Monday, 20 August 2018

Gaslands Treasure Hunt

I played a game of Gaslands with Catherine this afternoon. I wanted to try out not only sponsors and perks but also the audience votes mechanism as well.

Catherine chose a Rutherford team - all missiles and rockets. I chose a team sponsored by the Warden - prison vehicles rigged for spectacular explosions.

It was also a chance for me to try out some terrain I'm working on made from precut balsa blocks, which I thought looked rather nice as concrete blocks arranged into walls. I need to base and paint them, but in principle they looked OK. I've modelled some as markers for gates and the start and finish lines for races; they have slots which allow billboards to be placed in them. For other types of games these could be used for advertising hoardings, so I made some adverts to go in them.

We played the Zombie bash scenario, which involves driving around 'collecting' zombies. In fact the 'zombies' are static, so could be represented by anything; bags of money, terrified pedestrians or whatever takes your fancy. I just used black counters. twenty of them.

I started off well, but on both turns one and two Catherine destroyed two of my three vehicles. My flamethrower car died on the starting line, whilst my ute managed one turn of movement before it to was blown to pieces. The cause? Heat-seeking missiles and some incredible damage rolls.

This left me with just a bike, against Catherine's two cars. However I was moving fast enough that her missiles couldn't catch me, and being nippier than her cars was able to match her in terms of collected tokens.

There was little direct combat. Catherine cleared up one side of the board and I kept well away from her. I did manage a high-speed run past her missile-car at one point, and lobbed a couple of Molotov cocktails at it, but they both missed. At one point I wiped out, and took a missile strike whilst I was motionless, but against the odds I survived. On my last hit though.

Catherine's cars drove slowly and carefully around, hoovering up victory points.

Honours were about even when I wiped out again. By this point Catherine had no missiles left, but she saw a chance to ram the bike.

I didn't stand a chance, and lost my third and final vehicle. However like all my vehicles it was rigged to put on a spectacular fireworks display when it went up. It exploded, damaging Catherine's car. I'd used audience votes earlier to put hazards on it, and the collision and explosion added more, causing it to wipe out and flip, taking more damage. The flip caused it to hit a wall. She ended up with only a couple of hull points left.

However by losing the like I lost a lot of my hard-won haul of counters. Although I would e able t use audience votes to respawn one of my vehicles on the next turn, Catherine was in a position to pick up a few more before then, and was almost certainly set to win. So I conceded the game to her.

We learned a few lessons about vehicle design from this game, and it was fun to use a bike for the first time; they're fragile but very mobile.

Sunday, 19 August 2018

Really Useful Engine

A couple of years ago I saw some concept art for Fury Road which featured a vehicle that was basically a massive trans-continental diesel locomotive on road wheels. I loved the idea, but felt that for gaming purposes something more modest was required. I hunted around for suitable models (both commercial and 3D printable), and at some stage realised that some kind of model from a Thomas The Tank-Engine line would be a good starting point. From there it was a simple step; why not simply Mad Maxify an actual Thomas?

So I did. I found this model by 'agepbiz', which suited my needs perfectly since it was made up of numerous individual pieces. Rather than print off a single model and have to chop bits off, I could simply print the parts I needed. I rescaled it so it was more in keeping with the cars I use, and off I went.

This is the finished result.

After I printed the locomotive I wasn't quite sure where to go with it. I had various ideas floating around in my head, but I wasn't sure how to implement them. I found some monster-truck wheels and printed those, and then worked out how I wanted to fit them, but after that I stalled somewhat.

My first thought was that I wanted to add in a big diesel engine and exhausts, but my wife convinced me to keep it as a steam-engine. In the end I sketched out this:

The end result wasn't the same, but it was a good starting point.

I experimented with a few different figures for the crew, but last year I'd printed off some goblins (Dutchmogul designs, naturally) and decided to make use of them. They have a suitable wasteland mutant look I was going for. I ended up being inspired by the new weapons for Gaslands in Time Extended 2, specifically the harpoon, and based the armament around them. All of the weapons are scratchbuilt; that harpoon is the inside of a biro, for instance.

I used Blu-Tak to try different crew and weapon configurations until I settled on one I liked, and that gave me an indication of how much deck-space I'd have to fill up with assorted bits and pieces.

By the way, the deck and other metal-plating is made from the waste rafts (supports) from the 3D printing process.

One thing I'd 3D-printed a while ago was a frog in a uniform coat armed with a sword. In keeping with the wasteland mutant theme, he converted very nicely to a Fat Controller.

I considered making the whole thing rusty and grungy, with just a hint of the underlying Thomas paint-scheme, but went for the original look in the end. I found that Thomas's bright, cheery blue and red worked well surrounded by the scrap-metal decking and improvised armaments. I themed the buzz-saws to match, though. They're bits from a dollar-shop excavator, paired with some steampunk jewellery cogs, by the way.

