Archive for the ‘Death Race’ Category

Car Combat Central on Twitter

August 27, 2014

SWAT has a new account on Twitter called Car Combat Central. It is dedicated to all types of tabletop automotive combat games including Car Wars, Outrider, Phil Tortorici’s Road Rage and Dark Future. It is also intended for discussions of automotive combat movies and fiction.

Twitter – Car Combat Central


July 7th Random Thoughts on Car Wars 6th Edition

July 7, 2012

When reading the ongoing discussions regarding Car Wars 6th Edition on the SJ Games Car Wars Discussion Forum and on BoardGameGeek, I starting writing random thoughts on this subject. The ones I have so far are presented below.

I have few answers to these questions, but I hope this post and posts that follow will generate positive and productive discussions.


Machine-Guns, Damage and the 1d6 Challenge

The basic vehicular weapon of Car Wars is the Machine-Gun. Autoduel Champions introduced the Vulcan Machine-Gun, Car Wars Tanks introduced the Heavy Machine-Gun and Infantry Machine-Gun. Uncle Albert’s Military Surplus Catalog in Autoduel Quarterly Volume 9 introduced the Heavy Vulcan Machine-Gun. UACFH introduced the Light Machine-Gun and Infantry Vulcan-Machine Gun.

In Uncle Albert’s 2035 Catalog and in the article Car Wars Vehicle Design Strategy from Autoduel Quarterly Volume 1, the MG was identified as a 0.50-inch (12.7mm) caliber machine-gun.

Based on the history of machine-gun development and the addition of several types of machine-guns to Car Wars since Car Wars First Edition was released, the MG should be assigned as 0.30 inches (7.62 mm) in caliber.

The MG creates 1d6 of damage per shot. One second of MG fire is a burst of rounds. Assigning one second of MG fire as 1d6 of damage made Car Wars simple, fast and playable 30 years ago. When more weapons were added to the game system, this benchmark has created a challenge of assigning proper damage values to other weapons. A 1d6 MG makes assessment of damage from pedestrian weapons and melee combat weapons, needed to simulate Mad Max-style, low-technology automotive combat, more difficult than if the MG damage value was higher.

In the main Car Wars rulebook, Chassis and Crossbow First Edition (in Autoduel Quarterly Vol. 1, No. 3) and Chassis and Crossbow Second Edition (in Dueltrack), pedestrian weapons and melee combat weapons are considered to inflict half or no damage against vehicular components.

Classic BattleTech and MechWarrior have different damage values for BattleMech weapons and infantry weapons. Most of the latter inflict no damage against BattleMechs.

GURPS has set the damage of one round from a 7.62mm MG as 7d6. GURPS has a detailed system for a wide range of damage values for vehicular, pedestrian and melee weapons. If I understand the GURPS combat system correctly, one facing of an Car Wars vehicle in GURPS would absorb the damage from a one-second burst of a 7.62mm MG, however all of the armor would be destroyed with that single shot.

Melee weapons can affect vehicles in the real world. Movies have shown many examples of melee weapons used against cars. Two notable scenes are the Toecutter’s Gang using assorted melee weapons on a car in Mad Max, and the crossbows used against the tractor-trailer in Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior.


Computer Games, Console Games, Low-Tech Autoduelling, Arena Combat and Highway Combat

I mention low-tech autoduelling because I strongly feel having a set of Car Wars rules that can accommodate Mad Max-style combat well is important for attracting new and old players to Car Wars. In 1981, the year when Car Wars was first released, console and computer games were beginning their decades-long journey towards the sophisticated titles of 2012. Very few automotive combat electronic games were available. The most notable title was the original Car Wars computer game by Texas Instruments. If someone is interested in automotive combat, that individual will likely select a computer or console game instead of a tabletop game. A new Twisted Metal game was released three months ago for the Sony PlayStation 3. A tabletop game such as Car Wars will have difficulty attracting the attention of gamers from detailed electronic games such as Twisted Metal 2012 if Car Wars does not provide interesting and unique aspects of automotive combat not found in electronic games. The number of gamers who play a new edition of Car Wars will never reach the numbers in the 1980s and early 1990s, but making Car Wars different than electronic games might create enough new and returning gamers to support a small but stable Car Wars community again.

