Thunder Junk’d, Part II

I’m working on a car chase/combat board game descended from the old Thunder Road game and inspired by JUNK’D. This is where it stands after one actual playtest with coworkers and a lot of solo runs.

The Road

The board is two pieces, so you can have this perpetual stretch of asphalt on a sort of “conveyor belt”. There are six lanes per piece, each seven spaces long and offset like Formula D (or Flamme Rouge if you prefer).

When a player drives off the edge of the leading board, the trailing board is cleared and becomes the new leading board. Anyone cleared off the old board is eliminated (but can come back as oncoming biker traffic).

The middle two lanes are blacktop, and provide a bonus. When we playtested, we gave anyone who started their turn on the blacktop a bonus Engine die, but might change things so that if you stay on blacktop for your entire move, you can move one additional space for free.

The Cars

Cars are rated 1d6-3d6 in four areas that I have stolen liberally from JUNK’D. When you roll you generally take the highest value, but I could see some cases where you’d want to use a different result.

Tires

You roll Tires when you first come onto the board, when you attempt to sideswipe another car, or when you try to avoid a sideswipe or ram attempt. Your actual Tires value limits how many lateral moves you can make on your turn.

Engine

The first thing you do on your turn is roll Engine to determine how many spaces you must move (must move, not can move). I’m yoinking Blades in the Dark’s dice resolution here: You read your highest die, and on a 1-3 you move one space, on a 4-5 two spaces, on a 6 three spaces. Additional sixes add additional spaces.

Next, I’m yoinking Year Zero Engine’s push mechanism. If you don’t like your Engine roll for movement, you can reroll anything that wasn’t a one, but any ones on that roll drop your Engine value.

Finally, you roll Engine opposed by either Tires or Armor when attempting to ram someone from behind (or head-on if you’re a biker).

Guns

Your car can shoot another car directly ahead of you. Your range is your Guns value in spaces You roll Guns, trying to beat the target’s Armor. Any Guns roll is like pushing a roll in Year Zero – ones on your Guns roll reduce your Guns value. Shooting is safer for you, but carries the risk of running out of firepower.

Armor

You roll Armor to defend against Guns attacks and if you decide to take the hit when you’re sideswiped or rammed. You also roll Armor (looking for sixes) if you crash into a wreck on the road, whether it’s a placed obstacle or a wrecked player.

Wrecking

When you’re wrecked, you get to roll 1d6. On a six, you repair your car. This takes your entire turn. In our playtest, we let the player take their normal turn after repairing, but this dragged out the game since nobody could get the kind of lead that would eliminate players off the map. You get to roll an additional die every turn you’re wrecked.

Some variant rules we toyed with were pushing your repair roll, but rolling ones meant you came back with stat damage. We also considered presenting the choice to roll or simply drop a stat to repair your car. I’m not sure which way to go here – the important discovery was learning that a successful repair still has to take your entire turn.

Learning

My coworkers said they’d play it again, which means buying those foam sheets for a game board wasn’t a wasted purchase. The interplay between the Blades in the Dark dice and Year Zero push-your-luck works really well. I need to tune the values for things so that being wrecked sets you back more and maybe introduce more decision points where you risk bits of your vehicle.

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