Car Combat in Desert Wastelands: A Preview of Outrider

Outrider

After the second American Civil War, it's every man for himself in the wastelands of the southwest. To get to your destination in one piece, you'll need to hire skilled outriders with souped-up combat vehicles who can out-maneuver or destroy your enemies.

Outrider is a car-combat wargame for 2 to 8 players, now on Kickstarter. It is published by upstart publisher Dice Fest Games.

Gameplay

Outrider consists of several different maps and scenarios, with each scenario offering unique experiences and victory conditions. For instance, one scenario requires a team to maneuver past enemy vehicles and through a roadblock to win, while another is basically an all-out demolition derby.

While the scenarios vary, the mechanisms for car maneuvering and combat remain the same. At the beginning of the game, each player selects a vehicle card associated with the scenario. Each vehicle is equipped with a different combination of weapons and bonuses. Weapons can be fired in different directions, depending on the vehicle. Some vehicles offer a primary and secondary weapon. Players take turns maneuvering their vehicles and firing weapons, trying to achieve their objective for the scenario.

When they first receive their cars, players have the opportunity to customize them by deciding which equipment dice will be used for 4 different characteristics of the vehicle: the engine, the driver, the armor, and the weapon. The available dice are a 6-sided, 8-sided, 10-sided, and 12-sided die. Tokens representing each type of die are placed on the vehicle's dashboard card. The selection of dice can make a big difference in gameplay and should be chosen carefully according to each player's strategy for the scenario. Each vehicle also includes a bonus in one or more categories, which should also be taken into account when customizing a vehicle.

Vehicle Dashboard card

A dashboard card for the Gunslinger vehicle. This player has chosen a D10 for his engine, a D12 for his driver, a D6 for his armor, and a D8 for his weapons. The counters at the top indicate that he has incured a damage of 2 (out of 6 possible). The counters to the right are used to fire weapons and the counters below are additional skill points that can be used to boost certain die rolls.

At the beginning of each round, players roll their ENGINE die to determine their initiative — the highest initiative goes first and also receives a speedometer card to give him special bonuses. On a turn, the current player chooses a series of maneuver cards to control his vehicle. The maximum number of cards he can use depends on the type of die chosen for the vehicle's engine (D6 = 3 cards, D8 = 4 cards, etc.). The player places these cards next to his vehicle to represent the vehicle's movement. He can also choose to fire a weapon on any of these steps. The final card in the series determines whether the vehicle continues in motion or comes to a stop (which affects the actions on the next turn).

After laying down the cards, the player adds up the total difficulty level of these actions plus any hazards along the way, then rolls his DRIVER die to see if he can complete them. He can also spend additional driver skill points to boost his roll. If the die roll plus all bonuses is greater than or equal to the difficulty level, the actions are carried out in full. Otherwise, the vehicle will lose control somewhere along the way, and the player must re-roll the driver die to determine the outcome. Losing control can place your vehicle far off your intended path and direction, so it's a good idea not to risk too many actions/hazards or to choose an under-performing driver (based on a lower-sided die like the D6).

Outrider example

The blue vehicle has chosen the Hard Left, Ease Up, and Easy Right maneuver cards and has indicated that the car will stay in motion (rather than stop). These actions have a total difficulty of 4. To complete the whole sequence, the player must roll a 4 or higher on the driver die This sequence may cause a collision with the green vehicle on his turn or block him in, requiring him to reverse directions.

Cars can collide into other cars or into buildings (depending on the scenario). When a collision between two cars occurs, both players resolve the collision by rolling their ARMOR dice and adding any bonuses they have. Depending on the type of collision (ram or incidental), the losing player incurs 1 to 2 damage points, while the winning player incurs 0-1 damage points. A car can only incur up to 6 points of damage before it is completely disabled and eliminated from play.

When a player fires his weapon(s), he places up to 3 range cards next to his vehicle to represent the path of the artillery and to measure the distance. If it strikes another car, the defending vehicle rolls the ARMOR die (plus bonuses) and the attacking vehicle rolls the WEAPON die (plus bonuses). If the weapon roll is greater than or equal to the armor roll, the defending vehicle incurs damage.

Play continues until the objective for the scenario is either achieved or thwarted.

Outrider Example

The blue vehicle has chosen to attack the green vehicle before making an Easy Right and speeding past the purple vehicle.

What did we think of this game? Keep reading for our full review!