When I first heard the name “Trailer Park Warlords of the Apocalypse,” I knew that I had to learn more about this glorious creation. I joined the game’s Facebook group and contacted the developers immediately.
Turns out, this game is more up my alley than I imagined. It’s a skirmish-level tabletop game that uses miniatures to battle it out for territory control. And the territory is comprised of “Mega” trailer parks that survived the apocalypse. I can already taste the Natty Light.
Developer Michael Love of Bad Goblin Games got back to me with answers to my burning questions. How did this game idea begin? Where can we get our hands on it? WHEN can we get our hands on it? Follow along below for the complete interview.
Postapocalyptic Media: Tell me about the game and how its concept was inspired.
Michael Love: Trailer Park Warlords of the Apocalypse is a skirmish level miniatures game. Each player controls a gang or group of 5 – 10 miniatures battling for supremacy of the Mega Trailer Parks of the post-apocalyptic future. Gangs are composed of humans, mutants with fantastic and terrible powers, mutated animals and plants, and robots. As the name implies, this is not a game that takes itself too seriously.
The concept came about really quickly. We wanted to look at a skirmish level system, though didn’t want to necessarily go with fantasy (Even though we’re all big fantasy fans.) as that genre is already inundated with skirmish level systems.
“As the name implies, this is not a game that takes itself too seriously.”
Post-apocalyptic settings are nothing new. Going back to the late 70s we had the Gamma World and Metamorphosis Alpha pencil and paper RPGs and soon after that the Mad Max movie. For us, Gamma World has always stood out as an RPG that carried a unique atmosphere as little weird, a bit zany, and somewhat fatalistic. And so we set about working on a system that replicated that attitude while incorporating other influences, such as Mad Max and Kamandi.
The name was something of a sudden revelation. We had a previous game we Kickstarted for which we deliberated quite some time on the name – a few weeks I believe. Whereas Trailer Park Warlords of the Apocalypse came about literally in a matter of moments and that’s probably why it felt right. We knew we wanted a name that would catch someone’s eye and curiosity. A name that would tell you exactly what the game is about in regard to genre and attitude and isn’t afraid to let you know.
Postapocalyptic Media: You’ve shown the game off at various conventions in your area. How did those sessions go? What did players like or dislike most about the game?
Michael: We’ve had the game for public showing at a few conventions thus far. It’s always a bit tough showing a game that is in active development as you know there are certain issues, though you really need confirmation from others. Sometimes you can get too close to your game or too close to a particular aspect of your game causing you to lose perspective, so having these public playtests is a must.
Overall, the reception has been positive. Players really seemed to enjoy the mutations in the game (Which can be good or bad, or maybe a bit of both), the interaction of the Apocalypse Cards (Cards that allow some measure of influence over events in the game), the activation and initiative bidding system which forces players to make tactical decisions and plays as something of a mini-game in itself, as well as the overall atmosphere.
The only real negative experience we had was someone whose only miniature experience was tabletop RPGs (e.g. Dungeons & Dragons) and expected the game to be more in that flavor of having a single character to handle rather than a group. We received several great suggestions to help speed up the game, particularly with activating gang members. We also saw that the combat system we had in place was perhaps a bit slow. The pace of the game is always a concern of ours. In our mind, this is a game that should be playable in one to two hours depending upon how many miniatures you want to play with and so we’re always looking for ways to achieve that. Sometimes we have players make suggestions and other times we see a change is necessary by observing the game as it is played – watching how players respond to certain situations, rules, etc.
Postapocalyptic Media: Tell me about the Beer Run scenario that was run at these conventions. How does it work?
Michael: Our goal is to make Trailer Park Warlords of the Apocalypse scenario-based. That doesn’t mean you can’t just place a couple of gangs on the table and have at it, though scenarios bring with them a bit more flavor and goals other than simply wiping out your opponent. Beer Run was probably the first scenario we came up with and it gives players the ability to focus on something other than having shootouts. The basic premise (and keep in mind this is a game that doesn’t take itself seriously) is that a bunch of beer (or sodas, Twinkies, etc.) has somehow been scattered across an area. Such a valuable commodity cannot be left to rivals and so the opposing gangs converge on the area to gather up as much beer as possible.
“We use 3D-printed beer stacks that we’ve designed as tokens for the scattered beer.”
We use 3D-printed beer stacks that we’ve designed as tokens for the scattered beer. Each token is secretly numbered 0 – 6 and your goal is to move about the field to gather as many tokens as possible. The number on the token represents the value of the token and whoever has the most at the end wins. There is still a good amount of combat as you attempt to control an area, keep an enemy away from beer, or shoot down an enemy running away from beer, though the real goal is to get the most points to win.
We plan to have about ten scenarios in the final book.
Postapocalyptic Media: Do you plan to show off the game at other regional conventions?
Michael: We have most of a convention schedule worked out ranging from Atlanta, GA to Orlando, FL, with one or two outside of that area. We also hope to work with others in the U.S. as well as the rest of the world to demo the game at conventions we cannot attend.
Postapocalyptic Media: What are your crowdfunding plans?
Michael: We’ll be using Kickstarter to fund the game with a planned launch October 1. We have our funding goal planned out and set to what we believe is an extremely achievable target. We’re pre-funding 32 STLs/physical miniatures, terrain STLs, some art, and a bit more. We also plan to have about 90% of the rules complete before launching our Kickstarter. We’ll have stretch goals in place for 32+ additional miniatures and STLs.
Postapocalyptic Media: This isn’t your first game. Tell me about your previous games and what you’ve learned from them to help make TPWotA better.
Michael: We’ve had one previous Kickstarter campaign – Ages of Conflict. AoC is a miniatures game, though dramatically different from TPWotA as it is a big battle system used to represent battles involving thousands to tens of thousands per side. We did quite a bit of research into Kickstarter, funding, campaigns, etc. before launching, and though the campaign was successful, the entire experience was eye-opening in regard to what we could have done better – communication, advertising, exposure, etc.
Perhaps most of all we’ve learned we have to put certain lines in place in regard to content and stick to those lines. AoC was late in delivering as we added about 50 pages of content rather late in the campaign, which meant we needed more time for art, writing, etc. And while I believe the added content was extremely valuable, it is perhaps more valuable to stick to your schedule as much as possible as it’s something of a pledge you made to your backers who are the ones making the entire project possible.
We want to thank Michael Love for his time and we all look forward to seeing more of the game as it develops! If you’d like to follow the game’s progress, be sure to join the game’s Facebook group.