One of the reasons I believe Interstate ’76 was a successful computer game is the title had two types of autoduelling like Car Wars: highway combat and arena combat. Highway combat took place in the scenarios. Arena combat took place in multi-player games.

In the late 1980s, the focus of Car Wars shifted from a game with a rich background and capable of simulating many types of vehicular action to the annual schedule of AADA arena tournaments. This environment was fine for those individuals who were fortunate to be a member of a Car Wars group that could play regularly. For many of those Car Wars fans who could only play semi-regularly and were interested in more types of Car Wars games than a weekly or bi-weekly arena fight, the Car Wars community was less user-friendly.

Highway combat was the reason why Car Wars quickly gained popularity. A new edition of Car Wars should not forget this legacy. Arena combat might be more popular, especially at conventions, but the scenario that helped propel Car Wars to success should be promoted in addition to arena fights.

Two new Mad Max films are being produced in Namibia as these words are being written. If the intellectual property issues could be accommodated, could the new Mad Max films help promote a new edition of Car Wars?


Death Race

Friday, August 22, 2008 was a dream come true for many Car Wars fans. This date was the opening day for Death Race, one of the best movies of modern automotive combat. I consider Mad Max 1 and Mad Max 2 as movies of low-tech, post-apocalyptic automotive combat.

Death Race presented an interesting system of combat racing with track-activated metal plates (Swords and Shields) used to activate offensive and defensive weapons.

Most veteran Car Wars players are probably familiar with the problem in Car Wars combat races can end quickly because everyone is destroyed by weapons fire in the first lap. The Death Race system Swords and Shields could be a simple solution to this problem.

The reaction to Death Race by many Car Wars fans appears to be only slightly positive. Why did many Car Wars players not show high levels of excitement when Death Race appeared on movie screens?

If the intellectual property issues could be accommodated, could Death Race help promote a new edition of Car Wars?


Thrown Grenades

The direction of a thrown grenade should be determined using rules based on 1d8 instead of 1d6. Use of another type of die than 1d6 in Car Wars might be an idea that is inconceivable to veteran players, however after 31 years this small change should not be significantly disruptive. It can be used as variant. The original rules based on 1d6 are still available in Car Wars Compendium 2.5.


Launched Grenades

Should a scatter check always be performed for launched grenades? What happens if a launched grenade is aimed directly at a target like a weapon such as a MG that requires direct line of sight?



Shotguns are very effective at close range but lose effectiveness quickly as the range between the shotgun and target increases. The damage of shotguns should be increased at short ranges applying similar rules to Sonic Cannon in Uncle Albert’s 2048 Catalog Update.


Alternative Power Sources

When Car Wars was released in 1981, gasoline engines were dominant (in the real world). Car Wars vehicles would considered to use rechargeable electric batteries after the Oil Crash. In 2012, there are multiple alternative power systems for cars, motorcycles and tractor-trailers that were not developed in 1981. The American Le Mans Series has race cars that use many different types of fuels. How can a new edition of Car Wars have rules for these new power sources?

* Hybrid Gasoline-Electric Battery Systems
* 85% Ethanol-15% Gasoline (E85)
* 10% Ethanol-90% Gasoline (E10)
* Biodiesel (Produced commercially and by consumers)
* Turbocharged Diesel (Best examples are Audi’s Le Mans Prototype Race Cars)
* Methanol (Used in IndyCars for years)
* Sulfur-Free Diesel
* Cellulosic Ethanol
* Isobutanol
* Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS)
* Algae-Based Fuels
* Sugar Cane-Based Ethanol
* Natural Gas


Dropped Weapons and Interstate ’76

In Car Wars, automatic fire from a dropped weapon is performed by placing a dropped weapon counter every phase the vehicle carrying the dropped weapon moves. A heavy-duty dropped weapon requires a modification such as firing a half-sized, heavy-duty counter or firing every other phase to prevent counter overlap.

Car Wars dropped weapons have significantly lower ammunition capacities than dropped weapons in Interstate ’76.

