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Review: Gaslands- Osprey Games

 Post subject: Review: Gaslands- Osprey Games
PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 4:26 pm 
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The Car Combat genre of wargames is an interesting breed. It has a long pedigree, going all the way back to the 80s. It is unclear where the origins of the car combat genre first appeared, however I imagine the Mad Max series of movies played a large part in their origins. The first Car Combat games I can recall are Steve Jackson’s Car Wars and Games Workshop’s Dark Future. I personally never really got into either game as they were not my cup of Tea at the time.

The majority of my exposure to Car Combat games was actually through video games. Here the genre has a rich history! Of course, you could argue that the grand-daddy of the Car Combat game is the Twisted Metal franchise. In the Twisted Metal world, the game was sent in a post-apocalyptic world ruled by a god-like being who hosted the Twisted Metal tournament. The prize was the winners wish to come true.

In a way, Gaslands plays off the ideas of Twisted Metal and meshes it with the movie The Running Man. The game represents teams competing on a season of a TV show called Gaslands where the winning team earns a trip off the post-apocalyptic ghetto of Earth to the paradise of Mars. They only need to beat all the rivals to win.

I have a personal history with Car Combat wargames as well. I was an avid player of the Twisted Metal games. When I was 13 or 15 one of my first tries at writing a wargame was attempting to make a Car Combat game. I called it Burning Rubber and it involved making a team of racers. They actually raced around a track that had pre-set squares. The track had obstacles like ramps, oil slicks, cows, mines, potholes etc. You bought drivers and cars and equipped them with weaponry to fight each other with. For a first timer, it had a lot of the hall marks of some of my later designs such as campaign play with driver experience, injury, vehicle permanent damage, and resource management of the team. Looking back, it wasn’t a bad first attempt. There were even different types of car races, with the ultimate goal to be the first team to get a car across the finish line. I wish I still had the rules, but they were lost to time long ago.

When my kid was younger, I also made up a quick race game that involved math Flash Cards. The track was composed of facedown flash cards. To move your car, the player had to answer the flash card. Cars could only go a certain number of flash cards in a row. This was a fun game to help teach my kid math instead of just boring flash cards.

Since then, I have continued to work on Car Combat games. My current title is Total CARnage. Here the focus is on making a simple, fun, family game based on dexterity mechanics that was heavily inspired by playing Flick’em Up! In addition, I have been working on the campaign and expanded rules for Redline which is a more traditional wargame using templates, rules, dice, etc. for mechanic resolution. This game has mostly been inspired by airplane games more than other Car Combat games.

So, I was eager to dig into Gaslands. Let’s get in under the hood….

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