Interview: Tomas Rawlings of Auroch Digital Discusses Dark Future: Blood Red States

October 4, 2015

Dark Future: Blood Red States Logo

Community Manager Jake Connor of Auroch Digital, Ltd., the company producing Dark Future: Blood Red States, graciously asked if Wheels, Weapons and the Wasteland (WWW) was interested in an interview to discuss Dark Future: Blood Red States and car combat gaming. Auroch Digital, Ltd. Production Director Tomas Rawlings, Ph.D. (TR) kindly answered several questions provided by this blog.


WWW: What was your first experience with Dark Future? How long have you played the game?

TR: I started playing GW games when I was about 12 and I read White Dwarf avidly so came across it then. So this picture is from my own copy of White Dwarf that announced the upcoming game. Then one of my school friends got a copy we used to play game together on weekends and I played it soon after it came out. I loved the art, the setting so really enjoyed playing the game.


WWW: Why did you and Auroch Digital, Ltd. decide to develop an electronic game based on Dark Future, an out of print, car combat miniatures game from 1988, a title no longer supported by Games Workshop?

TR: After doing Chainsaw Warrior: Lords of the Night, we had developed a good relationship with Games Workshop and so talked about a number of possible projects. In was in part because nobody else was doing anything that attracted me to seeing if we could get the Dark Future licence. It meant that we’d get define how that space became digital, which gives us more scope to play with the concepts and the game. Plus; chaos, meets highway warriors meets cyberpunk what’s not to love?


WWW: What are some of the aspects of Dark Future that attracted you to play the miniatures game?

TR: For me it’s the setting. I’m a huge strategy game fan and a game that has momentum as part of the gameplay adds a really cool aspect to how you play I also really like Battlefleet Gothic for similar reasons. The TL; DR would be ‘Speed’.


WWW: What are some of the aspects of Dark Future that attracted you to create an electronic version of the game?

TR: Going back though my copy of the game when we were chatting to Games Workshop I could see that there was so much promise in this game when converted to a digital format. The core problem of any boardgame game with real-world physics modeled in it is; how to make the game give you that feeling of speed, motion and space while not bogging the player down in charts and tables so much they need a degree in physics to play. I saw that we could get the computer to do all the hard things the calculations freeing the player to, well, play.


WWW: How was the name Dark Future: Blood Red States created?

TR: The main setting in the game is the middle bit of this alternative America that has become a wasteland. So I was thinking of this area as being roughly where the ‘Red States’ (a term for the geographic ‘middle’ bit of America) when you think what else is red and fits the theme of Dark Future Blood. Hence the title was born. It has other references in the story too, which players will discover.


WWW: The history of car combat games has demonstrated making a car combat game that is successfully received by gamers is difficult. What are some of the aspects of Dark Future: Blood Red States that will make the title a successful one? What are some of the aspects of Dark Future: Blood Red States that are different from previously published car combat games that will contribute to the game’s success?

TR: Firstly because I’m a fan myself. When I’m designing a game such as this, I’m thinking ‘As a player, what would I want?’ and then I’m taking it from there . . . I think the biggest difference is going to be how we’re using a real-time game model that you interact with in a simultaneous turn-based way. So it has strategy (real-time) and it has speed (real-time).


WWW: Dark Future was unique among car combat games because it had cyberpunk elements, including netrunning and cybernetics. (Although the RPG Shadowrun, published since the late 1980s, combines car combat, cyberpunk, magic, and fantasy, car combat is not a major component of the RPG.)

TR: Yes, and I really like that aspect. It’s not in the boardgame much really but it is in the novels and it will be part of this game. The driver and their skills and implants will play an important role.


WWW: Dark Future was published in 1988. The Internet not widely available to the general public until the second half of the 1990s. Would Dark Future have been more successful, because of its cyberpunk nature, if the game would have been released 10 years later, when the World Wide Web was in widespread use and Internet literacy was becoming commonplace?

TR: Hard to say really as so much of what it is came from when it was written. Given the strong fan response we’ve had I’d say it was a success in that people remembered it and want more!


WWW: Global environmental damage was an important part of the Dark Future game world. Since the publication of Dark Future in 1988, the world has suffered many large-scale natural disasters, and awareness of the accelerating effects of global warming on the planet’s climate has increased. Global environmental damage was a critical part of this year’s movie Mad Max: Fury Road. Because there is more widespread knowledge of climate and environmental issues, will the environmentally damaged game world of Dark Future: Blood Red States interest more gamers than if the game was set in the real world, a post-nuclear world, or a game world that has minimal background on the environment?

TR: Yes, you read the original rule book and it talks about the impact of climate change this was from 1988 where most people would have been oblivious to it. When I read news articles that suggest conflicts like that in Darfur and Syria has climate as a partial catalyst, it shows how prescient Dark Future was. We’re taking this really seriously in the design and have got some scientists with support from The Wellcome Trust embedded into the game design process, so that the info and ideas they give us feed into the gameplay and story.


WWW: Car combat in electronic games, movies, and other media is usually presented using one of the approaches listed below.

1. The setting is the real world where car combat equipment is limited to law enforcement, military forces, or participants in violent sports (1980s television series Street Hawk, 1982 movie MegaForce, 1986 movie The Delta Force, 2008 movie Death Race, 2010 movie Death Race 2, 2012 movie Death Race 3: Inferno, 1989 computer game Deathtrack, 1996 computer game Death Rally, and video game series Twisted Metal).

