Mad Maximillian 1934 at ScrumCon

I don’t want to overwhelm the ScrumCon 2019 after action report (last post) with a post on a game I ran, or it would load the post with pictures of one event.

I took one of the game slots in the morning shift of ScrumCon, which meant a 10:00 AM start time. We had no trouble setting up– terrain is basically a flat cloth, some scatter terrain, a few bluffs, the pyramids indicating where you need to turn, and the Gates at the near and far end. I had about 20 vehicles, with a wide range of sizes and classes.

Seen in photo: Blue Horizon, Lil Red Devil, Rickety Racer, A Touch of Elegance, People’s Collective, The Singular (monowheel), and Brutarian. When it comes to customizing vehicles I like to start with a recognizable historical concept– like the Bentley, the Bugati, the Soviet Armored Car, etc., so I don’t make insane car customization. The semi-historical element adds to the whimsy element.

I ran Mad Maximilian 1934 at Fall IN! 2018 with Jon Lunberg.  I was noticing kind of a runaway effect with that game, where there wasn’t a tremendous amount of interplay between vehicles during the race.  So I listened to one of the player’s suggestions and created a course that crosses in the middle, hence, “The Southern Cross”.

Map of Course. Left hand group (west) are the gold path. Right hand group (east) follow the green path. The red dots are the Devil Rocks

This worked out to something like this:

The course at start. five cards to each gate. You can see the devil rocks in the center. The cars take either a left or a right within 6 inches of each Devil Rock to cut over to the center.

I had ten players. I placed five on the Western gate and five on the Eastern gate.

Eastern gate. L-R (front) Blue Horizon, Rickety Racer (motorcycle), and A Touch of Elegance (Bentley Touring Car) (rear) Blues Magoos, People’s Collective (armored car). Blue Horizon is a buggy class. Rickety Racer is a bike. People’s Collective is a Junker.  All the rest are Jalopies.
Western Gate: (front) Brutarian, Singular (monowheel), Green Machine (rear) Here Goes Nothing!, The Yeoman (armored car). Singular is a Bike class. Here Goes Nothing! and The Yeoman are both Junkers class.  The others are Jalopies.
A Roaring crunch through the Eastern Gate!

Note that all of the cars that started the race didn’t end the race.  Unlike the Fall IN game the ScrumCon version was brutal, violent, and just as funny.

Blimey!  What a cock-up!
Out of the gate, Neil takes the People’s Collective around the bluff, trying to avoid being the out front leader (target). Garrett takes a touch of elegance out to go a more direct route. Jim fires up the Blue Horizon (13) but was a slow start.  Note the yellow speed token (speed 3) on the bottom left.
The Blues Magoos approaches the Sinister looking Devil’s Rock, where it has to head left. No problem.
Green Machine (with rocket tubes), The Singular (monowheel) and the front end of Here Goes Nothing! all in the midst of “fanging it” out of a narrow pass. Duncan Adams, piloting the Green Machine, is already up to Speed 3.
Here Goes Nothing! and the Hillbilly Blitzkrieg, driven by Neil Carmichael and Kevin Lepley, respectively.
Jim Mcwee, driving Blue Horizon (Old Number 13) and Rickety Racer at start. Rickety Racer would exit life in a glorious fireball next turn.

Hillbilly Blitzkrieg (speed 2), Junker Class, on left. The Blitzkrieg is rusty Model T Ford with experimental plate armor, two rocket tubes welded into the door, and a harpoon in the back. More on harpoon guns in the summary. The Touch of Elegance is a Bentley Touring Car that has twin MGs in the front and back.
Action near the scum pits. The Blitzkrieg maneuvers safely (in the green) at speed 2. It may have trouble getting out of this situation next turn. Meanwhile the Green Machine is pointing the wrong way and has skidded several times, a result of Fanging it and Failing it. Duncan skidded three times, went off the track and came back on much farther down from his mark.
Another great example of using the speed markers to give you an idea of what’s going on now. The Singular (monowheel) on the right foreground is skirting the hill, at speed FOUR. That’s a big risk for a monowheel. I define them as motorcycle class, but with one distinction. They can’t manage a RED class turn without flipping. Monowheels actually exist in our world, and they handle by leaning into a curve. I think banning sudden turns is a realistic interpretation. Blues Magoos (center) tangles with People’s Collective (the Junkers class armored car) and Blue Horizon comes up on the left, firing prodigiously.
Another view of the same shot, demonstrating that the hill climber (silver car, top) has replaced some other car that died in a crash, and is coming on at speed. Kevin’s Blitzkrieg truck is scrapping with Gar’s Bentley in the center– his harpoon didn’t stick to anything the whole game, and he never fired his rockets or MGs that I recall.  Duncan is still trying to turn, and Here Goes Nothing! enters the fray
What happens when you run out of places to dodge in Mad Maximillian 1934
Just a little farther in the same turn, John is starting to move past the People’s Collective. This unfortunate Junkers was a target during the entire game. He ended up stuck in the exact center where the Vehicles cross, with no engine left, basically an armored pillbox firing at everyone. I offered the driver another car, but he was having a blast firing at everyone that came within range.
Duncan trying to maneuver the Green Machine back into the race. The little turning tool is a useful gadget.
The Ambush Bugs.. these are “Ambuscades” that come into play by playing Dirty Tricks cards. They are mostly WWI pilots with automatic weapons, A sniper, a bomb dog, and a couple of bomb chucking anarchists. They don’t do a lot of damage unless on of them gets lucky, but they do add a lot of color to the race.
THE GLORIOUS ENDING.  I wanted to to indicate the closest anyone came to actually winning this thing, which was Mr. Brett Abbott, who cautiously drove the Singular out of, around, and sometimes between other vehicles and all kinds of fusillades aimed his way to knock him out of the lead. Garrett’s Touch of Elegance actually hit him, once.  This picture is illustrative of a few things– how bloody the game was (each plume of flickering smoke once was a vehicle) and just how far Brett got, which was a considerable distance. Sadly he was going SPEED FIVE when he overturned in a crash, turning his driver into human meat goo. The multiple triangle markers you are seeing (green, yellow and red) are an innovation I tried out for this game, and I’m switching to. They are speed markers for the vehicles that travel with them. I picked them up from Litko

