Sunday, 24 January 2010

Axles and Alloys II - Playtest

DaveO, von Mike and myself play-tested the current state of Axles and Alloys II - Dork Future (although I may change the subtitle to "Axles of Evil") at Stourbridge on Friday night so I suppose that's another entry for the "games played/games run" list for 2010.

It went OK, but I think the increased complexity of the turning rules might suffer from being a bit too much to grasp "first time through" in it's intended role as a convention game. Previously a driver simply picked a so-called "clock face" between 9 o clock and 3 o clock, rotated his car to face this and drove straight forwards for his speed,measured out in inches. These were all written down in secret so that you didn't really know what everyone else was planning until it happened. Once everyone had moved or crashed, all the firing started in a hail of machine-gun bullets, lasers and napalm. Good fun and everybody picks this up by the second or third turn and the game ran itself.

Unfortunately it was so simple that I didn't enjoy playing it myself so now I have an approach that feels like proper driving with the risk of skids for turning above 12" speed and the ability to drift sideways with a large random factor involved. While it's simple when written down in the draft rulebook, I struggled to make it 100% clear with two players while making myself heard over the din of the 30+ people gaming at the Stourbridge club so worry that with games of 8-12 (the usual numbers for the earlier version of the game) it might all fall apart. Perhaps the rules are OK but the logistics of a con game are lacking, so I think I might need to provide play-sheets for every player in future.

We also tried out my racing rules, but that was a bit of farce and needs to go back to the drawing board. I rate vehicles as being of one of three weight classes to cover the range of suitable Matchbox/Hot Wheels toys from light beach buggies and little sports cars (Elise, MX-5 etc.) through saloon and muscle cars up to vans and very large American station wagons. Heavy vehicles are much slower so anyone who picks one to race in will have a poor game. I'm thinking that the speed factors should be modelled on the approach of Super Mario Kart and it's descendants whereby the heavy vehicles accelerate slowly and don't turn as quickly but have a potential top speed far in excess of the lightweight, fast accelerating and turning vehicles.

However I'm reasonably confident that when Friday's suggestions and findings are written up and incorporated into the rules it will be a good beta play-test version and releasable out onto the Internet to see what people think of it.


  1. This game sounds pretty cool. I wish it had been around when I was a kid.

  2. A very old version is here - but I find that one a bit embarrassing as even back in 2001 the version we played was considerably in advance of that one but all later versions were lost when I gave up my web-hosting.

    Hopefully I should be posting a revised beta test version to the blog shortly.

    Very cheap game to get in - I used to buy new Matchbox and Hot Wheels to convert but most of my gaming mates just dragged their old toy boxes out of their parent's lofts and got their old cars out to provide them with kitbashing material.