Kickstarter has become an invaluable tool for the indie dev, as such we’ve decided to finally open our hearts to the possibilities and dare to hope again. The projects mentioned in our Kickstarter articles might not always get funded but we like the look of them, if you do too then follow the link at the bottom for the campaign.
As part of our review we interviewed DreamBigGames founder Mark McKinnon on the inspiration and design of Wreck and Ruin. The full interview can be found here.
There’s something innately pleasing about the idea of civilisation crumbling and getting to live out all your worst road rage fantasies. Sadly it’ll be at least another six weeks before that becomes reality. In the meantime however why not try releasing that anger with soon-to-be ex-friends?
Wreck and Ruin is a hex-based board-game that combines the thrill of post-apocalyptic vehicular destruction with surprisingly tactical gameplay and (strangely) it works.
Each player takes control of a colour-coded faction with 5 units; Scout, Scout, Buggy, Wrecker, Big Rig. Two fast motorbikes that can zip around the map and secure points but are laughably weak. A healer that can repair damaged vehicles. A reinforced battering ram of a car that can shunt others out of its way and a mobile fortress that lays ruin to all that lies before it.
Every vehicle has a special ability and different movement, attack, armour, and size values. The hyper aggressive Wrecker can shoot forward 3 hexes to ram (others need to reach the target within their Movement value), the Big Rig can repair some damage on itself at the end of each turn. The Buggy can repair itself or other vehicles and the scout gets a free pot-shot during its movement.
When attacking the player rolls the attack stat (for scouts, 1 die) against the enemy’s armour stat. A scout needs to roll a 5 to hurt a big rig. To add an element of unexpectedness into the mix, all dice succeed and re-roll on a 6 (exploding dice). One player nearly managed to take a big rig down with an exploding pot-shot. Five rolls, 6 each time, then ending on a 5. Only board-games can make math fun.
The aim of the game is to use these different vehicles to capture Salvage that has been littered around the map. Remnants from the old world that have resurfaced among the shifting sands. Players have to get a vehicle onto these hexes and hold it for the duration of the next player’s turn. Essentially this means that you are always at war with the previous player which felt hindering and counter-intuitive to the theme of post-apocalyptic chaos. There was no reason to attack other players as the 5 Action Point (1 to move, 1 to shoot or ram) allowance meant most turns were spent trying to get to the salvage and fuck over the previous player.
To break the symmetry each player takes a Faction Card, a super powerful ability that can drastically ruin a another player’s plans. From hi-powered orbital bombardment to target any clump of vehicles for massive damage to the dust hornet swarm which interferes with every roll on a tile.
At any point player’s can spend an action point to buy a Salvage Card, a unique power that can interrupt attacks, inflict damage, or many other effects. There are 56 unique cards in the deck, we saw maybe 9 in our play-through so there seems to be plenty of replay value.
To ensure that each round forces different tactics there is a deck of Event Cards that unearth free salvage cards for each player, sweltering heat that makes it too hot to drive far, lightning which hits the lowest rolling player, etc.
With all of these elements combined, Wreck and Ruin is a very tactical game that can be picked up quickly. Stats and rules for special mechanics like full throttle (roll for extra movement but risk losing second action) and crash and burn (when destroyed, randomly determine direction and distance the wreck travels) are concise and come on an A5 cheat sheet.
But the most important aspect of the game is the damage tracking. Each model has a number of holes in it that represent how much damage it can take. When a hit is scored against it, the attacking player gets to put a little flame peg in it just like Battleships! Post-Apocalyptic Mad Max Battleships!
To get a copy of the game, DreamBigGames are asking for £49 which is on the lower side of how much a board-game like this can cost. Casting models, printing, and shipping isn’t cheap.
Wreck and Ruin is on Kickstarter now with (at time of writing) 18 days to go.