I showed at the gaming gig an hour early… and the players were already at the store. I asked them if cars with guns was okay for the day’s game, and they said it was. (One guy started reciting every single character and vehicle gimmick from the recent Death Race movies.) There was a minor mix-up with there being no large table for me to play on, but a Warhammer grog helped me to find a spot. Good to go! By the time I got set up, a couple more players showed up.
To get… er… warmed up… I started everyone off in a Scorcher duel at the Brewer’s Cellar. My thinking was that if someone showed up late or if some one died way early, we could just start them up in a fresh duel in an empty cell. One paring ended quickly in a head-on collision. Another was a very low speed game that had some action, but ended with one of the contestants getting his car burned up. A third pairing began with more or less long range flame thrower shots and ended with a solid t-bone ram.
Based on this session, I can’t say that the straight up Scorcher design is the best car for a set of mostly new players. The players all knew that right angle turns at 60 mph could kill them. At least two players knew from experience that low speeds in this event would result in an almost sure death by fire. Nevertheless, everyone still went slow for the most part. (If I had played, I would have gone up to at least 40 or 50 mph… either to set up a game winning t-bone or to avoid one.) Another downside to usual tactic of stopping and pivoting in this game is that you end up having to shoot through multiple smoke counters. This slows the game down and forces people to drive around in order to set up a second pass.
Dark Cowboy and The Green Menace trade flamethrower shots at the Brewer's Cellar
The Scorcher duels seemed to drag on a little and one guy was having to sit out for what seemed like way too long. (An expected 6th player never showed.) I didn’t start the requisite forth cell Scorcher duel, but instead… brought out a proven design that I’d hoped would result in a lot more action. The Lothario has a big inaccurate weapon on the front, a smaller more accurate weapon on the back, and a pair of highly inaccurate rockets on the side. I put everyone into the middle of the Brewer’s Cellar map and let ’em go.
The resulting action was very surprising to me. The Grim Reaper got ganged up on during the first turn. (This was the guy that got in the lucky t-bone in the Scorcher duels.) I was really wishing I had some system to really handle secret and simultaneous fire decisions right then…! That guy only got hit once, but… reading the writing on the wall, he chose to turn his car around and head away from the angry mod of crazed duelists. He stayed at 20 mph or so the whole game and skidded towards the wall when he executed his thirtieth D6 bend. (In his Scorcher duel, he’d made at least a dozen consecutive control rolls.)
Meanwhile, veteran duelist Grimm Nails held his fire and drove towards the center while everyone else took wild shots at each other and talked smack. Suddenly… Grimm Nails had cars on all sides. The Sweeper… uh… swept into his flank and pummeled him with ATG fire before executing a perfect t-bone collision. In the confusion, Grim Nails failed a control roll and went into a spin out. The Green Menace was just making his pass then and poured on the ATG shells. Grimm Nails had lost most of his right side armor then, all of his front armor, and his ATG was only just barely still functioning. He managed to pivot his damaged sides away from the action. Then… through a deft use of his vehicular radio… somehow managed to convince everyone that the Sweeper was the juciest target on the board.
At this point, we were running out of time. (The store closes at 8PM sharp.) Everyone took their last shot on The Sweeper. Some people missed… some people hit… but it all worked out for Grimm Nails. With the last shot of the game, he scored a tricky hit from across the arena with his RR. He rolled a perfect twelve for the damage… and set the powerplant on fire for the win!
The Grimm Reaper (yellow) skids towards the outer wall just moments before Grimm Nails (grey) went into a spin out.
Random thoughts for what to do next time:
1) Free-for-all is good… but it needs to be in a tighter space, maybe.
2) The Lothario needs any or all of the following changes: HC 4, Accel 10, APFSDS ammo, HDFT instead of the RR, and three or four HR’s on the right side instead of a pitiful two.
3) Ixnay on the ibitzing-kay. Nobody tells anybody what to do. Period. Let people play their own game. This is a role playing game, not a euro.
4) Players need to think about what they want to do before it’s their move. When I call you… I want to hear “D3 bend to the right” or “straight” or “D3 drift to the left” or “t-bone the sucka!”
5) I’m bringing index cards next time. Players can write their fire decisions down during the turn break. When I ask if people have fire, the ones that want to lay their cards down. I will then resolve the fire in order of best reflex roll to worst… or maybe from worst to best– whichever the person with the best reflexes there decides.
6) If you have a question… try to wait for the turn break, but *after* I’ve put my notes in order.
7) I really need a turn/phase record tracking chart to fill-in as things happen. Five players to is a lot to manage– and I don’t have my usual co-referee up here. (Not yet, anyway.)
8) No more d6 tie-breakers for the reflex rolls. I’m sick of rerolling those dice so much. From now on… your driver skill points are the tie breaker. (Everyone keeps asking me when the skill points will have a game effect. Well… the answer is… they have an effect right now!!)
9) No hat flipping at the table.
Here are the final standings:
The Dark Cowboy
Driver Skill Points: 1 + 0 = 1 + 0 = 1 + 0 + 1 = 2 + 0 = 2
Gunner Skill Points: 1 + 1 = 2 + 1 = 3 + 1 + 1 = 5 + 1 = 6
Prestige: -1 – 1 = -2 + 0 = -2 + 3 = 1 + 1 = 2
Scorcher duel #2: After a 25 point head on collision, exchanged FT fire with the Green Menace. Successfully burned his opponents car to a crisp.
Lothario free-for-all: Never went faster than 25 mph. Shot at people.
Driver Skill Points: 1/1 + 0/1 = 3 + 0 = 3 + 0 = 3 + 1 + 1 = 5
Gunner Skill Points: 1/1 + 1/0 = 3 + 1 = 4 + 1 = 5 + 1 + 1 = 7
Prestige: 4 + 3 = 7 + 0 = 7 + 0 = 7 + 3 = 10
Vehicles: One Killer Kart
Salvage: One Killer Kart (three hits to power plant, side armor destroyed, four shots fired)
Scorcher Duel #4: Traded FT fire at long range… then got t-boned to death.
Lothario free-for-all: Held fire early in the game… then got surrounded by several cars. Spun out… then pivoted to keep a damaged side away from opponents. Before the game was called, hit The Sweeper with RR for 12 points of damage to the power plant… setting that car on fire for the win.
The Green Menace
Driver Skill Points: 0 + 0 = 0
Gunner Skill Points: 1 + 1 = 2
Prestige: -1 + 1 = 0
Scorcher duel #2: After a 25 point head on collision, exchanged FT fire with the Dark Cowboy. Was set fire during the melee.
Lothario free-for-all: Cruised around shooting at people. A master of accelerating out of a tight turn.
Driver Skill Points: 0 + 1 = 1
Gunner Skill Points: 0 + 1 = 1
Prestige: -1 + 0 = -1
Scorcher duel #3: Head on collision for 45 points of damage. Game over.
Lothario free-for-all: Pulled off three moderate speed t-bones. Played aggressively, but was ganged up on by everyone in the final second before the game was called.
The Grim Reaper
Driver Skill Points: 0 + 2 + 1 = 3
Gunner Skill Points: 0 + 1 + 1 = 2
Prestige: -1 + 3 + 1 = 3
Scorcher duel #3: Head on collision for 45 points of damage. Game over.
Scorcher duel #4: Traded FT fire at long range… then did several D6 maneuvers at 20 mph… then t-boned his opponent for the win.
Lothario free-for-all: Got ganged on the first turn… then stayed away from the brawl. Skidded towards the wall but recovered.