Game: Weekend Warriors
Publisher: 12 to Midnight
Series: Savage Worlds
Review Dated: 12th, February 2004
Reviewer’s Rating: 7/10 [ Good ]
Total Score: 7
Average Score: 7.00
There are two Weekend Warriors. There’s the d20 modern edition and the Savage Worlds edition. Savage Worlds is a Great White Games product, a company under the auspices of Deadlands’ Shane Lacy Hensley.
It doesn’t matter which version of Weekend Warrior you pick up; both systems suit the game well and I think that’s proof of a well written adventure.
Weekend Warriors is an adventure. Make this the last paragraph you read if you’re worried about spoilers.
Spoilers. Um. I suppose you could spoil the adventure since there are few twists – a few, and by twist I guess I mean brain eating surprises. You see; Weekend Warriors was first written as a game to play at a RPG Convention and quickly becomes a zombiefest. That seems to be a tradition with conventions – there must a zombiefest game.
Weekend Warriors is a good zombiefest. It keeps the players of the dead characters at the table through the chance of playing on as a zombie. That’s just perfect for a convention game. Weekend Warriors doesn’t have to be played at a convention but it certainly works best as a one off game. I think one of the main reasons for buying a pre-written adventure is to deal with the “I need a game quickly!” problem (downloadable PDFs are superb for this) and surely the best sort of game in that situation is a one off, easy to start and easy to finish adventure. Roll in Weekend Warriors.
It’s suggested that the adventure could serve as a springboard into a larger campaign. I agree with that to; it would certainly be fun to see what happens to the survivors but GMs will have to make sure that there’s no disharmony in the group. I wouldn’t want to feel I was playing a supporting cast member simply because some zombie ate the pre-genned character I was given in a one off game earlier that year.
Characters are in the Army Reserves – well, most of them – and have the misfortune of having to spend their active duty time in Camp Trepidation. It’s a zombiefest and an army romp. Author, Jerry Blakemore, knows his military stuff well – he makes references to his own time on duty in the lengthy introduction. If you like your modern genre games to be full of military stuff and appreciate it when the detail is accurate then I suspect you’ll be won over by Weekend Warriors.
Okay; the lengthy introduction. There’s actually a two fold introduction – the history of writing the game, why and how it game about and then a synopsis of the game itself. The latter is extremely useful. It’s good to know in advance exactly what the tone of the game is and why the group(s) of characters are set up in the way they are. There needs to be something to stop the heroes simply walking (or running!) out of the base once it becomes too hot to handle. One big advantage of playing an adventure that’s seen life as a convention game, then as a professional d20 modern adventure before the incarnation you’re reading is that you can be sure it’s thoroughly play tested!
There’s a good polish to this product. Like other 12 to Midnight PDFs there’s a good use of photographs. Polaroid style inserts are used effectively and show lots of military action. Rather nicely there are also photographs of competition winning 12 to Midnighters, not that you’d know the where special unless you read the credits. I’ve said it before and I’ll quickly repeat it here – photographs can really help improve the mood and atmosphere of a modern genre RPG. There’s just the right touch of reality to them. There’s a whole whack of player hands outs in the back of the PDF too. These aren’t so pretty but are easy to print out and hand around. What this particular 12 to Midnight PDF does lack is bookmarks. There’s no way to quickly jump chapters when you’re reading directly from your computer. This is surprising since the PDF itself is fairly technologically advanced and uses internal hyperlinks to link to a separate PDF full of maps. The idea is that you can click on each reference to a building or location and open the second document right at the map you want. I’m using Adobe 6 on Windows XP and the maps nearly work. The links work, the maps appear but they load over the PDF I was originally reading. Clicking on a map link kills off my open copy of the adventure and that would truly suck if I was trying to run the game ad hoc from my laptop. The work around I found is simple; open the map PDF first, then the adventure and then clicking on the map links in the adventure PDF simply moves where you are in the map PDF to the right place. We are told that the PDF is a bit of an experiment and I hope we see more of this sort of thing. I don’t feel that the RPG industry is quite exploiting the full capabilities of PDFs yet.
The maps themselves are excellent. We don’t have an 0one Roleplaying Battlemap style of cartography here, there’s no full colour artwork-cum-floor plans which would complement the most wonderfully painted miniature. Instead we’ve clean and crisp, black and white, diagram style maps. It’s clear where everything is in a room. Working out firing arcs and line of sight for the zombie hordes will be a doodle. There are also dozens of maps; 58 of them, I think. This is amazing value for money. You can buy professional RPG cartography PDF products for the cost of Weekend Warriors which have fewer maps than that.
So, in summary, characters turn up for duty at remote military base, everything’s gone zombie, characters who die can probably play on as a zombie and the game will either finish with everyone dead (which doesn’t seem unlikely) or with some survivors. Weekend Warriors doesn’t win any prizes for originality or depth. If the game tried to present itself as anything other than a bit of zombie fun then, despite the positive influence of all the maps and photographic gloss, I would have been disappointed. Weekend Warriors doesn’t fall into the trap though and steps up to the plate as a bit of fun. It’s a bit of zombie fun which is greatly enhanced by the maps, photographs, carefully structured scenario and good value for money.
It’s the structure of the game which gives this adventure that extremely unusual boost from 6/10 to 7/10. The hooks to keep the characters interested and involved in Camp Trepidation are really rather good.
There’s a little more to the adventure than noted here – just in case you suspect your players have read this.