I lifted a few captions from some pictures of the ScrumCon wrap up. The Game ended when it was called for time. If there was a “winner”, it wasn’t obvious. There were burning, crashed vehicles from one end of the track to the other. As mentioned above, Brett Abbott was about as close to winning things as a person could get, and he made the glorious mistake of raising his speed up to FIVE at game’s end, then having to turn in Amber. That’s checking the turn at 2 times his current speed, versus his driving skill 2 and handling (I think) at 1. 10 dice versus 3 dice = the Singular turning into a burning smudge on the road. This is not a game for sissies.

Overall, this was a great game. I innovated a little bit, not to any extent that I would break the rules. Instead of using an initiative based upon current speed, then size, which I thought slowed the game down last time, I went with a standard skirmish-style card draw initiative where we assigned numbers at start, and I would randomize the turn cards and call a number until the initiative deck was exhausted, and another turn would start. To give this process a little spice, I kept a small dirty tricks deck next to initiative, and would randomly insert one card without looking before I started flipping cards. If I drew a Dirty Tricks card, the card applies to the NEXT INITIATIVE CARD DRAWN. I deliberately didn’t make anything about the DT deck all that lethal. I don’t want to add a “flip a card and you blow up” event, just little events that either mess with a racer or mess with an opponent. During the course of the game we went through 24 turns, and of all of those only two dirty tricks had any lasting effect, which is fine.

Verdict: This worked perfectly for a ten person game. I’m keeping this idea, but will probably add more events to the Dirty Trick deck. Any suggestions?

The other innovation I used was speed markers, which I’m very happy with. I picked these up from Litko. They number 1-6 in green, then yellow, then red.

Two Hour Wargames- Big Battle Tracker Token Set, Multi-Color (15)

These are perfect for a game that rarely exceeds speed five!

New Weapons

A Harpoon Gun fires a big steel harpoon with a cable attached to it from one vehicle to a target vehicle.  It would help ft would help if the target was a smaller vehicle!  First, roll to hit.  2D6 Fortune (for the weapon), plus Gunner Skill Minus the Difference in speed between attacker and target (as a positive or a negative number, zero if they are moving at the same speed).  If you roll a success, then the target is harpooned.

Example: A Junker moving at speed 3 fires at a Buggy at speed 2.  He fires 2 for the gun, 1 for gunnery skill, and minus -1 speed difference (which equates to plus 1), so final number is 4.  Versus Driver Skill 2 on the target Buggy.  The Junker rolls one five, which is a success.  He is now attached to the buggy.

What happens when you are harpooned?  The next initiative turn will tell you.  Whomever moves first must make a maneuvering test, with the attacker (harpoon gun car) making an Amber style check (2 x current speed) versus Driver’s Skill and Handling.  The Harpooned car makes an attempt at a crash check (red) versus drivers skill and handling.  IF the harpooning car fails, the cable breaks.  If the harpooned car fails, it gets pulled sideways after the harpooning vehicle.  Both vehicles reduce their speed by 1, and the towed vehicle takes 1 point of damage on all sides.  A harpooning car can cut a cable any time.

Grenades (or Molotov Cocktails) are short ranged, they can only be thrown in the range of 6 inches.  Choose an aim point, roll 2 fortune dice (two different colors) plus gunnery skill versus the targets driving skill.  If you score no success, the grenade drifts.  Look at the angle between the two fortune dice.  That is the angle the grenade bounces.  Look at the gunnery skill dice, that is the amount of inches it “drifts”.  If the aim point drifts within THREE INCHES of the vehicle, it takes two points of damage on that side.  If there isn’t any armor any more, roll for a critical hit (once) to show the effect of shrapnel.

Mines are either placed versus Ambuscade Dirty Tricks card or by a car equipped with a Mine Dropper equipment.  Place a token within 6″ of a vehicle (if a DT card).  Unlike Grenades, the Mine Token stays there for the rest of the game.  If a car drives within 3″ of a Mine Token, it must check Driver’s Skill plus Handling (Fortune) versus 2 Fate Dice.  If the Fate dice has a success, the mine goes off.  The car takes three hits either on front or rear.  If the driver wins the roll, he drives past the mines and they don’t go off.


    • Pete: only a very general briefing on initiative, how to turn, how to change and mark speeds, how to shoot things and mark damage. Also a run through of the course.

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