As I have mentioned in this journal, I signed up to run a Mad Maximillian 1934 game at COLD WARS 2019.
F: 183: 19 – JUNKWAFFEL: A Mad Maximillian 1934 Adventure – Theme Friday, 7:00 PM, 3 hrs, Players: 10, BF86 GM: Walt O’Hara Sponsor: none – Prize: none Period: Pulp – Scale: 28mm – Rules: Mad Maximillian Return to the world of fragile deadly jalopies armed with instruments of peril! Everyone KNOWS about the Apocalypse, right? The one that took place back in 1934? Junkwaffel takes place in a world that has already suffered collapse, sometime directly after WWI. Players pilot their armed motorcycles, buggies, jalopies and junkers through a war-torn landscape, full of traps, ambushes and the greatest danger of all, the other players. Rules easy to teach, glad to have youngsters from about 13 up, younger must have a parent in attendance.
I was planning on this game being a reprise of the race I ran at ScrumCon 19. There’s an old saying that goes something like “You want to make God laugh? Tell Him your plans”. For starters, BF means “Ballroom Foyer”, or the lobby at the base of the stairs on the bottom floor in front of the Distelfink. There is no table 86 there– there are five at most. So I went to my helpful events desk, who were stumped, and they suggested it was a misprint, e.g., BF is really DF. I shrugged and went over to table DF 86. Oddly enough, that’s the table Jon Lundgren, who I had ran a version of this game with at Fall IN! was finishing his Empire of the Dead game. Since he was already set up and set to run another game on the same terrain in the morning, he assumed I would run the Max 34 race on the setup terrain. Okay, I said, blithely.. not realizing the effect the terrain would have on the race.
And here is the complete fleet.
Strangely enough people found me, despite the mixup in the events database. I was set to run a game with ten players but ended up with eight. One of them I had advanced notice about cancelling from Facebook messenger. A good group of players — I had played with many of them before this.
These Cars were chosen:
The Red Baron: A very long roadster (Eureka custom kit) that had trouble making tight turns.
The Green Machine: A low to the ground roadster (another Eureka kit) with a rack of rockets (4) and fixed MGs.
The Blues Magoos: (kit) a smaller two seater roadster with a pintle twinned MG and fixed forward MGs.
The Blue Omega: a top heavy cruising machine with two (2) spar torpedoes, and a fixed forward facing MG.
The People’s Collective AC: a heavy, slow Junkers class vehicle recently captured by Anarchists. One LMG in a 360 turret, also forward fixed Flamethrower.
The Yeoman (Canada): a WWI vintage armored troop transport with two swivel MGs in limited arcs.
The Hot Shot: (kit) Similar to the Blues Magoos, but red with a skull on the hood.
The Singular: A monowheel motorcycle with a MG gun.
Like the last race, this was another variant of the “Southern Cross” where the player cars would divide in half, one half on one gate to the right and the other on the left. They cross in the middle, and interact accordingly. No shooting on the first turn. As before, I used the initiative and dirty tricks cards to run the game and I was able to get a lot of turns done.
I took a few minutes to explain the basic system of challenge dice (Fortune versus Fate dice) for everything. That mechanic is the key Max 34 concept to learn. I also went over how to turn using the gauge, how to shoot and how damage works. They were a smart bunch, and wanted to get going.
I knew immediately the terrain was going to force a lot of road jams and ramming. There was too much rough terrain and obstacles (in the form of cliffs) and forcing a single file in few places.
Add to that, I was using dirty tricks, so would sometimes use a “Ambuscade-Ground Forces” card to have one of the Ambush Bugs take a potshot at a passing racer:
At this point, we were down a few cars and most of the remaining contestants were shot to pieces and barely drivable. Singular had driven past the major roadblocks and was on his way to a clear victory. We graciously conceded due to the hour and death count. Singular won the race, and I actually had a few gauges to give away as prizes.
Summary: I had a great time running this game, and people seemed to enjoy it as much as I did. I admit there’s some nits to these rules that will have to be solved through good judgement and a house rule here and there, but the core of the rule set (opposed dice rolls– fate vs. fortune) is still easy to grasp and easy to teach. I really enjoyed the recent additions both from Wargames Soldiers and Strategy issue 95 (with some extra rules for various weapons– that’s where I picked up spar torpedos) and some stuff I wrote (see previous post). I think I will continue to use initiative cars and dirty tricks for future convention games– it just keeps the game going really quickly and adds a quirky element to the game narrative.
I will be running this game at Historicon, with a different scenario. Watch this space.