Monday, April 29, 2024

A Look Back at GRIDSHOCK 20XX

In 2021, I launched a Kickstarter for GRIDSHOCK 20XX. GRIDSHOCK was a setting concept I had been writing about on Google+ until that social media site was rendered defunct. You can skim the Kickstarter page for a more detailed idea of what it's about, but the ad copy I used to sum it up works as an elevator pitch:

In 1945, superheroes saved the world.
In 1986, it ended.
In 20XX, supervillains rule what's left.
Welcome to GRIDSHOCK 20XX.

Though I had been messing around with writing a new set of rules specifically for GRIDSHOCK more or less since I first thought it up, when Kickstarter's second Zine Quest promotion rolled around, I impulsively decided "screw it" and chose to publish the concept as a set of zines for ICONS Superpowered Roleplaying, a game I like a lot. 

Since it was a snap decision, I had to scramble to get the Kickstarter funded -- which it just barely did, with a bit over 100 backers. With the invaluable help of the project's other contributors, including Steven De Waele and Grey Wizard on art duties, Anne Hunter and Trey Causey editing, and my brother Chris Vermeren's layout and graphic design, I delivered the printed zines and PDFs in 2022 as promised. Not long after that, I inked a deal with indie RPG publishing juggernaut Exalted Funeral for a second print run of the zines.

None of that is meant to sound like bragging. On the contrary, while I'm quite proud of what my collaborators and I put together, I made a lot of mistakes -- both in terms of promotion and production, as well as in how I conceptualized and then presented this GRIDSHOCK thing. I'm planning to relaunch it as a standalone roleplaying game, so I've started re-reading the GRIDSHOCK 20XX zines for the first time since they were published. In the next few posts, I'll talk about what I think works in GRIDSHOCK, what doesn't, and what will change.


  1. I think it's a project to be proud of in terms of its original setting and production aesthetic for sure.

    1. Thank you. I think it came out pretty well, especially considering it was VX2's first release.