Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Podracing revisited

For a while now I've been trying to hunt down my old Star Wars Podracer Micro Machines but to no avail. I thought they were somewhere at my parents' house, but I've recently been coming to terms with the idea that they were lost forever and I'd never get to  play any podracing games with them again.

But then, out of the blue, my parents presented me with an additional and unexpected birthday present last weekend. Somehow, against all odds, my father had managed to source unopened packs of all the podracers I used to have. Needless to say I was blown away by the thought and effort that went into this gift! 

8 podracers ready to be ripped from their packaging and put through their paces!

So now I can turn my attention to playing podracing again! I was going to use some rules I picked up at least 10 years ago at SALUTE, but looking at them again I'm not too sure. Instead, I'm looking at the Machinas rules from Two Hour Wargames. Although intended for post-apocalypse death races, I think they could be adjusted for podracing with a little effort. So I set about drafting these modifications and have come up with the following areas of change:

Vehicle Types:

The range of vehicles in Machinas obviously doesn't include podracers! So I've started off by replacing this with three categories of racer: Light, Medium and Heavy. Each has different modifiers during the race and can carry a different weight of modifications. 


Again, most of what is needed for the post-apocalyptic wasteland doesn't apply to Star Wars, so I have done away with the decks as they stand and started to work on some setting-specific lists of upgrades to choose from instead. 

Heat and Boosting:

Generally the rules for Machinas are good as they stand, but I wanted to add something to reflect heat management and the key decision about when to boost the Podracer. I also think this will add an extra layer of decision making to the game, which I would enjoy. 

At the moment, my draft version of the rules requires the player to decide the extent of the boost applied that turn and deal with any repercussions and control issues. Then, at the end of the turn, a check is made for heat damage and the pods can reduce their heat levels. 

Rules are also included for determining how the Non-Player racers apply boost during a turn. This section was essential for retaining the solo play capability of the rules and for allowing multiple players to compete against game controlled racers.

Course and Events:

The final major change is in the courses. The tracks cover a range of terrain and each section of the course can have a particular hazard associated with it that needs to be negotiated when the pack moves into it. In addition, different environments have different random events to cover their unique dangers. 

So that's as far as I have got right now. I've drafted a working document, but just need the chance to play a few games and see how it works out. I think the combination of extra decision making and theme will make this an interesting variant for Machinas, even if I do say so myself! More news will follow after testing and I'll make a PDF version available for anyone who is interested. 


  1. Should work great, looking forward to what you come up with.

    1. I hope it will! I'm working from a good starting point, which helps! :)