Fantasy couched in the guise of rayguns and rocketships, the world of Flash Gordon has delighted audiences for more than 80 years with its impossible technology and heroes-versus-villains ideology. Most modern works of science fiction and fantasy, from Star Wars to Futurama, openly display their homages to Flash Gordon and his 1930s serial comics compatriots. Now, thanks to Pinnacle Entertainment Group and Scott Alan Woodard, you can take part in similar adventures of your own. It’s time to grab your atom pistol, climb aboard your radium-powered rocketsled, and blast off for the rogue planet Mongo with The Savage World of Flash Gordon in its final week on Kickstarter.
What Is Savage World of Flash Gordon?
Savage Worlds is an RPG system developed by Pinnacle Entertainment Group for use in myriad licensed and personally-generated RPG settings. Their latest offering is the definitive, licensed, creator’s-wife-approved culmination of years of work by Scott Woodard and the team at PEG.
Players take on the roles of humans and Mongonians fighting for control of the planet Mongo and its various environs. Whether battling in the capital city of Mingo, flying through the skies of Mongo in the marvelous metropolis of Sky City, or battling the water breathers of Coralia, everyone gets to play in the science fantasy world spanning decades of content. You can create an earthling medic (my default choice in many RPGs) or a Lion Man spy or a character from the race of a nameless extra that you saw in the background of the 1980 Dino De Laurentiis Flash Gordon with a profession of your own creation. That’s the power of Savage Worlds: if it fits the theme and the gamemaster agrees, you can be anything or anyone you want.
New to this version of the Savage Worlds RPG system, players can now trigger a Cliffhanger event, giving the heroes a few advantages at the cost of a whole new set of problems. Just like in serial films or television series, the Cliffhanger pauses the action at a key point, and the GM can crank up the action or pull a major plot twist. The heroes can also earn a new bonus called Conviction after calling for the Cliffhanger. For those familiar with the Savage Worlds system, Conviction chips add another die to your rolls similar to the re-roll awarded by using a Bennie. It’s a rare bonus that can turn the tide of battles or encounters, so it should be a nice reward for offering yourself up as fodder for the GM’s sycophantic schemes.
With a few friends, a little imagination and a few hours of group storytelling, The Savage World of Flash Gordon will fulfill your childhood dreams of fighting Ming the Merciless and becoming the Savior of the Universe.
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What’s in the Box?
There are several pledge levels available, from PDF copies of the rule books to the Collector’s Box Set which contains The Savage World of Flash Gordon™ Limited Edition RPG (192-page hardcover book), Kingdoms of Mongo Limited Edition Sourcebook (192-page hardcover book), Tri-Fold Game Master Screen + 32-page Adventure “Journey to the Center of Mongo,” Combat Map 1: Arboria & War Rocket, Combat Map 2: Coralia & Fast Pursuit Rocket, Double Action Decks, Bennies (INCLUDING five Conviction chips) (set of 25), Custom Dice with Savior of the Universe Wild Die and an EXCLUSIVE Limited Edition Polished Brass Cliffhanger Token, all packed in an awesome collector’s box. There’s even a pledge level that nets you a chance to play the game helmed by creator Scott Woodard at Gen Con 2018 AND an honest-to-goodness real newspaper from April-May of 1935 with a first-run Flash Gordon comic strip.
The Verdict – (TL;DR: Pledge for It!)
This Kickstarter is in its last week and has already funded well over their goal. They’ve actually hit all but three of their stretch goals, so you’re guaranteed to see your product. More importantly, this material has been a passion project for the creators for several years. I spoke with author Scott Woodard briefly at Gen Con this year about the project, and he was extremely excited for this Kickstarter to land. He incorporated as many facets of the Flash Gordon universe as humanly possible, uniting all of the various print and mixed media content into a unified canon, including a map of Mongo that exists nowhere else. This compendium of material brings together content from comic strips, novels, and decades of cinema and television, giving players an immersive playground for heroic fantasy. While some of the source material had overtly racist and misogynistic overtones at times, Scott has done an amazing job of pruning away content that excludes or degrades anyone and leaving behind a campy, fun, suspense-filled game with plenty of room for awesome storytelling.
To pledge your support, check out the Kickstarter page here and check out other Savage Worlds RPG materials here. You can also follow Pinnacle Entertainment Group on Twitter at @PEG_Games and Scott Alan Woodard at @sawoodard.
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Disclosure: GeekDad received a pre-production copy of the rules for review purposes.