Mutant: Genlab Alpha

Allegedly I’m running this at RinCon weekend after next. I was kind of hoping I could coast on my Mutant: Year Zero experience and a light reading of MGA from a couple months ago.

Last night I broke it open again. Oh my word, there is so much more going on than an anthropomorphic reskin.

I finally dug into the underlying campaign-driving metagame, called strategic turns. It is a month-by-month abstraction of the animals’ rebellion against the robotic Watchers, with the players and the GM secretly plotting against one another by sending their assets off to do things in the various habitats of Paradise Valley. Those actions, and the fallout, are what drive the fiction for the PC group.

You start out with the PCs’ own cell, which is also the Revolution’s inner circle (with the guidance of Truffaut, an NPC Mary Sue who’s there to explain things) as well as a couple NPC cells among the most-rebellious animal groups. So you start with 3 total cells, and each cell can carry out a mission. That either drives down the Watchers’ Capacity (hit points basically) or improves the Insurgency rating of a specific habitat. You need the Insurgency up high enough that the habitat starts producing its own NPC cells.

It’s all very crunchy and abstract! Reminds me a little of Wrath of the Autarch actually, this strategy boardgame-y thing that shapes the ongoing fictional situation.

So…I think I’m just gonna run that for four hours and see where we end up. When the NPC cells go off, it’s just die rolling and shifting around the fiction. When the PC cell is assigned, we actually play that out directly.

In the full campaign there are additional Key Events that get injected into the full campaign, triggered by specific metrics achieved within the strategy game. For one-shot purposes I think I can safely leave those out.

TBH I’m way more stoked to get this going for my home group, now that I understand how it works.

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0 thoughts on “Mutant: Genlab Alpha”

  1. Yeah. I read about 10 pages into Mutant Genlab Alpha on pdf and realized that I should have backed the kickstarter. I didn’t even get to the mini-game until a few weeks ago myself. Pretty damn impressive. Hope it goes well for you, Paul! Please post details!

  2. No Exploring, the map is set and everyone knows where everything is. Big difference from MYZ!

    Sort of Expanding! In terms of jacking up the Insurgency value of the habitats.

    Ssssort of Exploiting! It’s a stretch. As Insurgency goes up, you get access to more cells.

    Potentially Extermination: your end goal is to shut down the Watchers and/or gtfo of Paradise Valley.

  3. I dig.

    Just so I’m understanding correctly: is Genlab a splatbook for MYZ or a whole new game? I thought you’d mentioned before you weren’t too thrilled by the content of the first one or two books that Mophideus put out for MYZ, but I could have read your posts wrong.

  4. Adam Day freestanding game that makes a few non-showstopper references to Year Zero.

    I don’t have any use for the Zone Compendium products, really. I mean they’re okay. Really my only beef with the product line is the GM Screen, which is missing a couple super-important tables.

  5. So glad to see you tackling M:GA! Now I can crib all your observations for when I run it in October. (Still reading, just about almost half way through.)

    So, no pre-planned anything for the one-shot? I was thinking maybe the opening scene and or event one would make for a good 4-5 hours, but you’re better at this than I am.

  6. Mark Delsing so…I looked at the opening scene they recommend, and it looks lame: it highlights one character and everyone else watches. Blah. Then I looked at Key Event 1, and that just looks like…an adventure.

    I dunno! I really like the vibe of making something up on the spot. I’m terrible at reading box text.

    I’m going to test run on Tuesday and see how long it takes to render a single month in strategic time, plus whatever mission they choose to go on. I suspect I could shove pliable players through two months.

    If we get bogged or bored, I’ll just run Key Event 1.

    (Sorry for the coded language, spoilers!)

  7. I have a rough time with boxed text. I usually just straight up say: I’m reading the boxed text now. I feel like I should internalize it and then PRESENT it like I’m John Wick or something.

  8. Jesse Coombs yes exactly. I’ll just announce it, then read through as fast as I can. Unless I actually have internalized it, but then damn it I usually leave out one important thing.

    Reading some of the big box text sections during The Great Pendragon Campaign was painful beyond all reason.

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