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In high school I was the “forever GM”. There were three other GMs in my high school, and each of them would rather play in my games than run their own, so I almost never got to play with my peers (I did play a lot with two older groups though).

So it wasn’t much of a surprise when at the beginning of the 1985-1986 school year one of my players (who’s older brother was one of the other GMs in the school) showed up with a new RPG he wanted me to run.

Introducing Twilight:2000

I made a LOT of characters for it, and ran a lot of solo firefights to get a hang of the system. Then I discovered that the real challenge of the game was book-keeping your way across Poland in slow-motion.

The first session of our campaign involved going through everyone’s gear and figuring out how much would fit on the few vehicles they had to escape from Kalisz. The rest just got left behind with a few grenades to keep the Soviet military forces from picking it up.

One day later the Humvee broke down and they didn’t have the means to fix it on the spot. The Humvee was towing a trailer full of ammo. More book-keeping to figure out how much of what they were taking for the next leg of the trip, camouflaging and boobytrapping the busted Humvee and trailer, and hoping they could get some spare parts in the next town.

Then they ran out of gas before getting to the next town. Time to break out the stills, make some alcohol, and switch the remaining vehicles from gasoline to methanol. Book-keeping ho!

It was the smoke from our distilling operation that attracted the attention of some Polish irregulars.

When they finally rolled into the next town, they had one person strapped to a gurney with a horrid gut wound, blood splatter over two others, a bad need for a transmission piece for the Humvee, and the discovery that the town was hosting a Soviet anti-aircraft vehicle and a dozen troops.

I never did return his copy of the game. It is sitting on the shelf behind me as I write this.

Twilight:2000 taught me that, in the right circumstances and with the right group, I had no issues playing an RPG with a lot of book-keeping.

And it REALLY taught us all a lot about sandbox play. Prior to this we understood the concepts of a sandbox game, but it was T2K that really hammered home how fun a well prepared sandbox (and the ability to improvise new material on the fly that meshed with the existing sandbox) can be to play and create.

The encounter tables include small settlements, and busted and abandoned hardware in addition to the standard fare of animals, people, and military forces.

It was that sandbox part that really had us coming back to the game. The campaign books in Poland were great nexus points for adventures, but there was a LOT of adventure to be had just travelling and avoiding the major military units still in play.