A prestigious line-up of the ancient world’s finest charioteers, showing off their expertise and competing for fame and glory down at the renowned Falkirk Hippodrome. A billing that included the likes of Romulus, Gilgamesh, Medb and Teukros steering their chariots with elegance and skill over the course of two laps to the frenzied cheers and applaud of the Mob...
However, in a rare attempt at balance for this blog an alternative viewpoint would be a spirited group of gamers down that the local gaming club playing a madcap game of what can be described as Carry On Chariots using the new Faustus Furius rules. Thankfully, they weren’t sporting togas.
With the recent publication of Faustus Furius I thought it was well overdue for me to organise an introductory game. With my good buddy Jamie accompanying me we soon had our chariots set up on a simple track – a fine ‘desert’ mat provided by John Ewing with a wall marking the central dividing line. With the QR sheets handed out our budding charioteers’ randomly chose a ‘character’ from the free play cards which can be downloaded and printed from Ganesha.
Six chariot teams soon took their places. A mixture of Fast, Agile, Scythed and Heavy chariots, some including archers who tried hopelessly to look inconspicuous on the start line. The first team to activate was drawn and they were off! Rapidly followed by a madcap race characterised by dastardly deeds and reprehensible tactics.
Before the chariots even made the first turn we had one crashed and overturned and others were wildly careening off course or trying to rein in Spooked Horses. All caused by the devious machinations of opposing teams doing their best to scupper their opponents with an illicit spear poke in the wheels or an ‘accidental’ release of an arrow as they thundered past. It all got a bit Hollywood real fast!
By the second turn my Agile team led by Medb had been the victim of at least two scurrilous interventions from the Heavy Archer team, with a grinning Romulus zooming past as Medb spun out and collided with the racetrack boundary wall. In the interests of neutrality, Medb flatly denies his team were involved in any equally unsportsmanlike antics such as spurious claims that he repeatedly tried to Incite the Mob and was also spotted trying to supper both Teukros’ Heavy chariot or cause Faustus Furius to veer into the central wall. Total Fabrication!
I had rather optimistically planned for us to run through three, two lap matches for the chance to win the Optimus Maximus World Cup, where the charioteers can optionally spend accumulated race points on ‘Dirty Deeds’ prior to the next match. Not that they needed any incentive. In the event, the six players spent so long playing what became a kind of ancient version of the Wacky Races that we only ended up completing two laps! It was mayhem. There were crashed chariots and invading mobs on the track, arrows were flying whilst some teams ended up heading in the wrong direction!
The player controlling Darius with his scythed chariot had to leave early and by chance or design he crashed at the end of the first lap right on the start line, the wrecked chariot inconveniently leaving yet another obstacle to be avoided. By the end Gilgamesh, Dastardly Romulus and Teukros took first, second and third place whilst Faustus Furius and the wholly innocent and victimised team led by Medb limped in taking a desultory point each.
Ben-Hur (1959), Sheik Ilderim: Bonehead! Give me those reins! You think you can treat my horses like animals? To drive cows and goats is all you're fit for! Get off, idiot! [he kicks the driver off the chariot]
The points have been recorded and I plan to run the second round of the Optimus Maximus cup soon. It was great fun and has only given me extra impetus to get my dedicated Faustus Furius track completed. So here’s a wee teaser from the Battleshed’s current construction site…