Monday, 23 November 2020

We Who Are About To Drive Salute You

"What if," I thought, "I combined Gaslands and gladiators?"

I know the Arena of Death scenario is kind of a straight combat scenario for Gaslands, but what I had in mind was single-combat, but in cars. A simple arena, two basic vehicles and a last man standing victory condition.

I tried it out yesterday, using some of the 20 Can designs I prepared for Thursday's club-game.

The arena was small, and had a few basic terrain pieces. Vehicles started in opposite corners at Gear 1.

The first bout was between Stationary Traveller (top left) a car with armour and a ram, and Tom Joad (bottom right) which had an HMG and the Terrifying Lunatic perk.

Early moves brought saw Tom Joad skirt the sand patch and bring its gun to bear.

Surviving the attack with no damage, Staionary Traveller zoomed forward ...

... and rammed Tom Joad. Unfortunately, despite the ram, Tom Joad got off lightly whilst Stationary Traveller didn't.

Stationary Traveller floundered around for a while on the edge of the arena.

Tom Joad got in another shot before accumulated hazards saw the vehicle wipe out.

This gave the ram-car an opportunity, but it couldn't turn in on the immobile Tom Joad fast enough. Tom Joad did a hard turn in reverse ...

... fired ...

... and wrecked its opponent.

Winner stays on!

This time Tom Joad faced Back In Black, which had a front-mounted mini-gun and improved handling.

The two cars exchanged fire.

Tom Joad skillfully spun after the pass to get in a sneaky shot on the rear quarter of Back in Black.

The driver of Back In Black put his foot down in order to bring his car round for another attack, misjudged his next turn and crashed into the arena wall, wrecking his vehicle. 

The final bout saw Tom Joad facing Mr Apollo, which has a bazooke (with limited ammo) and the deadly Headshot perk.

The two cars spun around the containers in the center, but Mr Apollo did manage a shot which put a few hits on Tom Joad. It then accelerated ...

... and used a slide to line up a second shot which ... 

... against the odds, completely missed, wasting one-third of Mr Apollo's ammunition.

Mr Apollo took hits from Tom Joad's HMG, as they closed again.

A misjudged turn saw an unavoidable T-bone collision. Mr Apollo accelerated ...

... and Tom Joad was wrecked. Mr Apollo spun out and flipped, but survived. Just.

The three games took 15-20 minutes each to play.

This style of combat is fast, very random, and deadly, but was fun. A lot of it will be down to the designs, but the 20 Can limit should prevent too many obvious combat-monsters. We may look at running a small tournament as a club-game at some stage, with several bouts during the evening.

The two areas I need to consider is how pole-position works and whether there's a way of the vehicle picking up audience votes to help manage hazards, gear or replenish ammo.

For pole-position I switched it back and forth each gear phase, but that essentially gave each vehicle a double move, so I'm not sure that's what I want. My current thought is that the vehicle closest to the centre of the arena at the start of the gear phase goes first. That allows it to switch back and forth, whilst allowing for some minor tactical play to influence the move sequence. I don't have an idea for audience votes yet.

Elon Musk's iPod Submarine

 From Tin*Star Games comes this wonderful party-game for five or more people. 

(I know it's been around for a few year - I only saw it today. I've been told we'll be playing it at Christmas.)

Sunday, 22 November 2020

More Dino Park

We played another playtest game of my friend's in-development Dino Park game yesterday. For the first time we beat the game and won, keeping our park ticking over just well enough to pick up a coveted five-star satisfaction rating whilst still managing to pay back the loans we took out to set it up.

Obviously we had some dinosaurs, including some unhappy sauropods (who needed a bigger enclosure than we thought they'd want) ...

... and some anti-social Troodons.

Once again I spent the game mining amber in the name of Science. I even got two bits with some T-Rex DNA in them, but Corporate decided that the Entertainment division could have them to make into very expensive jewellery.

The hatchery - on the left is a very badly put-together Allosaurus, assembled from a few bits of original DNA and some other strands we found down the back of the sofa.

Our Troodons were a bit ropey as well, until one of my brave scientists went into their enclosure and gave them a dose of gene-therapy to fix them. He survived.

Anyway, it was a fun afternoon. The game is more complicated than I usually like things, but I think we have helped push it in the right direction.

Friday, 20 November 2020

Gaslands On The Cheap

We experimented with a smaller-scale Gaslands game again last night - each player running one vehicle built to a mere 20 Cans with no sponsors. They were allowed to select perks, but a vehicle could only select them from a single class.

We thought that a really restricted design like this would concentrate the game on its core machanics, rather than complex interactions of perks, weapons and sponsor abilities.

