Monday, December 29, 2014

Play Report: Car Wars Amateur Night

  This Christmas I received a copy of Car Wars (the nice retro-looking box set). Now, the last time I played Car Wars was in the Spring of 1985 and the last time I saw a game was in the Summer of 1990, so I was pretty rusty. My third son and I did a quick 3 sessions of amateur night for great fun. Last night we ran the following:

The Setup
  Killer Karts, the arena, no skills for the drivers as a 'get to know the rules' game.

The Players
  Son #1 (17 years old)
  Son #3 (15)
  Son #4 (12)

  We each entered from different walls (#3 North, me East, #4 South, #1 West) with everyone but me at 20 mph; I was at 10 mph.
  Sons #1 and #3 make a run at each other at low speed (~30 mph) and chew up each other's front armor, using a lot of ammo. Son #4 is approaching their position. I am puttering along at 10 mph, drifting past obstacles.
  Sons #3 and #4 make a few head-on shots at about 30 - 40 mph as they close near the center area of the map. Son #3's front armor and MG iare chewed off and his power plant takes a few hits (no fire). Son #4 has his front armor greatly reduced, but they are passing each other.
  Then Son #3 pulls a 90 degree turn and T-bones son #4 into an observation tower. The impacts destroy Son #3's power plant and lightly injure him and he is stopped. Son #4's left armor is torn off but he is still armed, dangerous, and doing 30 mph. Son #1 is in the northwest corner, I am approaching from the east at 20 mph.
  Son #3 decides to get out of his car and run for a tower.
  Son #4 then pulls off a bootlegger's! Halfway through the maneuver Son #3 starts getting back into his car.  Then Son #4 come to rest facing son #3 (who is dead stopped and unable to move or fire)  at about 3.5". Son #4 fires but misses with a 3!
  Unfortunately, Son #4 is now at a stop 4" dead ahead of me with no cover and his unarmored side facing me. I snap off a burst, roll lucky twice, and Son #4 is dead. Son #3 gets back out of his car and runs for a tower.
  Son #3 is cowering by the entrance to the central tower as I vector in on Son #1 , who is in the SW corner trying to pull off the 'build speed, maintain a good handling, and not hit something' trick. Son #1 realizes I am about to corner him and floors it. I am up to 40 mph but he is at 70 mph. I prepare to keep turning inside and control the center until he is forced to either come at me with his damaged front armor or I can get in behind him.
  As I and Son #1 are heading to the SE part of the map Son #3 begins moving. Soon he is at Son #4's car where he jumps in and begins starting the (still armed, still functioning) killer kart! In the NE corner I almost get Son #1 trapped but he (once again) floors it and my 4 long range shots, all Hail Marys, all miss. About this time Son #3 realizes I am almost in position to rake him along the side with no armor he dives out of the far side of Son #4's car and runs for the tower again. I let him go so i can focus on Son #1.
  Pretty soon we are in Turn 25 and Son #1 and I are still lapping the arena. While he has never been in a position to even fire at me with any hope of success, he has been keeping his speed and distance up so I really can't get him, either. Son #3 is still lurking by the tower but has no real hope of starting and using Son #4's kart. It is very late so Son #1 and I agree to call it a draw.

The Chatter
  There was a lot of very happy buzz from the kids over this game (we had some very similar games, but one-on-one, over the previous few days). The best comment was from Son #1 after this game, though,
  "Dad, I expected to play this game every now and then to share a game with you, but this turns out to be the most fun boardgame-type thing we own that wasn't made by Lew Pulsipher by hand."
  The sons all want more than karts so I informed them we will do vehicles up to $10k next time (total cost - Son #3 wants body armor and a personal weapon!). Son#3 (at least) will be designing a new vehicle.

The Questions
  Where can I find a nice download of all the important charts?!
  What other maps, etc., do people recommend?
  And what other rules should I acquire, since this is a hit?

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