We finally jumped on the Gaslands bandwagon last night. It's very much the car-combat game du jour, and seemed to have interesting yet simple mechanisms on paper so I was keen to give it a go.
I set up a basic race - run through three gates and then back to the finish-line - and slapped down what I hoped would be some interesting terrain. Caesar and I played, running two cars each built to a total of 36pts. We kept weapons simple - handguns, machine-guns and rams - and didn't use sponsors or perks.
Caesar took Back in Black (front gun) and Stationary Traveller (front ram), whilst I took Bad Blood (front and rear gun) and Meeting Mr Miandad (guns all round and a larger van rather than a car).
And away we went.
The start was a complete mess. we completely underestimated how easy it is to accumulate hazard tokens, and failed to appreciate the need to keep them under control. In our attempts to whizz around we ended up wiping out and crashing into obstacles and each other with reckless abandon.
Meeting Mr Miandad was T-boned by Stationary Traveller. Damage was caused by Stationary Traveller flipped ...
... and went over the van. Wiping out and flipping in Gaslands isn't terminal. Unlike Machinas, where it's possible for a bad roll to eliminate your vehicle, in Gaslands you are simply reduced to the lowest speed and left facing a random direction, having maybe taken some damage. You can only be eliminated by losing all of the hits on your vehicle.
Eventually most of us made the first gate; Bad Blood had stalled on the start line and was out of shot, well to the rear. Even so, we were still wobbling and spinning even at this stage of the race.
However we started to get the measure of the game from this point on. Caesar broke away with Back in Black as he worked out how to ease the vehicle up through the gears removing hazards as you go. The chaos behind him at the first gate was the other vehicles trying to avoid being rammed by Stationary Traveller, whilst attempting to get off shots with our now active weapons.
Stationary Traveller blundered around well to the rear now, whilst I took Meeting Mr Minadad on a cross-country trip to the second gate, hoping to make up some lost ground. In the picture you can see one of the movement templates; these are the key to movement and are apparently similar to how the X-Wing game works. When your vehicle moves you choose one of nine templates; straight moves, turns or swerves. Some templates can't be chosen at certain speeds, whilst your speed also dictates if a move is trivial (which gives you a handling bonus) or hazardous (which gives you a hazard token). You can then roll dice based on your vehicles handling to change speed or removed hazard tokens, but you also risk gaining more tokens or risk having your movement modified by slides or spins.
Back in Back was well ahead by this point, having passed the final gate, and Caesar was preparing to turn in order to make his run to the finish line. I sent Bad Blood on a mission to intercept the leader.
As Caesar wiped out trying to take the turn off the gate too quickly, I swept in, guns blazing, even using a turn with a controlled (so I claim) spin to sneak in this close-range shot. Back in Back was seriously damaged.
Unfortunately I was now going too fast, and trying to turn, clipped a wreck at the side of the gate, flipped and was destroyed by the ensuing damage I took. I didn't explode, but we put flame-markers on for the photos.
By now Meeting Mr Minadad was coming across to the next gate, bristling with machine-guns and vengeance.
Caesar made a run for the finish-line with Back in Black ...
... but the VW's crew made sure he never got there.
Now I had the advantage in the race. Meeting Mr Miandad passed the third gate, and turned for my run to the finish-line. But Caesar was bringing across Stationary Traveller at a fair clip, hoping to ram me out of the race before I could win. I got the van up to full speed ready to evade the ram, and it would have all worked out beautifully if I hadn't messed up a handling roll, bounced out of the ditch and hit the wreck of Back in Black, taking enough damage that the consequent hazards and wipe-out demolished me.
So Stationary Traveller won simply by being the last vehicle left in the race.
We really enjoyed this game. Whilst we blundered around a lot at the start (and a little bit through the rest of the game) we found the mechanisms quite fun and there's enough decision-making to keep it interesting. Balancing shift results between the vehicle's speed and keeping it under control is very much the key to the game from what we can see, and like any good game you are always slightly under-resourced in that respect unless you play very cautiously indeed. Boldness can be rewarded with great success or abject failure. I'm looking forward to another go at this, with maybe more players and with a more ambitious mix of vehicle equipment.