Thunder Road was a board game staple when I was little. This simple roll-and-move game had a clever two-piece “conveyor belt” style board that simulated an endless wasteland highway.
Runehammer Games made JUNK’D, sort of an homage to Thunder Road. Check it out, it’s only $3. My takeaway after playing it is that it’s super fast, but entirely too random. It’s great to knock out a few games at lunchtime or while you’re waiting for people to show up at gaming.
I wanted something with a little more predictability without getting into the complexity of something like Gaslands. I have X-Wing Miniatures for when I want turning templates and custom dice.
JUNK’D has a decent spread of “car attributes”, all pools of D6. With the original game, however, you’re always trying to roll a specific single number. It results in a lot of randomness and lots of whiffing except for straight-ahead movement, which is always guaranteed. I think switching to a take-highest system would work better.
I’m going to use a single strip of road, and grant bonus movement when you’re on it, rather than penalize you for moving off the road. This is more like Thunder Road. I’m also thinking of making the board spaces more bricklike, rather than JUNK’D’s grid.
I like that you don’t have to track any resources. You’re driving or you’re wrecked. Definitely keeping that, as well as the Ghost Rider-style oncoming bikes for eliminated players. Payback’s a flame-skulled high-octane bitch.
For my own notes, if nothing else, is the skeleton of what I’ve got.
On your first turn, you roll TIRES. You enter the board on any of the lanes you rolled. Then you roll ENGINE for your moves.
When you roll ENGINE, you roll all your dice and use the best one. 1s are 1 move, 2-5 is 2 moves, 6 is 3 moves. If you have multiple sixes, each additional six generates +1 move. With 4 ENGINE, you could move 6 spaces if you rolled all sixes, but that will never happen.
You get +1 move if you start on the road and don’t leave it while you’re moving.
You can swerve left or right a number of times equal to your TIRES rating.
If you move into another car’s space, you cancel any unused moves but you can ram them. I’m not sure if the RAM stat is worth keeping around. If it is, use that. Otherwise, if you’re sideswiping the victim, roll TIRES. If you’re rear-ending, roll ENGINE. The target of your ramming attempt can either roll ARMOR to take the hit or TIRES to swerve out of the way. If you win, you wreck your opponent. If their ARMOR beats your roll, you’re wrecked. If their TIRES beat you, they move laterally one space (away from the sideswipe direction or to either side on a rear-ender).
You can crash through wrecks. Roll ARMOR. If you roll any sixes, you crash through the wreck. If you crash through a wrecked player car, they’re out and can’t make any repair saves. If you fail, you’re wrecked in the left, right, or center space past the wreck.
GUNS: I think this’ll need testing. I’m thinking either you can shoot an enemy car right in front of you, or you can shoot straight ahead a number of spaces equal to your GUNS. Either way, you roll GUNS vs. ARMOR. The problem is that shooting is pretty low-risk. Shooting attacks should probably impede your movement or grant additional movement to the target if they win. Maybe shooting should be hard, like you only hit on sixes. Not sure yet.
When a car reaches the end of the board, you take the back half and clear it off. Place it in front of the other half. It becomes the new leading board. I’m considering having the lead car lose their remaining moves when the board switches in order to have a sort of catchup/rubber band rule, but maybe it doesn’t matter that much. Testing will tell.
Turn order is whoever’s in front goes first.
If there are any Ghost Riders, they roll TIRES but come in from the leading board as oncoming traffic. They have 2 in all their stats. You get one Ghost Rider at a time, and can respawn when the board changes if you’re killed. I’ll need to figure out if they count as “in front” for turn order or not.
That’s it for now – this is probably all just an excuse to play with some hot wheels.