Review of Twilight: 2000: You’re on Your Own, Good Luck

Imagine surviving another battle in war only to find yourself cut off from command. No medevac, no calling in incoming fire, no reinforcements, no going home. Twilight: 2000 takes the Year Zero system and couples it with brutal combat that leaves it mark on everyone involved who survives. A campaign kicks off with a lost battle and the last communication from headquarters, “Good luck. You’re on your own now.”
T2K1.png
Twilight: 2000 is a boxed set stuffed to the top with two rulebooks, combat maps, poster maps of Poland and Sweden, cardboard tokens, cards, and dice. Everything needed to get started is included. My thanks to Free League for providing me a copy to review.

The system is a variation of the Year Zero Engine. Instead of a dice pool, rolls are made with one attribute die and one skill die that range from a d6 up to a d12. Player characters track radiation points and use coolness under fire (CUF) to remain calm in combat. It even includes hit locations. The Referee Manual has rules to convert 1st and 2nd edition material as well as solo rules.

The PCs are going to endure hardship, experience fear, and feel like they are up against all odds. Some PCs are going to die. What is going to make the campaign work are those fleeting moments of victory and especially those times the PCs really get to make a difference. These wins may be helping people in need, creating a safe haven, and maybe someday even returning home. These emotional wins function as a means of catharsis from fear and anger, and not only will the character feel good but so will the players themselves.

To pull of this range of emotions, the rules have to simulate the stress of combat and the toll it takes to be good at killing people. Coolness under fire (CUF) is a mechanic that allows PCs to function while getting shot at and to bring the violence to the enemy. However, as CUF rises and their skill at killing increases, their Empathy goes down as they find it hard to interact in normal ways. This drop in Empathy also ties in to killing a helpless foe as actually committing this act first requires a failed Empathy roll or a PC can’t go through with it. So a PC with a higher CUF also has an easier time killing outside of combat.

This combination is powerful. In order for the emotional toll to be worth it, the PCs need to get some real wins. This is where the referee comes in. A referee needs a way to be impartial. To allow random events to happen and not come across as the bringer of misery.
T2K2.png

At the same time, the referee also has to set up those moments of difficult choices for the PCs. Present PCs with tough situations with no easy solution and let them figure things out for themselves.

The rules support the referee both by providing dozens of small encounters that can happen completely randomly alongside a handful of full adventures with tough choices. In one adventure, the PCs have to face child soldiers. What happens if they have to fight them? In another, siding with marauders against the locals may help the PCs out more than defending the locals. Are they willing to side with the bad guys to get ahead? And there is enough overall background on and rule support for the various powers in Poland and Sweden for the referee to make their own adventures.

The best part is, a referee can simply pull out the map of Poland and Sweden, point to the hex the PCs are in, and repeat the last message from HQ: “Good luck. You’re on your own now.” Where the PCs go and what they do next is entirely up to them. And the campaign kicks off from there.

Free League has never disappointed me with an RPG before. But this one really resonates with me and the value is outstanding. Months and months of gaming can be found in this one box. And it will be a Twilight: 2000 campaign of hardship, hard choices, death, and every once in a while, hope.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Charles Dunwoody

Charles Dunwoody


log in or register to remove this ad

Teo Twawki

Coffee ruminator
The downside is they might be under fire as well.
The upside, I suppose, is their excuses for not making a session will certainly be valid.
 

aramis erak

Legend
I couldn't keep running Alien during the initial lockdown - a macroscopic lethal plague was just too much like the microscopic lethal plague.

I'm glad my T2K game ended in Dec. (THey got out to Ramstein by day 14... when the last transport leaves for home)... what's happening now is what we though would happen in 2000 back when T2K 1E came out, in 1984...
 

Have now played 3 sessions
The system is fine, need to push a lot but done get punished too much for it
The bullet dice seem to serve little purpose to use ( really no benefit to using 3 or 4 rather than one).
Combat clearly dangerous, and one bad roll against a PC will be them done. Realistic but not game friendly
Will see if it has legs or will it be a bit repetitive as there are only so many things to do
Enjoying it thus far
 

Paragon Lost

Terminally Lost
Have now played 3 sessions
The system is fine, need to push a lot but done get punished too much for it
The bullet dice seem to serve little purpose to use ( really no benefit to using 3 or 4 rather than one).
Combat clearly dangerous, and one bad roll against a PC will be them done. Realistic but not game friendly
Will see if it has legs or will it be a bit repetitive as there are only so many things to do
Enjoying it thus far
I backed the Kickstarter all in, but haven't had the chance to actually run Twilight 2000 yet. I have run some Alien Rpg recently and I found a few things, wonder if you've noted the same things.

