This has been sitting in my pending posts folder and I hadn’t realised that it didn’t get scheduled for publishing. Of course, there’s now Gaslands Refueled out, a second edition of a very fun rules system… So enjoy my now dated thoughts on Gaslands, with an update to follow later once I’ve had a chance to read the rules and get them to the table.
Gaslands came a bit out of nowhere for me late last year, but after seeing a few battle reports on YouTube and some cool conversions, as well as having a couple of other mates take the plunge I decided to grab the PDF and check it out.
The game is published by Osprey, and is set on a post-apocalyptic Earth where the rich have escaped to Mars with those remaining on Earth driving armed and armoured cars in televised races/duels to potentially win a ticket to Mars.
The game itself is played with Hot Wheels or Matchbox scale cars which can be built to have all manner of weapons, armour and special equipment. The game does not mandate WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) and rather relies on what you record on the card, but a big part of the fun for me has been finding, modifying and painting crazy cars.
The game is played on a 3’x3’ (or larger) area with your usual selections of post-apocalyptic terrain. I’ve found using my Ork junkyard terrain from 40k works pretty well, so it isn’t strictly necessary to build and paint new terrain unless you want too. There are a variety of scenarios available to play, including Death Race, Zombie Bash and Arena of Death (they are each as fun as their name implies!). Teams are built by choosing a sponsor (which imposes certain benefits and restrictions) and paying ‘cans’ (in game currency is cans of petrol) for vehicles, weapons, upgrades and abilities you’ll use during the game.
Movement in the game is governed by a set of pre-set templates of different shapes (similar to Fantasy Flight Games’ X-Wing game if you’re familiar), each of which can only be used in certain gears. Each time you move you have the option to roll ‘skid dice’, special D6’s which can allow you to shift up/down gears or cause you to accrue hazards, slide or spin. The templates are a cool addition and lead to some hilarious outcomes (deliberate and accidental), whilst the skid dice keep it interesting as you may not get an all important shift to keep you from wiping out.
Combat and collisions are quite straight forward and are resolved by rolling various numbers of D6’s for damage and evading, depending on how fast you’re going and the relative strength of the weapon. These rules are deliberately simplified and I like it as it keep the game moving quickly rather than being deadlocked as cars can’t maneuver away.
- The game is fun even when you’re getting beat, as you’ll generally find that there’s always crazy chains of collisions and explosions happening
- Template based movement adds a degree of skill and planning to the game
- You can find cheap Hot Wheels fairly easily, and regardless, a full retail $10 box of cars will set you up with several descent teams
- I’ve found there’s a tendency to default to the Death Race scenario, and that there are some min/max builds and tricks that can leave you outclassed and eating your opponents dust
- Buying toy cars becomes highly addictive and you may find yourself buried under piles of unopened Hot Wheels
- The game really benefits from MDF/acrylic templates for the movement, as well as actual skid dice rather than regular D6’s, which you need to acquire from a third party producer (helpfully listed on the Gaslands site)
As I mentioned, I’m addicted to purchasing toy cars now and every time I go through a department or toy store I stop in and find a couple of new cars which I have cool ideas for. The game plays easily well once you work out the flow of the gear phases, and is bags of fun. Even in the games I’ve been running dead last or getting annihilated I’ve found it fun as you’ll get some ridiculous chain of crashes/explosions/carnage which makes you laugh. Certainly not the most competitive game, but it’s great fun an gives an excellent range of hobby options.