Summer is my chance to get a lot of reading done and, having finished reading Star Trek Adventures, I've moved on to Red Markets: A Game of Economic Horror by Caleb Stokes of Hebanon Games.
Red Markets is a horror game where the zombie apocalypse was unevenly spread. It is about the have-nots trying to eek out an existence while the haves live within safe zones. It's about groups of Takers completing bounties for supplies, for survival, and for the haves, with the hope of surviving to retirement.
I'm bringing this game up for a couple of reasons:
- It's a cool idea for a game and combines a lot of the tropes of modern zombie horror. We've got Dawn of the Dead Remake/28 Days Later fast zombies and Romero slow zombies. We have enclaves just trying to survive.
- It has a new take on the genre: The fact that everything isn't The Walking Dead is the real hook of the game, especially when there are plenty of zombie RPGs. Government and society still exists, even if the PCs are mostly cut off from it.
- It was developed in a level of transparency that was just astounding and, in my opinion, hasn't been seen since the early days of Evil Hat.
- And the creator of the game hit a really rough patch in his Kickstarter.
It is the last two that I wanted to talk about here.
Mr. Stokes is a regular host of Role Playing Public Radio, a well known RPG podcast. The development of Red Markets can be followed through RPPR's semi-regular Game Designer's Workshop episodes where Mr. Stokes and Ross Payton, RPPR's founder and game designer in his own right, discuss various aspects of game design and development.
The Kickstarter updates are also very informative and continues the level of transparency.
Listening to the development of Red Markets is a real lesson for anyone interested in seeing how a game starts as an idea and goes on to become a published product.
The other part is that the Red Markets Kickstarter is one of many Kickstarters that has suffered from the increasing cost of international shipping.
In response to this, Mr. Stokes has gone above and beyond to find better options for his backers. He has done this by splitting the shipment from China and engaging the services of a European fulfillment house…all at his own expense and after enduring no small level of abuse from a number of his backers.
This was a well researched and openly developed project that got hurt by forces beyond its control.
If you want a unique zombie RPG then head over to the Red Markets BackerKit Preorder page and place your order.
Ordering just the PDF and Stretch Goals PDF is, to my mind, like giving him money. But he is also happy for print orders.