First thing, the while very mood setting to have the Alien book and GM screen all back, they are hard to read. Really hard on the eyes.

Second thing, was organization of things. I found I had to do a lot of page flipping for things. What I found I needed to do is pre-write up creatures and take a lot of notes to speed up game play.

Third thing we found and one I'd always been concerned with in regard to MY0, and that's the 10 card initiative system. The cards are hard to mix shuffle and the players really didn't like them. I found that the older Mutant Year Zero and Coriolis don't use them, so if I continue to play MY0 games I think I'll adapt something like the earlier systems initiative mechanics.

Other than that and the high attrition rate that is Aliens, we did have a lot of fun with it. I think page flipping would be easier in the smaller sized The Forbidden Lands rpg books as an aside.
 


First thing, the while very mood setting to have the Alien book and GM screen all back, they are hard to read. Really hard on the eyes.

Have you looked at the T2K materials? They generally don't do the black background and white text thing. It's black text on white/cream.

Second thing, was organization of things. I found I had to do a lot of page flipping for things. What I found I needed to do is pre-write up creatures and take a lot of notes to speed up game play.

Totally different organization in T2K.

Third thing we found and one I'd always been concerned with in regard to MY0, and that's the 10 card initiative system. The cards are hard to mix shuffle and the players really didn't like them. I found that the older Mutant Year Zero and Coriolis don't use them, so if I continue to play MY0 games I think I'll adapt something like the earlier systems initiative mechanics.
I'm not the biggest fan of card-based initiative in general, but I'm a little confused here. In both Alien and T2K you only do a single initiative draw per combat. No need to draw new cards every round. Why does it matter if they're a little hard to shuffle?

Other than that and the high attrition rate that is Aliens, we did have a lot of fun with it. I think page flipping would be easier in the smaller sized The Forbidden Lands rpg books as an aside.

Again, you should look at the T2K stuff you backed. It uses two smaller softcover books, as opposed to a single art-heavy hardcover. Very easy to flip through, and much more straightforward than Alien.
 

Digdude@1970

Just a dude with a shovel, looking for the past.
I think the real gems of this system is NOT using it for TW2000 but using it out of the box scenarios In one example I have, everyone makes up characters based on themselves, and then I start a scenario where they are playing themselves where we live in a Walking Dead situation. Have them go on a fishing trip together and when they get back, all hell has broken lose with zombie outbreak or a EMP, what do you do now?
 

How would that be the case? Ammo dice only matter if you roll a 6, so rolling 3 or 4 is way more likely to have an effect than rolling one of them.
You burn bullets on the hope of getting a 6, with an equal chance of getting a 1. It may happen in due course we have a Eureka moment but it hasnt happened yet!
 



Retreater

Legend
Are we still talking about Twilight 2000?
Yeah, I think it would make it awesome. That's just my opinion, I know. But putting some mad science, dark magic, psychic powers, etc., would give us a strange angle for those of us who would like to go from "gritty depiction of post apocalyptic war" to "pulp-inspired adventure stories in a post apocalyptic setting." Have it in an appendix or supplement.
A completely modern, realistic RPG has never really captured my imagination. It needs something else - be it magic, sci-fi, superheroes, etc.
 

eyeheartawk

#1 Enworld Jerk™
Yeah, I think it would make it awesome. That's just my opinion, I know. But putting some mad science, dark magic, psychic powers, etc., would give us a strange angle for those of us who would like to go from "gritty depiction of post apocalyptic war" to "pulp-inspired adventure stories in a post apocalyptic setting." Have it in an appendix or supplement.
A completely modern, realistic RPG has never really captured my imagination. It needs something else - be it magic, sci-fi, superheroes, etc.
Okay, I understand. I think though, that the gritty realism thing is one of the defining features of Twilight 2000. I doubt we'd ever see that. That's all more of a Gamma World type thing.
 