2. The setting is a post-apocalyptic world where technology, weaponry, and natural resources are very limited (1979 movie Mad Max, 1981 movie Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior, 1982 movie Battletruck / Warlords of the 21st Century, 1986 computer RPG Roadwar 2000, and 1987 computer RPG Roadwar Europa).

3. The setting is a future world, although not post-apocalyptic, has suffered environmental damage, economic damage, and/or large-scale warfare. Unlike a post-apocalyptic world, there are widespread areas where technology, weaponry, and natural resources are still at high levels (1981 boardgame Car Wars, 1985 computer RPG Autoduel, 1988 miniatures game Dark Future, 1997 computer game Interstate ’76, and 1998 computer game Interstate ’76 Nitro Pack).

What are advantages and disadvantages of the type of car combat game world in Dark Future, with civilized and lawless areas, and automotive weaponry of high complexity that is widely available?

TR: That’s a good summary. In the Dark Future, we’re not fully post-apocalyptic but we’re heading there fast! This game focuses on Sanctioned Ops operating in the Red States, so in the Big Empty. It means that we’ve got gang cults and cyberpunk plus military grade hardware. The advantage of this is great material for our team to work with. It means the background is mostly desert, but it looks cool, so I’m happy with that.


WWW: What are some of the reasons you and Auroch Digital, Ltd. decided to create an electronic board game version of Dark Future instead of an action video game?

TR: The board game is a strategy game, we wanted to keep that. I’m a huge strategy game fan myself, so I’m very comfortable working in that genre. For me, for this project, there was never any choice. It has to come from the spirit of the boardgame.


Almost all car combat electronic games have been focused on one character or vehicle directly controlled by the player. Two exceptions were the 1986 computer RPG Roadwar 2000, and the 1987 computer RPG Roadwar Europa.

Dark Future: Blood Red States will have a tactical approach to car combat. The player will control multiple vehicles and characters. What are some of the reasons for you deciding to develop a tactical, group-based game instead of a single-vehicle or single-character game? What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of a tactical car combat game over a car combat game with the player controlling only one vehicle or character?

TR: We’re looking to give the player control of up to five vehicles and the Ops within. The advantages is it allows the player to do full-on tactical moves; boxing targets in, ambushes and the like. it also allows differently equipped vehicles to be in the same combat space. The disadvantage is that it makes the controls and cameras more complex from a game development point of view, so we’re spending lots of time on those issues.


WWW: In Dark Future: Blood Red States, players will control Sanctioned Operatives to pursue road gangs and other criminals. Successful missions will result in being rewarded monetary bounties.

In the computer RPGs Wasteland, Fallout, Fallout 2, and Fallout Tactics, one of the most fun activities in those games was the looting of the bodies of defeated opponents, resulting in the discovery of money, weaponry, and equipment. Battlefield salvage is also helpful in the boardgame Car Wars, the boardgame BattleTech, and in the many BattleTech / MechWarrior computer games.

To supplement monetary income from bounties, will there also be opportunities for salvaging weaponry, equipment, and other items from wrecks of your defeated opponents in Dark Future: Blood Red States? Can entire vehicles be salvaged and repaired for use by the player’s Sanctioned Operatives?

TR: We’re not planning that for this version of the game. I want to keep the action moving along. If you need to stop and loot while a mission is ongoing at 100 mph, I worry we’d lose the pacing. But you do earn cash and you will be spending that cash of weapons, cars, upgrades and body augmentations.


WWW: Rules for Dark Future were published in three sources. First, the core rulebook that came with the boxed set of the game. Second, the expansion book White Line Fever. Third, articles presented in the magazines White Dwarf and Challenge. Will Dark Future: Blood Red States use only rules from the core rulebook of Dark Future, or are all published rules for Dark Future being considered for Dark Future: Blood Red States?

TR: We’re looking at all the materials for the game. We’re taking the spirit of the rules, but doing the real-time/simultaneous gameplay, so much of what was written is about simulating the vehicle movement. We’ve got a powerful game engine doing that for us . . .


WWW: A challenge when creating a car combat game is deciding how much the performance of a vehicle comes from a driver’s skills and from a vehicle’s construction. Is the driver’s skill only a modifier to a difficulty roll to check if a vehicle remains in control? Is the difficulty roll based on the driver’s skill, with the construction of the vehicle providing modifiers?

TR: The vehicle brings the base stats; speed, acceleration and the like. The driver’s skill modifies the handling and also allows it to perform more dangerous maneuvers without tipping over. It’s similar to the boardgame in that respect.


WWW: How will Dark Future: Blood Red States address this relationship between character skills and vehicle equipment? How will character modifications, such as cybernetic enhanced vision (mentioned in press releases for Dark Future: Blood Red States) affect vehicle performance?

TR: We’re still working that out in the design at the moment. But the player will be able to use those cyberskills in the game. At the most basic, they might improve the stats of the driver, but they will also bring other skills that can have a wider impact.


