Friday, 29 August 2014

Fuel leaks, Computer Glitches and Mass Spin-Outs!



Yesterday evening my son, Macspud, and his buddy, MeerkatSoldier, accompanied me for the short walk down the hill to arabianknight's hobby shed, where he and his son, arabiansquire, were waiting for us for a game of Spin-Out: A Pod Racing Game

This is a racing game inspired by the pod racing scenes from Star Wars Episode 1: the Phantom Menace. The rules and quick-reference sheet are a FREE download available from The Armchair General You can  also find more about the game, and our previous races, from arabiaknight's blog


Macspud's pod stalled at the start after his dad sabotaged his onboard computer!

Arabianknight had set up the table using some generic terrain pieces and obstacles - trees, boulders, flagged waypoints etc, and let the racers choose their pods. Once lined up at the start, it was simple...first to complete two laps via the waypoints wins!

This is where all the shenanigans start. Pod racers are a competitive lot, so when they sit at the starting line, with fingers/paws/tentacles on the afterburner switch, they want nothing more than to get to that finish line at all costs. A win will help them get closer to competing in the Boonta Classic after all!

At the start of the game, the pods have twenty damage points. We used a D20 next to each pod to keep track. Next, the racers each draw two cards from a regular deck of playing cards (including the two jokers), which forms their hand. Players can have a maximum of five cards in their hand, drawing a fresh card each turn.  The cards have several functions, depending on what it is. For example, they could be used passively by a racer to boost their pod's speed, remove damage or re-start engines etc 

They can - and this is where it gets fun, and the carnage ensues - also be played on the competition, causing such things as Computer Glitches, Power Coupling Failures,
Fuel Leaks and Spin-Outs! Not to mention Sabotage and Bribes. Racers can even arrange for friendly 'fan' to take a pot shot at a rival team's pod as it passes - apparently Tusken Raiders are particular amenable to this.

From the start of our race, especially with father and sons competing, the adversarial cards were being played from the off; I'm slightly, (but not much!), ashamed to say I started it by hitting the afterburners to tear away from the start line, whilst playing a Computer Glitch on my son's pod causing it's engines to shut down! 

This pretty much set the theme for the rest of the race, with five pods doing every dastardly deed available to them get ahead. Typically, I've found it's a rare game where a pod actually completes the distance without outrageous damage. In our case, no racer finished as all the pods had gone 'Kaboom!' one way or another before completing the two laps!

This is a hugely fun game for three or more players, which I have played on and off since arabianknight demonstrated it a few years ago. I can highly recommend it for club play or when you've a group of fellow gamers that want something thematic, easy to play and a huge laugh!