Kulkmann's G@mebox - www.boardgame.de

Diesel Demolition Derby


Matthew Dunstan

Ludi Creations

No. of Players:



G@mebox author Ralf Togler writes about the game:

Diesel Demolition Man, that's the name of a small card game, set in the dieselpunk world of LUDI CREATIONS. In the game the players perform a series of Derbies with the first player who has won three derbies to be the winner. Each round the players have to choose from a total of 52 available combatant cards (only part of these cards is used, when the game is played with fewer players than the maximum) to set up a powerful army for the upcoming war among the futuristic machines. For that's what we can find on the combatant cards: 11 different types of futuristic combat machines, some for mighty attacks, others to scout the enemies, and still others to assemble a powerful team for swarm attacks.

But before you can start a Derby, you have to get those cards. So, each round begins with a drafting round. First of all every player receives as many combatant cards as the there are players plus 2. In the following drafting mode each player chooses one of these cards and immediately plays it on the table. As a result, everyone can immediately see what you have chosen, and can try to react in the next drafting phase.

But first we have to check, whether the new played combatants have any instant abilities. Instant effects often result in discarding one or more of the opponent's cards, if certain conditions are met, so it is important to wisely choose the cards and at the same time keep a wary eye on the cards of your fellow players. For example the combatant Heavy forces all other players to discard new deployed cards with the lowest strength. Or the Copycat: This combatant lets you copy and activate an instant ability of another combatant deployed in the same turn, but only, if it was the only tank (a special type of combatants) this turn.

After the instant conditions have been carried out, some players can already have lost one or all of their combatants in front of them, so it is time to bring in new supplies and another drafting round is following. From the remainining cards a new card is chosen and again this card is immediately played on the tabel. Of course these cards can also have instant abilities and consequently some of the combatants will end up in the Nirvana again.

This process is repeated until there is only one card left from the cards that were dealt at the beginning of the round. This last card is discarded, so you never know for sure, which card your opponents will play. Before we come to the end of the derby, let us have a closer look on two other conditions of the combatants: Ongoing conditions are permanent and can improve the player's abilities as long as the combatant is controlled by the player. Turn abilities on the other hand do also last on if the card by some other effect has to be discarded, but only lasts until the end of the turn. Both effects can have mighty influences on the result of the derby, but unlike the instant effects, much more instinctive and strategical feelings are needed to use these effects at the best possible rate.

Finally the Derby conditions are applied, most of them them will end up in additional strength for your units, if certain conditions are met. And finally the sum of all remaining combatants is summed up to these special strength points from the derby and other conditions of a player. Of course, the player with the highest strength is the winner of the Derby. As said, three Derbies has to be won to win the game, so there is still time to react after a defeat.

To my mind, Diesel Demolition Man is a really funny and entertaining card game. It seems to be simple, of course the rules are simple, but it turned out to have more options than it seems to have. Instant abilities are simple to use, but it is much more difficult to find the appropriate strategy to use the ongoing and turn abilities. During the game you learn more and more cards your opponents can choose due to the drafting mechanism. But it is difficult to precesily predict when your fellow players will pick a card. Especially with 4-5 players, Diesel Demolition Man was to my tasting. It is fast-paced and has some nice artworks. New players can find into the game after only one round. Although there is nothing really new in the game and it's not very deep, I made the experience that a lot of players loved it. As it can also be played very fast, it is a good filler (or maybe a revenge is still the better choice...).

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Copyright © 2018 Ralf Togler & Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany