Though I started GMing the wild post-apocalypse Gamma World RPG with the original edition, we quickly moved on to the 2nd edition box set. While the 1st edition is super compelling, I found second edition to be a more polished rules set, and easier to run at the table. (And that each of the classic GW beasties got a Larry Elmore sketch was very cool, but we’ll get to that later…)

Though probably like many gamers at the time, we used both sets side-by-side. 1e and 2e are broadly compatible and useful together.

See my posts on other GW editions: 
GAMMA WORLD 1st ed (1978-82): The Original Post-Apoc RPG
GAMMA WORLD 3rd edition (1986-87): ACT Table Rules, Mutated Plants and Tech V devices

Got a pretty nice set in the shop, so it was time to start snapping photos!

Gamma World 2nd edition [BOX SET]

1983 … James M. Ward & David James Ritchie & Gary Jaquet … TSR 7010 … ISBN 0394531582

Gamma World 2nd in the shop

Ebay | DriveThruRPG (PDF)

Gamma World, all editions through 2000 detailed at my RPG reference site

Gamma World 2e, a very thorough review by Daniel Stack at Rolling Boxcars blog

Dyson rolls up a Mutant Trilobite in GW 2e

This very special set in factory shrinkwrap came through the shop in 2015. It was owned by Gary Gygax himself. It was auctioned off as part of the Gygax Collection back in 2011, with certificate of authenticity. Box art by Jeff Easley

The Rulebook

Rules Booklet art by Keith Parkinson
Personal preference: I like having the important terms in BOLD typeface

The first 40 pages of the 64-page rulebook have almost no art. That suddenly changes in the Encounter section.

The dreaded Warbot Death Machine, by Larry Elmore [My friend Greg called this illustration a Death Machine, and I agree: “This 15-meter long, 9-meter wide, 3-meter high killing machine is covered with knobby projections housing sensors and weapons. Its main weapons are 2 Blaster Cannons that do 25d6 damage at a 1500-meter range.” -GW2 Rulebook]
The back cover has an Index! So many RPGs lack this time-saver.

Adventure Booklet

The Adventure Booklet is something of a “catch-all”, with an adventure, campaign tips, area campaign notes, and charts. The 3-panel cover looks like a Gamemaster Screen, but is has encounter maps on the “player side”… So, not a GM Screen.
Adventure: The Lil
Guide to Pitz Burke. The Ancient Ruins of Pittsburgh.
In the back, the all-important charts and tables for Gamma World 2nd ed. These sheets are perforated, and are often missing from used copies.

The Map

The big campaign map is great. One side is entirely the ruins of Pitz Burke. On the reverse side is the Allegheny region around Pitz Burke, and when the party has exhausted all the adventure in the area, the whole former USA beckons.

The USA map in GW 2e is a colorized and labelled version of the original map from GW 1e.

See also:

Gamma World box (1983): Damaged inside the shrinkwrap

Gamma World colored map