Tue. Jul 16th, 2024

Apocalypse World is a popular tabletop role-playing game that has captivated the imaginations of gamers and apocalypse enthusiasts alike. But when did this thrilling game come out? In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into the history of Apocalypse World, exploring its origins and evolution over the years. Whether you’re a seasoned gamer or just curious about the end of the world, this article is sure to provide some fascinating insights into one of the most exciting games around. So let’s get started and explore the apocalypse together!

What is Apocalypse World?

A Brief History of Post-Apocalyptic RPGs

Post-apocalyptic RPGs have been a popular genre in the world of tabletop gaming for decades. These games are set in a world that has been devastated by some catastrophic event, such as a nuclear war, a zombie outbreak, or a magical cataclysm. The players take on the roles of survivors, struggling to navigate the new world and find a way to rebuild society.

One of the earliest post-apocalyptic RPGs was Gamma World, which was first published in 1978. This game was set in a world that had been ravaged by a nuclear war, and the players took on the roles of mutants, scavengers, and other survivors trying to eke out a living in the wasteland.

In the 1980s, two other classic post-apocalyptic RPGs were released: Dark Sun and Rifts. Dark Sun was set in a world where the sun had become a burning ball of fire, and the players took on the roles of sorcerers, warriors, and other heroes trying to survive in the scorched wasteland. Rifts was set in a world where multiple dimensions had collided, causing a catastrophic event that had shattered civilization. The players took on the roles of survivors trying to rebuild society in the face of strange creatures and magical powers.

In the 1990s, post-apocalyptic RPGs continued to evolve, with the release of games like Twilight: 2000 and Warhammer 40,000. Twilight: 2000 was set in a world where a nuclear war had devastated the planet, and the players took on the roles of survivors trying to navigate the new world. Warhammer 40,000 was set in a grim, dystopian future where humanity was locked in a never-ending struggle against alien races and other threats.

In the 2000s, post-apocalyptic RPGs continued to be popular, with the release of games like Fallout and Zombie Survival Guide. Fallout was set in a world that had been ravaged by nuclear war, and the players took on the roles of survivors trying to navigate the new world. Zombie Survival Guide was set in a world overrun by zombies, and the players took on the roles of survivors trying to stay alive in the face of the undead threat.

Today, post-apocalyptic RPGs continue to be a popular genre, with new games like The Walking Dead: The RPG and Alien RPG. These games offer players the chance to explore the end of the world in new and exciting ways, and they continue to inspire the imaginations of gamers everywhere.

The Inspiration Behind Apocalypse World

Apocalypse World is a role-playing game that is set in a post-apocalyptic world, where the players take on the roles of survivors in a harsh and dangerous environment. The game was created by Vincent Baker and was first published in 2010.

The inspiration behind Apocalypse World came from a number of sources, including science fiction literature, film, and video games. Baker was particularly inspired by the works of William Gibson, particularly his novel “Neuromancer,” which explores a dystopian future where technology has taken over and people’s lives are heavily controlled by artificial intelligence.

Baker was also influenced by the works of Philip K. Dick, particularly his novel “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?”, which explores a post-apocalyptic world where humanity is struggling to survive after a devastating war.

In addition to literature, Baker was also inspired by the video game “Fallout,” which is set in a post-apocalyptic world where the player must navigate a dangerous wasteland filled with mutants and other dangerous creatures.

Overall, the inspiration behind Apocalypse World was a combination of science fiction literature, film, and video games, all of which contributed to the creation of a unique and immersive role-playing game experience.

The World of Apocalypse World

Key takeaway: Apocalypse World is a post-apocalyptic role-playing game that was first published in 2010. The game’s mechanics and design choices have had a significant impact on the RPG community, inspiring new design trends and influencing the way that players think about character development, storytelling, and player agency. The game’s legacy can be seen in many other post-apocalyptic RPGs, including The Walking Dead and The Last of Us.

Setting and Themes

A Desolate and Decaying Landscape

Apocalypse World is set in a post-apocalyptic world, where the landscape is desolate and decaying. The world has been ravaged by a catastrophic event, leaving behind a barren wasteland filled with ruins of civilization. The once-great cities are now nothing more than crumbling skeletons of their former selves, overgrown with vegetation and home to scavenging scavengers. The environment is harsh and unforgiving, with scarce resources and constant danger lurking around every corner.

