Tuesday 28 January 2014

Machinas Report: Two laps to victory

During some years of the Machinas Festival, the number of available working vehicles is smaller, and teams prefer keeping what little they have intact. Race officials oblige by offering the sprint races, quick 2-lap heats that provide just enough distance to determine a winner with a little less damage and injury inflicted on the participants. The following report follows one such race.

Participating in this race were a pair of vehicles from the Seven Hills Circus team, St. Edsel’s Ram (Red) and St. Ford’s Firelane (Blue); one vehicle belonging to the Running Gunners, The Censer (Brown); and an independent racer driving St. Chevy’s Impala (Black.)

First Turn
The first turn in Machinas starts in the far turn coming into the main straightaway, and is used to determine the opening race order.

Red comes out strong for the lead followed by Black, Brown and Blue.
All the vehicles behind Red are positioned to pass one another (called being “in position”) setting up for some good action early in the race.

In every race, there are those uncontrollable events that can occur – engine problems, a tire blowout, or a lucky break resulting in a free pass attempt, for example. After the cars have lined up in or out of position, we roll for each one to determine if a random event occurs. In the first turn of our race, none of the Random Event rolls resulted in any action.

In the first action of the race, Black goes for his pass attempt of Red, but loses the Passing roll. Red opts for a Bash attempt (Red’s strength.) The spiked wheels are too much for Black who is forced to lose ground, allowing Brown to gain second place right away. Black falls back and ends up blocking Blue.

The cars continue down the straightaway with Red still leading, followed by Brown, Black and Blue. Again, there are no random events.
Brown is in position, as are Black and Blue. Red again holds off a pass attempt but Brown is able to retain second place. Black wins his pass attempt against Brown and elects to shoot. His twin .50s rip into Brown, who drops back but also loses one speed and the use of his own guns! Blue takes advantage of a weakened Brown and also shoots. Brown is forced to drop into last place and loses another speed! If he loses any more speed, he’ll be out of the race.

The cars come into the near turn around the grand statue of The Oppenheimer, worshipped by all inhabitants of the Known Wasteland. The order is Red, Black, Blue and Brown, but all of the vehicles take the inside lane, one behind the other.

Vehicles in Machinas that stay in the same lane as the car just ahead, are called “out of position.” When choosing to be out of position, a racer gains a bonus die for drafting the car ahead. Bonus dice are used throughout the game to augment rolls as the player sees fit.

The convoy of racers tear around The Oppenheimer uneventfully. Entering the backstretch, the order remains the same: Red, Black, Blue and Brown. Black is in position, while Blue drafts for the extra bonus dice. Brown stays in position on the inside lane.

Black is unable to pass Red, and continues to block Blue. But Brown, despite his slow speed, is able to pass Blue on the inside. Brown pushes his luck with an inside pass attempt of Black, but just doesn’t have enough to complete the double pass.

The cars enter the end of the backstretch – Red, Black, Brown and Blue. Again, all the racers line up on the inside to draft. No random events.

Lap 2

Black tries to bash Red, who is built for this kind of racing.
Entering the far turn in the same order, Black is in position, as are Brown and Blue. Engine misfire: Red’s engine cuts out and the driver swerves from the momentary but surprising drop in speed – and he swerves directly into Black! Luckily, Black is just able to hold on, and both vehicles return to their positions.
Black goes for his pass of Red and wins the roll. Inexplicably, Black tries to bash Red who is built for grinding. Red’s spiked wheels tear Black’s tires to shreds. Black goes out of control, is unable to recover and flips the car out of the race within site of the end of the first lap.

Black is out of the race, but both car and driver survive
to race another day.
Blue is more sensible and makes a clean pass of Brown.

With one less car and one more lap to go, the order is Red, Blue and Brown
The racers enter the main straightaway with no random events rolled. Brown goes for a pass, but is held off. The vehicles continue down the straightaway. In the random events roll, Brown sees an opening and is given a free pass attempt, but again Blue is able to hold onto his position.
Blue, in position, is unsuccessful in trying to pass Red. Brown wins his regular pass attempt of Blue and switches to guns, but is unable to match Blue’s firepower and must stay in last place.

Only three remain.
The cars come around The Oppenheimer for a second time, with Red still retaining the lead, followed by Blue and Brown. Red rolls no random event, but Brown gets too close to Blue. Blue is able to maintain control after the collision, but Brown goes out of control, flips and crashes out of the race!

With just half a lap to go, the race becomes a duel. The two cars enter the backstretch, with Red out front. Blue decides to stay behind and draft Red going down the back stretch, gaining more bonus dice. Blue also knows he is a better passer on turns, so waits for his chance in the far turn. It’ll be Blue’s only chance, because the turn emerges at the finish line.

The race becomes a duel!
Coming into the turn Blue sets up in position. Red, having led the entire race, had little chance to gain any extra bonus dice. But Blue has been behind for most of the race and has been able to conserve and earn more bonus dice. This being his last chance, he spends all of them and blows past Red!

Such are fortunes in the Machinas. The Ram Car (Red) began first place and led the whole race, while St. Ford’s Firelane (Blue) started in last place. But two cars were knocked out giving the Firelane just one opponent to concentrate on, and luck (and a heck of a lot of dice) were on his side today. The Ram Car driver isn’t complaining though; both vehicles belong to the Seven Hills Circus team, who just earned a lot of prize money and also went 1-2 in the heat: Both cars will advance to race in the next heat.


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