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I was digging around in some of my old, old miniatures, prompted by a tip that some of the old circa-1990s Ral Partha and Grenadier minis might not look too bad next to 1:64 "Gaslands" cars....

 

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These are Ral Partha 20-541 "Street Samurai on Rapier Bike," circa 1995, painted in about 1998.  (That was toward the end of the time I was really into 1st edition Warzone from Target Games AB -- which offered considerable freedom in customizing troop types and their equipment -- before it got crushed by the rigidity of 2nd edition.)  I painted these up to represent a squad of bike-mounted troops for the Mishima megacorporation -- the faction of power-armored samurai, cyber-ninja, giant stompy robots, and plagued by the occasional attack by giant fire-breathing mutant dinosaurs trashing their metropolises.  (By comparison, "Capitol" -- the US-equivalent faction -- was over-populated by celebrity-obsessed cigar-chomping muscle-bound guys sporting Rambo-style red bandannas, cowboy hats, or even football helmets and going "budda-budda-budda" with over-sized guns.  It was not quite the most serious of settings at times.)

Ral Partha miniatures were at least nominally 25mm-28mm in scale, and they seemed to hold off against the push toward "scale creep" compared to a great many other miniatures lines around that time period, for quite a while.  I still have a bunch of old Shadowrun and World of Darkness minis (lots of D. Mize!) from around that period, and they look rather dainty compared to more modern minis billed as being in the "25mm" or "28mm" scale range.  These particular bikers (and their bikes) were smaller than others in the same line, so I was wondering whether they might work well enough with the arguably 20mm scale of Gaslands.

 

Hmm.  It might be a tight fit for any of these bikers to actually sit in that car, and it should be built like a tank.  But then, this is "scale squishy."  I think it's hard to say.

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

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For the last game in our "escalation league" of Gaslands, we went with a straightforward "Death Arena" -- "last car driving."  The play area was littered with lots of terrain, including Reaper Shipping Containers (some painted by me, some painted by Dr Rhubarb), and I had my "Atomic 66 Cafe" on my side of the table, just for fun.

 

For my 80-point force, I brought good ol' Leadfoot back into action, though this time the roof-mounted gun was downgraded to forward-facing only.  (It costs 3x the basic weapon cost to make it a fully-operational turret.)  That might have been a real point-saver, but it makes SUCH A BIG DIFFERENCE, it's scary: it's pretty tough to line up the front of the vehicle JUST so, to get other cars within the forward firing line (it's not really an "arc" at all), when everyone is going every-which way.  I did at least give it some Grenades and Rapid Fire.  (Rapid Fire seems like a no-brainer choice if you're playing Rutherford, since it basically takes the best weapon on your vehicle, then gives you another for free.)

 

The bulk of my points were sunk into the APC, the "Battle Bus."  It was set up with SMG (which benefited from the APC "blitz" rule, such that if one crewmember had it, all 6 had it), Rapid Fire, and a maximized turret-mounted mini-gun.

 

The APC "Battle Bus" rules are pretty crazy.  Right from the get-go, the player to my left sent a monster truck with over 40 points sunk into it toward my car and APC.  It fired off a couple of shots, scoring a few dings on my vehicles, but once the APC got close enough to get within Medium range (range for "hand weapons" from crew members), then the minigun (x2 thanks to Rapid Fire) and 5 shots with SMGs (3d6 each) shredded it in short order.  (I've been told that the APC has been "retired" in beta drafts of version 2.0 of the Gaslands rules.  I'm not terribly surprised.  That was just a bit TOO effective.)

 

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I really liked some of the conversions on the table.  (I mean, some were just raw Hot Wheels cars or "Sons of Anarchy" plastic bikes, but all of Dr_Rhubarb's cars were converted and painted.  The green car on the left had some pretty nice modifications: some serrated fins on the sides (side-mounted rams), headlight-mounted forward-facing guns, window bars, and ridiculously over-sized exhaust (tied in with the car having smoke-screen as one of its major defenses).  The car on the right is one that Dr_Rhubarb has been working on at his worktable for a while: originally, all the shiny metallic details were plain "chrome" finish, but he used a Vallejo wash that (unlike my own acrylic "washes") was actually translucent, and transformed the formerly silvery surface into a really rich brassy look.  As I understand it, he's going for a "brushed nickel" look for the grey parts of the shell, but it's not quite done yet.

