After I made Community Radio, I had the idea to do a series of “radio” games, each in different contexts and genres. Where Community Radio is in a Nightvale-esque world, Radio Free Kaiju is a world where giant Godzilla-sized monsters rose up and won.
In Radio Free Kaiju, giant mutant monsters forced us to tear apart our world with nuclear weaponry just to have some chance of surviving against them. We built outposts and cities underground to hide from the surviving Kaiju. Humanity hopes to rebuild, but each outpost has only some parts of the puzzle needed for that. One outpost may have a rare material to make a special new bomb while another outpost has the only scientist capable of designing a solution with it. With the internet destroyed, there are few ways to communicate with other outposts to assemble the means and methods for humanity’s resurgence.
Radio is our last hope.
Through radio we can guide in those brave enough to travel Topside, bringing valuable resources and information from outpost to outpost. With radio, humanity could unite against the Kaiju, and step into the sun once more.
Never have the airwaves been more important.
Radio Free Kaiju is a storytelling experience for 3-6 players in a Kaiju-ravaged earth. When playing it, some players will take the role of Broadcasters, detailing life in the outposts and setting up potential news of the world outside. Some players will take the role of Topsiders, brave or foolhardy travelers who are nonetheless needed by the outposts for barter, salvage and exploration. Topsiders will describe their adventures as prompted by the news from Broadcasters and effected by random, sudden events.
While the game will have some post-apocalyptic elements, what I’ve been working for in honing this idea is capturing a sense of wonder. I want to set up scenes and mood where you are doing something normal or tedious for your survival, and then the world injects with some large event. Obviously, with Kaiju this means you might be picking the trash while Godzilla appears fighting another monster just hundreds of feet from you. But it can also be electric dust storms that scintillate with light; sudden breaks in the sun-blotted sky where you can feel the true heat and warmth of the sun of your skin; following a long-hidden path to and underground river with enough clean water to quench the thirst of an entire outpost.
If I had to boil it down further, I’d say that Radio Free Kaiju aims to be a radio drama and improv experience that evokes “grit and wonder”. Players will be literally world-building through play, and then using that world-building and improvisation to feed back into the giant twists the framework will introduce to them.
Like many of my releases, it will be compact but meant for a lot of interesting and emergent play. I’m aiming to make it something that’s compelling with just 1 hour to play, but also something that can be deepened and expanded over time. I’ve talked about wanting shorter storytelling experiences, but what I really strive for is getting to the fun part of group storytelling faster. Setting a “playable with 1 hour” limit helps me to focus design to fit that constraint. Once you’ve got a game that is good in a short time, you have a game that is good in a longer time as well. The trick from there is provide additional structure for “going long”.
It’s taken a while to get from the base concept of Radio Free Kaiju to here, but now that we are here I am excited to get something play-testable out the door this month and I hope you are excited as well! You can get a playtestable form this week by signing up for my Patreon or you can wait patiently for the full PDF to be released.