Mad Max Fury Road Dread
It was time for another ASTG meetup! Harry and Wale from previous meetups arrived, and my neighbor Lucas joined in.
I pitched a bunch of game options, and everyone was the most excited to try Mad Max Fury Road Dread, discussed in a prior post: such as running it at Gateway 2015, and then creating some character sheets for it.
In this case, it was a Friday night, which meant we could start earlier, and that Nova (at 7.5 years old) could actually stay up, and she asked to play with us.
Being so long since I've run it, you start to wonder if it'll work anywhere similar to how it did in the past. I started with getting the players to tell me what kind of crew they wanted to be. They settled on a band of wanderers who prey on others, normally by befriending them and then waylaying them in the wastes.
Everyone created 3 characters a piece:
- Nova as Zero, Negative One, and "A"
- Wale as Stern, Cent, and Alph
- Harry as a family consisting of Molly, Sebastian, and Little Susie
- Lucas as Billy Silenus and twins Meg and Mel
We started with the customary request for armaments and gear, which I try to make relatively hard and brutal. We almost had loss of life there at the start and the players already felt a bunch of tension.
I had the players help me answer questions about terrain they were travelling in and that was around. I borrowed an idea I saw from John Aegard (I believe... I'll try to find and add the link later) which had to do with Dungeon World and using sticky notes to create the map. Still allows for movement and having "blank spaces". This worked well, and soon we had some desert, as well as a "spring" of sorts, and a bunch of large rocks which was a meeting point for a trade / market gathering that was coming.
I started the scenario with the group already tagging along with some victims, a group in a van heading to trade goods at the rocks. My intention was that the van would also be the target of a raid, and so even though the players were there to get them, they'd end up defending them, perhaps (or at least fighting desperately for their lives, which they did). We had some good encounters and combats and chases, and dynamite was had. Nova even got to have one of her characters shoot off a MIRV, of sorts (really more of a bazooka or rocket launcher), and was able to take down a very large trailer truck off a very large cliff.
Everyone agreed that the game itself was very fun (I even got this comment a week later at the next meetup as people were reminiscing, always a great compliment and sign). As far as negative feedback, Wale echoed the sentiment that many felt, that perhaps fewer characters would make for greater worry about loss of life. Part of that I think was due to pacing, but I think toning it down to a smaller group could work very well (e.g. 2 characters / player, especially if you know you won't be playing very long; that said we played over 3 hours). It would've also been easier to give characters a little more attention if there were a little less of them... as it is, it's up to the player to do anything of interest, but I'm barely able to keep track of them all.
Nova, being the youngest, did cause play to slow down at times, and in retrospect I think if you know this going in, creating fewer characters would help do the trick.
Would've been great to tie in things a little better, such as having the raiders attack because these folks had stolen from them, or some other more interesting and cohesive narrative, but I think all in all it wasn't necessary to have a great time... and the fact that I didn't have to plan a thing for the game just showed me how much of a great back-pocket game it is.
The character sheets went well, but index cards would work as easily. The game and sheets are definitely going to be an ongoing component and highlight of my ready-to-go folder for cons.