Sunday, 15 July 2018

Bike Hunt

I wanted to try a variation on the Machinas chase setup, so set up a quick game this evening. In previous games the chase has mostly consisted of a single target being pursued by multiple vehicles. I wanted to switch it around and run one pursuers against multiple targets.

I also wanted to try a mechanism for the chase running out of time/fuel rather than just the pursuers. I had all vehicles accumulate 'time' at the end of each road section. All except the lead vehicle roll as before; roll less than the number of turns you've been going and pursuers drop out whilst targets run out of fuel and are abandoned. However the lead vehicle could chose to either not roll (the obvious only choice if you're a lone vehicle) or take the roll and allow another vehicles on their team not to roll. This second option would allow vehicles escorting a primary target to keep it in the running. Obviously if the pursuers get ahead of the targets then the targets will be rolling to end up out of the running until they can recapture the front position, adding a suitable amount of pressure to the game.

I chose a single car, armed with a decent engine, a gun and an oil-slick dispenser against three bikes, mostly armed with guns.

The bikes immediately split up, with the smallest opting to stay in front and the two bikes with guns attempting to drop back behind the car.

One managed this manoeuvre, but when closing from behind for an attack they misjudged their run, and the car was able to bash them off the road.

The car closed up on the gun-trike ahead of it, and fired off a couple of shots with little effect.

They did cause the trike to drop back, giving the car a run at the lead bike. Time was ticking on, and this bike needed to be taken down to prevent the chase petering out. The first shots missed.

The gun-trike came in for an attack, but its shots went wide as well.

I managed to not photograph the next event, which was the car getting a solid hit on the lead bike, wrecking it. The destroyed bike and rider's corpse landed in front of the trike, which only narrowly avoided crashing itself. The trike made one more run at the car, before running out of fuel. A win for the pursuer, and the riders took to the wilds, abandoning their mount.

The new chase mechanism seemed to work OK, but I will try it out in a few more games before committing to it. It may overly reward lighter vehicles getting ahead of big ones, and make life too difficult for some targets.

Machinas Duo

I put together another couple of cars for Machinas on Friday and Saturday; I assembled and glued all the bits together on Friday evening, prepped and painted the basic colour-scheme on Saturday morning before my dancing lessons, and the finished them off on Saturday evening whilst Mrs Kobold drooled over 'Poldark'.

They don't have names yet.

They're both based around ranged attacks and armour.

The car has guns fore and aft, whilst the pick-up truck mounts a flamethrower to the rear.

I had intended keeping the original stars and stripes colour-scheme of the car, but I forgot and was too far into the undercoating to back out and repair the damage. So I went with blood-red instead.

The pickup was interesting to paint; that greebling down the side was part of the original vehicle; my only additions were the metal strips on the windscreen and the flamethrower assemblage in the back.

Friday, 13 July 2018

Road Warriors

Last night I ran a couple of sessions of Machinas for the Gong Garage Gamers. I used the road-chase setup we've used at MOAB - one target being pursued by multiple teams of scavengers, with the winner being the person who brings down the target. This encourages a nice mix of co-operation and competition, although the latter does tend to be the more popular option.

The first game saw three players chasing a lone motorcyclist. Caesar went pink, with Woman King and Lola, Geoff ran the two rat-rods Please Don't Touch and Rhapsody In Blue and John ran two gun-cars, Mr Apollo and Georgia Lee.

Early on the biker was forced to fend off a dangerous challenge from Please Don't Touch, surviving by the skin of his teeth.

John concentrated on thinning out the opposition; Georgia Lee shredded Rhapsody In Blue with its twin machine-guns.

Please Don't Touch seemed to be on the verge of finishing off the bike, but the loss of his consort proved too much, and he pulled out of the chase.

This now left Caesar in prime position to attack the bike, and he wasted no time - the rider was impaled on Woman King's front-mounted spikes.