A Fierce Battle for Survival

In this world, survival is the only goal, and the few remaining humans are constantly fighting for it. The landscape is dangerous, with raiders, bandits, and mutants roaming the land, looking for their next victim. The people are forced to band together in small communities, forming alliances and trading resources in order to stay alive. The atmosphere is tense, with a constant threat of violence and betrayal looming over every interaction.

A Dark and Twisted Society

The society in Apocalypse World is dark and twisted, reflecting the harsh realities of life in a post-apocalyptic world. Morality is relative, and the only law is that of the strong. People are forced to make difficult choices in order to survive, and often find themselves on the wrong side of the law. The world is full of corrupt leaders, ruthless mercenaries, and cunning con artists, all looking to take advantage of the weak.

A Glimpse into the Human Condition

Despite the bleakness of the world, Apocalypse World also provides a glimpse into the human condition. The characters are complex and nuanced, each with their own motivations and desires. They struggle with the weight of their actions, and grapple with the moral implications of their choices. Through their stories, the show explores themes of human nature, morality, and the lengths people will go to in order to survive.

Characters and Factions

Apocalypse World is a tabletop role-playing game that takes place in a post-apocalyptic world, where the characters must navigate the dangerous landscape and contend with the remnants of society. The game features a diverse cast of characters, each with their own unique backgrounds, motivations, and skills. In this section, we will explore some of the key characters and factions that populate the world of Apocalypse World.

The Players

The players in Apocalypse World are the characters that the players control in the game. Each player character has a unique set of skills and abilities, which they can use to navigate the world and overcome challenges. Some of the key player characters include:

  • The Driver: The Driver is a skilled mechanic who knows how to fix and maintain vehicles. They are essential for traveling across the post-apocalyptic landscape.
  • The Gunlugger: The Gunlugger is a skilled marksman who is adept at using firearms to defend themselves and their allies. They are a formidable force in combat.
  • The Savvyhead: The Savvyhead is a hacker who is skilled at using technology to their advantage. They can hack into computer systems and manipulate technology to gain an edge in the game.

The Factions

In Apocalypse World, there are several factions that the players can align themselves with or contend against. These factions have their own goals and agendas, and they can be both allies and enemies to the players. Some of the key factions in the game include:

  • The Crime Syndicate: The Crime Syndicate is a group of criminals who seek to exploit the chaos of the post-apocalyptic world for their own gain. They are ruthless and will stop at nothing to achieve their goals.
  • The Fight Club: The Fight Club is a group of individuals who seek to establish a new society based on violence and brutality. They believe that the only way to survive in the post-apocalyptic world is to be strong and ruthless.
  • The McDonald’s Tribe: The McDonald’s Tribe is a group of people who have banded together in the ruins of a McDonald’s restaurant. They are fiercely protective of their territory and will defend it against all comers.

Overall, the characters and factions of Apocalypse World are complex and multifaceted, and they contribute to the rich tapestry of the game’s world. By understanding these elements, players can better navigate the dangerous landscape of the post-apocalyptic world and contend with the challenges that it presents.

The Mechanics of Apocalypse World

The Rulebook

The Rulebook is a central component of Apocalypse World, serving as the primary source of rules and guidelines for players and game masters alike. This comprehensive manual provides an extensive overview of the game’s mechanics, including character creation, combat, and skill resolution.

Character Creation

The Rulebook outlines the process of creating a character in Apocalypse World, which involves choosing a character class and determining abilities and attributes. Each class has its own unique set of abilities and playstyle, allowing players to tailor their characters to their preferred playstyle.


Combat in Apocalypse World is fast-paced and deadly, with players engaging in brutal melee combat and utilizing ranged weapons to take down enemies from a distance. The Rulebook provides detailed information on combat mechanics, including damage types, range bands, and cover.

Skill Resolution

The Rulebook also provides guidance on how skills are resolved in Apocalypse World. Players roll a number of dice based on their skill level and add the result to their attribute bonus to determine success or failure. The Rulebook includes a list of common skills and their associated dice rolls, as well as guidelines for creating custom skills.

In addition to these core mechanics, the Rulebook also covers a variety of other topics, including equipment, magical items, and the game’s setting. The Rulebook serves as an essential resource for players and game masters alike, providing a comprehensive guide to the world of Apocalypse World and its unique gameplay mechanics.

Playing the Game

Apocalypse World is a tabletop role-playing game that emphasizes collaborative storytelling and exploration of post-apocalyptic settings. The game is designed for 2-5 players and requires at least 2 hours of playtime. The game’s rules are simple, but the storytelling possibilities are endless.