In Car Wars, a 25-shot Oil Jet or 25-shot Ice Dropper, when placed on automatic, will be empty in 25 phases or five seconds. In Interstate ’76, dropped liquid and dropped gas weapon have larger ammunition capacities. Real-world dropped weapons would likely have larger ammunition capacities. Could a dropped weapon use one shot of ammunition for every five phases of automatic fire? Could the ammunition capacities of dropped liquid and dropped gas weapons be increased by a multiple of five? When applying this change, the CPS and WPS would remain the same. Each shot would provide five phases of ammunition.


Blox Dropper

Interstate ’76 had a dropped weapon that fired concrete blocks that damaged car internal components. This weapon would be useful in a Chassis and Crossbow scenario.


Real-World Effects of Oil

In Car Wars, hitting an oil slick is not a direct hazard. In the real world, in movies and in television shows, hitting oil immediately affects handling, current speed, acceleration and braking.


Real-World Effects of Ice

In Car Wars, hitting ice is a hazard. In the real world, in movies, and in television shows, hitting ice affects handling, current speed, acceleration and braking.


Real-World Weights

Car Wars is not intended to be a real-world simulation. Movie-type physics make the game playable and fun. One area of the game that could be closer to the real world that would not decrease playability is real-world weights of most items. An empty Car Wars MG weighs 150 lbs. An empty Car Wars MG weighs 350 lbs. According to articles and ADQ&A entries in Autoduel Quarterly, this weights include GURPS cyberslave-type weapon mounts. Tripod weapons weigh 50 percent of their vehicular counterparts. In the real world, a 7.62mm MG weighs approximately 20 lbs. and a 7.62mm VMG weighs less than 150 lbs. Real-world weights should be used to permit different weapon mounts to be added. In the second season of the television series Viper, one episode had an electronically-controlled 0.50-caliber HMG removed from the Defender and used as a pedestrian-operated weapon. In Car Wars, the rules system does not permit such a tactic.

Vehicular armor is too heavy. Real-world equivalents to Car Wars plastic armor such as Kevlar, fiberglass and carbon-fiber composites weigh less. Vehicular armor weights are intended to be abstract to keep the game playable, however approximating armor weights to real-world values would help the game. Less armor weight would provide more weight capacity for all types of vehicular items including cargo.

Ammunition in Car Wars is too heavy. One shot from a MG in Car Wars consists of 20 or more rounds and not a single cartridge, however in the real world individual cartridges are lightweight. Ammunition should be interchangeable between different weapons such as 7.62mm MG and a 7.62mm VMG. This idea brings up the idea of Rates of Fire (ROF) discussed in GURPS. How can multiple-round weapons such as MGs be simulated better in Car Wars? This question goes back to the 1d6 MG problem.

Pedestrian weapons such as assault rifles and submachine guns can be mounted on real world vehicles. No rules exist in Car Wars for mounting these weapons on vehicles.



Interstate ’76 had mortars that could be placed on cars. Minimal rules for mortars in Car Wars were printed in Autoduel Quarterly Volume 5 and Car Wars Tanks. New rules and new weapons need to be written for these weapons that could be useful in Car Wars scenarios.


Military Weapons and One-Shot Kills

Military weapons are extremely effective in the real world because they are often one-shot, one-kill weapons. Car Wars combats can be considered having an intensity between pedestrian firearms and military weaponry. Not all real-world military weapons should be imported into a new Car Wars edition.


Semi-Ablative Plastic Armor

Would cars last longer in duels if plastic armor was semi-ablative like metal armor? GURPS had rules for removing units of armor after the armor absorbed a certain amount of damage.


Strengthening Metal Armor

Would vehicles survive duels longer if metal was lighter and was more difficult to destroy?


Alternative Metal Armor Types

In the real world different types of metal armor besides basic steel exist such as titanium and aluminum.


Steam-Powered Cars

In Escape From New York, many cars were converted to steam. This conversion would be useful in a post-apocalyptic world.


Frames, Chassis and Tires

The weight of tires should not count against the weight of the vehicle. This issue was discussed in Autoduel Quarterly, but after 31 years players of Car Wars should be able to accommodate this change.


Skill Rolls

Should an optional skill system based on d20 be introduced?


