So, after putting together quite a band of Renegade Hot Wheels, and one Mitsui Katana 2034 from the (completely different from Dark Future and not all the basis from which Dark Future was copied) Car Wars universe, we finally got down to throwing some dice on the open roads of the far-future of . . . 1995. TBW now brings you . . .
To keep things simple, we used the short-form Tournament rules. These rules are very streamlined (though a few things, like U-Turns, needed a reference to the main rules). While I'm sure they lack the full rules' mechanics that may provide a rich tapestry of strategic decisions, the tourney rules work very, very well for engaging youngsters in a quick game of Hot Wheels destruction. We played three games in an afternoon, and each game ended in the sort of death-race hilarity I've not seen since the Wacky Races were still culturally relevant.
- Moving. Each turn is broken into up to 6 phases, starting at 1. If you're going, e.g., a speed of "3" then you have to move forward one space in each of Phases 1, 2 and 3. If someone is going faster, e.g. "5", then they move forward in the the additional Phases 4 and 5, but you don't get to move any more. If the Phase is equal to, or less, than your speed, then you have to move forward - unless you run into something! After Phase 6 (or earlier, if no one's speed is maxed out), the turn ends and you start the next turn at Phase 1. Bonus: limiting the Phases to 6 makes it possible to keep track of the phases with a standard d6.
- Actions. In addition to moving, in each phase you can take an action. These include: the always popular driver's choice, "shooting"; fan favorite "dropping stuff out of the tail pipe, like oil, smoke or spikes"; the more pedestrian (no pun intended) lane shifting, accelerating and braking; and damage-causing incidents like side swiping, fender-bending slams, bumps and nudges from behind (son, rubbing' is racin'); and, last but not least, inadvertent head-on-collisions! Yee haw!
- Shooting. This is the mechanic that makes the tourney rules so simple and good for kids. First, shooting is LOS (which, n.b., gives turrets a great advantage). Second, to hit, you just need to roll the d6 over, or equal to, the range (i.e. the number of spaces between your car and the target). Third, if you hit, you just roll a d6 for damage. Most weapons provide a bonus to your to-hit roll and/or your damage roll. For example, the machine gun give a +1 to your hit roll, while the auto cannon increases your damage roll by 2. There are also some special rules for some weapons (e.g. lasers can only shoot once a turn, the grenade launcher makes you take a handling test), but that's basically it. Easy peasy, lemon squeezey.
- Stuff That Makes You Crash and Stuff. Finally, there's a few things that cause you to take a handling test, especially if you're going over a certain speed. For example, going over oil slicks at a speed of "2" is fine, but at "6" you're in trouble. U-Turns at a speed of 1 are easy, at 2, you're risking damage, at 5 you're probably going to die. These rules are a little more complicated, but since they don't come up as often as shooting and moving, it's not inconvenient to refer to the one page of rules on these points.
Now then, next post we'll move onto our very first battle report for . . . .