Wednesday 4 December 2013

Machinas: An introduction

Welcome to Machinas: Death Races in the Wasteland. No one knows when The Light happened, but they all know that it was a great rebirth of the land, and that it was brought on by The Oppenheimer, the great icon of all the Known Wasteland.  And to honor his glory, Wastelanders rebuild, race, and rebuild again those machines left over from before The Light.  The Known Wasteland is governed by The Church and the Oak Street priests. The Church controls the gasoline rations, and also runs many of the Machinas races throughout the wastes. In fact, to be a driver in one of these races, a Wastelander must be an ordained priest. This is why all Machinas drivers are called Brother (or Sister) Pilot. Races come in many shapes and sizes, including, among others, long runs along ancient, sand-covered highways, quick sprints down curvy mountain roads, and classic oval runs such as the great Circus Acceleratus in Seven Hills City. Machinas allows you to run those races on your own tabletop. Ancient engines roar, heavy guns thunder and rusty metal grinds as Brother Pilots compete to win and bring glory to their vehicles (and to The Oppenheimer!) So, Brother Pilots, search the lands for that perfect vehicle, rebuild it, arm it, and prepare for the greatest death racing this side of The Light!

The Mechanics of Machinas
A Machinas race only requires enough space to place your vehicles
from first to last place. You'll also need some space for your cards
and to roll your dice.
Machinas is different from other racing games in a few respects. The first thing you'll notice is that only a section of track is represented with all the competitors grouped into a pack. Instead of racing with pure speed, Brother Pilots must now jockey for position within the pack, swerving, shooting, and ramming, all while trying to keep the ancient machines under control. 

In other racing games, there can be that one driver who does well and takes an insurmountable lead, leaving the rest of the players to fight for second. Or you might fall so far behind that your part in the race becomes irrelevant. In Machinas, everybody is a factor in the race until they win or they crash. The normal track (an oval) is represented by a small image upon which a marker is moved to show where, on that track, the pack is currently racing. This has the advantage of not requiring a large board (and a lot of space) to represent a complete track. Your track can be as small or large as you want, and it will only require enough space to place your cars (whether they be models, toys or cards from the official Machinas decks.) And, with a simple map creation component, a race can also take place out on the wasteland highways, be they short sprints or miles-long rallies.

There is also no "you-go, I-go." When an opponent shoots or rams your car, you don't have to sit idly by taking all that damage. Through an opposing roll, you can react to your attackers. Perhaps someone tries to pass? You can turn the tables and try to ram them off the road. An opponent starts shooting at you? Shoot back! Machinas moves fast, and everyone has something to do. There is almost no down time.

The Machinas Cards
No more book-keeping; you can use the cards to keep track of your
car's position, driver signatures, vehicle features, attributes,
weapons, defenses, and bonus dice.
When you race in Machinas, you can use any model or toy cars in you collection. Any size or scale works as long as you have enough space for the pack (you could even use real cars if you have a small parking lot!) But Two Hour Wargames will also offer official Machinas cards. And on a few of these cards are top-down representations of vehicles. If you don't want to model or paint your own vehicles, the cards provide ready-to-go cars, which look just as mean as any toy. Other Machinas cards have rules and stats for different weapons, defensive measures, car features and driver signatures. There are also cards to keep track of your vehicle attributes and how many bonus dice you have remaining, so you can race an entire race using nothing but the cards (and dice), making the game easily transportable and playable with minimal space and preparation.

Of course, if you have the cars, you can use those, too!

Watch for the Machinas Kick Starter later this month.

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