6 down the line to tally the six ability scores. Using a fourth dice and dropping the lowest score is suggested for higher power levels. Having already experienced the game as a player I suggested they use 4d, and the journey began.
I positioned our little adventure in the Ozark Mountains in a small survivor’s camp, named Martinsville. The pair stumbled upon the settlement desperate for water. While pleading at the walled gates for entry they were attacked by a rattleyote. After eliminating the threat with haste, the pair was welcomed inside the compound. Once inside they have a lengthy conversation with the new mayor before being directed to see a Nichole who runs the general store. The group secured water and rations before accepting a quest to confront the Mutant raiders who have been raiding settlements and taking prisoners.
The next morning, the pair had traveled a few miles just as the sun peeked over the mountains bringing sunlight and a giant mantis with it. The mutant gunslinger was left near dead before the Revenant rolled a natural 20. He slayed the beast and saves his partner’s life at the same time. The group continued on, reaching the raiders encampment by dusk. In a move, still hotly debated, the Revenant strolled right up to the raiders to open dialogue. The raiders opened fire subsequently hitting and wounding the Mutant Gunslinger. Unfortunately, they were forced to retreat to Martinsville to recuperate…
I recommend this game to anyone who enjoys Tabletop games as well as fans of dystopian settings. The book offers more than enough in the way of lore, loot, monsters, and details for players to embark on numerous campaigns across its apocalyptic landscape. It’s a deadly fantastic romp filled with bunker crawls, grotesque giant bugs, and fierce mutants.
I absolutely enjoyed playing and running this game and I will play again.
You can find the game here. https://www.drivethrurpg.com/m/product/408931