We played a couple of “Team Amateur Night” events this past weekend. We used 4 stock Killer Karts on each team at Southtown Arena in Indiana. These were pretty complicated games running about three hours long each (but only hitting at about 15 seconds of game time.) We played mostly by Compendium 2e rules, though we agreed to simply reset handling tracks at the end of each turn and also to use a modified speed/range chart. The chart was basically pulled from GURPS 4e, but I converted mph to yards per second and CAR WARS “inches” to yards. Taking the GURPS modifier and adding 6 to it results in something pretty close to the classic CAR WARS modifiers but with (at medium-short range) maybe a -1 or -2 penalty for high speeds added onto it. The cool thing about it is that speed mods have no effect at long range… and a lot of effect at close range.
On our first event, we entered the arena on opposite sides. My opponent entered the central area immediately, but I pulled my vehicles toward each other so that they could enter the central area from a middle opening instead of one of the diagonals. As we entered the central area in two groups of two, my opponents 4 vehicles were converging on them. My opponent had much better targeting mods due to the set-up. I was suddenly very afraid– I was sure that he could get his group to tailgate mine and pick us apart one by one with little chance of return fire. I accelerated and split up, hoping that one group could somehow cover the other.
Things got ugly for my first group. All four opposing vehicles converged on them and they took heavy fire as they continued to accelerate attempting to leave the central section of the arena. My other vehicles circled back to come to their defense. One of the opposing vehicles made an extreme maneuver in order to get a shot in. He failed his control roll and he turned sideways and began to roll. The mob of vehicles continued to converge and one slipped around the rolling vehicle and then made a sharp turn to get another shot off. He failed his control roll as well and began a spin out. My cars turned to exit the central area and one of them failed a control roll, skidded, and then rammed a barrier.
My other two cars slowed down and concentrated fire on the spun out vehicle while the other vehicles attempted to pull around back into the action. The now stationary target could do nothing to prevent us from shooting up the driver. This left us with 3 cars on my team versus two on the other. In the final face off, I used one of my damaged cars to ram one of my opponent’s fresh cars. I had a pair of other vehicles slow down and combine fire against the other, taking out its driver from the rear.
On our second game, we agreed that the 4-on-4 “in formation” game was maybe not optimal. Off the cuff, we agreed to have vehicles from each side enter in pairs in each of the four gates. We rolled 1d6 to determine how fast each group was going and agreed to abide by the “tag team” rule of no fire unless we had no more than 2 vehicles in each section. The idea was the break things up a bit and make things a little less predictable. We also worked up some rules to make the speed modifiers come out a little more sensibly. (See the rules for “Head-on”, “Crossing the T”, and “Tailgating” below.)
The faster pairs entered the central region directly. In one pair, my opponent slowed down faster than me by just 5 or 10 mph or so. He was able to shoot up my car and sideswipe me multiple times and killed my vehicle in two seconds. In a similar situation on the opposite side, I had a similar advantage, but was not able to capitalize on it due to missed to-hit rolls, low damage rolls, and also to my not realizing that the sideswipe was a viable tactic.
In another corner, I slowed down to 5 mph while my opponent accelerated away. As soon as I could fire, I began shooting at his rear and quickly killed his driver. On the other side, our two vehicles fanned out, heading toward opposite corners. My opponent turned on a dime and got a lucky shot through my side before I could react. I turned back to face him down, taking more fire to that side. I turned into the central area, but miscalculated my turn. Another speeding opponent on the inside was able to take me out with a shot that just barely could hit that weakened side…. That was a mistake that easily cost me the game– especially when combined with the bad luck in another of the pairings.
One of my surviving vehicles ended up chasing one of the opposing team. I’d occasionally get a shot off, but the penalties were generally pretty bad and the walls in the arena were effective in eliminating the continuous fire bonus. In the chaos, I was reduced to a single vehicle. I ran it out of the central section just as two opposing vehicles were rounding the corner. As I’d lost my MG to an opponent the aggressively targeted fronts in spite of the extra penalty, I was hoping for a T-bone at 35 mph in order to save face. Things didn’t work out– the t-bone turned out to be a head-on, and the extra damage was enough to kill my driver permanently.
So we ended up each with a single victory and some continuing characters. We drove a lot more conservatively in the second game after all of the wipe outs in the first round. With to-hit targets running in the 9 to 11 range, we quickly discovered the importance of rams in the second game. I’m considering shifting the to-hit bonus for translating the GURPS targeting mods from +6 to +7– that would encourage a little more shooting and a little less ramming, hopefully– but I wouldn’t want that change to negatively impact other events beyond the amateur night scene. Here’s my current proposed chart:
We had discussed using these house rules to eliminate handling status tracking, but I was concerned about its effects on a series of small D1 maneuvers and hazards that got more dangerous. After seeing these two games run with almost excessive use of d6 maneuvers being used in the dog fights, I’d almost consider using both systems. Any Bootlegger, T-stop, d4, d5, or d6 maneuver should require a driver skill roll as described in those house rules– on top of any control rolls required by the handling status. Of course, that adds complexity to an already complex system… which kinda defeats the purpose of the house rules…. It’s just a thought, though.
One thing was sure, we didn’t want to do all of our amateur night duels in the same arena. The next time we duel, it will be at the Amex Proving Grounds. We’ll have pairs of vehicles enter each of the four gates and then swerve off into their respective corner pockets– forcing hopefully a fairer initial duel than what we got with our last game. I’d almost recommend not giving the contestants complementary body armor like we did just to make sure things end quicker. Making to-hit rolls slightly easier and punishing hard core maneuvers a bit should create some more interesting games, I think….