A shot of the harpoon, The chain is a piece of jewellery as well. 

This shot shows how big it is compared to a car. I Machinas it would be the very largest vehicle size. In Gaslands it will be classed as a Heavy Truck (a new vehicle class coming in Time Extended 3).

A shot from above shows off the decks very nicely.

I made some smoke which can be fitted during games for extra bling. The funnel is hollow and the smoke is glued to a small piece of cocktail stick and simply slots in.

So here he is - the Really Useful Engine.

Here's the original assembled 3D prints, minus the roof. It was only whilst I was painting it that I realised that I'd put the rear buffer section on upside down. But you can't see it on the finished model.

And here he is with the plating added. 

I'm looking forward to giving him his first proper outing now.

Thursday, 16 August 2018

Coming Soon

I haven't been updating this blog for the past few days because I've been rather busy. My alter ego has a hectic couple of months coming up, with a ball, a trip across NSW for the annual Priscilla festival, the impending Frocktober charity event and finally a burlesque performance to be learned and rehearsed for September, so she's been occupying some of my time and attention.

I have, however, been devoting myself to some Gaslands. I'm not getting chance to play, but I have been working on some new vehicle builds. I have four cars undercoated and ready to paint, as well as some terrain pieces, but they have taken a back-seat to a bigger project. I'm hoping I will be able to break the back of this one over the weekend, but here's a sneaky, crypic preview of my largest vehicle build to date.

I've quite enjoyed putting this together so far, so I'm hoping that I can finish it with the same level of enthusiasm.

Friday, 10 August 2018

Gaslands Again

I volunteered to run Gaslands at the Gong Garage Gamers last night, and ended up with five players, three of whom had never played it before and a couple of whom hadn't read the rules. But despite the novices I wanted to try a 'full' game as much as possible, so I constructed six teams of two cars each using the sponsors and perks. This gave everyone a choice.

So we ended up with ten cars on the starting grid, in a figure-of-eight race. There were a mix of types, including a buggy and a couple of pick-ups, and a range of weaponry and team-styles.

Needless to say, the start was chaos, with vehicles bumping and bashing right from the start. Actual weaponry doesn't activate until the first gate has been passed, so there was no shooting.

Things started to spread out, but it was still chaotic. However some cars were approaching the first gate. In the centre the pink Woman King was rammed head-on by the big Bulls On Parade. Both vehicles took so much damage that they limped around on their last hit for a few moves before wrecking. Woman King managed to pass the first gate even, before a minor collision finished it off.

This was the last photo I got. In the background you can see the wrecked Woman King. But the key feature is Caesar's Back In Black who passed through the first gate, activated its guns, then turned and charged headlong into the pack with weapons blazing. The car in front of him was armed with a flamethrower and highly explosive. And the one next to him was equipped with and experimental (and also highly explosive) nuclear reactor.  A disaster was in the offing.

In fact the flamethrower survived the crash. As did Back In Black, but he fell to a passing shot from the spiky buggy Please Don't Touch that you can see on the left. And exploded. Amazingly the two volatile cars survived that as well.

Also in the background you can see my speedster, Perfect Day. And for him it was. I'd survived some gunnery from Caesar as I passed through the gate, but once through I was clear to start running the course. The carnage behind me left the first gate littered with wrecks, making it tricky to navigate, so I soon built up an unassailable lead.

I had a hairy moment when the flamethrower armed The Anarchist got on my tail, flipped and exploded, but I avoided serious damage from the ensuing spectacular fireball.

Gate 1 pretty much saw the demise of six of the ten vehicles. Caesar and Jason lost both of theirs, but Gary and John had to leave, so handed their survivors over. Jason made a bold attempt to catch my speedster with the nuclear-engined Stationary Traveller, but misjudged his template choice at the final moment and failed to line up the ram attack that would have ended my dreams of victory. He had to resort to gunfire instead, but my driver deftly evaded damage to cross the finish line for the win. Only three of the original ten vehicles survived the race.

This game was chaotic, but people picked up the mechanisms pretty quickly and seemed to enjoy themselves. The carnage at or before Gate 1 means that we didn't get much in the way of shooting; most vehicles capable of doing it crashed not long after getting the opportunity. To be fair my designs were pretty random, based on what I had to hand and with little regard to any specific team tactics. Hopefully as more people get the rules and design their own vehicles and teams we'll see some more cautious and considered play.

Having played races in all of the games so far it would be interesting to try some of the other scenarios, as these allow for different styles of play. They also rely more on the Audience Votes system, which we haven't tried so far.

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.
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