The scenario was randomly determined. we atually made a few minor adjustments to scenarios in advance of the oll:

(i) If Arena of Death was rolled, then the player would get two vehicles, since respawning's not allowed in that senario.

(ii) Saturday Night Live would be played as normal, but there are fewer opportunities to get VPs because without sponsors there's fewer ways to get Audience Votes. So the special prizes randomly generated throughout the scenario are worth 2 Audience Votes each.

Anyway, we rolled a Death Race. We always do.

There were four of us playing. From left to right on the starting grid:

Me - A car with a ram and the Delicate Touch perk.

Caesar - A buggy with twin HMGs to the front and the Feel No Pain perk

Damien - A performace car with tracks and a box of grenades.

Dom - A car with a grabber-arm and the Loader perk.

As you can see, they are very simple designs. The track was a basic figure of eight - a clear run to the first gate, past the red container to Gate Two, back around the top of the board to Gate Three and another run past the red container to the finish.

And away we went. We all reached Gate One safely, since there was plenty of room and no-one chose to ram or do any other funny business.

Of course at Gate One the shooting starts. Caesar somehow accumulate a pile of hazards and wiped out, whilst Dom atttacked Damien's car with the grabber-arm chucking him into a rock.

Dom and Damien went for the tricky narrow gap on one side of the container, whilst I went the long way around but failed to keep up a steady acceleration.

The run for Gate Two. Damien was recovering from being chucked into a rock on the left, Caesar was still trying to restart his engine, and I was just not going fast enough. meanwhile Dom was driving his vehicle with great skill, and a temendous amount of luck, and pulling of a series of spins and slides to take him just where he needed to be.

Caesar and I ended up in all kinds of trouble as we collided with each other.

The race was going to be between Dom and Damien, with Dom now well out in front. However his hazards were mounting ...

... and his luck with steering couldn't last. He clipped a container and wiped out.

Damien raced to catch up, his tracks enabling him to run safely through the soft sand that had hindered Dom.

Dom got his car up and running again, and passed Gate Three. His clear run to the finish was blocked by Caesar and I still blundering around after our post-Gate One mistakes.

I took the bold step of simply smashing through a container - colliding with it in one activation at low speed, using the ram to avoid the hazards and the low speed to minimise damage. In Gaslands if you start a move in contact with an obstacle, you ignore it during movement. Like this:

Dom collided with Caesar's buggy.

Here's my car (called 'Woman King') looking like a vehicle that's back in the race.

Dom and Caesar had both wiped out, leaving Damien a clear run at the fnish. Careful positining after a spin meant that he could do it without rolling shift dice, so at the speed he was travelling at his win was a certainty.

Caesar got back into the running, and brought his HMGs to bear as I raced ahead of him, badly damaging my car.

Damien sped towards the finish ...

... as Caesar tailed my car, machine-guns blazing.

A win for Damien!

And a crash for me, as my bullet-riddled car could take no more.

The final position.

We felt the seriously cut-down car designs worked well. There was less scope for clever mini-maxxing of vehicle/team designs, and, as I said in the introduction, it focused the game on the basic machanics instead of clever tricks. It's a style of play we'll try again, hopefully in some different scenarios.

Thursday, 19 November 2020

HOTT 52 - Week 47 - UNIT vs The Daleks

This HOTT 52 week covers the 57th anniversary of the first ever episode of 'Doctor Who', so I felt it was appropriate to get out my UNIT vs Daleks matched-pair for this week's game.

UNIT ended up defending their HQ against a Dalek attack.

UNIT consist of a hero general (The Brigadier), a sneaker (The Doctor), six shooters (UNIT troopers), artillery (UNIT heavy weapons) and a rider (a Land Rover).

The attacking Daleks had seven blades (including the general), two fliers (Daleks on flying discs) and an airboat (command saucer). I realise now that I managed to lose 3AP somewhere between selecting the army and deployment and forgot to put on the artillery (Special Weapons Dalek).

The Daleks went for a quick aerial assault on UNIT's right flak, but they quickly brought the Brigadier over to assist.

The Brigadier, supported by the Land Rover, took out both of the fliers.

The command saucer withdrew.

The main Dalek force advanced.

And exposed another blunder. The Dalek commander was on the end of the line, and was quickly attacked by The Doctor, assisted by a fatal overlap from the Land Rover.

With their leader and aerial contingent destroyed, the rest of the Dalek force withdrew.

So a series of blunders caused a Dalek loss there - forgetting to deploy 3AP (not sure the artillery would have actually made much difference though), being too impetuous with the initial aerial attack (I should have held them back until the main line moved up) and the ever-popuar putting your general in an exposed position on the end of a line.

I think the Daleks will get a consolation outing next week, and I have an interesting opponent lined up for them already.

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