Gaslands Game – Death Race battle report: Praying To The Deities of Rocket Propulsion.
The Game: Death Race scenario, with sponsors live. 35-can teams. One house rule in effect.
1: Imposed ‘forced evade’ rule for collisions outside the start gate. So nothing but swapped paint and bonus hazard-tokens for anyone trying to smash attack before being in the arena.
Rules Notes: We had some controversial moments with the Drag Racer that prompted discussion and rulings for our table. I'll mention them in the writeup below to keep them in context of the event.
Our Game: 35-can teams with sponsors. Standard Death Race rules outside of my usual 'no pre-start collisions' rule listed above. I set the game terms and made the track but did not field a team myself, nor did I help at all with vehicle design. Racers knew the event, but not the track, and I didnt know their cars when I built the track - which added to the adventure!
The first half of the track was a clean circuit, with a walled in back straight. Straightaways through Gates 1 and 2, and a double back to mid field for Gate 3. Gate 4 was back to the starting gate and there were a few different and exciting ways to get there from midfield. The Junkyard mat from Front Line Gaming was what I used for the ground this time.
TayBug was representing Slime with the buggy-build Panthera Beatle. A buggy chassis with a front Ram and a Roll Cage. Armed with a rear-facing Mortar for tailgaters, and perked out with Hog Wild and Delicate Touch.
The Nameless returned to the track with, of all things, Bowser! For the Bowser build he went with a truck in order to have a turreted Flamethrower and a Mortar that he faced to the rear. The perk heavy build was a Maxxine sponsored ride with On Your Tail, Out Run, Dizzy, Maxximum Drift, and Meshugga. Clearly intending to be aggressive and out front.
Bingo was fielding Spray and Prey, an Idris sponsored car chassis rocking a turreted minigun, and extra armor plating. The build also had the Time Extended perk to help manage Hazards.
Maximus returned to the track with trying out a new platform: ShyGuy the Rocketcar/Dragster. (Remember that tight first turn out of the starting gate? Yeah...) Sponsored by Idris as well, the sled was unarmed, and had all the armor plating bolted to it that the crew could find room for, making it a fairly tough little land-torpedo.
The racers lined up and went over their builds with each other. We rolled for pole position, and due to the tight starting line the line up was only two slots wide, and so it was two slots deep for the four racers. Thankfully the Dragster wound up in the front, and in the discussion about that we discovered that there was some confusion over the rules for rocketcars. The driver thought that it basically meant he had nitro whenever he wanted it - I had to explain to him that it's non-optional. He was much more concerned about the starting gate than he had been...
... but it turns out his concern was for nothing!
The long straightaway through Gate 1 and across the back of the field through Gate 2 played right into ShyGuy's strengths with the Drag Racer. He managed to rocket to a preposterous lead down the back straight while the rest of the pack was roughhousing their way through Gate 1.
Some interesting uses of skid dice left Gate 1 tough to navigate for a gear phase or two. Some swapped paint, lost hull points, and sporadic weapons fire happened, slowing everyone up for a bit. Spray and Prey had been hoping to jam up the gates and block Bowser and Panthera Beatle from getting their weapons unlocked, while abusing their own freshly unlocked minigun turret. It might have worked, but the skid dice deemed it was not to be so! Panthera Beatle shot through the gap when Spray and Prey wound up crashing into the race gate, and Bowser rolled through right after all the chaos.
The rest of the racers noticed ShyGuy rocketing toward Gate 3 while they had just cleared Gate 1, and felt the race was all but over.
Everyone except Spray and Prey, that is, who decided to try again to be a road block by turning straight into ShyGuy's jetcar to stop him anyway he could.
Things didnt line up right for Spray and Prey, however. Not only did ShyGuy manage to clear Gate 3 (securing it for respawning), but he managed to shoot right by Spray and Prey who seemed to underestimate just how fast the rocket sled was going. It was CLOSE! But no cigars.
Spray and Prey wasn't having any of that, and shot up ShyGuy with a minigun, and turned around to pursue and do it again. ShyGuy did get wrecked out. In the process Spray and Prey wiped out early in the turn and was left waiting while Panthera Beatle and Bowser kept running their race.
Respawning at Gate 3 while two of the other three racers were way off in the back stretch left ShyGuy wide open to make a run for the Finish. Being a little too spoiled by the way the skid dice had been treating them, the dragster pushed its luck and did wipeout. As a result it was pointed directly at a nearby wall by the player to the left - and there came our biggest rule controversy of the night.
Can a Drag Racer reverse? It was left in my hands, as I wasnt in the race. We looked through the book and debated for a few minutes. I made the call in the moment to keep the game from stalling, and my ruling was that they can. I based that on a few things both in and out of the rules. However, since the game I have changed my position on it. While it does really stink to be put into something you cannot maneuver out of and have no choice other than to collide to wrecked and respawn - the ground the Dragster can cover more than makes up for having to do so.
In a game without respawning perhaps the more lenient ruling might be appropriate, but as the exception and not the rule. The ability of the drag racer defines it as having a jet engine. A rocket car, not a Top Fuel style dragster (which do have reverse usually). So It's a rocket sled, a jet car, a pod racer, however you want to envision it; but forwards only.
That was not my call in the moment though, and ShyGuy lost a turn backing up from the spinout position before jetting off toward the finish line. The race was over quickly, and due in large part to the dice showing nothing but love to ShyGuy.
From there it was a short flick of the afterburners and some hazards to careen recklessly about to victory.
There were some learning moments in this game that made for some debate and some stress, but no one walked away mad and everyone had a good time. That is what the whole hobby is about, so I'm calling this another victory for the whole team! Despite the starting gate being exceptionally "non-optimal" for the Drag Racer, the rest of the course was very wide open, and the dice simply would not fail ShyGuy. If it can get out into the open, a dragster is a real chore to catch - especially when they don't care about weapons and just armor up so they aren't super fragile. I really feel like striping the vehicle of reverse and some basic maneuvering is pretty rough, but I'm still of the mind that the Drag Racer gets more than a fair tradeoff in the deal. All builds are situational, of course, and it's pretty hard to fairly factor out the dice part of the math - and the dice were so kind to ShyGuy that it was beyond ridiculous and almost spooky. Seriously.
That is going to wrap up this report. Hope to be back with more action pics and reports soon. Until next time, Wastelanders: throttle open, safeties off. Have fun, play games, grind gears, collect hazards, and jets only boost forwards!