Cars aren't the only way to travel. While a lot of people dismiss anything other cars and bikes as the way to go, sometimes flying above the rounds can be better, safer and faster. Jetcopters are one way to get to where you're going. Fast, sleek and they can be just as heavily armed and armoured as ground vehicles. For many, jetcopters are the new limousines.
Jetcopters - despite their name - are not actually jet powered, instead they are conventional helicopters with powerful turbine engines which allow them to be much faster. In addition, improvements in NOTAR mean that most jetcopters don't have need of any tail or stabilising rotor. The term jetcopter also includes other types of VTOL, including tilt-rotor, tandom rotor and co-axial rotor designs. This articles does not go into large transport jetcopters or purely military designs, merely designs and sizes that can be found in everyday usage.
This section deals with the ins-and-outs of using jetcopters in Dark Future.
Select your choice:
Movement for jetcopters is handled differently than that for ground vehicles. For a start, lanes and sections aren't needed. Indeed, it is possible, if no ground units are in
play, to not use the board pieces at all!
For movement, the range ruler and the spin template are required.
Jetcopters aren't all the same size, and neither is the space they occupy. Use the following table to determine the amount of space that a jetcopter occupies. This is important as a jetcopter doesn't use lanes like a normal ground vehicle.
|Jetcopter Size||Body Length||Body Width|
|Small||12 cm||4 cm|
|Standard||16 cm||6 cm|
|Large||20 cm||8 cm|
Rotors extend to all sides of the jetcopter, and while the jetcopter counter may be small, the rotors have a radius that extends around the side of the vehicle. The size of the
rotors don't really come into play much, except at low altitudes when the jetcopter is trying to squeeze into some place that is too small for it, or else when two jetcopters are at the same altitude and are trying to squeeze each other elsewhere. If this happens, and the rotors of a jetcopter collide with something, this is usually very bad news - see below for collisions.
|Jetcopter Size||Rotor radius|
If ever the rotors come into play, take their radius from the centre of the counter.
Due to the fact that jetcopters do not follow the normal road movement rules, they have a huge advantage over other types of vehicles. They can effectively go wherever they
like. As a result, a rough idea of what type of terrain is in the combat area should be determined. This should be mapped out roughly with an altitude level (see below) for each
bit of terrain, so that if the jetcopter is flying off the board it can either use the terrain to hide behind or have to fly through a canyon to get back to the cars. For most desert areas there will be little or no terrain, but if you wish to play in a mountain area, this will be important, especially if the jetcopter is forced to fly along the road itself.
Jetcopters are capable of greater speeds than ordinary ground vehicles, and as result, the phase chart will have to be expanded. Again. As it is possible that some people will not
have either White Line Fever or A Day at the Races, the full expanded movement phase chart is included here.
Jetcopters are capable of hovering, and thus they may decelerate to speed 0 and not be landed. Whilst their turning is restricted, this is not a problem. A jetcopter at speed 0
moves before speed 1 vehicles, and can make a single arrow-turn.
This is handled exactly as normal. Due to the fact that the various altitudes are pretty abstract, diving for acceleration and rising for braking has been taken into account.
Modern technology has reduced these old styles of acceleration and braking considerably anyway.
This is the simplest type of movement. Simply lay the range ruler directly in front of the jetcopter, and move the jetcopter a number of spaces equalling the current speed of the
vehicle. That's all there is too it!
A jetcopter may perform drift manoeuvres much like cars can. For a jetcopter, all drifts are considered to be on a straight-ahead move. Move the jetcopter 2 cm to the side of
the drift (one lane width) regardless of the size of the jetcopter.
A jetcopter turns by using the spin template. When a turn is about to be executed, place the template over the jetcopter, with the 12+ white arrow facing in the direction the
vehicle is moving. Then, when the jetcopter turns, change the counter to point to the next arrow. This is referred to as an arrow-turn (45°), and is the normal turn for a jetcopter.
A half arrow-turn (22.5°) is handled the same way, but the jetcopter counter is moved to face the middle of the two arrows. At low speeds, a jetcopter can safely make multiple
arrow-turns in one move and this is handled as a normal arrow-turn, but the jetcopter is moved a number of arrows facings around the spin template.
The only restriction is that when a jetcopter makes an arrow-turn, it must do the turn in one direction only. While there is no actual reason for someone to start to turn in one direction and then move back, there might be a loophole in the rules somewhere where this becomes advantageous.
A jetcopter never has to turn if it so desires, neither does it have to actually turn the full distance between two arrows on the spin template. A jetcopter could always do a half arrow-turn instead of a full one if it so desires.
Use the following table to determine a jetcopters safe amount of turns and the safe speed of those turns.
|Half Turn||0-22.5°||200 mph|
|1||22.5° - 45°||100 mph|
|2||46° - 90°||50 mph|
|3||91° - 135°||10 mph|
Angles are listed for those who have access to a protractor.
A jetcopter doesn't have to travel at the same level as a car, indeed one of the whole things about jetcopters is that they don't travel across the road unless they have to. As such, using jetcopters introduces a whole new dimension to the game, that of altitude. This is handled abstractly in the game, and there are four levels of altitude that a jetcopter can reach, above ground level. These include:
This is actually ground level. A jetcopter cannot fly at ground level - it either lands or crashes there.
