Geeking Out – Wreck and Ruin and Gaslands, oh my!

Here we are again, race fans! Refuelled and raring to go? Well no surprise; the latest issue of Time Extended (Gaslands’ online supplement) is out, with rules for narrative/league play, and Gaslands: Refuelled is scheduled for September.

And if that’s not enough, this week we’re taking a look at post-apocalyptic strategic scavenge and smash em up board game Wreck and Ruin from local team Dream Big Studios (tl;dr – everything Fallout should’ve been)

So let’s load up, saddle up, tool up, and take another trawl through the scrapyards of the Friends of Gaslands. And hey, why not score yourself some free loot while you’re at it?

Off the back of its successful Kickstarter last summer, the retail edition of this post-apocalyptic strategic scavenge and smash em up from local team Dream Big Studios is an absolute riot. 15mm (ish), with an emphasis on finding resources and surviving the wastelands, though with plenty of car-nage too (and dinosaurs), this is an accessible slice of post-apocalyptic family fun.

Really it’s everything the rather disappointing Fallout boardgame should’ve been. It’s very different to Gaslands, and is more Fury Road than Mad Max, if that makes sense. Much more about dealing with the environment and finding what you can, though you’re always trying not to get blown up. Peg slots on the models act as an neat damage tracker, and with 4 factions in the basic game, you get plenty of content for £60.

There’s nice variety in the models, and the four factions feel, and look, distinctive: Reapers (red) are wild, cannibalistic savages; Salvos (blue) your classic wasteland salvagers; Ruin (green) your militaristic “last stronghold of humanity”; and Desertkin (yellow) shamanic riders giant mutant lizards. It’s immediately obvious what’s what, and the models look and feel great. Arguably, the bikes are closer to 20mm (mmm, useful for Gaslands), but that’s a very minor niggle as you need something that scale for playability and practicality. Also, did I mention that there are FRICKIN’ DINOSAURS with guns on?

The other components are great, high quality counters and tokens, faction coloured dice, an aesthetically pleasing rulebook (with some nice post-apoc fiction too) that’s well-laid out to boot. I really like that the map tiles are double-sided, allowing some added variety to your terrain – it’s not just “wasteland”.

In each game round, players take consecutive turns to spend 5 action points to move (or repair, rebuild or ram/attack) your models across the tiles to reach objectives – an action point is used to move your Movement in Hexes (or turn facing in a hex). Each faction has effectively the same vehicles: A scout bike, a buggy, a wrecker (high armour, big ram) and the big rig. The Wastelanders have dinosaurs not vehicles, and there’s pleasing variety in the other 3 factions, but they’re obvious enough in terms of size and design to make it clear what’s what. The vehicle stats remain unchanged across the factions, which initially feels odd, but actually just makes the game much, much easier to play.

Your main aim is to raid objectives in your turn of the round to gain salvage, which requires a vehicle to remain stationary and undamaged – which is where the car-nage comes in. Rolling attack dice to equal or beat their armour stat (with bonuses if from behind, or ramming with a heavier vehicle) is natural and obvious. Each vehicle has its own skills also, which can be used without using an action point: scouts can attack on the move, buggies can repair, wreckers can ram, and big rig can repair itself, shove others around and soak damage (so, slow but sits on objectives). Action points can also be used to bring wrecked vehicles back – you learn pretty quickly not to be too precious! Once you grab an objective, a new one pops up randomly, keeping the gameplay dynamic.

The variety in the game play comes from the three types of cards. Salvage cards give you bonuses and faction-specific boosts, or penalise your opponent. The event deck, meanwhile, changes the environment every full round (so every player experiences it in their turn of the round), typically messing with vehicles (sandstorms are hard to shoot in, for instance). Finally, each player has their own unique faction card that can be used once per game; triggering this can be the key to winning, so there’s plenty of tactical depth in the decision of whether to try to get an early advantage or a late-game boost.

Also, interestingly, there are 4 cards per from, so you never know which one your opponent has – plus, halfway through the game, you get another at random.

This is a fun, competitive, action packed game that’ll easily fill an hour or so with plenty of replay value. I think honestly calling it 14+ is unnecessary – it’s not at the level of intricacy of other board or war games of that ilk, and my savvy not-quite-9 year old was fine with it. We all really enjoyed it, and it’s a great bridge-game, one that properly crosses over in its appeal to board game fans (casual or serious), wargamers or just families wanting something a bit different to get their teeth into. So get Wreckin’!

Mad Cars, Big Girls

Green Miniatures continue to impress with their wide variety of unlikely survivors. With the arrival in TX of Highway Patrol and Scarlet Annie (All Aboard the Pirate bandwagon, me hearties!) we also get a fantastic set of sculpts for both factions (pictured – Rebel Policemen) and modular wastelanders also.

