Meguey Baker

#227 Meguey Baker Talks Apocalypse World

Designing Thematic Games


Dirk and David chat with Meguey Baker about her tabletop RPG Apocalypse World and writing in general. The discussion covers Apocalypse World’s approach to the post-apocalyptic theme and how the writing and mechanical design helps players feel like they are the movers and shakers with a vision to change their post-apocalyptic world.

Episode Outline

01:08 A brief overview of Apocalypse World

04:04 Why did Meguey and Vincent want to make a postapocalyptic game?

06:35 Character creation in Apocalypse World, and what it brings to the game’s theme

09:27 A different, more thematically engrossing approach to leveling up in Apocalypse World

11:38 How are the playbooks similar and different to other game rulebooks?

14:09 Structural differences in regards to both game length and campaign length when compared to other RPGs

21:48 How terms like MC instead of GM or the character archetype names affect the theme and experience

25:55 The inclusion of sex moves for each character type, and how it started conversations about sexuality and intimacy

29:38 Discussing the personalized, bold, assertive, and colorful prose of Apocalypse World

34:24 Tips for finding a personalized and appropriate voice in your own work

36:15 How the violence in RPG games helps people young and old grapple with questions of mortality and emotional literacy

39:07 How Meguey approaches her role as a writer, and how words shape gameplay and theme

45:25 Discussing the Powered by the Apocalypse system, and how to make the system (or any RPG system) work for the designer’s vision

50:57 Advice for other designers on bringing theme to life in their own roleplaying games

In this Episode

Meguey Baker - @NightSkyGames
David V. Heron - @davidvheron
Dirk Knemeyer - @DKnemeyer

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