The Day After

Does anyone remember Twilight 2000?


Twilight 2000 was an apocalyptic roleplaying game published in 1984 (with subsequent editions) by the now-defunct Game Designers Workshop.  The gist of the game was, given the time period, pretty realistic:  A limited nuclear exchange between the United States and the Soviet Union has devastated much of the world.  The players (in the core version)t2000 were remnants of a US army unit fighting in Poland.  Now, with no real structure of command, they’re simply trying to survive and make their way home.  This new world has opportunity for some, and tragedy for others.  In addition to the core boxed set (rules, maps, dice, and supporting documents), GDW sold nearly 30 additional modules containing scenarios, statistics, and game playing aids.

I never played the game, but I remember being fascinated by the subject matter and the information GDW offered.  At the time, I was very much into military minutiae, so it would seem that the game was a natural fit for me.   There was a personal aspect of the game for me.  I mean, I was in the army when this game was released.  There was still a Soviet Union, and the threat of war – even a limited nuclear one – was a very real possibility.  So the idea of a fantasy game environment where the Unthinkable had happened was intriguing to me.  No glamor, no glory – just a group of people well in over their heads, trying to adjust.  That was more real to me than anything I’d seen at the time.

Alas, I knew no one who played it, and while I don’t remember the costs of the game or its add-ons, I do remember thinking that it was outside my meager budget. In time, I moved on to computer games.  There was a Twilight 2000 computer game from (also defunct) Microprose, but I didn’t like it, and didn’t own it for long.  Once I was out of the service and the Berlin Wall came down, nuclear war seemed more like a twisted fantasy than a threat, and games like Twilight 2000 lost their appeal (to me, at least).

That’s where the Internet comes in, my friends.

The Internet is more than cat videos, idiotic political rants, and Facebook (although at times, it’s hard to believe that).  It’s where one can find all of the lost toys and wants from childhood.  It’s like Santa, but all year round.  I recently managed to get a copy of the original (printed) Twilight 2000 materials, along with three of the add-on modules – one scenario book, and two equipment books.  I’ve also discovered a slew of websites for people who apparently are still devotees of the original game.  (There’s a new 2013 version, but it’s the ’84 version that people seem to love.)

I’m interested in learning how to play this game.  I shouldn’t say that – I’m interested in playing the game.  So I will read my newly acquired materials and report back. Traveling down Memory Lane might be a bit of a hoot.

And I might even convince a few people I know to give it a shot.

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