Monday, April 18, 2022

It's Not Quite a Jaguar

A couple of weeks ago, Stuart and I ventured into the Outside World to play a round of Battlecars, a game from the early days of Games Workshop, designed by Gary Chalk and (Sir) Ian Livingstone. Stuart had long wanted to play it, and I had a copy knocking around from a few years ago when a generous blog reader decide to give his game collection to me.

Alas, that battered old copy was lacking instructions, but I pieced together a playable set of rules from the Battlebikes expansion, a rules summary that I thought I'd got from Board Game Geek but seems to be absent now, and a remake called Cars That Do Battle. As it turned out, all that wasn't quite enough and we had some minor issues during play, but nothing that caused too much trouble.

I also decided to draw my own board. The original game uses boards upon which flat card terrain pieces are placed, and I could see the whole thing going flying if nudged during the game. The previous owner had used blu tack to attach the terrain to the board, but that seemed an unsatisfying solution and I was worried about damage to the components. Plus, I could draw the board at a slightly larger size so that neither of us would have to do as much squinting.

I didn't have a chance to come up with a similar fix for the car templates, but there was a certain tactile fun in applying the little red damage counters and removing components and weapons as they were damaged and used.

The game was good fun. Playing a new game for the first time always takes a bit longer but we managed it in just over two hours and once we got used to things it rattled along; I was worried that it would be slow and fiddly and wouldn't capture the feel of Mad Max style combat at all, but it did feel fast and, um, furious, which was quite a surprise from such an old design. By the end of the game both cars were burning wrecks, but I made an error of judgement and had my driver leave his vehicle when staying put would have been more sensible, and Stuart punished my poor decision making with a burst of machine gun fire. Ratatatat!

Poor Terry Hawk, gunned down in his post-apocalyptic prime!
Both Stuart and I are keen to play again. I have now found a copy of the actual rules, and we have decided to make use of a variant initiative system as the original game's approach is a bit inadequate and unfair. I have access to a couple of scenarios with different win conditions, so we may also give those a try.

Day, made.
You can read Stuart's thoughts on the game here. We are thinking of giving the more complex Car Wars a try soon, and perhaps even Dark Future, as I've long wanted to play it.

Tuesday, April 05, 2022

Emergent Cannibalism

My group is playing its way through Patrick Stuart's Silent Titans on Sunday nights. It's going fairly well. Sort of.

The players have just left a coastal village in which the inhabitants were "eating OYSTERCATCHERS from the flats". The emphasis is Patrick's.

This is an oystercatcher:

Eurasian oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus)

I didn't know this as we were playing, so I described the villagers munching on large chunks of meat, and nibbling at very long bones, because I was thinking of this sort of oyster catcher:

Oyster Farming


There's a concept in role-playing games called "emergent storytelling". The idea is that you don't prepare a plot beforehand, rather you present the characters with a situation, and the "story" emerges through play. I suppose this is an example of that, although I'm not sure what sort of story it's becoming.