Well, this is an awesome surprise!
I’m also delighted that the strip, and Tycho’s accompanying blog post, pick up on an aspect of Gaslands that I’m so pleased with. Taking the objects we loved as kids, and giving us the excuse to play with them again, amplified by the care and attention with which we approach our hobby, is clearly a key ingredient in Gaslands‘ attraction.
In the new Gaslands: Refuelled book, I have included an all-new scenario, called “Bug Hunt”. In it, your flamethrower-touting automobiles have to chase down and exterminate the gigantic radioactive mutated insects of the post-apocalyptic wastelands. Do I expect you to source highly detailed metal or resin monstrous insect miniatures to represent the giant bugs? No! I expect you to find a bag of soft plastic cockroaches in toy aisle and tip them onto the table!
UK-based Tabletop Gaming magazine ran a feature recently about the trend of games that harken back to and build upon our nostalgia and love for our childhood toys. The attraction seems to be both in the enjoyable departure in both expense and implicit pressure of “proper” toy soldiers – I can’t beat myself up for not bothering to paint up a toy car that cost me £1 – and also the joyful revisiting of childhood playthings. I find painting kit-bashing and painting toy cars very freeing, because I don’t take too long and don’t worry too much and end up finishing more and being happier with the result.
The idea for focussing on kitbashing toy cars emerged during my very first discussion with Phil Smith at Osprey about the game. My challenge was to provide a game fun enough, and light-hearted enough, to deliver on the promise that “wargame played with toy cars with flamethrowers glued on” makes.
Gaslands doesn’t have either the IP or the boxed starter game to hit the heights of Star Trek Attack Wing or X-Wing, but it does have the advantage that you can’t help but bump into toys cars out and about in your daily life and – as any gamer knows – that anything that allows you to indulge your hobby in new venues (e.g. during that weekly family grocery shop) is a stone-cold win.
The free publicity from Penny Arcade is obviously extremely welcome, and the recognition of the fuzzy heart of the game is really cool too. My next full game for Osprey is A Billion Suns, and I’ve been searching high and low for a similar nostalgic hook to drive it into players hearts, without success. It will have to hold it’s own based on the awesomeness of it’s gameplay, which I am really proud and excited by and can’t wait to share with people.