WWW: The Dark Future novels were first published by Games Workshop and Boxtree Books in the early 1990s. Black Flame Books reprinted the Demon Download Cycle in the 2000s, and published several new Dark Future novels. The Demon Download Cycle novels by Black Flame have different timelines to include real world events that have occurred since the original printings of the novels in the early 1990s.

If using content from the Demon Download Cycle novels, will Dark Future: Blood Red States use the timeline from the original printings of the novels by Games Workshop and Boxtree Books, or the revised printings by Black Flame Books?

TR: We had this big discussion about this (the date) when we started. On the one hand it’s an alternative future, so things can be different. However I feel it does need to be ‘in the future’ to keep the title’s power. So for me I’m working to the idea that the Dark Future is always just around the corner . . .


WWW: One of the reasons for BattleTech being successful for over 25 years has been a large collection of fiction supporting the game’s universe. Dark Future had several novels that provided details on the world of Dark Future. How important is fiction for a tabletop game or electronic game? If Dark Future: Blood Red States is successful, are there plans for fiction to be published supporting the game?

TR: The game itself is a storytelling device, so it will be presenting original fiction set in the Dark Future.


WWW: The Twitter account DarkFuture ZeeBeeCee has been presenting information about the Dark Future: Blood Red States game world. A Twitter account simulating a news agency, giving reports about events in the Dark Future: Blood Red States universe, is a great idea. How was the idea of the DarkFuture ZeeBeeCee Twitter account created?

TR: We wanted an ‘inworld’ voice to talk about what is going on. This ZeeBeeCee account gives us that means. We’re still exploring how to use it and we’ll be building on it as we get closer to release so follow @DarkFutureNews and RT the end!


WWW: In addition to cyberpunk elements, the Dark Future game world also had horror elements. A demon that existed in cyberspace, presented in the novel Demon Download, was an interesting and unique concept. Will Dark Future: Blood Red States feature the supernatural aspects from the Dark Future game world and Dark Future novels? How large of a role will supernatural forces play in the game?

TR: They are a core part of the ‘DNA’ of the Dark Future universe so will be in it. Can’t reveal how yet . . .


WWW: Will any characters from the background material presented in the Dark Future rulebook, White Line Fever, and Dark Future magazine articles appear in Dark Future: Blood Red States?

TR: We’re drawing from all of it, so probably in one form or another.


WWW: Will the player’s Sanctioned Operatives interact with Sanctioned Operative groups and other organizations from the background material presented in the Dark Future rulebook, White Line Fever, and magazine articles appear in Dark Future: Blood Red States?

TR: Yes, in some ways. Again, I can’t say much more that this point.


WWW: Will any characters from the Dark Future novels appear in Dark Future: Blood Red States?

TR: Sort of, but we’re also creating new things . . .


WWW: Will the player’s Sanctioned Operatives only be fighting criminals, or will there also be opportunities to fight other Sanctioned Operatives?

TR: Ops (as the novels make clear) are only as ‘good’ as the people running them. So yes, you’ll be interacting with more than just gangcults.


WWW: Will car combat be limited to highway fights and city battles? Will there be opportunities for combat racing or arena fights?

TR: We’re looking at that at the moment. The highways will be the core those, whatever happens.


WWW: Will Sanctioned Operatives be able to leave their cars and fight using personal weaponry? Will there be pedestrian versus pedestrian battles?

TR: Not in this game; it’s going to be a car combat game.


WWW: Will Sanctioned Operatives be able to use personal weaponry while driving cars?

TR: In this game, not really. The cars will have lots and lots of weapons, so the Ops will be busy controlling them.


WWW: Will there be different terrain types that affect how vehicles drive during missions?

TR: Yes, we’re working that out though.


WWW: Can you describe the movement system in Dark Future: Blood Red States? Does the game use the grid-based system in Dark Future, a modified version of Dark Future’s movement system, or a custom set of mechanics?

TR: We’re using a real-time physics engine as the base, so the movement does not need a grid. They key challenge is communicating to the player how far they can move/accelerate/decelerate. That’s what we’re doing now.


WWW: The 1997 car combat computer game Interstate ’76 focused on a 17-chapter scripted adventure. The game also had stand-alone scenarios. The 1998 car combat computer game Interstate ’76 Nitro Pack had a set of stand-alone scenarios. The 1988 computer RPG Wasteland, 1997 computer RPG Fallout, and 1998 computer RPG Fallout 2 had scripted adventures, but their game worlds permitted open exploration. Will Dark Future: Blood Red States have a scripted adventure mode, an open game world, a set of stand-alone scenarios, or a combination of these game types?

TR: It’s going to be a scripted adventure with more open/generative aspects. We want to tell a story but we also want the player to have control of their agency and the missions it takes.


WWW: After finishing the computer RPGs Autoduel, Wasteland, Fallout, and Fallout 2, the player could continue playing the game with their characters. Will Dark Future: Blood Red States permit players to continue playing after completing the main adventure of the game?

TR: It’s a good idea; we’ll look into it. Depends on if we do follow up releases however.


WWW: If economically feasible, will small expansions for Dark Future: Blood Red States be released, providing new scenarios, vehicles, characters, weapons, and equipment?

TR: Yup. We really hope that this game connects to our fellow gamers and they want to see more and we’ll want to create it.


