Archive for March, 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.