  1. Character Creation: Each player creates a character by choosing a class and assigning skills, attributes, and other characteristics. Classes in Apocalypse World include things like Soldier, Tech-Head, and Driver.
  2. Play: The game is played in sessions, with each session lasting a few hours. The game is divided into two phases: the first phase is called the “front,” and the second phase is called the “complication.” During the front, players describe their characters’ actions and move towards a goal. During the complication, the game master (GM) creates an obstacle or challenge for the players to overcome.
  3. Dying: In Apocalypse World, characters can die. If a character’s health drops to zero, they are assumed to be dead. However, players can still participate in the story as ghosts or spirits, or even come back to life in certain circumstances.
  4. The GM: The game master is responsible for creating the world and non-player characters (NPCs), as well as guiding the story and providing challenges for the players. The GM is also responsible for interpreting the rules and making sure the game runs smoothly.
  5. Storytelling: Apocalypse World is all about storytelling. The game is designed to be collaborative, with players and the GM working together to create a rich and immersive world. The game encourages players to describe their characters’ actions and motivations in detail, and the GM is encouraged to respond to those actions in kind.

In conclusion, playing Apocalypse World is all about working together to create a post-apocalyptic world and telling a story together. The game is simple to learn but offers endless possibilities for creative storytelling.

The Legacy of Apocalypse World

Impact on the RPG Community

The release of Apocalypse World in 2010 had a profound impact on the RPG community. It quickly became a staple of indie RPGs and inspired a new generation of game designers to push the boundaries of what tabletop RPGs could be. Here are some of the ways that Apocalypse World has influenced the RPG community:

  • Shifting focus from combat to storytelling: Apocalypse World’s unique approach to combat and violence shifted the focus of many RPGs from combat to storytelling. The game’s emphasis on collaborative storytelling and character development inspired designers to create games that prioritized narrative over mechanics.
  • Emphasizing player agency: Apocalypse World’s rules gave players a high degree of agency, allowing them to make meaningful choices that affected the game world. This emphasis on player agency has become a hallmark of many indie RPGs, which often prioritize player choice and input over predetermined storylines.
  • Inspiring new mechanics and designs: Apocalypse World’s unique mechanics and design choices have inspired many other RPGs. Its use of move-based mechanics, for example, has been copied in many other games, and its approach to violence and gore has influenced many horror and post-apocalyptic games.
  • Creating a new subgenre of RPGs: Apocalypse World has also helped to create a new subgenre of RPGs known as “apocalypse RPGs.” These games often explore themes of survival, desperation, and social decay, and many of them draw inspiration from Apocalypse World’s mechanics and design choices.

Overall, Apocalypse World has had a significant impact on the RPG community, inspiring new design trends and influencing the way that players think about character development, storytelling, and player agency. Its legacy can be seen in many of the most innovative and influential RPGs of the past decade, and it continues to be a touchstone for indie game designers and players alike.

Adaptations and Spinoffs

Apocalypse World: The Video Game

Apocalypse World has been adapted into a popular video game, allowing players to experience the post-apocalyptic world in a new and immersive way. The game stays true to the source material, with players taking on the role of a caravan master, navigating the dangerous landscape and encountering other factions, mutants, and other threats.

The Last of Us: A Post-Apocalyptic Masterpiece

The video game, The Last of Us, has been praised for its compelling storytelling and its depiction of a post-apocalyptic world. While not directly based on Apocalypse World, the game shares many themes and elements with the book, including the struggles of survival and the importance of human connection in a desolate world.

The Walking Dead: A Television Phenomenon

The Walking Dead, a popular television series, has been influenced by Apocalypse World’s depiction of a post-apocalyptic world. The show follows a group of survivors as they navigate a world overrun by zombies, facing new challenges and dangers at every turn. While the show diverges from the book in many ways, it retains the core themes of survival and humanity in the face of disaster.

The 100: A New Take on the Post-Apocalyptic Genre

The CW’s hit series, The 100, takes place in a post-apocalyptic world, with the survivors of a nuclear war living on a space station. When the space station’s resources run out, the survivors are forced to return to Earth, facing new challenges and dangers in a world overrun by radiation and other threats. While the show diverges from Apocalypse World in many ways, it shares similar themes of survival and the struggle to rebuild in a dangerous world.

The Future of Apocalypse World

Upcoming Releases and Expansions

A Look into the Developer’s Vision

The creators of Apocalypse World have hinted at a plethora of new features and content that are set to be released in the coming months and years. With each update, the game is expected to grow and evolve, providing players with a constantly changing and challenging experience.