WWW: Will an editor for Dark Future: Blood Red States be released, permitting the creation of custom scenarios, characters, vehicles, weapons, and game maps? Could such an editor also permit modification of characters, vehicles, and weapons in the standard adventures and scenarios of the game?

TR: We’re adding custom options for your vehicles and Sanctioned Ops, we’ve got no plans as yet for this.


WWW: Would it be possible to publish the gaming mechanics Dark Future: Blood Red States as a rulebook for miniatures gaming?

TR: That is a really cool idea, but we’re a video game developer, so our focus is the on digital not physical.


WWW: Would it be possible to produce 1:64 scale metal or plastic miniatures of the vehicles in Dark Future: Blood Red States?

TR: Also a cool idea! Our focus for now is getting the digital one done . . .

Future Highways Logo

WWW: Francis Greenaway, who I mentioned earlier, created a large Web site for Dark Future called Future Highways several years ago. Could some of the content of Future Highways be presented in expansions for Dark Future: Blood Red States?

TR: Not really thought about it. We’d need to look into it… Is the Future Highways site still being updated? (Hope so . . .)

(Unfortunately, Future Highways has not been updated for several years because of the work and personal schedules of Mr. Greenaway. Perhaps the release of Dark Future: Blood Red States, and interest by Dark Future fans, will inspire Mr. Greenaway to resurrect the Future Highways Web site. – WWW)


WWW: Francis Greenaway also wrote a set of roleplaying system for Dark Future titled Highwayman. The rules were based on Redline, an out of print supplement for d20 Third Edition by Fantasy Flight Games. Would it be possible to publish a tabletop roleplaying game based on Dark Future: Blood Red States, using Highwayman and/or a custom set
of rules?

TR: Again, not something we’d know really.


WWW: Francis Greenaway was the individual who scanned the entire Dark Future rulebook, White Line Fever, and all of the Dark Future articles from White Dwarf into Adobe Acrobat format. This collection of files, the Dark Future Archive, was available on the Games Workshop Web site for several years until it was removed in 2013. When Dark Future: Blood Red States is published, is it possible Games Workshop will make the Dark Future Archive available online again?

TR: I don’t know. We’re keen to grow the Dark Future fansbase back up and if that happens, who knows?


WWW: Is there any news you can provide regarding any possibility of a reprint of the Dark Future miniatures game by Games Workshop, either as a reprint of the original edition, or as an edition based on Dark Future: Blood Red States?

TR: We’ve not really talked about any physical stuff. Personally the more Dark Future that happens, the happier I’ll be. However we’re a video games company so it’s a bit outside what I know.


WWW: What have been the advantages and disadvantages of producing Dark Future: Blood Red States for Steam compared to release in other formats such as CD/DVD or non-Steam downloads?

TR: Steam is a really great system for developers and gamers. I started using it as a player; having all my games in one place, Steam dealing with updates and patches automatically plus cloud-saves and other features means it was great to use. It’s got a huge user community and Valve (the creators of Steam) are an innovative company. This I think is why it’s growing as a games platform. We’ll look into non-Steam distribution methods, but they are the clear market leader, so Steam is a must.


WWW: What have been the advantages and disadvantages of producing Dark Future: Blood Red States for tablet and mobile devices compared to only producing a game for standard computers?

TR: We’re looking at tablets as well as Steam. It’s a more complex market as there is a lot of device fragmentation. However it’s also clear that high-end tablets can deliver a really strong gaming experience, so it’s important to be developing there too.


WWW: Will you be able to publish a video demonstrating gameplay before the release of Dark Future: Blood Red States? If so, do you have an estimate when you can release the video?

TR: We will indeed. I’ve got no dates I can give as yet. We’re knee-deep
in gameplay at the moment. We will be putting more info out as we go along, though.


WWW: Is is possible to have Richard Halliwell, the creator of Dark Future, participate in the creation of expansions for Dark Future: Blood Red States?

TR: We’ve got James Swallow (writer of one of the novels and also a well-known games writer) onboard as a narrative consultant. As for expansions; once we get there, we’ll be looking into how best to deliver!


WWW: What are some of your thoughts regarding the future of boardgames, miniatures games, tabletop RPGs, and electronic games over the next five to ten years?

TR: I’m a big tabletop/boardgame fan so it’s great to see such a renaissance of the form. Crowdfunding and the Internet has helped build it up. As a games designer, I always recommend people interested in the craft to look to physical games as a way to practice the art. I think we’ll see more crossovers; boardgames going digital, digital games becoming board games. Then we’ll see both VR and AR really playing with the form. It’s going to be very exciting!


WWW: What are some of your thoughts regarding the future of car combat games, tabletop and electronic, over the next five to ten years?

TR: It’s great that the Mad Max film was so great and did so well as it means Hollywood will be making more of the same. I hope this interest in the genre will then feed more players of car combat games so we’ll grow the area in both the variety of what’s on offer and number of players. It’s also a great opportunity, as Science Fiction is, for us to think about our own futures as a society . . .


WWW: If Dark Future: Blood Red States is successful, what do you see for the future of the game and its universe?

TR: I’d interested in exploring the wider universe created in the books. We’re also looking to some of the other vehicle types in White Line Fever. It’s a huge space, so there is so much can be done. But first we need to get Blood Red States done and amazing!


WWW: Are there any thoughts or comments regarding Dark Future: Blood Red States you want to tell the car combat gaming community?

