Broken Roads review – a lonely scavenger hunt for scraps of interest

April 10, 2024
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My favourite RPGs are the ones that really consider exactly who the character is – or can be – in their world. From Tyranny’s power-grasping fatebinder in an occupied land, and Harry du Bois’s desperate reflection of the ideologies around him in Disco Elysium, Broken Roads’ promise of philosophically mapped out moral quandaries in a lawless post-apocalypse looked to fit right in.

The idea is that your decisions and dialogue fall across a moral compass, being somewhere between utilitarian, humanist, nihilistic or machiavellian, and that these morals can be uniquely tested in the wilds of the post-apocalyptic outback. If the trolley problem happened at London King’s Cross, you’d have to factor in a £1000 railway trespass fine – but if it’s raiders in the desert that are responsible, it’s just you and your moral impulses.

Broken Roads is a world where the social contract is in flux, where you can see exactly how societies are constructed when they have to be rebuilt from scratch. Concepts like ‘justice’, ‘safety’ and ‘freedom’ mean vastly different things to the travelling scavenger, the isolated homestead, and the walled-in city – and Broken Roads is very happy to gesture towards the conclusion that maybe the societies we live in are equally artificially constructed, even if their histories are a little longer.

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