Time Extended’s introduction of new vehicles and variations also gives us a perfect excuse to weaponise a Trike:

But those lovely folk at Mad Cars have also branched out into bigger and better models, it seems. Taking advantage of the scaling of 3D printing, they’ve started to produce 25mm versions of some of their very lovely ladies (and some scabby survivor scum / bikers also). The Mad Cars Big range really shows off the quality of their sculpts:

As true 25mm (think: GW’s Lord of the Rings), they’re fairly well scaled for the likes Devil’s Run or the Walking Dead – very nicely proportioned, too – and at just over £6 a figure a very reasonable outlay.

They’re a touch on the small side for a heroic/32mm, however. My only actual niggle with them, really, is that I’d like them to come with bases (even just clear acrylic circles would work), though I appreciate that there’s an attempt to save costs here also.

Kyamsil Designs

More wheels, more guns. That’s what we need. I love the interchangeable nature of what Kyamsil offer, so imagine my joy at the addition of double-phattiees and slims to their range.

The inclusion of spacers with the doubles also means that they sit just that little bit more comfortably on an axle – not absolutely necessary but a well thought-out, and much appreciated, inclusion.

But now, Kyamsil are bringing the dakka, too, with more machine gun variants than you can shaky a long pointy wobbly stick with a War Boy on it at.

A set of 8 modular, interchangeable machine guns with various barrels, bodies and feeds – £6 well spent on arming up your survivors.

As if that’s not enough, you can even get yourself some very nice printed oil cans as scatter terrain. They’re very kind to you, so they are.

At a pound for 4, or £7 for 30, they’re a solid addtion to wasteland or vehicle alike.

Still not enough? Fiiiiiiine:

That’s a lot of hood mods. I mean you could buy each set of 5 separately for a couple of quid, but £5.50 gets you

5 Different Air Scoops

5 Different Air Filters

5 Different Superchargers including one dual

5 Hood Pans (4 different) to represent a hole in your car’s hood/bonnet.

As well as being a complete bargain, the hood pans are the icing on the cake here. One of the trickiest things for the novice modder especially (or, in my case, lazy modder) is cutting through die-cast metal, so this neatly sidesteps the need to do so.

Hayland Terrain

Now there are, of course, a lot of 3-D printed solutions to your post-apocalyptic needs, and another one that really stands out to us is Hayland Terrain, offering packs that are specifically tailored to (for example) Big Rig upgrades or Time Extended’s new weapons.

It’s a smart move, as it neatly navigates the counts-as mysteries; whilst arguably everything strapped to a toy car is some sort of counts-as (which is fine), it’s really handy to have a WYSWIG option, especially as the game moves into more competitive play with the advent of the league system (in TX4) and Gaslands: Refuelled.

Hayland offer 2 different materials, depending on whether the product is hand-cast or 3D printed (all of their products are also available as 3D printable files for download). The white resin used for the hand cast pieces will be familiar to many folk: it’ll need a wash and a wee trim, but absolutely does the job. The “wooden” armour set is great, the textures excellent. Perfect for beat-up jalopies and charabancs, wannabe pirate ships and cheap skavvie skum.

Likewise, a large bundle pack of banged-up barrels is often just what you need to bulk out a board or act as an impromptu barrier.

It’s in the focused upgrade packs that they really shine, however. The Rig pack is impressive: a host of particuarly nasty heavy and turret mounted weapons to help you haul through hell. 3-D printed too, so no washing and minimal prep of any kind required.

The TX2 pack takes a wide selection the new special weapons and gives you them in one handy grab-bag.

Now if you don’t believe us, you can check the TX2 set out yourself, with a chance to win it to trick out your own Gaslands goodies (or baddies). This time, the contest is a bit different, as we shamelessly harness you for insights:

What do you want to see MORE of from future Geeking Outs? More contests? More board games? More Comic IPs? More hobby articles? Let us know in the comments and the winner will be announced in the next Geeking Out, when we take a loot at the new 2-player Starter set for Transformers TCG!

SAMDAVThe Writer of this piece was: Sam Graven
Article Archive: Geeking Out
You can follow Sam on Twitter

4 Comments on Geeking Out – Wreck and Ruin and Gaslands, oh my!

  1. I think you have hit on a winning formula here and should stick with this format – pick a type of game or hobby aspect and cover a few different choices along that area. It makes for interesting and informative reading, and isn’t as hit-or-miss for the reader as a board game review might be.

    Looking forward to the Gaslands reboot, and might even get my Wreck&Ruin and Gaslands to the table after this article! (though the chances of me pimping it with £6 figures is remarkably slim! :-D

  2. I’d like to see more articles about board games.

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