Tuesday, 7 August 2018

The Great Race

Although I am putting in some time on Gaslands these days, I'm also still reworking Machinas as well. In the past week I have come up with ways of streamlining the points system and have also rewritten how shooting works. The original rules have it reducing Speed, on point at a time, which never sat very well with me. I changed it so that vehicles took hits, which seemed logical, but did requite another trait to be tracked. I have now altered it so that it reduces the target's bonus dice pool. If the pool reaches zero then the target must save against their size or be wrecked. This still means larger vehicles are harder to destroy with shooting, but keeps things simpler in terms of bookkeeping.

I set up a six vehicle race over four laps, with each vehicle being built to equal points. I did emphasis gunnery, and used normal weapons, flamethrowers and missiles, as they each have their own quirks.

This was the starting-grid. From left to right, front to back: The Fountain Of Lamneth, Devil In My CarBlack Dog, Bad Blood, Jockey Full Of Bourbon and Dreamline.

And away they went. Although equipped for speed, Black Dog ended up in third place, with The Fountain Of Lamneth taking the lead and Devil In My Car second place. The big, slow Jockey Full Of Bourbon brought up the rear.

Black Dog tried to pass Devil In My Car, failing on the first straight, and then failing badly on the first curve. Devil In My Car lined up its rear-mounted flamethrower ...

... and Black Dog was destroyed. Devil In My Car achieved an incredibly fluky kill in the first half of the first lap.

Bad Blood and Dreamline both only narrowly avoided the burning wreckage of Black Dog.

Devil In My Car now tried for a second kill, deploying its fearsome spines against The Fountain Of Lamneth. But the yellow car held the lead.

There was more drama on the final bend of the first lap, when Dreamline lost traction on the curve and was smashed off the road by the armoured ute, Jockey Full Of Bourbon.

Into the second lap, only a quarter of the way through the race, and already two vehicles had been lost. Jockey Full Of Bourbon pushed Bad Blood into last place.

Meanwhile Devil In My Car made another attempt at the lead, and took it.

The Fountain Of Lamneth swerved, and lost second place to Jockey Full Of Bourbon.

They jostled for position throughout the second lap.

But it was Bad Blood who put on a burst of speed to take third place.

Jockey Full Of Bourbon evaded Devil In My Car's flamethrower, and tried to use its superior weight to ram the buggy off the road. The attempt met with no success.

Devil In My Car kept up a steady fire from the flamethrower, but Jockey Full Of Bourbon was well-protected with armour.

Bad Blood also had armour, but it didn't help against a volley of rockets from The Fountain Of Lamneth. This kill closed the third lap.

The Fountain Of Lamneth slipped into second place, and engaged in a gunnery duel with Devil In My Car, rockets against flamethrower.

Meanwhile Jockey Full Of Bourbon kept up the pressure from third place.

The three survivors entered the back straight. The Fountain Of Lamneth put on a burst of speed ...

... and edged into the lead.

But Devil In My Car had some steam left as well, and quickly recaptured first place.

The Fountain Of Lamneth tried another pass, but misjudged it, ended up in the flamethrower's sights, and was incinerated. You'll have to take my word for it, as I forgot to take a photo of this particularly dramatic moment.

This now left the big armoured ute facing off against the more agile buggy. Maybe it was the time taken to fire that final shot, but Devil In My Car lost ground to Jockey Full Of Bourbon.

Coming out of the final bend and into the last straight Devil In My Car piled on the speed. But it wasn't enough!

A win for Jockey Full Of Bourbon.

There was plenty of drama in this race, especially with the high casualty rate. Some of this was caused by the changes to the way shooting works, although two kills were caused by rolls at the extreme ends of the bell curves - both target and shooter roll handfuls of dice looking for successes and comparing the difference, and in both cases the target got no successes whilst the firer got well above the average. In all cases the target then failed their save roll.

I can see more races like this in my future.


  1. Out of curiosity, how does this ruleset compare to Car Wars?

    1. Obviously it's the same genre, but it's a very different game. There's less detail on the car builds for starters (systems are more abstract, but not completely so). And it's specifically designed for chases and races. This is its strength. It assumes that in a chase or race all vehicles are travelling in a pack, and you only track the order of vehicles in that pack and whether they are drafting or are positioned to make a pass or attack. The mechanisms use dice pools, so the game is very much about managing resources and timing your attacks and passes.

      Hope this helps.

      (I should point out that I play a heavily modified version of the original game. Whilst the basic mechanism of the pack and passing is truly inspired, the game seems to have been rushed into production and wasn't as clean as it could be. I started tinkering and ended up changing more than I initially planned :) )


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