Dragonflight 2010 Thoughts

Austin Searles, member of SWAT and the SJ Games MiB, arranged and ran the Car Wars tournament at Dragonflight 2010. Austin performed one of the best duelmastering jobs I have ever seen. I will make more comments about Austin’s tournament in the next issue of CWIN being sent to subscribers next week.

I mentioned earlier the main reason for making this blog active is the list of ideas I developed during the Dragonflight duels.

* A large Movement Chart made of wood with wooden pegs was used to track speeds of each player. A poster board with blown-up images of the Control Table and other charts from CWC 2.5 was also used for a reference.

* What are the advantages of having a “Master” Movement Chart and a “Master” Control Table versus giving each player these documents?

* What are useful ways to keep track of phases? The Master Movement Chart used had a phase track. I have used a large d6 a relative purchased for me in Las Vegas. Conventions can be loud therefore you want to make yourself heard when announcing the beginning and end of each phase, however you do not want to yell.

*  A tool I have wanted to create for a long time has been one sheet showing all possible maneuvers. This reference would be helpful particularly for beginning players. I do not know if maneuver images from the Movement chapter in CWC 2.5 or custom-designed images should be used. These images should also have clear examples how to use a Turning Key for all maneuvers including the Pivot, T-Stop and Bootlegger’s Reverse.

* A transparent plastic template for the Bootlegger’s Reverse would make performing that complex maneuver easier.

* I would very much like to create graphical examples of how to use a Turning Key to perform Crash Table 1 and Crah Table 2 results. The Advanced Maneuvering System articles in ADQ 5/1 and ADQ 6/2 had several of these images but CWC 2.5 has replaced those rules.

* The AAIE and DRAW Car Wars groups used to often start duels with all players entering an arena after five turns of acceleration. Austin used this rule for several rounds of the tournament. All of the vehicles were the same, pre-generated by Austin, however has anyone tried using this rule in standard (design your own vehicle) games?

*  I created for Austin a slightly different graphical representation of the Speed Modifier Table on the white board I brought to the convention. Austin created an Adobe Acrobat version of the table I still need to view. Austin said having the orientations of cars and using the terms “attacker” and “defender” was useful.

* One of Austin’s great play-aids was a wooden board for each player that had tracks for Current Speed and Handling Status. Each board also had a track for Handling Class. The extra track was excellent when HC would be changing rapidly because of airfoils becoming effective or loss of wheels.

* When there was a chance of collision, Austin had the two players write down on the map (laminated modular sections that were compatible with dry erase markers) their movement choices for the phase. This method is similar to the Shot Card system used by the CADC.

* Make sure you have all of the Difficulty ratings for all bends marked on your Turning Keys. Older versions of the Turning Keys do not have the 60-degree and 75-degree bends marked.

* Austin had a wooden stick marked with the To-Hit range modifiers as opposed to a tape measure which would require conversion of the actual distance to the targeting modifier. The Tampa Wrecking Crew also used this play-aid. This tool is described on the archived Tampa Wrecking Crew Web site archived on SWAT HQ.

* Is a range ruler more useful as a long piece of wood or plastic like a yard stick or meter stick, a retractable tape measure or a marked sheet of paper? A long stick looks great but can sometimes be difficult to handle with many 3-D components on a map. A retractable tape measure requires marking the tool. Narrow sheets of paper are flexible but wear out quickly.

* When using upscaled components, explaining the term “inch” means “game inch” or “car length” can be helpful to novice duellists. Austin did a great job with this issue.

* Are the effects of airdams and spoilers too difficult for novices? Should these devices simply give HC bonuses when playing with many beginners? 

* Should open games almost always be run in parallel with a tournament to make playing Car Wars easier for younger players?

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3 Responses to “Dragonflight 2010 Thoughts”

  1. Curt Says:

    Most of the tournaments I run involve brand new
    players, so I eliminate mid-turn acceleration, confetti, and other higher level rules. Also, my pre-gen vehicles are straight forward in their design with few bells and whistles.

  2. Bruce Carroll Says:

    Great ideas! I can’t wait to implement them.

  3. Michael Miller Says:

    Let’s see…in our game at Gen Con this year:

    * Each player kept track of their own speed -but- one of us also kept track of speeds in general, making sure everyone moved when they were supposed to do so. (We just used our heads and/or a piece of paper.)

    * For Turns and Phases we use a portable volleyball scoreboard.

    * Everyone got a copy of our reference sheets. Sheet 1 is all legal Maneuvers as done with a turning key. Sheet 2 includes the Speed and Handling charts and Crash Tables 1 and 2 with examples for doing fishtails and skids using a turning key. (Spinouts and higher are omitted for space reasons. Besides, we’re there for anything worse.) Sheet 3 is Combat and Fire, including graphical examples (with arrows) for determining Speed mods. (FWIW, it uses the terms “Firer” and “Target”.)
    Again, it’s unfortunate that I can’t distribute it.

    * The Bootlegger’s done so rarely that I think the graphical example is plenty. Also, we’re there to help.

    * We start everyone at 30 MPH and you can accelerate before T1P1.

    * We use tape measures. It helps that I’ve scaled up the numbers on our reference sheets to fit 1.5x measurements. (For example, the range penalty is given as -1 for every 6″.)

    * I like “scale unit” for technical descriptions, but spoken we use that plus “scale inch” and “car length”. The symbol I’ve been using for maps and such is a bold, italic lowercase u. We did explain the “scale inch/car length” vs. “actual inch” distinction before play, just to try to prevent people from getting confused when we messed it up. It didn’t seem to matter, but who knows?

    * I don’t remember us having any problems in previous years with vehicles that have both Spoiler and Airdam.

    * I gave up on running a two round tournament (two qualifiers and a final) at Gen Con due to poor turnout, FWIW. We certainly haven’t had problems getting people to come to our one-shots, and we still hand out prizes.

    * While we don’t get rid of any rules we don’t already get rid of, we do try to keep the vehicles simple.

    Good to see more people running Car Wars at cons.

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