Last year I got a bit carried away converting hot wheels size cars to the Dark Future/Mad Max aesthetic. After trying my hand at recreating the Dark Future road tiles (and a bit of looking around on the internet) I discovered Osprey Publishing had a much nicer looking ruleset called Gaslands. I picked up a copy of the book, bought some laser cut counters and rulers from a third party, and then promptly never got around to actually playing the game...until this weekend. Finally I had my first post apocalyptic demolition derby I dubbed: Wipe Out on the Kitchen Table.
|I started my first game throwing a supercar into high gear, losing control and promptly wiping out in front of both enemy vehicles' front ranging guns.|
|Misjudging a maneouvre template, I 'parked' my second vehicle into the side of a concrete building...|
The game itself is easy to pick up and scales from two player games to massive six plus player games. A full game round is divided into gear phases (one throug six). In a gear phase you alternate activating your vehicles if they are in that gear or higher. So all vehicles activate in gear phase one. Then all vehicles in gear two or higher get another activation, then everything in gear three and so on until gear six. There is a catch. The higher your gear, the more hazard tokens you risk. If a vehicle collects six of them, it wipes out. This risks damage and your vehicle drops back to gear one (missing the rest of the turn).
|After firing a missile into it first (and undoubtedly hitting its claxon) the monster truck drove over my supercar. The hapless vehicle exploded, damaging the monster truck (slightly) and my own vehicle stuck against a building (severely). |
An activation consists of picking a movement template. This is not as easy as it sounds. The one you pick up can't be put back. It turns out you can easily mis-estimate your course, getting you into interesting trouble. After your move, assuming no collisions, you shoot your guns and then check for wipe out. Combat rules are about ramming, shooting, dropping mines and using harsh language (okay not that last one). The game uses a very simple hull points system. If your vehicle drops down to 0 (or below) it is wrecked and there's a chance it explodes. I expected to miss rules about popped tires, blown engines and broken windows. It turns out this is not the case. The system is fast which keeps the game pace up, but a few smart special rules make sure you have all the fun that comes with crazily modified cars fighting each other.
|A hail of fire from the monster truck's companion vehicle destroyed my second car. Meanwhile my third car hit another building. Don't drink and drive people, especially not in a death match arena type situation.|
I played a test game with my brother. Explaining the rules took about an hour (with a lot of side chatter), It took us about half an hour to pick our vehicles and generate their stats. To be sure that was while figuring out the rules and chatting about options. I always find it a good sign if rules give you the feel they're easily modified and house ruled to taste. We found ourselves starting to modify the Gaslands ruleset instantly, only refraining (mostly) at the last minute because we never played before. We did add extra exploding gas storage tank rules, because explosions are cool (queue Beavis and Butthead laughter here).
|The third and final car desperately tried to manoeuvre itself into a better position. It failed miserably and almost hit a stack of shipping containers in the process...|
Aside from picking vehicles and determining stats, you need a scenario to get going. The Gaslands book I have (version one) contains a racing scenario that looks very interesting. It also features a number of arena death match variants. There's a game where one (or more) player's gang hunts a huge vehicle. There's also a zombie hunt and a capture the flag style game. Aside from that Gaslands has a campaign system where you develop your team (or gang if you rather go for your own background (guilty!)). Osprey offers a number of free campaign packs with extra scenario's online and there's a newer edition of Gaslands that apparently features extra scenario's. I will most definitely pick it up soon.
|...luckily my final vehicle was spared an ignominious second crash as the monster truck drove through the containers and over it. This put paid to my gang's entire fleet of modified vehicles...back to the scrapheap guys, we need reinforcements.|
I had a good feeling about this game when I first read the rules. My test game proved this right. It plays fast, making it action packed and fun. I got destroyed by my brother's team in a most cinematicaly pleasing fashion. My only regrets so far are not owning a proper looking battle mat (sorry about the table pictures) and not making any appropriate terrain (I used my Adeptus Titanicus buildings). Now that I've played I know I'll be needing market stalls (and other soft targets you can drive trough), exploding barrels, zombies, automatic defense turrets and some proper looking buildings. In other words I need to expand on my Gaslands collection and get more games in. In short: Gaslands is a crazy and wonderful game. Check out their website for more information. As an aside I should remeber to get a more serious second game of Frostgrave in and try Dragon Rampart someday soon. But for now I'm off to get more out of this game.