Gamer’s Corner—The Morrow Project

“In 1962, a man by the name of Bruce Edward Morrow, origin unknown, gathered nine of the country’s leading industrialists into an organization known as The Council of Tomorrow…This organization brought forth the concept of the Morrow Project; an ambitious plan to cryogenically freeze special teams and equipment to aid in the reconstruction of the U.S. after nuclear war.”Kevin Dockery, Robert Sadler, and Richard Tucholka, the authors of The Morrow Project.

While gamer friends were off battling through dungeons or gathered together trying to keep Yog-Sothoth from making an untimely appearance, some of us sat across from one another at a gaming table, enjoying the nuclear winter that was the Cold War aftermath.

The Morror Project was a rpg published by Timeline Limited, a moderately successful game which went up against a glutted market including The Call Of Cthulhu, Star Trek: The Role Playing Game. Champions (an early super-hero game), James Bond 007, Marvel Superheroes, Elfquest, Warhammer, GURPS, Robotech….you get my point. And allow me a nerdish admission that I played most of those just listed.

The Morror Project had a nice niche though. This was the 80’s! The Red Dawn 80’s! Ronald Reagan’s “Evil Empire” 80’s. And gosh darn, in a world where nuclear war loomed as a real threat, gamers’ imaginations ran wild.

Players took on the challenges of a post-apocalyptic world, emerging from bunkers set up by thoughtful, insightful, compassionate, benevolent industrialists.  And although the Morrow Project was as cohesive as Lost’s Dharma Initiative, and about as confusing, the players  hit the wasteland looking for that staple of nuclear aftermaths—the mutant hordes. And we found them! Along with new religious cults, strange and often nonsensical political structures, and emerging societies striving to prove that you could blast the heck out of humanity, but you couldn’t blast the heck out of its propensity for self-destruction.

The Morrow Project was a well-designed system and a survivalist’s dream. Seriously. A few of the players back in the day were self-avowed Cold War survivalists who found playing through Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome to be 80’s Nirvana.  It was around the table, immersed in a session of The Morrow Project, that I had my first MRE, not a tasty memory.  And who can forget the pile of gun brochures and the lengthy discussion on how best to realistically equip our fantasy team?

Sure, the day of the tabletop rpg is fading and most of the games mentioned above are merely dusty memories. However, when playing Fallout 3, I sometimes wonder if it can truly compare to the gaming paranoia of The Morrow Project, or the determined glare of the referee insisting: “Listen up, this game can teach you something.”

He was right. I learned in the event of the apocalypse, I’m probably one of the first to bite the big one.

2 comments to Gamer’s Corner—The Morrow Project