Monday, 25 January 2010

Welcome to Axles and Alloys II!

Hot Wheels Ms-T Suzuka with EM-4 Miniatures gun. Modelling by Coop.

Once upon a time (I think it was about 2001) I wrote a little wargame in the post-apocalyptic-cars-with-guns genre. It started life as a variant on Full Thrust designed to give me an excuse to convert Matchbox cars in the fashion that we'd all done back in the Dark Future days (before we realised that our games of DF were all quite disappointing) and to provide the Stourbridge and District Wargames club with another participation game to take around the Midlands cons.

It seemed to go down quite well with most of the people who played it and the Stourbridge crew played in a fair few over-sized games with a dozen or more people crammed around an 8' x 8' table. Almost as an afterthought I emailed Bill Armintrout at TMP about it and then it all went a bit mad with a lot of people playing it, saying nice things about it and converting cars. It was written in about 5 minutes after the idea struck me and turned out to have a life of it's own and be the most successful contribution to gaming geekdom I've ever managed. It even enjoyed an A&A scene over in Brazil and, before the online translation engines managed to cover Danish, I used to periodically look at a Danish-language gaming site and wonder what the bloody hell they were saying about me and my stupid little game. :) (Machine-translated English here BTW).

A few years after it all I lost interest in gaming and dropped out of the scene for two or three years with the result that my website hosting elapsed, the blog and newer versions of the game vanished into the ether and in the end only the kind offering to host a PDF of the rules by Wolfegames saw A&A survive.

Matchbox 1971 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser with Games Workshop gun. Modelling by Coop.

It's been nearly a decade now and people still refer to this style of modelling as "Axles and Alloys" - a pun title suggested by Stourbridge club chairman, and accomplice in running A&A around the show circuit, Dave Orton. Even a suggestion for "Car Warriors" accessories on the Wargames Factory "Liberty and Union" request list uses the magic word "Axles" and "Alloys".

Anyway, a new version is up on the ramps and being playtested, incorporating a bunch of ideas to make things feel a little bit more like driving and a bunch of stuff that isn't written down anywhere but was generally how we played "back in the old days" before it dropped out of view. Why now? I'm enjoying modelling the cars and a little part of me thinks that anybody who downloads the old PDF is missing out a bit and short-changed by what is missing and never got written back into the old rules and just got offered about on blogs and on hand-written notes.

Matchbox 1971 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser with Games Workshop gun. Modelling by Coop.


  1. Your game got me back into wargames and model making. Its ace and good fun. Now I am a modelling and gaming addict! lol! Cheers!

  2. Nice one Matt, glad to have you aboard!

  3. Good to see Axles & Alloys make a comeback. I expect I'll have to give a go at your playtest rules.

    Still driving offensively...

  4. Praise the Automotive Combat Gods!

    Axles and Alloys and Owen Cooper have returned to the highways and the arenas of battle-scarred futures!

    The new blog and new system are awesome New Year's presents to autoduellists!

    Your new blog and rules are prominantly mentioned in the new issue of CWIN to be released this month. (Thanks to Glenn Jupp for the notification!) I have already linked to your new blog on my site.

    Drive Offensively!

  5. Thanks Michael - looking forwards to receiving CWIN again!