Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Race report: Machinas

This weekend I had my first game of Machinas, the post-apocalyptic racing game from Two Hour Wargames. This was a three-lap race. I printed a racing oval to use with the micro cars from Rallyman. I picked up the red car for myself and used the others for the NPCs.

The cars set up after the first turn of the game
Following the instructions of the game, I built my driver with 9 attribute points: Savvy 3 / Tech 2 / Speed 4, 9 bonus dice. I then rolled an eight-sided die twice for my signatures: Focused (+2), Frenzy (-1). Then it was time to build my car. I rolled d6's for car equipments, and picked these to stay within the weight limit: Twin .50s (wt 3, +1), armored seat (wt 2, +2). Finally, I calculated my total Entry Cost (useful to gauge NPCs and for campaigns): Driver cost = 9 + 2 - 1 = 10. Car cost = 1 + 2 = 3. Entry cost = 13.

Then I generated other three drivers and cars using the rules for NPC drivers:
Golden Bandit (yellow car)
Entry cost 11
Sav 3 / Tec 2 / Spd 3, 8 bonus dice
Slow to react (-1)
Tail gun (4/1), armored seat (2/2), box of nails (0/1)

Galactix (blue car)
Entry cost 16
Sav 3 / Tec 3 / Spd 3, 9 bonus dice
Focused (+2)
Tail gun (4/1), clunker (0/-1), box of nails (0/1), armor-piercing ammo(0/2), armored seat (2/2)

White Knight (white car)
Entry cost 15
Sav 3 / Tec 3-1 / Spd 3-2, 9 bonus dice
Twin 50s (3/1), reinforced posts (2/2), big slab (4/3)

The first race lap
In the first turn, drivers roll to determine their starting positions in the pack. I got 7 successes (spending 2 bonus dice), Golden Bandit got 6 successes and won the tie breaker with Galactix and White Knight went last with 4 successes (due to a heavier car).

Before reaching the first curve, Golden Bandit tried to pass me but I bashed him away. Nobody tried to pass on the curve but on the opposite straightway, Golden Bandit hit the rear of my car. We both lost control and Galactrix passed us to first place.

I am not entirely sure I resolved the "you are too close" random event correctly.
As the cars completed the first lap, White Knight passed the yellow car and tried to pass me too. The first lap ended with Galactix leading, followed by me, then White Knight and Golden Bandit.

Second lap
The Golden Bandit managed to pass White Knight on the straightway and the cars maintained their positions on the curve. There were a few failed pass attempts at the opposite straightway and finally, Galactix passed me on the far curve. At the end of the lap, I passed Galactix again.

Passing Galactix on the straightway: 8 successes vs. 5.
The Golden Bandit tried to bash White Knight's car as he maneuvered to pass. It didn't go well and the white car's driver managed to get the third position. Thus, the second lap ended with me on the lead, followed by Galactix, White Knight and Golden Bandit.

Third lap
This was the last lap of the race and everyone had burned through their bonus dice (luckily, drivers get 3 bonus dice on every completed lap.) I lost traction (a random event) on the first curve but despite causing bumps between the two following cars, nothing bad happened. Then Galactix's brakes locked up, and White Knight's car hit it hard, causing it to flip through the air, landing behind the pack, in a wreck!

In a surprising move, the Golden Bandit passed both White Knight and me as we entered the opposite straightway. I managed to pass him again before we entered the far curve, and held the position to the finish line.

This game took about 2 and a half hours, between playing, writing the report and taking pictures. The last lap of the race was thrilling, with the crash and multiple pass. The first game turns took quite a bit of time, as I was learning how to use the different racing tables, but after that, I printed the quick reference sheets and was playing with ease.

The behavior of the NPC drivers is also great and provides a good solo experience. I think that the structured nature of these situations (e.g. racing, sports fighting etc.) makes the decision tables used in THW games work really well. The bonus dice then add some welcome unpredictability for the NPC opponents.

I am tempted to try a campaign combining After the Horsemen, Qwik, Red Sand Brown Sky and Machinas. However, planning that might take a lot of time.


Kaptain Kobold said...

A great report, and I love how the small size of your vehicles meant that you were able to actually use them on the track. The NPC vehicles are nicely unpredictable, although I have tweaked, and continue to tweak, the AI to give a better experience, especially when doing road chases.

Ricardo Nakamura said...

Thanks for the comment! I am very interested in these AI tweaks for the NPC drivers!

Kaptain Kobold said...

Sorry for the delay. Here are my thoughts on the Machinas AI. It works pretty well, so long as you apply the odd does of common sense from time to time:


You may be interested in my streamlined rules for vehicle sizes as well:


Ricardo Nakamura said...

Very nice posts! I'll try to use them next time I play Machinas!