At long last, the Project: Death Race rules are ready for their public debut. If you’re new to Robot Viking, Project: Death Race is a game being developed by Robot Viking’s writers and readers. Its goal is to recreate the insane action stunts of movies like The Road Warrior and Death Race: 2000 using 1/64 scale toy cars (Matchbox or Hot Wheels cars, most commonly). Each car will be fully and easily customizable without complicated charts or difficult calculations. We need lots of playtesters to help us hammer out the kinks and make this game ten kinds of awesome.
Before we get to the rules, there are a few things I should mention. First, thanks to my brother for working on these rules with me. We’ve already had some great brainstorming and playtesting sessions. Thanks to all the readers who kept asking what was up with Project: Death Race. Knowing people were interested was a real kick in the pants to get this done. And, in case you missed it in the caption, thanks to Juan Navarro for volunteering to provide some sweet art for these rules. He’s a killer artist, and it’s a real honor to have his sketches gracing our alpha rules.
The rules themselves can be found in the pdf document linked below. Conceptually, this game is meant to be fairly simple (although, hopefully, still tactically and strategically rich). Each player controls one car, and that car has a point value based on its attributes. This is something we borrowed from many miniature battle games. At the same time, there are cards that depict various optional equipment you can install on your car. The equipment has a point cost as well. We tried to keep the basic rules pretty simple and streamlined, while the equipment cards introduce new levels of complexity. This aspect is somewhat similar to a collectible card game.
You’ll find cards for 16 different cars and 32 different equipment cards. You can print those out and cut them out…keep in mind you can print multiple copies of them, in case two players want to use the same car, or you want to put multiple machine guns on your car. The maneuver tool is on the last page. Just make sure your printer settings aren’t adjusting the scale of the image, and you should be able to cut that out and assemble it.
We haven’t put much effort into the game’s backstory or setting. It’s mentioned sort of perfunctorily in the rules, but we’re really focused on the mechanics at this point. We’ll flesh the rest out later. For instance, eventually I want all the equipment to have brand names, and develop those fictional brand identities (you can see a little of that with the targeting computers). There are a few other things that need to be added as well, such as terrain and a keyword system for equipment.
Now, if you want to be an alpha tester, here’s what we’re looking for. Just post your thoughts in the comments below (or email them to me, if they’re really lengthy).
At the most basic level, play a few games with friends using different cars and equipment sets and tell us if you had fun. That’s really the biggest thing. You can comment on the difficulty of learning the rules, or specific rules you found confusing as well.
If you want to be a hardcore playtester, keep a notebook nearby when you play. Note how many players played, how long the game took, how many turns elapsed before the end of the game, and any other relevant data. Write down rules questions that came up, problems that arose and even parts that were particularly enjoyable. Ask lots of questions and be critical – if something isn’t working, we can fix it!
Another thing to look for are broken combos. Certain equipment might be too cheap, or be devastatingly effective combined with other equipment or a certain car. If you find that some equipment is so good compared to its cost that you pretty much always use it, make note of that. Equipment costs at this point are highly debatable because there’s no strict formula for them. We need to know if things are over or undercosted.
Finally, for the truly dedicated, we need to develop new play modes. A few are suggested in the rules, but I’m sure we can come up with more. In particular, I really want a better two-person scenario besides “each player uses two cars.”
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I’d like to thank everyone ahead of time for playtesting this for us. I’m really excited about the game and looking forward to seeing photos of everyone’s modded post-apocalyptic death cars.
One last note: while this is an open playtest, these rules are not issued under any creative commons license. You can print out as many copies as you like, but if you want to publish them in any form, just ask me first.