TR: Just looking forward to connecting with people! We’re on Twitter at @AurochDigital, Facebook and also we have a mailing list. Personally I also welcome ideas and feedback – @TomasRawlings.


WWW: I and many other car combat tabletop gamers look forward to the final release of Dark Future: Blood Red States. I wish you and Auroch Digital, Ltd. continued success. Thank you for your time.

TR: Thank you!


Wheels, Weapons and the Wasteland wants to thank Mr. Connor and Dr. Rawlings for the opportunity of this interview, and the time they spent answering this blog’s questions. Best wishes to Auroch Digital, Ltd. for the development and launch of Dark Future: Blood Red States.


Dark Future: Blood Red States Highway Battle


Dark Future: Blood Red States © Copyright Games Workshop Limited 2015. Dark Future: Blood Red States, Dark Future, the Dark Future logo, GW, Games Workshop, and all associated logos, illustrations, images, locations, weapons and characters, are either ® or TM, and/or © Games Workshop Limited, variably registered around the world, and used under licence. All rights reserved.


Mad Max: Fury Road, Car Wars, and Chassis and Crossbow

May 24, 2015

Several comments have been posted recently on Twitter and discussion forums regarding how to use Car Wars to simulate the low-tech car combat in Mad Max: Fury Road. The gaming mechanics of Car Wars focus on high-tech cars and high-tech weaponry, therefore a large amount of work adapting Car Wars to primitive car combat as in Mad Max: Fury Road is likely needed.

There are many vehicles, weapons, accessories, and actions that do not conform to Car Wars rules. Because of this aspect of Car Wars, gamers interested in playing a Mad Max: Fury Road scenario or campaign should consider using Car Wars rules as guidelines instead of strict rules that cannot be broken.

Low-tech, post-apocalyptic game worlds like the one in Mad Max: Fury Road usually require an approach that is more roleplaying than tactical as in Car Wars. If a Car Wars rule would prevent something in a Mad Max: Fury Road Car Wars game, players should be open to the idea of setting that rule aside, and adapting the game to the setting instead of the reverse.

The first step in using Car Wars for Mad Max: Fury Road would be to look at the low-tech autoduelling rules titled Chassis and Crossbow. Two editions of the Chassis and Crossbow rules have been published. The first was in ADQ 1/3. The second was in Dueltrack. Additional Chassis and Crossbow rules have been published in ADQ 4/4, ADQ 7/2, and ADQ 8/2.

Several gamers have published rules for Chassis and Crossbow. There are also several Car Wars rules published by Steve Jackson Games and gamers, although not written for Chassis and Crossbow, would be useful in a Chassis and Crossbow scenario or campaign.

Listed below are sources of rules for Chassis and Crossbow games and rules that would be useful in Chassis and Crossbow sessions. This list is a work-in-progress, but it should be a good starting point for road warriors who want to attempt use Car Wars for Mad Max action.

After assembling the rules in the sources below, the next step would be to compile the rules in Car Wars Compendium Second Edition Fifth Printing, Uncle Albert’s Catalog From Hell, Car Wars Tanks, Pocket Box Boat Wars, and Boat Wars Deluxe Edition useful for Chassis and Crossbow.

(There are items from the Boat Wars rules like spearguns that would be useful for highway combat in Chassis and Crossbow. Both editions of Boat Wars, when combined with Chassis and Crossbow, would also provide a foundation for the low-tech, post-apocalyptic, water combat action of the 1995 movie Waterworld.)

There is a wealth of information in non-Car Wars roleplaying books that would be very helpful in Chassis and Crossbow sessions. A post in the near future may be written on that subject, as well as a post discussing non-Car Wars roleplaying game systems for Mad Max: Fury Road gaming, here on Wheels, Weapons, and the Wasteland.

Good luck, car combat gamers. May you be historic on the Fury Road, and always carry bolt cutters when traveling into the Wasteland.


Chassis and Crossbow Rules from Steve Jackson Games

ADQ 1/3 – Newswatch: History of Mexico/Texas Relations

ADQ 1/3 – Chassis and Crossbow First Edition: Low-Tech Autoduelling

ADQ 1/3 – Chassis and Crossbow First Edition: Playing with Fire

ADQ 1/3 – Chassis and Crossbow First Edition Part II: The Later Years

Dueltrack – Chapter 2: Internal Combustion

Dueltrack – Chapter 3: Metal Armor

Dueltrack – Chapter 4: Chassis and Crossbow Second Edition

ADQ 4/4 – Mini-Scenario 4. The Defense of Wooded Grove: A Chassis and Crossbow Mini-Scenario

ADQ 7/2 – Mutant Zone: A Chassis and Crossbow Adventure

ADQ 8/2 – Rawhide: A Chassis and Crossbow Mini-Scenario


Car Wars Rules Useful for Chassis and Crossbow from Steve Jackson Games

Sunday Drivers/Crash City – Special Equipment, Special Rules, and Notes to the Referee

The Space Gamer Vol. 1, No. 58 – HyperSound System

ADQ 1/4 – Anti-Cyclist Tactics: Breaking the Bikers in Car Wars

ADQ 2/2 – Kids in Car Wars

ADQ 4/2 – 55-Gallon Gasoline Drum. Found in Mini-Scenario I: The Gasman Cometh

ADQ 4/2 – Nitroglycerine and Dynamite. Found in On My Honor: History of the Boy Scout Commando Corps

ADQ 5/1 – Weapon Durability and Maintenance

ADQ 5/3 – Plastique, Shaped Charges, Radio Detonator, Contact Wire, and Plunger. Found in Uncle Albert’s Auto Stop and Gunnery Shop.

