More Hot Wheels from Hell

In preparation for this year's "PoorCon" (The Premier Gaming Convention of Butler County Basements), I've put together a customized version of the classic Thunder Road board game. Taking lots of inspiration from David O Miller's awesome version he ran at Gen Con, I threw together my own up-scaled board (two large sections of desert hiway that you basically leap frog over and over to simulate constant forward motion) and set to work on creating a fleet of post-apocalyptic cars.

In the original game, each player gets three cars, one of each rank (ranks are 4, 5, or 6 and basically work for "armor saves" and "ramming attack bonuses"). These cars were identical except for their color, which is used to tell the teams apart. I opted to make six cars of each type so that players can pick their team at the start of the game (again, everybody gets one of each rank). Each car has its own special ability, which will be printed on a card with the car's picture on it.

Rank 4 Cars: 

“Black Hack” [Hackney Carriage]

·         Ramming blades: Add +1 to any ramming attack or roll to crash through a wreck. 

 “Doom Buggy” [Volkswagen 4x4]
·         Off-Road Tires: This car can use the Road Bonus, but only while off of the road. 

 “Bone Shaker”[Custom ‘32 Ford]
·         Rat Rod:  This car can be repaired any time the controlling player rolls doubles when rolling movement dice.

“Mud Slinger” [Jeep]

·         Chain gun: When making a shooting attack, if the result of the d6 roll is insufficient to hit your target, you may roll a second d6 and add the following bonuses based on that result:  1-2 = +0 , 3-4 = +1 , 5-6 = +2

“Motor Chariot” [Custom fabricated motor-throne of the wastelands]

·         Fear is our ally: When targeted for a shooting attack, roll 1d6. On a 5 or 6, treat this car as if it were Rank 6 for defense purposes.  

“Mad Cow” [Off-Road modified Milk Truck]
·         Monster Tires:
o   When crashing through wrecks this car only fails on a result of 1.
o   When attempting a ramming attack on rank 4 or rank 5 vehicles, treat this car as if it has a rank of 6. 

Rank 5 Cars

“The Interceptor Special (US Edition)” [1970 Ford Mustang]

·         V8: Once per turn you may re-roll the movement die assigned to this car OR the Road Bonus die and use the highest result. 

“Road Blaster” [Custom fabricated off road combat vehicle]

·         Dual machine guns: Can add +1 to any shooting attack roll. 

“Sting Rod II” [Oil War-era military prototype ground interceptor]

·         Missile Launcher: Can make a shooting attack at any one car up to 3 spaces away directly forward. Direct line of sight is not needed. 

 “Naitoraida” [Bosozoku style Japanese street rod]

·         Cow catcher:
o    When crashing through wrecks this car only fails on a roll of 1.
o   If a 5 or 6 is rolled, you may push the wreck into any forward adjacent space (front, right or left). If that space is occupied by another car, the “wreck” performs an automatic ramming attack as per the normal rules at rank 4.

“Peacemaker” [1972 Grand Torino mounted on continuous track]

Bullet Farmer:  This car may move in any direction, including backwards. 

“Phantasm” [1971 Plymouth Cuda]
·         “I just don’t get off on funerals, man. They give me the creeps”: When this car is wrecked or dumped, roll 1d6. On a result of 4, 5 or 6, return the car to the game on any space on the far edge of the back board at the beginning of your next turn.  

Rank 6 Cars

“El Fuego” [1950 Ford Coupe]

·         Dual Flamethrowers: Can make a shooting attack on all cars in adjacent spaces of its front arch (including cars in its own tribe). Roll 1d6 and compare to the rank of all cars.  

“Hot Lead Express” [Flatbed tow truck with late model box truck gun emplacement]

·         High Caliber/High Velocity Gun: May either make a shooting attack on a car up to 2 spaces away directly forward and with clear line of sight; OR After making a successful standard shooting attack, player may move the wrecked target car into any forward adjacent space (front, right or left) to the wreck. If that space is occupied by another car, the wreck performs an automatic ramming attack as per normal rules at rank 4. 

“Meat Wagon” [Late model ambulance with ’32 Ford gun emplacement]

·         Dual Chain Guns: Roll 2d6 when making a shooting attack. You may either use the higher die against a single target in the space directly in front of the car; or attack two cars in the adjacent front left and front right spaces, using one die for each attack. 

 “Mr. Eliminator” [1970 Chevrolet SS Wagon on a modified chassis retrofitted to a Grehound Bus engine]

·         Swivel mounted machine gun: Can make a shooting attack on any adjacent space.

“Street Cleaver” [Heavily modified Road Grader]

·         Construction Zone: At the end of your movement, mark each space this car has occupied. The Road Bonus cannot be used in any of these spaces for the remainder of the game. 

“Killdozer” [Heavily modified tractor]
·         Dozer Blade: When crashing through wrecks this car only fails on a roll of 1.
·         After a successful ramming attack, you may push the wreck into any forward adjacent space (forward, right or left). If that space is occupied by another car, you may make an immediate additional ramming attack with a +1 bonus. 


The original game also gave each player a helicopter, that in game terms was basically a free pot shot per board. Since I couldn't find any satisfying Hot Wheels or Matchbox helicopters, I opted to make a pack of special action cards that each player can use instead. These let you do things like bring a car back into play, or force someone to loose a turn etc. 

Making these cars has been really fun -- Looking forward to playing this later this Summer. 


  1. Super cool set of cars. I'd like to make a similar set of my own, but I've got some practice to do before I can produce anything close to this. What kind of paints and application methods do you employ?

    1. Thanks! One of the cool things about using Hot Wheels as a base is that they're cheap and very durable so its easy to experiment. Post-Apocalyptic style also lends itself to stuff not having to look "perfect," so I'd recommend just getting some cars and playing around.

      I mostly just use low cost acrylic "craft paint" (usually around $1 a bottle at Michaels etc.), but I like getting nicer pre-made washes (like the ones put out by "Army Painter"). Expensive paints (like the Games Workshop stuff) don't seem worth it to me, except for GW's metallic paint and their washes. I use spray primer from the hardware store.

      I've picked up lots of techniques here and there, but most of them have been on various online boards for miniatures model painting (like "" etc.). Using search terms like "weathering" is maybe the most helpful.

      There is a cool Facebook group called:" Post Apoc Game Cars: Outrider, Dark Future, Car Wars, Devil's Run, n' more! " where people share their projects and techniques. Everybody in that group is very generous with suggestions, so you might check it out too.


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