Looking for a simple and cheap game for you and a group of friends to play all at once that isn’t the Dragon game?
Miss your younger days when you could get away with playing with toy cars, and especially crashing them into eachother?
Enjoy Mad Max, Death Race and other post-apocolyptic car based entertainment?
Want a unique crafting challenge that will impress your friends and attract a life partner?
Maybe I can’t help that last one (sorry) but look no further than all of the rest of those and more!
What is Gaslands?
Gaslands is a tabletop game of post-apocalyptic vehicular mayhem. With fast and cinematic rules, it is designed to be played with toy cars, allowing players to ram, skid and race their way through the wreckage of a burnt-out Earth. Gaslands is published by Osprey Games
Sounds good right? It is even better in action with the right group of players!
Just look how much fun Gav was having last night * …
Might have had something to do with his every dice roll coming up perfectly … time and again … highly* sus … ha
So we have the official description, what is it really?
It is a car wars style game from the same company that publishes Frostgrave and Stargrave, so you know it is a quality and well supported game.
Like those other games it is “miniature agnostic”, meaning you can bring your own proxy/creations/kit bash or 3D prints to the table and nobody cares provided you all roughly stick to the same scale, and also like those other games the rules can be simple or crunchy depending on your preference.
This makes it super simple and cheap to get into.
What Do You Need to Play Gaslands?
One of you out of your group will need the rule book, of course.
There are lots of download and print resources for things like movement templates, crew stats and tokens at the Gaslands.com site.
You will need some D6 (six-sided dice), and either some regular dice that you modify or if you want to spend a tiny bit extra, the official skid dice.
Then you will need some Hotwheels or Matchbox type toy cars from anywhere you can get them, from the dollar store and Wallmart through to garage sales or steal them from a nephew/niece.
As you can see, you will also need some terrain because half of the game is navigating a track/route/environment toward and objective, and half is battling the other player’s cars.
In the example above we needed to get our cars through the start and finish gates, which sounds easy until you find out the other cars, as well as performing pit manoevers and blocking, can also … shoot you. A lot.
Our game being a starter scenario consisted of papercraft terrain, that was surprisingly effective, but you could easily use cans, books and boxes.
You are also not forced into a particular table size, though I imagine the more players and time you have the bigger you need to expand, just as much fun can be had by increasing the mayhem with a cramped track!
Movement is performed with templates, so a little like X-Wing and other “flying” games in that regard, which as mentioned earlier you can print and play, but having access to laser engravers I made my own out of clear acrylic.
Gaslands Combat and Movement
If it was just a straightforward race there could already be a lot of fun involved, but to amp up the Mad Max vibes, there are lots and lots of ways to blow each other up.
One of the things that always stands out and attracts players to Gaslands is the car-modding action – taking your Hotwheels and scraping, painting, gluing and kitbashing to make it fearsome and awesome. You can choose from anything from front mounted machine guns all the way up to mobile fortress big rigs.
Adding armour can make you invincible or you can go for sheer speed and avoid getting hit in the first place.
Buying upgrades is done with “cans” – the currency of Gaslands is gasoline of course.
Each car can take some much “Hull” damage, after which it might explode. Taking turns from pole position around the table you also incur “Hazard” tokens, up to 6 in which case you can flip out and reset back to first gear.
The higher the gear, and the faster you are going, the more you can avoid being hit, and you move further due to getting extra activations, for example someone in gear 4 will not get a move on activation 5 or 6.
You can roll the special dice up to the value of your handling, so a handling of 3 means you get to roll up to 3 skid dice. The result will be a Gear, Skid, Slide, or Hazard.
Gear changes can be exchanged to nullify “bad” results, or to change gear. Sometimes you actually want to turn your car up to 90 degrees so of course the results, other than hazard, are pretty contextual.
As alluded to earlier, one of the joys of games like this is you can go hog wild with the crafting.
I started with movement templates because you can’t play without them. Really it is one of the essentials other than dice and cars, modified or not.
Luckily, the acrylic I used was really legible in the engraves which is cool, because it meant I didn’t need to paint, but I think my next set I will engrave from behind and place the design mirrored to see if the effect is nicer reading the text that way.
While I already 3D printed a bunch of shipping containers and a couple of gun turrets, which are waiting to get painted, the concrete papercraft have inspired me I think to do some foam crafting too. I will update you with progress on a later article.
Finally, as mentioned the game goes through a lot of tokens, especially hazard tokens, so I need to have around 12 per player at least (2×6 per car, more if more cars per player).
For convenience, I would also like to do a wipe-clean car dashboard design to save using printouts and pencils. Perhaps with a rotating dial for the gear.
If your game group is looking for a fun and cheap party game with laughs, violence, and mayhem, that is easy to get into, has depth when you want it, but is even easy enough to play with kids, then this is definitely top of the list in my opinion.