Thursday, May 7, 2015
Vroom! Vroom! - Cracking open Car Wars.
With the imminent release of Mad Max: Fury Road hurtling towards us like a fuel-injected suicide machine, there has been a LOT of chatter amongst the various hobby/gaming groups I hang out with (in real life and online) about car-based post-apocalyptic action.
About a month ago, a friend in my regular Wednesday Night gaming group suggested that we give Car Wars 5th Edition a go, just as a fun break between the conclusion of our superheroes campaign and the start of our Malifaux campaign. We all chuckled, nodded our heads, and said "Sure, why not?"
A few of us had played it before, some had spent countless hours "building" cars but never playing, and then there was me. I've never played it before, never read the rules or seen it in action. I have, however, always enjoyed the idea of doing insanely crazy things to cars and then racing them into each other - at least in a cinematic fashion. And so it was that when I was over at Thomas's on the weekend, I spotted a Matchbox VW Beetle amongst his extensive collection and asked if I could have it for the game. You see, I was deeply inspired by the crazy hunk of junk in the Mad Max: Fury Road promo pic at the top of this post, and I just had to make something that was close.
Here's the Beetle as it started out (well, this is the one from Eric's collection, but it is the same one I snagged from Thomas). It has the classic VW Beetle lines, but was sitting pretty high on the off-road wheels and frame.
That night I jumped straight into converting it. I pulled it apart, sawed off the hood of the Beetle, extended the frame (using a piece from the first GW plastic Rhino), and went to town on it all. The spike are cut from plastic strips and carefully glued one at a time to the roof. The "engine block" is one of the guns from the Adepts Mechanicus Onager Dunecrawler (I guess that one is getting the anti-aircraft load out) and various other GW plastic parts made it on to the model.
The mini-gun poking out the passenger side window is from a company called Stan Johansen Miniatures, a piece I also snagged from Thomas ; )
Painting the car was fun too. After priming it black I did a zenith spray with the Army Painter's Vermin Fur brown spray paint. It has a lot offering in the mix, so it gave a great basis for the rusty color of the car. The details were painted, I assembled the car, and then hit it with a few different weathering powders from Secret Weapon and Broken Toad.
Sure, it's not identical to the original from the film, but it certainly conveys a similar level of insanity ; )
Anyway, last night was the night for us to gather and go crazy! Thomas and Eric had each put together plenty of cars, enough for three cars each, as it turned out. We were also playing across an excellent table. Thomas had been monkeying around with some pre-existing images and had put together these excellent panels, printed out and glued to over 12' of foamcore. NOTE: as Thomas used some proprietary artwork, these files, images, or tables based on them will not be sold anywhere. No need to ask.
We played Car Wars 5th edition (as far as I know) and used the Division 15 (?) set of rules. The one where all the cars are Class 15 (or have had $15,000 spent on them, for those who know what that means). There are a ton of Car Wars products available on the Warehouse 23 website HERE, but this is the one we played with HERE.
Marc also put together a very cool vehicle, based on an ice cream van, but sporting three mini-guns on the roof and a significant ram plate at the front - built as the Paladin from the pre-made cars. He went to town with the paintjob, using his signature blues and rusts, and painting up a new sign for it - Mr. Sprinkles.
Here's a shot of Mr. Sprinkles being pursued by my car. Just to annoy Marc ; )
Thomas and Eric had both chosen an orange Mini Cooper to represent the Pure Energy car from the pre-made offerings.
And here are a few of the cars in a set-up shot, before we started the game itself.
Rather than run the game as a race/chase/hunt we agreed to go head-to-head in a team fight, four cars per side. My team decided to split our forces into two pairs of cars so that we could try a pincer move on the other team that appeared to be going for group approach.
Thomas (on the opposing team) and I turned out to be the reckless daredevils, racing ahead of the packs and coming under a considerable amount of fire. I had taken three significant hits to my front armor by the time the end of turn three rolled around, and sadly hadn't done too much damage myself. Also, by this point, our opponents had switched things up on us and switched up their approach. Leaving Thomas to barrel forward at 80mph (while on fire), the rest of the team closed on the stretch of tarmac ahead of Marc and me. The Mini Clubman in the photo above was using the Devastator profile, a small car with an anti-tank gun and almost double the amount of frontal armor than my car.
I thought I'd be able to sneak into the gap beside it and race past to ram Eric's Wyvern, but sadly I fell short. After taking a punishing hit to the front from the AT gun, Sean plowed the Mini into my car and although he didn't cause my car to "confetti", he did strip all the remaining front armor and plow through my guns, engine, driver and gunner! That was in the first phase of Turn 4. I had managed to make it past three seconds of "real time". As one joker quipped, I hadn't even made it through the opening credits ; )
Even with my car flipped, the game went on and the rest of my team managed to give a very good account of themselves. Marc's ice cream van was able to exact revenge by stripping the other half of the front armor from Sean's Devastator in a ramming action, while John and Mark combined to take out Eric's Wyvern. After blowing a hole in it's side armor, flamethrowers took care of the occupants.
As the game came to a close, Thomas managed to execute a bootleg turn just before his crew burned to a crisp. His car had been burning since the start of Turn 2.
With three cars out of action for our opponents, there was little more Hans could do, so his Piranha slunk away to fight another day.
The CAR-nage at the end. (the polyhedral dice and silver cubes you can see in the photos were what we used for debris counters during the game, there were a lot of them).
What a great time! Despite having never played Car Wars before, and not reading the rules this time around either, I was able to pick up the game very quickly and had a ton of fun. I can heartily recommend it.
We all enjoyed it so much we'll be pushing back the start of the Malifaux gaming to fit in another round of Car Wars. Hopefully I'll have another car ready by then : )