Wreckage

Wreckage is a tabletop battle game (i.e., miniatures with cardboard counters) from Fantasy Flight that I was curious about, because it sounded like they had “borrowed” some from Matt’s own self-published Lunatix Loop, a favorite race game of mine. Matt & I were curious how badly they had ripped him off, so he Rich, Kim and I gave it a spin.

The basic idea is that you pre-plot your turn by selecting two maneuver cards, putting them face down in front of you. Then everyone in turn turns over their card, executes the maneuver, moves forward their speed, and blasts stuff. The pretext is to collect gas cans, but really it’s about wasting your fellow-players. You do this by equipping your car at start, selecting a variety of weaponry and other equipment from the deck. I’ll give you the game-end summary from the various players first (paraphrasing):

– Rich: “This game blows. Not as bad as Nero, but still.”
– Kim: “I won!”
– Matt: “I feel better about Loop now.”

As for me, I dunno. I’d like to like it. But it certainly has a lot of issues. The cars & weapons are rather unbalanced – some of the cars are rather obviously just better than others, and some weapons are totally marginal (the mine-dropper is worse than a waste of space). The turning radius on these vehicles is ludicrous, it takes absolutely forever to get going the right direction once you are headed away from everyone. It’s an elimination game which is nowhere near short enough on balance for the first player who is eliminated.

And still … I want to like it. This was the first time I had played, and there was a minor screw up in the setup, which once corrected would help the game somewhat. I also erred on the hairpin turn rules, which are tacked on at the end and nowhere near any of the other movement rules. I doubt this will help enough to redress the rather significant imbalance in some of the cards, but I’d probably be willing to give it one more try. I think there is a fun factor hiding in there somewhere waiting to be released. Despite this conflicted desire to try again, though, I’m not terribly optimistic.

And by the way, the answer is that I’d be surprised if the designer of this game hadn’t had some exposure to Lunatix Loop, but maybe it’s just the shared Car Wars heretige. Certainly not a rip-off, though. For that it would have to work a lot better.

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