Art of the Genre

Rolling D20s for Gamma World might sound odd, considering how the system has evolved over the years, but because of the D20 boom of the early 2000s, there is a rather substantial Gamma World edition based around the mechanic.

Today, to continue my Gamma World series, I’m going to look at the art of the Sword & Sorcery’s release of Gamma World D20. Based on the D20 Modern core rules by Wizards of the Coast, this edition is a nice collection of rules that feel a bit forced and not as lovely as I’d like considering the source material.

The artwork, while having a decent amount inside the pages, is all black & white on glossy paper, which to me doesn’t transcend. If you’re doing black and white illustration, the pages need to have more texture or the b&w seems out of place and needing a color pallet based on digital formatting.

The cover is also a seeming failure, as it is all design, with a central bubble of florescent green sludge that pervades the genre post 2000, and little else but graphics. I was never one to abide by games without great painted covers, so this version never stood out to me.

Inside, artists like Ed Bourelle, Mike Chaney, Jeff Holt, Brian LeBlanc, James Stowe, and Nate Pride try to hold their own against the industry veteran talents of Tim Truman and Jeff Laubenstein. In the end, they just can’t do so.

Truman & Laubenstein are the only true saving graces for the interiors and even Truman seems to have lost his will to create on most of the character drawings. Laubenstein’s art is also ‘thin’ and I have a feeling that the pay per image was so poor these two did what they could but didn’t come close to bringing their A game.

In the end, the product falls flat artistically, and I can’t recommend it if you are looking for visual inspiration for the setting.

Artistic Rating: 2 [out of 5]

Written by Scott Taylor — April 21, 2014

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