Monday, 13 May 2013

Playing Dark Future: an introduction

New old game today! We are diving into the past back to the 80's to try the veteran 'Dark Future'.

Believe it or not, this is a Games Workshop game
 Don't worry. If you are under your mid-thirties it's totally understandable you have never heard about this game (In fact, not even your age guarantees anything). You have to put yourself back in time when Mad Max movies were rocking hard, punk culture was still on the rise and the nuclear apocalypse was a hot issue. This is the world of 'Dark Future'. By 1995 the world is a wasteland and civilization (or its remains) is enclosed in cities where megacorps are indeed the law. So well, it's sort of a Mad Max game, avoiding uncomfortable copyright issues and adding some things we were already seeing in the Warhammer ranges. This universe was expanded by a series of novels, but I had never read any of them, so I'll let you make the research for the background.

Mighty Keyan Sark got the game on eBay, painted some models and now it was time to run! Let's go for the introductory game.
We have two cars, the lead one and the chase one, both 'Renegade' type. They will run along a straight road, one trying to escape, the other one trying to gun it down.

We should work on some scenery...
Just basic rules, for us to get familiar with them. The lead car has 'passive' weapons, i.e., it can throw oil (or other nasty things) or a dummy, but the chase car will only know going through it (something it should avoid when possible...). The chase car can make use of its firearms.
Each turn divides into phases. Each player has as many phases as his speed allows him: one phase per 20 mph. So if you drive at 60 mph, you will have three phases into your turn. If you drive at 100 mph, you will have 5 phases. The faster you go, the more distance you can move!

The lead car throws something unknown
But the chase car shoots and causes some damage
As all these 80's games, 'Dark Future' is hiper-detailed. Damage can be inflicted to the hull, wheels, weapons... with different effects, of course. Manouverability is also an issue, and changing lane can be problematic even in a straight road if you drive too fast -over your character handling skill (but of course, that's the way you are supposed to play this game!!).

I'm thinking of a post-apoc Aston Martin and a post-apoc James Bond

Dakka dakka! Bam! (Effects added for dramatic purposes)
Most guns only shoot straightforward, so the lead car has to think of a strategy of changing lanes and throwing defences, and the chasing car has to rely on the driver's ability to dodge obstacles -or on good luck when going through them!

Add cinematic effects at will

Shooting, shooting desperately
If a car is damaged, it can lose speed, manouverability, brakes... So driving can be an enhanced experience!

I'm hit!! (The car is turned just for the photo)

Oil can be tricky. Even if you don't lose control (it didn't happen in this game), the tires will still be oily, so you will have to check in subsequent phases.

But this time the lead car managed to escape by reaching the end of the board (or road... whatever)

Just in time, I had also reached the end of the table!
So this has been the introductory game, a death race with basic rules. I'll show you a couple of other games introducing some special issues. You will see, we'll have fun on the run!


  1. I never played this game though I had a few infantry figures for the game at one point sadly sold on now. The books are good however and worth a read.

    1. I had never played the game since now. I just got a glimpse of the books and they are full of lovely fluff, quite a travel in time, hehe.
      We played a couple of games more, I'll try to write the report, maybe for next week, I hope...

  2. Great report! I find myself unable to write something like that! Can't wait to see the final games, who were much more cinematic and fun than the first :)

    1. Oh, man, you were part of this, take the report for your blog, be my guest :).

  3. Is it necessary beer to be able to play? Because there is a suspicious pitcher in one of the photos jejeje

    Great report of a vintage game!

    1. Well, not strictly necessary, but it helps, you know, haha...

  4. Parece ser un buen juego ;)
    Un saludo

    1. Es un juego muy divertido :)
      You are improving your Spanish, my friend! :)

  5. cracking post, I have several sets of dark future but before I get them out again I think I am going to stack the roads under a board for a year! to remove the curl

    1. Haha, yes, that's a problem indeed, you can see that on the pics! Well, we can always say that's 3D scenery :D

  6. How long is your table and how long do you need it to be, ideally, to lay out all the track pieces end to end?

    1. Can't remember for certain about the table right now, but it's about 150-160 cm long. The ideal board to have all the display above should be 180 cm long (6'). Quite a table!