New Game Modes

Rumors have it that Apocalypse World will introduce new game modes, which will add even more variety and excitement to the game. These new modes will reportedly offer different perspectives on the apocalypse, each with its own unique challenges and objectives. Players will have the opportunity to explore the world in entirely new ways, and possibly even discover the truth behind the mysterious events that led to the apocalypse.

Enhanced Graphics and Gameplay

The developers have also announced plans to improve the game’s graphics and overall gameplay experience. This includes enhanced visuals, improved AI, and a more seamless and intuitive control system. These updates will not only enhance the player’s experience but also bring the world of Apocalypse World to life in a more vivid and immersive way.

New Locations and Regions

In addition to the new game modes and enhancements, the developers have teased the addition of new locations and regions to the game. These new areas will offer players the chance to explore new environments, encounter new enemies and allies, and uncover hidden secrets and treasures. With each new release, the world of Apocalypse World will continue to expand, offering players endless opportunities for adventure and discovery.

DLC and Expansions

Lastly, the developers have confirmed that they will be releasing downloadable content (DLC) and expansions for Apocalypse World. These DLCs and expansions will offer players additional content and challenges, and will likely introduce new weapons, armor, and other equipment to enhance the player’s abilities. With each DLC and expansion, players will have the chance to delve deeper into the world of Apocalypse World, and possibly even uncover the truth behind the mysterious events that led to the apocalypse.

The Evolving Landscape of Post-Apocalyptic RPGs

  • A Comprehensive Overview of the Current State of Post-Apocalyptic RPGs
    • The Growing Popularity of the Genre
      • The Reason Behind the Increased Interest in Post-Apocalyptic Worlds
      • The Impact of Pop Culture on the Genre’s Popularity
    • The Evolution of Post-Apocalyptic RPGs
      • The Origins of the Genre and Its Evolution Over Time
      • The Emergence of New Subgenres and Styles
    • The Influence of Technology on Post-Apocalyptic RPGs
      • The Use of Advanced Technologies in Game Design
      • The Impact of Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality on the Genre
  • A Look at the Future of Post-Apocalyptic RPGs
    • The Future of Storytelling in Post-Apocalyptic RPGs
      • The Possibilities and Limitations of New Technologies
      • The Exploration of New Themes and Ideas
    • The Future of Gameplay in Post-Apocalyptic RPGs
      • The Incorporation of Real-World Issues and Challenges
      • The Evolution of Mechanics and Systems
    • The Future of the Genre as a Whole
      • The Continued Evolution of Post-Apocalyptic RPGs
      • The Potential for New Subgenres and Styles
    • The Potential Impact of Post-Apocalyptic RPGs on Society
      • The Role of RPGs in Reflecting and Shaping Societal Values
      • The Potential for RPGs to Encourage Discussion and Action on Important Issues


1. When was Apocalypse World created?

Apocalypse World is a tabletop role-playing game that was first released in 2010. It was created by Vincent Baker, a game designer known for his work on story-focused games. The game was initially self-published by Baker before being picked up by publishers such as Atlas Games and Pelgrane Press.

2. What is the setting of Apocalypse World?

The setting of Apocalypse World is a post-apocalyptic world where the characters are survivors living in a dangerous and unpredictable environment. The world has been ravaged by a cataclysmic event, leaving behind a harsh landscape filled with threats and challenges. The players take on the roles of survivors, trying to navigate this new world and find a way to survive.

3. What kind of gameplay does Apocalypse World offer?

Apocalypse World is a tabletop role-playing game that focuses on storytelling and character development. The game uses a simple system of moves and playbooks to guide players in creating their characters and resolving conflicts. The game is designed to be played with a group of players and a game master who guides the story and creates challenges for the players to overcome.

4. What inspired the creation of Apocalypse World?

Vincent Baker, the creator of Apocalypse World, was inspired by the idea of a post-apocalyptic world and the challenges that survivors would face in such a world. He wanted to create a game that would allow players to explore this setting and create their own stories within it. Baker was also influenced by his previous work on story-focused games, such as his game, “Dungeon World.”

5. How has Apocalypse World been received by players and critics?

Apocalypse World has been well-received by players and critics alike. The game has won several awards, including the Indie RPG Award for Best Game in 2011. Players enjoy the game’s focus on storytelling and character development, as well as its unique setting and simple gameplay mechanics. Critics have praised the game for its innovative design and its ability to create engaging and immersive stories.

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