Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog

Microgames, Monster Games, and Role Playing Games

Early Changes in the Movement Rules

After taking a close look, there are quite a few key rules that changed in Car Wars between the version 3.0 pocketbox rules and the Scott Haring Deluxe Edition revision.  Most of the big changes that came later had to do with making advanced versions of the sections of rules that were originaly just glossed over: the collision rules, the incendiary rules, the grenade rules, the encumbrance rules.  All of these subsystems would later get supersized into advanced editions, but its often the little things that have the bigger impact on the flavor of a game.

Debris was a much bigger deal in the early version of the game: it caused a D2 hazard instead of the D1 of the later editions.  And almost any collision could cause a whopping D4 hazard to both parties.  These two rules can make it a lot harder to keep all four wheels on the road!

Perhaps the biggest change is in the Crash Tables.  I didn’t notice this back when I reviewed the development of the key  maneuver rules, but the Crash Table was originally a 1d6 affair even up to the Deluxe Edition.  (It wasn’t until the first compendium that they switched to a 2D6 table.)  This can obviously have a huge effect on the outcome of your crashes; it makes the soul-numbing “Roll and Burn” a much more likely event!  On the other hand, if you are using the Deluxe rule of subtracting your Driver skill from your Crash Table rolls, then skill can go a long way toward ameliorating the problem. 

I’ve played by the Compendium 2e rules religiously for the past while, but this discovery makes me think that the original relex roll system and the “1d6” crash tables with subtracting driver skill are a satisfactory approach to running the a game.  There was still room for improvement… but I don’t think that Compendium 2e had the best solution anymore: they clearly dropped the ball when they moved Driver Skill back to being practically meaningless in a crash.

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