Some days you just muddle through, chores and job and coffee break and whatnot, and other days you find out that an author you really like who you got to meet at that gaming convention that one time has been working on a miniatures game that harkens back to the dystopian concepts that you loved about Mad Max and Car Wars, with a little splash of Dune thrown in for good manner (The Helium 3 must flow! Threelium?!?). I’d like to introduce to Miles Holmes’ Road/Kill.
Road/Kill is set on the plan Helen IV, a barely habitable death planet which I’m sure was in no way named after Miles’ ex or Mother-In-Law. Helen IV is not the kind of place you’d take the kids for a Summer vacation, however it *is* a source of the incredibly valuable Helium 3. This may or may not be a gas that makes your voice go so damn super squeaky that you can do cartoon impressions through time. The planet has a number of arcology style cities, connected by a network of highways known as the Steelback.
Of course, Helium 3 needs to be transported from mining sites to megacities, and this is where you come in. You and your cronies are the Seatbelted Samurai of the Steelback, the Turn-Signal Terrors, the Yield-To-Pedestrians Yogis, the Blind-Spot-Checking Banditos… the Highwaymen. Games of Road/Kill put you in the driver’s seat and from there you put the pedal to the floor and duel across the blacktop, guns blazing.
You build your vehicle on one of three classes – Viking, Spartan, Centurion – each bigger, more armoured and less maneuverable than the last. You can load up the Viking for speed, the Spartans to hold the middle ground, or stack out a Centurion. Each is built by choosing Chassis, Body, Power Train and Armor options before you even start choosing weapons, so you have a lot of options in terms of customizing your dream road warrior.
I’m planning on getting some games in after GenCon, but looking through the rules as much – if not more – attention has been paid to how the models move around than the combat. Your speed and size factor into how tightly you can corner, there’s rules for drifting, veering, even J-turns if you find yourself spun around and driving in reverse a’la Lightning McQueen. But, you know, with guns.
Drivers have to handle their vehicles or risk skidding, barricades and defense turrets on the median are a thing, and of course, (dun-dun-dun-dun-dundundundun) RAMMING SPEED! Grinding up the side of an opponent, lining up to T-bone, there’s a full swatch of collision variables (though I swearm if I ever roll the Jostle result I’m totally yelling it like the Candy Crush game narrator).
The scenarios kick it up a notch with the Goliath big rigs and their Ninja class escorts, packing a heavy weapon on a super speedy glass cannon frame. With literally a dozen hardpoints on the Goliath and its trailer, it’s going to be a heck of a challenge for the highwaymen to bring it down…
In terms of gameplay, this is a game of anticipation. You plan in advance, locking in your speed, maneuver, etc, and then reveal them after everyone’s locked in, much like Robo Rally or X-Wing mins, but using dice facings. The end result seems to be a high-speed struggle to line up your opponents without getting fragged yourself in a dynamic death race across the steelback.
The original Kickstarter for the game ran here – LINK! – and there’s links for rules downloads therein, and there’s project for Book 2 in the works – complete with new shiny vroom vrooms, but let’s have a quick look at one of the models. We’ll look at more later as I get them assembled and maybe (*gasp*) painted, but for now? The Viking!
The Vikingpack comes with two different chassis and bodies, and a dizzying array of weapon options.
Your choice of components plays a significant role in what you can arm your vehicle with. The body on the left has a rooftop hardpoint for something like a turret or rocket pod, while the body on the right has a hardpoint in the hood for a heavy weapon like a railgun or cannon.
The chassis also either has a single front and single rear facing hardpoint that can mount a small weapon, or two rear-facing hardpoints.
Chassis and body assembled and I have the option for a turret, front and rear weapon on this Viking.
Choosing weapons was a thing, as my old man eyes struggled to identify tiny components. Thankfully, Miles sent me this handy-dandy pic showing just which sprue was which. The unlabeled sprue in the top row is spoilers. Don’t tell River Song.
And in the end we have a Viking with a turret-mounted machine gun, a front-facing machine gun, and a rear-mounted smoker, to confound anyone trying to shoot it in the butt. Just my opinion, but I think it looks pretty damn badass.
Oh, and I assembled the other Viking with a front-facing laser cannon, and a Tombstone armour plate on the rare. I’m pretty sure it screws with the aerodynamics, but whatever 😉
If you’re interested, you can get your hands on some 4×4 death machines at Trenchworzx –http://trenchworx.wpengine.com/
I’ll be assembling more cars-o-death after GenCon (I have other modelling projects on deadlines!) but Road/Kill will be visiting the Lost Hemisphere again. Vroom Vroom Pew Pew! 07