Geoff had to go, so we ran a second game with two teams of scavengers. John opted to run the chase, giving me a chance to run a pair of pursuers. I used John's newly completed duo, Just Married and 'Til Death Do Us Part. The former has a veil of chains to make passing it more difficult, whilst the latter is equipped with a deadly front-mounted chainsaw. Caesar ran a couple of muscle-cars, Ommadawn and Stationary Traveller. The target was the tanker Industrial Disease. This was going to be a tricky game; most of the pursuers were lightly armed, with only a few handguns between them, and a couple of rams. Victory seemed to rely on getting in front of the tanker and wearing it down rather than a direct confrontation.

That was certainly my plan; get Just Married in front of the tanker to slow it down, and then bring up the chainsaw-armed consort. My run to the front was less than successful, however, with Ommadawn sliding across for a ram as I came up on the outside.

Caesar opted for a similar approach, and tried to pass the tanker, but narrowly escaped being bashed off the road by it.

I had another go. I failed, and Just Married was wiped out.

At the rear of the pack 'Til Death Do Us part was biding its time, building up momentum. With Just Married gone, I had nothing to lose. I moved in on Ommadawn ...

Sliced ...

... and diced.

Caesar had got Stationary Traveller in front of the tanker, hoping to wear down its ability to stay in the chase. Industrial Disease concentrated on trying to pass the car in front, and failed to notice the chainsaw coming up on the inside.

Industrial Disease was sliced open like a tin of sardines.

To the victor the spoils!

Both games were great fun, and actually saw the chases brought down which is a rarity in my experience.

Sunday, 8 July 2018

Machinas Chase And Race

I'm running Machinas on Thursday, so I thought I'd better brush up on the rules with a couple of quick games.

Firstly I ran a chase. I ran the elegant Back in Black, and set up six possible pursuers. Between one and three of them would start the pursuits, with the others being potential reinforcements.

I ended up being chased by two rams - Red Tide has nothing but a massive ram, whilst the pink Woman King has a ram but also a powerful engine and some cunning customisations, so is less of a one-trick pony.

Red Tide came on strong at the start, but fortunately the road was straight and I could out-pace it. However it was costing me bonus dice.

I used a mixture of AI and common-sense to run the pursuers, making decisions by die roll. One was whether Red Tide would give up the pursuit for a while to let Woman King have a go. Eventually, with the red ram out of bonus dice, the second pursuer moved up for a go.

Fortunately my driver's signature, determined randomly at the start, meant that from time to time I could pick up extra bonus dice thanks to various cunning improvements I'd made to my vehicle. This gave me enough to hold off Woman King for a couple of turns.

Woman King came in for a third try. I held off the pass again, and this time I took a gamble; we were both low on bonus dice, but I reasoned that chucking a pile into a bash would pay off. It meant facing the ram, but it was worth the risk,

The gamble paid off, and Woman King was wrecked.

Red Tide was back in the running though.

However I managed to swerve across the road and prevent Red Tide lining up an attack not once ...

... but twice.

Frustrated the pursuer gave up.

None of the reinforcements appeared.

For my second game I decided to run a three-lap race with four cars. I had the race-track consist of three lanes, with a fourth, outside, shoulder.

From front to back were Stay On These Roads, Woman King, Georgia Lee and Mr Apollo. I ran Georgia Lee, and the AI and common-sense ran the rest.

Both Stay On These Roads and Woman King had decent racing engines, so held the front positions as we went into the first turn.

However Stay On These Roads skidded back taking the turn, and with its engine not counting on a curve, came under pressure from Mr Apollo. Despite being armed with a big gun, Mr Apollo went for a ram ...

... and the little rat-rod was out.

The cars sped into the back-straight. Mr Apollo tried to pass Woman King.

Woman King smashed him off the track.

I swerved to avoid the wreck.

This meant that there were only two of us left by the end of the first lap. I tucked in tight behind Woman King, building up bonus dice. But the end came early in the second lap, when Woman King skidded back into my vehicle, and crashed. This gave me the win, with virtually no effort on my part.

There were a couple of shots fired in the second game, but neither did any damage.

I think I've refreshed my memory now, though. Playing against an AI doesn't give the same feel as live opponents, but it's still instructive.
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