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Hutton’s Hot Picks: Crash Pandas

Chaos! Wonderful chaos awaits you in this joy-ride of a game.



What could be better than getting behind the wheel of a Chevy Camaro, hitting the road in the seedy underbelly of Los Angeles, and testing your metal in illegal street racing?  How about being a team of raccoons driving the car?  Crash Pandas is everything you could ever want in a quick, easy, and funny RPG/Miniatures/programmable movement game.  In this game, the players will take the role of a team of raccoons trying their hardest to keep control of an expensive roadster and proving they are indeed fast and furious.  

Character Creation

The first thing the players have to do is create their characters.  The rule book provides several questions for the player to answer to help flesh out their character.  This will be important because the raccoon’s backstory could give bonus dice for rolls.  Next, players will roll 4d4 and assign them to four different stats.  Alacrity gives bonus dice to moving, leaping, climbing, and swimming.  Chutzpah gives bonus dice to scheming, ruses, and disguises. 

Ferociousness gives bonus dice to biting, scratching, and maiming other drivers.  Finally, rotundity gives a bonus to staying calm under pressure because there’s nothing more chill than a really fat raccoon.  All actions are decided by rolling d6 dice.  Any dice with a 4 or more are successes.  Simple tasks require one success.  More difficult tasks might need two or three.  Any successes above that, feel free to throw in some creative flair with a really cool monologue.  Failures mean the raccoon is in danger and needs to be rescued.  It could also result in damage taken to the car.

The last thing players will need is equipment.  Players will need to roll 2d20 to determine what items they have.  They could have anything from a turbo rocket to a lit cigar.  How players use these items is entirely up to them and the GM relates how well it works depending on the roll of the dice.  

Rolling The Dice

Players will use a d6 in order to program what actions they want to do that turn.  1 for using the brakes, 2 for turning left 30 degrees, 3 for turning right 30 degrees, 4 to use an item, 5 to accelerate, and 6 to use a miscellaneous action.  So, for example, there are four players.  One person looks at the racecourse and sees that they need to turn the car 90 degrees to make a hard turn.  That means three players will need to select a 2 on their hidden dice.  The fourth player will have to do something else.  The problem is the players can’t discuss it.  So it’s entirely possible all four players choose to turn left and instead of doing a 90-degree turn, it becomes a 120-degree turn and the car might hit a building and take damage.  Be careful on the road, 10 damage to the car and it’s out of the race.

The GM takes a very active role in this game.  They are the one to build the course.  They move the rival cars.  They set the challenge rating needed to complete an action.  And then they are also the ones to roll dice at the end of the round to determine damage to the car and successes for some amazing new elements to the race.  At the end of the round, the GM will roll d6’s equal to the car’s current speed.  Any 1’s rolled are damage.  Anything 4 or higher are successes the players can use to perform an additional feat.  They can run other cars off the road, they can perform some kind of drift maneuver, or even find some new path in order to get further ahead on the course.  Who wouldn’t want to see a car full of raccoons plow through the glass doors of a shopping mall like in The Blues Brothers just to get a few seconds ahead of the competition?

Finding Order In Chaos

What makes this game so great is that it’s pure chaos.  The players have to work together, but without being able to communicate what actions to take, it’s almost guaranteed to see their car do a lot of whacky maneuvers.  And that is totally on brand.  The players are raccoons trying to drive a car.  Chances are good a raccoon won’t have a valid driver’s license.  After every round, there’s bound to be a lot of yelling and laughter.  Why did you turn?  Why did you throw the banana at that car?  Why are you wearing that dog mask?  

If you’re not the kind of player who likes chaotic games with programmable actions and limited communication, this might not be the game for you.  The same can be said for players not all that interested in racing games.  This is an RPG version of classic games like Robo Rally.  The fun of the game comes from the chaos created by four players all trying to take control of the same car.  There also isn’t much room for role play in this game.  The backstory is nice but its primary function in the game is to get more dice to roll.  The best character moments are when players get to narrate what cool actions they get to perform when they have a major success.

Final Thoughts

This is a great game for any player who wants to give a programmable movement game a shot on a budget.  The entire rulebook can be found online for free.  It recommends using paper to draw out the track and that’s probably the best way to do it.  In that way, the GM can grab a couple of matchbox cars and the fun can begin.  Above all else, embrace the craziness bound to happen.

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