Atomic Sunset

The blinding light of an atomic blast fills the skies over New Mexico. The intense heat from the blast instantly vaporizes everything within a one mile radius. A deadly cloud of radiation falls over the land causing most living things to sicken and die an agonizing death. But some creatures survive, mutated by the atomic fallout to become gigantic monsters – the stuff of nightmares.

The sunset of man’s dominion over the earth has begun.


I watched a few 1950s classic (b-grade) sci-fi films over the weekend and thoroughly enjoyed myself – The War of the Worlds and Them!. I used to watch these films as a kid and seeing them again brought back a real feeling of nostalgia, but also opened up my eyes to the gaming possibilities it presents.

Imagine the 1950s “duck and cover” mentality (commies under the beds, giant mutant bugs, flying saucers), the “googie” architecture of the times (Art Deco meets the Jetsons), and the gung-ho military attitudes of the post-war era. A host of great gaming opportunities – National Guard troops rolling through the streets of Los Angeles with WWII-era Sherman tanks and halftracks, setting up a defensive line against the hordes of ants that are pouring out of the sewers.

Or a zombie attack at Disneyland! Atomic waste spilled from a train crash near Disneyland contaminates the food in the staff cafeteria, which causes the employees to mutate into Zombies who then go on the rampage attacking the patrons. I have images in my mind of Zombie Mickey Mouse or Donald Duck shambling through the wreckage of Tomorrowland.

Cool stuff!

I’m hooked! Are you?

9 thoughts on “Atomic Sunset

  1. You had me at blinding light. Sounds awesome should be a blast no pun indented.

  2. I hope to be able to develop this concept into something commercial – the possibilities are pretty wild!
    Speculative history: The Cold War turns up the heat, with clashes in the Arctic between Soviets and Canadians, or Allied forces defending the Czechs against the Soviet invaders,


    Crank up the weird-o-meter and we find Aliens have taken over downtown DC, fugitive Nazi scientists discover the ‘Lost World’ in the Amazon, giant scorpions have attacked the Bowling Alley, and so on.

  3. I can see that idea has some legs [pun intended :)] and could really be something to pursue!
    Sounds really interesting! 🙂

  4. Love it, I really do. In fact I have been looking for reasonable m47 and m48 tanks for just this purpose.

    For more inspiration, do not miss Iron Giant.

    However, a possible fly in the ointment is this:

    Someone is already working on this idea. This should not preclude some work being done here. What it does do is confirm the idea of synchronicity: when one person thinks of a thing, dozens of others are also thinking of it on the other side of the world too.

  5. I think the Atomic Cafe game has been out for a year or so now, so they have a significant head start. Ganesha Games has also got something like this in the pipelines I believe, using the Song of Blades and Heroes engine.

    Ah well, never mind. I will concentrate on the terrain side of things instead.

  6. Ganesha have Mutants and Death Ray Guns, and it works well. Very well. However, having said that, it is generic and has a flavour closely tied to the role-playing game Gamma World (specifically 1st edition).

    So it is not specific to the 1950’s irradiated bug and invaders from Mars style stories.

    Apart from the Atomic Cafe, therefore, the field is still open. Should you wish to continue with the idea, which I believe does have legs, please consider allowing me to help.

  7. A, Greg and I are working on an instance of Songs of Blades and Heroes for 30YW/ECW/3 Musketeers at the moment. I am also working on a squad-level sci-fi using the same system.
    Please drop me a line at if you wish to pursue Atomic Sunset using this system, as I am likely to start work on such a project soon.

  8. Ah ok. I didn’t realise you knew Greg (a bit hard to guess from your user name).

    At the moment, I am 150% committed to finishing off the JR table for Little Wars so there are absolutely no spare brain cells for thinking about this at the moment.

    I do want to pursue Atomic Sunset however and think it’s a marketable concept. Greg is in love with the Song of Blades and Heroes engine and that is as good an endorsement as I could hope for.

    Brigade Games’ Atomic Cafe seems focused on Post-Apocalyptic gang warfare, which isn’t what I was looking at – I’m more interested in gaming the threats to 1950/60s society than their aftermath.

  9. This is a remarkably anonymous forum 🙂 I’m sure that we have met in person. I will make sure that we talk at Little Wars. From my brief discussions with Andrea over at Ganesha I believe it would be easy to integrate into his stable of games – and I’m confident of writing the conversion to fit the vision.
    And that is the important part: us seeing the same vision.
    Also, it would be very worthwhile identifying the figures/manufacturers that support this game. This would help to have photos in-text. The ideal, of course, would be if Nic had a range of Korean era GI’s.
    But these and other discussions can wait till a future date.
    Glad to hear that we may be on to something.

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