(see also Burning Rubber 0.1)
Got together tonight with Rob Bohl, Emily Care-Boss, and Epidiah Ravichol for a first round playtest of Burning Rubber. We weren’t shooting at each other. I wanted to see if the driving game was fun, and when, if ever, you’d wish you could shoot. Each of them gave really solid feedback. Thanks, guys!
The big things we noticed:
- Skidding and crashing work great. They’re reasonably intuitive and make a really solid, comical mess.
- The ruler design is critical. Units were twice as long as they should have been and there were about half as many as there should have been, resulting in everyone achieving their top speed on turn 2 and having no problem keeping it, even around the tightest curve on the course.
- Driving is too easy. If no one gets aggro on your ass, you just drive around.
- I have to be clear that you can’t accelerate with Yellows.
- You need two rulers to keep from losing track of stuff.
The following rules supercede the previous post on the matter. They are much simpler. My sacred cow of “facings” is by the side of the road, trying to hitch a ride to a different game.
Building a car
Divide 8 dice between:
- Armor (2 dots per die)
- Reds (with a range modifier, probably +6 to -6, or contact. I’ll have to play with shooty rules to figure out what a regular ol’ gun will be, then work out from there. You can have more than one weapon, I guess, but you can only shoot once a turn. )
- 2 Whites (always two, unless you lose them in a race. No buying more or anything)
- You can swap those 1:1. You can also swap 2 dice of any color for 1d8 of that color.
- A pre-agreed number of Rockets, which are Red or Green.
(We played with only Yellows and Greens to test the driving rules, but we played with 3 of each, and it was too many. If you want to do so, making it a straight up racing game with lots of contact and crashes, I suggest you play with four dice, any two of which can be swapped for a d8, one dot of armor, and two Whites.)
I was wishy-washy about it before. Sorry. It turns out scale is really important. Now there are standards.
- Cars are ≤ 10 dots long and ≤ 4 dots wide. You can make them bigger, which means they’ll hit more stuff, for better or for worse.
- You measure from the center of your car. When you build your car, make a center somehow. The dividing line between some bricks would work fine, or a single dot. Whatever.
- The ruler has a click hinge every 5 dots. That’s a 4 dot axle in a click hinge, conveniently.
- The ruler is 18 units long (It’s easiest if you have 2 of them)
- Top speed is 13+ the number of Green dice you currently have.
- Each hinge clicked adds to the difficulty you have to make with your Yellows. If you make multiple clicks, they add up. The more you click a given hinge, the harder that turn gets to make in a non-linear fashion.
- Going straight requires a 1. This is a gimme unless you’ve lost tires. Don’t worry about those earlier tire damage rules, though.
- 1 click requires a 2
- 2 clicks requires a 3
- 3 clicks requires a 5
- 4 clicks requires an 8
This obviously requires an example:
My car is going 5, turning 1 click, going 6, turning 2 clicks, and going 4. That’s 2+3, or 5. I roll the dice. My biggest Yellow is a 4. That means I make the first turn (which “uses up” 2), but skid on the second (which needed 3, but there’s only 2 left).
I measure the direction of the skid from the last turn, turn the car to that 2-click position, and slide it 4, the remainder of the way to my vector marker.
- Plot your course and roll your car along it. If you mismeasured and your car hits something, you hit it!
Crashing into other cars
- Subtract the difference in your cars’ last positions from the difference in your cars’ next positions.
- Roll that many damage dice for each other.
- Break off any relevant parts and put them touching your car wherever they’ll wreak the most havoc on your fellow racers.
- Rotate your car away from the closest wheel to the collision point by a number of clicks equal to the number of hits you took.
- Move your next position toward your opponent’s next position by the number of hits you took and vice versa.
- You’re probably skidding!
Crashing into stationary, big things like walls
- Move your vector marker in a straight line perpendicular to the way the car was going until the distance from the object you hit is the number of hits you took.
- You’re probably skidding!
The difference between Green and Yellow
- Green moves your vector marker forward in the direction your car is moving.
- Yellow moves the vector marker any other direction.
- You must use a Green if you’ve rolled it, but you may opt to not roll it. If you don’t roll a Green, you lose 1 speed every turn.
- You probably need a Yellow to keep control of the car. It costs 1 pip per unit of control.
- If you exceed your top speed (not by the 1 you got from drafting this turn), you’re skidding! And fast.
Fighting (Hey, Vincent, pay attention to this!)
The problem with fighting racing games is that it sucks to be in first place because everyone shoots you and then you die, and then someone else takes first, and then they die, so the smart people don’t even hit the accelerator until turn 2. It also sucks to be behind because shooting that guy doesn’t actually let you crawl your way up. It’s supposed to be a race. Being in front should have advantages, and shooting should help you claw your way forward. Here’s how I’m thinking about it.
If you’re in front, you probably have some room around you to maneuver. When someone shoots at you, you can jink — drive crazy to be harder to hit. Every click you jink removes one hit (and you have to do them all in the same direction). It also puts you out of line with your vector marker. So you’re skidding! What that means is that it’s hard to hold on to the front position because you’re going to be taking turns sloppily, but it’s still worth the risk, cuz that way you can win. You can, of course, take the hits, as well, like when you’re in a bad position for the curve anyway. You get to weigh your options.
This, along with skidding and crashing, is what’s making this game work for me and what might just set it apart from others of its kind.
How to Be On Fire
Every Green you’ve lost becomes a Fire Die.
Roll the number of Greens you’ve lost, plus another one for every Green d8 you’ve lost whenever you:
- Take a Green hit
- Take 3 hits at once
- Wipe Out
Additionally, if you touch stuff that’s on fire, at the end of your movement, roll a die for every on-fire thing you roll over.
Every 6 you roll costs you a die, and is now a fire die! You’ll have to roll those next turn unless:
- You pit (we’ll need pit rules, won’t we?)
- You use a 6 from one (or both, added) Whites to extinguish all fires.
- If you have 3 Fire Dice, you explode (see below)!
- Roll all those Fire Dice again. Anything 4+is a hit!
- You Wipe Out!
- Put any lost components within 6 of your car, wherever you like. They’re on fire!
- Whenever you skid, roll a d6. On a 6, you’ve lost a tire or a wheel, your choice which. You lose tires first. They make debris like any other component, separately or together. If you leave the tire on the wheel, it’s still two objects to hit!
- Each lost tire and wheel reduces your Yellows by 1.
- If you’ve got no wheels, you’ve Wiped Out!
- Slow to 5 and stop suddenly at the pit stop, even if you’d still have movement left.
- Your guy gets out to pee.
- Oh, maaaaaaan.
- While that’s happening, the crew puts out fires, replaces your tires and/or wheels, and you can return to the track next turn.
- If you’re done in there.