 

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The whole battle only lasted 2 rounds ... but of course, 2 rounds can still take quite a while to play out.  By the time we ended, the sun was starting to come in at a nicely dramatic angle through the window.  My APC, after its initial shredding stunt, rightly became the focused target of the others for elimination -- but it managed to take out a bike, a second turret, and another battle-car before wiping out rather dramatically (crashing into a barricade, flipping over it, then crashing into a turret as it exploded, taking out the turret  in the process).  What can I say?  I'm a big fan of destructible terrain.  :)

 

Somehow, it came down to just my Leadfoot and Dr_Rhubarb's deadly "Double Doom" (with turret-mounted laser), and after getting pegged again by the laser, Leadfoot only had two hull points left.  Its only hope was to accelerate forward and to try to blast away at Double-Doom with its forward guns -- which it did -- but nothing decisive.  Past that point, it looked as if it was a done deal and that we were merely delaying the inevitable, because now all Double-Doom had to do was to leisurely circle back around, playing "keep-away" (so long as it stayed outside of handgun-and-grenade range) and plugging away with its laser as it went.  The crazy thing was, somehow Leadfoot kept EVADING damage from the laser (roll 3d6 for handling, and negate a damage point only on the roll of a 6 on a die).  To my surprise, when it came time for Double-Doom to make a hard left turn to bank back and begin its deadly reverse strafing run ... somehow the maneuver dice came up as a jumble of Slide/Spin/Hazard, and even taking a Hazard point in order to reroll made it hardly any better.  Double-Doom wiped out, flipped, and -- surprise!  It only had 2 hull points left by that point as well, and that's exactly how much damage it took from rolling over and crashing into the barricades.

 

Somehow, Leadfoot was the victor.  Whoo!

 

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I still had to take a couple of "drama shots" of Double-Doom, as it had been quite the effective battle-car, and I liked the overall look and weathering effects.  (Plus, I've got some of my barrier "decals" in the background applied to the AT-43 barricades.  The numbers are intended for use in identifying gates, but for this game they were just put about randomly.)

 

From this point on, Dr Rhubarb is planning to still run some Gaslands games, but instead of doing an "escalation," it'll just be a matter of agreeing upon a scenario and points for the next game.  (There were a couple of people who had expressed interest, but had missed the first game, then seemed to get the idea that they "couldn't" come after that, since they'd "missed too much.")

 

Our next plan is to do a 75-point "monster jam" loosely inspired by the "zombie run" with some tweaks to try to address perceived shortcomings in that scenario -- each team fields a monster truck, and CAN field additional support vehicles, but they're restricted to being lightweight.  Instead of zombies, we get wrecked car hulls to crush for points -- but of course only the monster truck can do that, not the "support" vehicles.  (The idea here was a concern that if we did a "zombie run," someone could dominate by just fielding a "zerg rush" of bikes to spread out and hit as many zombies as possible -- whether you're driving a golf cart or a semi rig with a ram on the front, it makes no difference to how effective you are at taking out zombies, but fielding twice or three times as many vehicles as everyone else most certainly WOULD make a difference.)

 

I have a rough idea for a scenario still forming in my head, though I'm trying to work out how it would work, exactly: "Thunder Railroad."  It's loosely inspired by the old Milton Bradley "Thunder Road" board game.  I'd use 6-8 Tablescapes terrain boards (3x2 or 4x2 arrangement) to represent a wasteland landscape, with a rail running down the middle, and a "robot" train chugging along.  Teams would play groups of scavengers/raiders trying to vie for precious supplies on the robo-train, braving its automated turrets and each other to get close enough to snatch goods off of it.

 

Everyone would start at Gear 6 from the get-go, as would the train -- except that the train would be using a shorter movement profile than is normally permissible in Gear 6, it never rolls maneuver dice, never generates hazards, and -- aside from its turrets -- it's essentially indestructible.  When the train would reach far enough across the board, we'd remove the 2 furthest-back boards, and all vehicles presently on those boards would be out of play.  (Any loot they'd scored would still count toward that team's final points, as presumably they got away with it.)  Those boards would then be recycled and put at the FRONT of the line (sliding the rest back) just like the old Thunder Road, so we'd essentially have a constantly "rolling" terrain effect.  (Kind of like watching characters running against repeating scenery in a Hannah-Barbara cartoon.  ;)  )

 

I still would have a lot of little details to work out.  Normally "illegal" maneuvers might actually be legal, but at a significant penalty.  Moving "off" the board would only be allowed if the template you're using would still have your car end up still ON the board at the end of movement.  (So if you're facing toward the edge of the board, you could take a Turn or Gentle template that would temporarily take you over the edge, as long as it curved back to plop you back into the play area at the end of the template.)  Acquiring loot would consist of getting within X distance of the train platform (half an inch?) and basically staying there long enough to load up.  I'm thinking of having cargo capacity limits: something like, take the original Crew rating of any vehicle, and that's the base Cargo capacity, and you could voluntarily REDUCE the Crew of your vehicle in order to free up more Cargo space.  (Consequently, using the option to ADD more crew would cut into your cargo capacity.)

