Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Car Wars

Whenever the subject of rpgs comes up (that's role playing games for the few of you who might not be geeks like me), I always point to Steve Jackson's Car Wars, a game a played a lot when I was in high school. And invariably, I get smiles and nods from gamers who were around in the 80s. (Holly Black, in fact, gave me a high five in response, which seemed to put her firmly in the pro-Car Wars camp.) Even so, it's been years since I've played the thing, much less seen a copy of it.

Imagine my delight yesterday when io9 did a piece on the game, with some commentary about the game play and a few choice images.

And a bit of googling this morning shows me that there's an online archive of issues of Autoduel Quarterly, which came out regularly as a kind of supplement to the game. I have no idea whatever became of my issues of ADQ, so this makes for an interesting little bit of nostalgia.

Any body else have fond Car Wars memories?

CAR WARS the card game was a popular lunchtime game among the TSR designers and editors in the early 90s, and the original game was held in high regards as well.

Still, I suspect the more-often played game was Empires of the Middle Ages. While it was fun, I preferred games that could be finished in less than a week's worth of lunchtimes.

Just by chance, did you see Hobby Games: The 100 Best last summer? It'll remind you of so many great games that have been forgotten.

Steven Schend
I remember picking up a copy of the game shortly after seeing The Road Warrior when I was 14, thinking that SJG had cracked open my brain and stolen some of the contents when they designed it. Thinking about "Car Wars" today, I seem to remember it also borrowed a lot from Ellison's "Along the Scenic Route".
Lots of Great Car Wars memories...playing with my brothers, racing around a track. MONDO, those crazy pedestrians who hated cars and attacked them on foot.

Autoduel--fond, fond memories of the computer game.

And I remember daydreaming on the bus to high school. The name of the bus, since it came in early, was "The Scholars Academy Special". I remmeber thinking--that would be a cool Car Wars vehicle. A bus traveling through dangerous urban territory.
I found a whole bunch of Steve Jackson mini games when going through boxes of 'my stuff' from my parents. I should bring it to World Fantasy...
No, hadn't seen that 100 Best before, Steven. I'll have to check it out!
Derek, I wonder how much of Car Wars was direct inspirations from various sources (whether Ellison, or Death Race 2000, or whathaveyou) and how much of it was just steam-engine-time for stories about post-apocalyptic car battles. If nothing else, there was certainly a lot of it around for a few years there, wasn't there?
A fully-armed school bus isn't a bad idea at all, Paul!
John, if you do, I think you might find some willing participants. At conventions as a kid, I always remember thinking that a Car Wars game would be a great idea, then inevitably trying to get myself killed so I could go and do something else! Those games could take forever...
CAR WARS totally rocked face!

All my friends were always tricking out their subcompacts with machine guns and nitro injectors, but I usually went for an anti-aircraft gun mounted in the back of a pickup. Clumsy as hell, but you only had to land one hit...

Word Verification: wwjhbw
What Would Jesus Hit Bush With?
The only details I'm remember about Blacque Bart's car (clever, no? No?) was that it had a really nice sound system (which I'd purchased instead of, you know, more guns), but that the only tape (in those pre-CD days) that I'd included in the specs was Sting's Dream of the Blue Turtles. For some reason, at the time, I thought that was cool...
Yeah, that was heaps of fan. That is exactly the set my friend had, too.

There's a school bus with people with guns on it in Resident Evil latest movie, so maybe you could come up with some SF scenario add-on rules for when the killer crows attack. ;-)
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