Qwik - Game of the Wasteland is the latest gaming supplement from Two Hour Wargames (THW). Although it is a stand alone game, it features rules for converting characters from ATZ and 5150, which is one of the main reasons for me reviewing it.
The game of Qwik is a sport inspired by the 1989 film Salute of the Jugger (aka Blood of Heroes). It starred Rutger Hauer and Joan Chen in a post-apocalyptic setting where Qwik was the number one sport.
The premise of the game is very simple. The first team to stake a dog skull (known as the bean) on a spike in their opponent's end zone is the winner. Teams comprise of five players, made up of one Kwik, (the only person allowed to touch the bean) one Chain (whose main function is to protect the Qwik) and three Drivers (short for piledriver, whose role is to knock the opposition out of the match, literally). Teams may wear soft armour or hard armour for protection, but this will slow them down, so the third option is to go unarmoured. Wearing armour is a balancing act between speed and durability. Qwiks are faster than the other team members so they tend to be unarmoured or wearing soft armour. It is rare for Chains and Drivers to go unarmoured. The Chain will be armed with one or two lengths of chain, hence his name, whilst Drivers will be armed with a piledriver - a two-handed weapon with a heavy blunt end to pummel their opponents. Some piledrivers may have a hook on the other end, used for tripping up opposing Qwiks.
The game mechanics are very similar to a lot of THW games but character creation is different. Each starting team begins with 60 points to buy Attributes and Armour. Each player has three attributes, comprising of Savvy, Speed and Strength, none of which can be higher than 7 or lower than 1 and no character can have Attributes totalling more than 20. Each player may or may not have a Signature Move, which may be beneficial or detrimental, depending upon what is chosen or rolled for. Your initial Star and Grunts may chose their Signature Moves but any replacements must dice for them.
The game is played on a field made up of 35 squares, 7 long and 5 wide. A map is provided with the game, along with counters to represent five teams. The game can be played in one of three locales - the Heart of the Wasteland (this is where all teams start out), the Settlements or the City. Opponents in the Settlements are far tougher than those from the Wastelands, whilst those from the City are the toughest of all. The goal of every player is to become top dog in the City.
There is no limit to how long a game may last. Time is measured by the referee throwing stones at a gong at a consistant pace. When 100 stones have been thrown, a short rest is allowed to mend wounds, replace badly injured players or just plan the team's strategy. As soon as the bean is staked the game is over.
VERDICT. I can remember watching The Salute of the Jugger when it was first released and I'm sure I still have a copy of it on VHS video. Actually, it's not a bad film and I may well seek it out on DVD. The game that Ed has devised looks to be a lot of fun. I haven't played it yet but I'd like to give it a go. Fortunately, like all THW games, it can be played solo or against an opponent. I imagine once you get into it, it'll prove to be very tactical, like a game of chess. As for a tie-in with ATZ, I can see it happening once a year or two have passed in the campaign. It needs time for it to develop and take off, so don't expect to see it featuring in my campaign just yet, as I'm still in the first month of the campaign.
There are a range of 15mm scale figures available for the game from Highlander Studios. No good for me, as I'm a 28mm scale fan. Still, I'm sure it can't be too hard to find alternatives.
On the whole, I like this supplement, although I do have a few minor quibbles about the team roster sheet. There are four columns left blank on it. The first is headed UME and I have no idea at all what that means. The second and third are headed MAN and ATK, which I presume stand for Maneuver and Attack respectively, but what do I write in them and are they to be used every turn, in which case you're going to need a pencil and an eraser? The fourth blank column is headed SIGNATURE and that is clearly for the character's Signature Move, if he or she has one.
I bought the hard copy version of the game for $15.00 and got the PDF version for free on the same day that I placed my order. The beauty of the hard copy is that it comes with the counters and game board, so I don't have to worry about printing them out. If you just want the PDF version, it'll cost you $12.00.