ADQ 5/3 – Overloaded Vehicles

ADQ 6/4 – Autogyros

L’Outrance: The AADA Duel Circuit – Springfield, Ohio and Ethanol

ADQ 7/2 – Optional Pedestrian Rules. Found in Ob-Racing.

ADQ 8/2 – Heavy Speargun. Found in Jaws’ Revenge.

ADQ 8/4 – Cycle Jousting. Found in Arena Watch: Pershing Arena.

ADQ 9/1 – Hunting Bow. Found in Meeting the Inlaws.

ADQ 10/3 – Small Bulldozer Blade. Found in Roadwork: 2042.

ADQ 10/3 – Sand Rails in Car Wars


All of the Car Wars publications above are available in electronic format on Warehouse 23.

Steve Jackson Games – Car Wars Products

Warehouse 23 – Car Wars Products

Warehouse 23 – Autoduel Quarterly

Warehouse 23 – The Space Gamer


Chassis and Crossbow Rules from Gamers

Boneheadz Command Center Web Site (Offline; Available on the Internet Archive Wayback Machine)

Lord Bosco’s Chassis and Crossbow Rules

Big Sky Liberation Front: Low-Tech Campaign Notes

WormSpeaker’s Mad Max House Rules for Car Wars


Chassis and Crossbow Rules from the Boneheadz Command Central Blog

Boneheadz Command Central Blog

The Boneheadz Family Picnic
Boneheadz Command Center
March 04, 2015

Apocalypse Speeder
Boneheadz Command Center
November 08, 2014

Simple Campaigns in Car Wars
Boneheadz Command Center
January 20, 2014

New Skills and Equipment in Car Wars Part 2
Boneheadz Command Center
January 18, 2014

Scouting Skill Revised
Boneheadz Command Center
January 17, 2014

New Skills and Equipment in Car Wars
Boneheadz Command Center
January 16, 2014

Car Wars Campaigns: The Lite Roleplaying Game
Boneheadz Command Center
January 15, 2014

Dogs in Car Wars
Boneheadz Command Center
January 14, 2014

Alternate Weapon Mounts for Car Wars
Boneheadz Command Center
December 04, 2013

Alternate Control Rolls in Car Wars
Boneheadz Command Center
November 19, 2013

Tales from the “good ole days”.
Boneheadz Command Center
November 02, 2013

Car Wars Character Generation Tables
Boneheadz Command Center
October 31, 2013

Pedestrian Firearms Rules in Car Wars
Boneheadz Command Center
October 23, 2013

Rarity Levels For Weapons and Equipment in Car Wars
Boneheadz Command Center
October 23, 2013

Pedestrian Melee Rules in Car Wars
Boneheadz Command Center
October 22, 2013

Tech Levels in Car Wars
Boneheadz Command Center
October 20, 2013

Power Armor in Car Wars
Boneheadz Command Center
October 18, 2013

Three Classifications for the Apocalypse
Boneheadz Command Center
October 18, 2013

Levels of Technology in My Games
Boneheadz Command Center
October 17, 2013

A New Beginning . . . Again
Boneheadz Command Center
October 16, 2013


Car Wars Rules Useful for Chassis and Crossbow from Gamers

ArmoredThirteen – Accessories (Barbed Wire, Deflection Chains, External Components, Knee Cappers, and Port Holes)

ArmoredThirteen – Armor (Ring Mount Armor)

ArmoredThirteen – Weapons (Junk Launcher)

ArmoredThirteen: Weapon Modifications (External Heavy Weapon Pods, Hand Weapon Vehicular Mounting, Junk Scooper, Turret Mounted Ring Mounts)

Autoduellists of the Vancouver Regional Organisation: Excerpts from Rules Interpretations

Car Wars Internet Newsletter: Advanced Monster Truck Rules

Dreadgazebo: Dune Buggies in Car Wars (Offline; Available on the Internet Archive Wayback Machine)

High Velocity Duelling Car Wars Mailing List: Sand Duelling

New Omaha Vehicular Association: Selected Items from the NOVA Works Collection

New Omaha Vehicular Association: In Thrust We Trust

New Omaha Vehicular Association: Supertrucks

New Omaha Vehicular Association: Back Country Bob’s 2053 Off-Road Catalog

New World Autoduelling Association: Monster Trucks
(Offline; Available on the Internet Archive Wayback Machine)


Mad Max Rules for Car Wars from Gamers

Car Wars Counters
Ancient Warriors
March 21, 2013

Mad Max Car Counters
Ancient Warriors
March 18, 2013

Sector Twenty-Six Highway Nine
Ancient Warriors
March 15, 2013

Highway Nine
Ancient Warriors
March 10, 2013

Car Wars Mad Max Style
Ancient Warriors
March 07, 2013

Car Wars: Mad Max Opening Chase
Post Apoc Wargames Forum
June 21, 2010


Rules from Roleplaying Games Useful for Chassis and Crossbow

GURPS Autoduel First Edition – Personal Equipment: Mini-Crossbow

GURPS Autoduel Second Edition – Personal Equipment: Mini-Crossbow

The AADA Road Atlas and Survival Guide Volume Four: Australia – Petrol Rules (Petrol, Ethanol, and Road Trains)

d20 Apocalypse – Primitive Firearms (Rock Launcher, Heavy Rock Launcher, Tire Slasher, and Carbon Dioxide Cartridges)

Dark Future: Blood Red States from Games Workshop

May 21, 2015

Games Workshop is releasing its 1980s car combat 3-D roleplay game Dark Future as, “a turn-based strategy game, played out in simultaneous real-time action.”