 

Wiping out would be catastrophic.  Perhaps TOO catastrophic?  I think that instead of following the usual rule of letting the person to your left decide what direction you face (being turned COMPLETELY around could pretty much take you out of the action), perhaps I should use scatter dice instead.

 

One thing I'm not sure about: What if someone goes too far ahead?  That wasn't an issue in Thunder Road, simply because if ANYBODY reached the forward board, everything would "roll back."  But now it's the train that's serving as the pace-setter.  Punishing someone for getting *too far ahead* of the train doesn't seem quite right.  Maybe for the sake of abstraction, you simply CANNOT go "too far," and any movement that would take you off the forward end of the board is just cut off at that point.  (You tap the brakes a bit so you don't lose sight of the train?)

 

Anyway, it's very rough, and I may have to try "play-testing" it before I have anybody else try it out.  (I also need to get a suitable "retro-futuristic" train model and some appropriate-gauge tracks, and some sort of tokens to represent the "loot.")

Should be fun, though.  :)

 

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Your train scenario sounds great and even without playtesting it's thought out enough that it seems not only feasible but enjoyable too.

 

My one thought however would be to avoid letting vehicles go off the board even if the movement template puts them back on it. I can't exactly put my finger on how to exploit this as a player but I have a feeling it can be exploited. I'd recommend a wider board or two smaller boards running parallel to the main one to avoid this issue altogether. 

 

I've really enjoyed your game reports so far and hope to see one involving this scenario sometime in the future; I have a feeling even the playtesting of this one will be fun. Good luck polishing this scenario and making it table ready.

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5 hours ago, Rat13 said:

Your train scenario sounds great and even without playtesting it's thought out enough that it seems not only feasible but enjoyable too.

 

My one thought however would be to avoid letting vehicles go off the board even if the movement template puts them back on it. I can't exactly put my finger on how to exploit this as a player but I have a feeling it can be exploited. I'd recommend a wider board or two smaller boards running parallel to the main one to avoid this issue altogether. 

 

I've really enjoyed your game reports so far and hope to see one involving this scenario sometime in the future; I have a feeling even the playtesting of this one will be fun. Good luck polishing this scenario and making it table ready.

 

Well, I suppose I could always just keep some spare Tablescapes tiles at the ready, and if we NEED the expansion, I can put an extra tile on to handle the vehicle that wandered off.  Each tile is 12" x 12", and I can't see much tactical advantage in staying further than 12" away from the central train objective.

 

 

The main reason I had for considering that little caveat is that I worry about situations where Slides and Wipeouts might position a car in such a way that it has no choice but to cross the table edge.  If the cars are all converging upon the goal in the *center*, perhaps that just won't be a common case, and I'm over-thinking it, but it was just a little compromise I could live with (i.e., your car might be pointing toward the edge, but put a Hard turn in there, suffer the Hazard points, and you can be back in play).

 

However, it occurs to me that there COULD be a problem if someone plays a War Rig.  For most vehicles, when you move your vehicle, you put the template down in front of it (or behind, if you're in Gear 1 and going into Reverse), then you pick up the toy and reposition it at the other end of the template.  (This method of movement can lead to some oddities in the system: Longer vehicles effectively GO FASTER, but have a harder time making TIGHT TURNS.)  So, it would be possible to, if your car were angled pointing off to the side of the board, to place a curve template that would bring you right back in, and the car toy itself would never actually be placed off the board.

 

The trouble with the War Rig, however, is that you drag and slide the trailer along the path of the template to the best of your ability.  (The template is placed at the front of the cab, and it's the BACK of the cab that's then moved to the front of the template -- so, again, a longer cab means a faster vehicle, in that consequential weirdness.)  If, however, that path were dangling off the edge of the Tablescapes tiles, it'd be much harder to execute that.

 

So either I'd have to say, "Except for War Rigs," or just skip that rule entirely.  For the sake of simplicity, I might as well leave it out.  (If I playtest and it becomes an ACTUAL ISSUE, however, I might revisit it.)

 

I've been thinking of -- for this scenario -- changing the rule for Slide when applied to a straight template that instead of it becoming a 90 degree hard right or left, it instead becomes a *random* spin (up to but not exceeding 90 degrees in either direction).  Toward that end, I need to fix up a "scatter direction" die.  (I.e., arrows on each side.)  Since most of the action is going to be running in a parallel stretch, being forced to go *hard 90 degrees* left or right from that point is going to have some severe consequences, and that comes up pretty often with Handling dice.  I think I'll test it WITHOUT that first, though.  If I can get it to work as well as possible WITHOUT mangling the rules horribly, all the better.

 

 

 

 

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