Digdude@1970

Just a dude with a shovel, looking for the past.
Reminds me of game called Millenniums End. THE most accurate RPG ballistic system ever made IMOP. It had these clear sheets you put over the target profile. I played it a couple of times but I dont remember much of the rest of the mechanics.
 

Reminds me of game called Millenniums End. THE most accurate RPG ballistic system ever made IMOP. It had these clear sheets you put over the target profile. I played it a couple of times but I dont remember much of the rest of the mechanics.
Millennium' End's bullet overlays were awesome. But also slow as molasses, whereas the new edition of T2K is ridiculously fast for a trad game.

I did love the charging dog images that Millennium's End included, which really gave you a feel for now scary it'd be to have one of those coming for you, even if you had a gun in hand.
 

You burn bullets on the hope of getting a 6, with an equal chance of getting a 1. It may happen in due course we have a Eureka moment but it hasnt happened yet!

But 1's on ammo dice only matter (as far as causing jams and reducing the gun's reliability) if you push. Ammo dice used without pushing can only help (with 6's), and can't hurt. Plus, if you really need to score a hit, having your gun jam or break (from a push with lots of ammo dice used) might still be worth it. From the Player's Manual:

"This means rolling more ammo dice will risk damaging your firearm – but only when you push the roll. If your weapon breaks due to pushing, it does so after the current attack is resolved."

Also ammo dice are the best way to suppress people who are under cover. The related mechanics are just about my favorite part of the system, and the only time I've ever seen autofire and suppression work well, and quickly, in an RPG.
 

I think the real gems of this system is NOT using it for TW2000 but using it out of the box scenarios In one example I have, everyone makes up characters based on themselves, and then I start a scenario where they are playing themselves where we live in a Walking Dead situation. Have them go on a fishing trip together and when they get back, all hell has broken lose with zombie outbreak or a EMP, what do you do now?
After my first session of T2K I absolutely thought "This is basically a perfect zombie apocalypse RPG." You'd have to come up with some additional mechanics for dealing with zombie hordes, but the basics are there (including hit location rules for head shots, and taking penalties when you shoot at someone in the same hex as you).

But I also think the core combat mechanics are so smart and streamlined that you could do SF with T2K, possibly even cyberpunk. It's great stuff.
 

MGibster

Legend
Yeah, I think it would make it awesome. That's just my opinion, I know. But putting some mad science, dark magic, psychic powers, etc., would give us a strange angle for those of us who would like to go from "gritty depiction of post apocalyptic war" to "pulp-inspired adventure stories in a post apocalyptic setting." Have it in an appendix or supplement.
A completely modern, realistic RPG has never really captured my imagination. It needs something else - be it magic, sci-fi, superheroes, etc.
Around 1989-1990, I tried getting one of my friends to run Delta Force: America Strikes Back but including zombies. He didn't bite, but what a trend setter I was! It wasn't so long before we started seeing games like All Flesh Must Be Eaten and a revival of the zombie genre.

While I understand your point of view, I myself can think of few games I play that doesn't feature fantastic elements, I don't think Twilight 2000 is the right game for pulp-inspired adventure stories. If there's any horror to Twilight 2000, it comes from having to shoot a 14 year old child soldier or finding a family in a shallow grave and not knowing which side killed them. Zombies, wizards, and aliens kind of undermines the setting in my opinion.
 

Retreater

Legend
While I understand your point of view, I myself can think of few games I play that doesn't feature fantastic elements, I don't think Twilight 2000 is the right game for pulp-inspired adventure stories. If there's any horror to Twilight 2000, it comes from having to shoot a 14 year old child soldier or finding a family in a shallow grave and not knowing which side killed them. Zombies, wizards, and aliens kind of undermines the setting in my opinion.
Yeah, it's likely just not the game for me. I did buy the box - it's got great production values - but it doesn't encourage me to run it. Without some otherworldly element, it seems an endlessly bleak "killing innocents" type of game with no real escapism from the horrors of current events.
 

I agree with the Zombie Apocaplyse....keep expecting some horror to arise (i realize war is its own horror).

On the Ammo dice, will re-read suppression in case we missed something
 

Related Articles

Visit Our Sponsor

Latest threads

Dungeon Delver's Guide

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top