World Exclusive: Games Workshop Next Title Announced – Dark Future Releases This Year
Game Debate
May 20, 2015


Dark Future: Blood Red States Preview – On The Highway To Hell
Game Debate
May 21, 2015


Dark Future: Blood Red States Official Site


Auroch Digital: Producer of Dark Future: Blood Red States


SWAT HQ – Car Combat Game Links – Dark Future 3-D Roleplay Game by Games Workshop

Official Mad Max Gameplay Overview Trailer and Car Wars

April 23, 2015

The Official Gameplay Overview Trailer for the upcoming Mad Max video game has been released on YouTube. The trailer is not to be missed.

Official Mad Max Gameplay Overview Trailer

madmaxgame on YouTube
April 23, 2015

Official Mad Max Video Game Web Site

The concept of using scrap to build more powerful weapons and items for the Magnum Opus would be a great addition to the low-technology setting of Car Wars known as Chassis and Crossbow. The MMORPG Auto Assault featured the use of scrap to build weaponry and defenses.

Although Auto Assault no longer exists, the out of print Auto Assault Strategy Guide is worth acquiring. The book discusses the combinations of salvage that were used to build weapons and other items in Auto Assault. This information would be helpful in a Chassis and Crossbow Car Wars campaign.

Although Car Wars Compendium 2.5 has the current rules for gasoline internal combustion engines (ICEs) and metal armor in Car Wars, the book does not have all of the information on those items from Dueltrack. Rules for salvaging metal armor and salvaging parts from ICEs were printed in Dueltrack but they were not presented in Car Wars Compendium 2.5. Those rules would be useful in a Chassis and Crossbow campaign.

Gamer and Blog Author Jeff “Jeffro” Johnson Nominated for a Hugo Award

April 5, 2015

Expert tabletop gamer and blog author Jeff “Jeffro” Johnson has been nominated for a Hugo Award! Congratulations, Jeff! Your nomination is well-deserved! Thank you for your being an invaluable resource to the tabletop gaming community. I wish you success in the competition to win the award.


I Have Been Nominated For a Hugo Award!
Jeffro’s Space Gaming Blog
April 04, 2015

Announcing the 2015 Hugo Award Nominees
April 04, 2015

GHOST Haunts the Car Wars Community Again

March 26, 2015

The Greater Hartford Organization of Saboteurs and Terrorists (GHOST) of West Hartford, CT was an AADA chapter in the 1990s that quickly became dominant in the Car Wars tournament community. Its President, Todd MacDermid, won the 2041 AADA World Duelling Championships. A report of the Final Round of that tournament was printed in ADQ 9/3.

Several years ago, Norman McMullen of NOVA sent me a photocopy of the GHOST Arena Manual, a Car Wars supplement self-published by GHOST in 1991. The book was sent to several AADA chapters.

Last year, I sent a copy of The GHOST Arena Manual to Jeffro Johnson, who posted a well-written review of the supplement on his blog.

The G.H.O.S.T. Arena Manual
Jeffro’s Space Gaming Blog
September 17, 2014

Last week, I performed an Internet search for Todd MacDermid. I found him on Twitter, and I learned he now lives in Seattle, WA. The two of us sent a few Twitter messages and and e-mails. Todd said he still had many original paper and electronic files from GHOST Car Wars activities. He also expressed interest in attending the Dragonflight gaming convention this August in Bellevue, WA.

Last weekend, I received an e-mail from Brian Morrison, another former member of GHOST. Brian now lives in Chicago, IL. He informed me the GHOST Arena Manual I had was only a sample of a larger supplement GHOST was going to have published. The 2043 GHOST Arena Manual would have included 67 (sixty-seven) new arenas for Car Wars!

Brian said he still had the original electronic files of the 2043 GHOST Arena Manual. He said it might be possible to send me a copy of those files in the near future.

Yesterday morning, Brian sent me a link to a file Zip folder temporarily stored in a Dropbox account. The Zip folder contained the entire 2043 GHOST Arena Manual. Inside the archive I found all of the descriptions for 67 new arena designs in a single Adobe Acrobat file. The layouts for all 67 arenas were included as separate image files.

Todd and Brian have expressed interest on Jeffro Space Gaming Blog (written as comments to Jeffro’s GHOST Arena Manual post) to make the 2043 GHOST Arena Manual available on the Web. The supplement occupies 10.2 MB. At this time, I do not have enough space on SWAT HQ to host such a large set of files. I could host the book on my Dropbox account for a while until a better hosting solution can be found.