Crash Tables and Difficulty Ratings of Maneuvers and Hazards

The Difficulty of a maneuver or hazard should apply directly to a Crash Table result instead of subtracting 3 from the Difficulty.


Crash Table Values

The Crash Tables should be based on a d6, d10 or d20 instead of 2d6. The Crash Tables were originally based on 1d6.


External Weapons

Most weapons mounted on military vehicles are placed on the exterior surfaces of those vehicles. Rules for mounting weapons directly on the frame of a vehicle such as in Death Race do not exist in Car Wars.


Pickups and Vans

Pickups in 2012 can be heavier than Car Wars pickups. In addition to carrying higher weight, real world pickups have very high towing capacities.

Unlike in Car Wars, vans in the real world can have very high weights. The tall vans used by United Parcel Service can carry large loads.


Pickups and Trailers

Car Wars does not have a pickup cargo bed fifth wheel.


Extended Trailer Hitch

Car Wars does not have the long trailer hitch that often connects two trailers in 2012.


Caseless Ammunution

The Heckler and Koch G11 caseless ammunition assault rifle project was abandoned in the 1990s because of the fall of the Warsaw Pact. When will caseless ammunition be in widespread use?

Death Race 2 Song Credits

February 26, 2011

Death Race 2 Song Credits

“Stick ‘Em Up”
Performed by Quarashi
Written by Sölvi Blöndal, amar Örn Hauksson and Hoskuldur Olafsson
(P) 2002 Sony Music Entertainment (USA)

Performed by Celldweller
Written by Klayton
Courtesy of FiXT/Position Music

“Picture My Pain”
Performed by Kool Whip
Written by Jason Richardson A/K/A Kool Whip
Courtesy of Julio Sanchez/Goldtoes Entertainment

“Black Betty”
Performed by Spiderbait
Written by Huddie Ledbetter
Courtesy of Universal Music Australia Pty Ltd. under license from
Universal Music Enterprises

Performed by Celldweller
Written by Klayton
Courtesy of FiXT/Position Music

Performed by Celldweller
Written by Klayton
Courtesy of FiXT/Position Music

“Purple Haze”
Performed by Groove Armada
Written by Melvin E. Adams, Andy Cato, Thomas Charles Findlay,
William Rahaan Hughes, Francis Dominic Michael Rossi, Brian K. Scott,
Ronald C. Wilson, Wallace Whigfield Wilson and Robert Keith Young
(P) 2002 Zomba Recording LLC

Performed by Celldweller
Written by Klayton
Courtesy of FiXT/Position Music

Performed by Doves
Written by Jamie Francis Alexander Goodwin, Andrew Sebastion Williams
and Jeremy Francis Williams
Courtesy of EMI Records Ltd. by arrangement with
EMI Music South Africa

“An Entrance”
Performed by Jose Cancela and Amy Beauchamp
Written by Jose Cancela and Amy Beauchamp
Courtesy of Anthem Audio Arts

“One Fine Day”
Giacomo Puccini (PD)
Arranged by Christopher Todd Landor
Courtesy of Opus I Music Library

Performed by Celldweller feat. Styles of Beyond
Written by Klayton, Ryan Maginn and Takbir Bashir
Courtesy of FiXT/Position Music

Death Race Song Credits

February 26, 2011

Death Race
Soundtrack on Back Lot and on Intrada

“Maybe Tomorrow”
Written by Stuart Cable, Kelly Jones, Richard Jones
Performed by Stereophonics
Courtesy of V2 Music Limited
Under License from Universal Music Enterprises

“Click Clack”
Written by Pharrell Williams, Stayve Thomas, Terrance Thornton, Chad Hugo
Performed by Slim Thug Featuring Pusha
Courtesy of Geffen Records
Under License from Universal Music Enterprises
Pusha Appears Courtesy of Laface Records
By Arrangement with Sony BMG Music Entertainment

“Grown Woman”
Written by Mary J. Blige, Dejion Madison, Terius Nash
Performed by Mary J. Blige
Courtesy of Geffen Records
Under License from Universal Music Enterprises

“5th Set”
Written by Mark Maher, Janet English, Damian Whitty
Performed by Spiderbait
Courtesy of Universal Music Australia Pty Ltd.
Under License from Universal Music Enterprises