Nap of the Earth:
NOE is when the jetcopter is literally skimming the ground, a few inches or feet above ground level. Here it is very vulnerable to surface terrain, including
vehicles, and could be quite easily rammed by such vehicles.
Low altitude is about ten metres off the ground, enough to fly over most trees and three storey buildings.
The next stage up, medium altitude is roughly 25 metres in the air. Safe from most things, save other jetcopters.
This altitude is for the birds and the jetcopters only, where only the duelling news reporters and the odd air gang really care about what goes on anymore.
Note that these levels are based on and above the current ground level, which may change during different encounters.
Changing altitude is fairly simple and painless. To gain or lose one level of altitude, the jetcopter simply loses one move. Thus at speeds of 120 mph or less, the phase that the
jetcopter changes altitude, it will not move. At speeds greater than 120 mph, the jetcopter will simply lose one of its double or triple moves.
A hovering jetcopter may gain or lose one altitude level per turn provided it doesn't make any turns.
Landing is a simple matter. The jetcopter simply comes to a slow, and then hovers down to ground level. Provided the jetcopter doesn't have any damaged landing gear, then
this will be done safely.
In game terms, this means that the jetcopters gets to a speed factor 1 or less, and then drops altitude to ground. If the landing gear is fine, then there are no rolls to make.
If however, the landing gear has been damaged or if the jetcopter is moving more quickly than speed 1, then the jetcopter needs to make a landing roll. Roll 1d6 with the following modifiers:
- - jetcopters Optimum handling
- + any damaged landing gear modifiers
- + (speed factor - 1)
|Die roll||Landing Result|
|2 or less||
Jetcopters takes a +speed factor ram damage roll to it's floor facing and a critical to its landing gear.
Landing Gear Collapse:
The landing gear is now destroyed, and the jetcopter takes a +speed factor damage roll to its floor facing.
The jetcopter plummets into the ground and makes a big mess. Treat this as if the jetcopter had actually crashed - see Dark Future, pg. 58.
Landing on the back of a flatbed trailer isn't quite as simple as landing on the ground, but any competent pilot can give it a go. The pilot has to match the jetcopter speed with
the speed of the truck, and then land as normal. Once touch down has been accomplished, the engine is cut, which brings the speed of the jetcopter to zero. Obviously the truck
must be going in a straight line and must be in control.
Follow the normal rules for landing, but the jetcopters speed factor must equal the trucks speed factor. All normal landing rules apply, but a landing roll must be made
regardless of the state of the landing gear. Apply the (speed of the jetcopter - speed of the truck) as a + modifier instead of the normal speed modifier.
On a failed result, the trailer will take damage as well as the jetcopter.
Hazard rolls for jetcopters are made and taken in the same way as other ground vehicles. The main difference is that the standard hazard results table is not used. Instead, if the
results of a hazard test is 3 or more, then the jetcopter has lost control. Use the following Control Loss Results Table for jetcopters.
|Die roll||Control Loss Result|
|1- or less||Regain Control |
Skid and Regain Control:
Make a normal skid test, and move the jetcopter as if it were a car on a straight lane. Drift skids move the jetcopter half a space to the side. Vehicle must make an altitude test.
Skid and Remain out of Control:
As above, but the jetcopter remains out of control. Every subsequent move that the jetcopter is out of control, it must make an altitude test.
Make a normal skid, then spin test as for a car, treating it as if on a straight. Jetcopter must make an altitude test and also a rotor test.
The jetcopters rotor fail automatically, and the gravity decides to take over. Make an altitude test and follow what happens when the rotors fail.
If a jetcopter is forced to make an altitude test, then there is a chance that it might lose altitude and obviously this can be a problem if the jetcopter is already skimming the
tarmac on the road.
To make an altitude test, roll 1d6, subtract the vehicles adverse control, and add 2 if the vehicle currently has no driver.
On results of 5+, the jetcopter automatically and immediately loses one altitude level. If the jetcopter is travelling at NOE altitude, then it crashes. Which could be painful.
A jetcopter with no driver is out out of control, and adds +2 to all control test rolls. The pilots skill is reduced to 0, which will take the vehicles adverse control to 0.
The vehicles slows by 5 mph per turn, and must take an altitude test each move as the jetcopter wishes to plummet to earth.
Just because a jetcopter prowls the skies doesn't mean that it can't crash, or indeed ram or be rammed, although this is not particularly advisable.
A jetcopter ramming or crashing is handled exactly as normal, however, the rotors may be sheared off. If the jetcopter is crashing or ramming terrain (like a cliff or the road),
or it collides with another jetcopter or a truck, then the rotors will be automatically sheared off. If the jetcopter collides with a car or land vehicle smaller than a truck, then the rotors will be okay unless the jetcopter is forced to make a control roll and fails an altitude test.
A jetcopter carrying under-slung cargo is at a couple of slight disadvantages due to the fact that it's dragging bulky cargo through the air. Carrying under-slung cargo makes the jetcopter lose 1 from its handling. In addition, a jetcopter is only safe when at Medium or great height. A jetcopter cannot travel at Low altitude unless over flat terrain - no trees or buildings - it will simply crash otherwise. In addition, NOE altitude can only be obtained when the jetcopter is hovering to a land.