As mentioned above, Todd can be contacted on Twitter. Brian can be contacted via his photography business.

Todd and Brian have not mentioned plans to return to playing Car Wars at this time, however they have once again made a supernatural impact on the Car Wars community. The 2043 GHOST Arena Manual is a huge blast from the past. Thank you, GHOST!

Twitter – Todd MacDermid
Seattle, WA

Brian Morrison Photography
Chicago, IL

Car Wars Speed Program

March 23, 2015

Many Car Wars players now design vehicles using a vehicle design program such as Aaron Mulder’s Combat Garage or the MADHAT Duel Designer. A few veteran autoduellists, like this blog’s author, still prefer to follow an “old school” method of designing vehicles by using a vehicle design spreadsheet, consulting custom-built reference tables and reading rulebooks.

This weekend, while verifying Car Wars vehicle statistics using my custom design vehicle design spreadsheet, I realized I needed to resurrect a vehicle design tool I created in the 1990s.

The tool is a simple program for my Texas Instruments TI-85 graphing calculator to calculate the top speed and cruising speed of a Car Wars vehicle. After changing the lithium and alkaline batteries, I was pleased to learn my dependable TI-85 is still running like a supercharged V-8 gasoline engine.

The top speed formula for most vehicle types in Car Wars has the format Top Speed = (x * Power Factors) / (Power Factors + Vehicle Weight). The value of x varies depending on the type of power source.

Type the program using the PRGM function.


Prompt x
Prompt PF
Prompt WT
iPart TS*2.5->TS
iPart CS*2.5->CS
Disp TS
Disp CS

When you run the program, you will be prompted to give three values: x, PF and WT.

x is the variable number in each top speed formula. For car and motorcycle electric power plants, x is 360. For car and motorcycle gasoline engines, x is 240. For oversized vehicle electric power plants and oversized internal combustion engines, x is 200.

PF is the power factors of your power source.

WT is the current weight of the vehicle.

When the program is completed, you will be given a value for Top Speed (TS) and Cruising Speed (CS).

The top speed of a Car Wars vehicle must be a multiple of 2.5 mph, rounded down. The program uses the calculator’s iPart function to obtain a multiple of 2.5 mph.

The cruising speed of a Car Wars vehicle is 60 percent of the vehicle’s top speed, rounded down to a multiple of 2.5 mph. The program also uses the calculator’s iPart function to obtain a multiple of 2.5 mph for cruising speed.

This program was developed on one of the earliest editions of the TI-85. I also have a newer edition of the TI-85, but I have not used yet. When I have an opportunity to use the new calculator, I will try the SPEED program on that device and report my results here.

DRAW Returns to the Arena

February 25, 2015

DRAW Returns to the Arena

The Death Racing Association of Washington (DRAW), one of the best Car Wars groups ever formed, existed in the 1990s and early 2000s. The group has been playing Car Wars again, as recently as the RadCon 2015 gaming convention in the Tri-Cities of Washington, State.


Facebook – Death Racing Association of Washington (DRAW)


The original DRAW Web site was hosted by GeoCities, a Web space provider that disappeared years ago. Two archives of GeoCities pages, and, have resurrected the DRAW Web site.


GeoCities Archives – Death Racing Association of Washington (DRAW)


Philip J. Bedard is the talented graphic artist who created the outstanding images on the original DRAW Web site. Phil has moved from Omak to Bellingham, and continues to create great artwork.


Facebook – Philip J. Bedard’s Just Another Day Productions


Just Another Day Productions

Deathtrack Driver’s Survival Guide

February 22, 2015

Deathtrack has eight racetracks that would make challenging dueltracks for Car Wars.

The Deathtrack Driver’s Survival Guide in the SWAT HQ Salvage Yard now includes screenshots of the track layouts. These images should make conversions of the Deathtrack venues to Car Wars easier when combined with the written descriptions that were added to the Guide previously.


Deathtrack Driver’s Survival Guide

HVD Hot Asphalt Arena Circuit

February 22, 2015

The Hot Asphalt Arena Circuit was the second Car Wars e-book published in the late 1990s by High Velocity Duelling (HVD). Like the Flashfire Arena Circuit, this supplement has also been offline since the early 2000s. The Hot Asphalt Arena Circuit has been resurrected and is now available in the SWAT HQ Salvage Yard.

The original version of the Hot Asphalt Arena Circuit was constructed on a frames-based Web site. The SWAT HQ Salvage Yard version of the supplement does not use frames.


High Velocity Duelling – Hot Asphalt Arena Circuit



Welcome, duelling fans, to the Hot Asphalt Circuit, the AADA’s deadliest combat league! If you’ve got the courage, come on over and challenge the best competitors and arenas that New Mexico, Arizona, and Nevada have to offer. You don’t have to be crazy to duel here, but it sure helps.


  • 20 action-packed arenas and 5 track layouts.
  • A current listing of the Top 10 HAC duellists, with their personal statistics and backgrounds.
  • The Sidewinder Challenge, a racing mini-campaign where the best racers take on a formidable modular track design. No two racetracks are ever the same, but the dangers are just as deadly!
  • All the racing schedules and track restrictions you need to run a complete campaign. From Amateur Night slugfests, to high-tech corporate duels, the Hot Asphalt Circuit is able to fit the situation.

Have fun!