I had thought before this that the Armadillo Autoduel Arena looked fairly lame at first. It’s just a large open map sheet with a gigantic mall in the middle. I didn’t take time to make up a new arena like I had meant to, so I figured we could give it a try. If anything, Armadillo is asymmetrical like I had wanted….
With only a few exceptions, we tried to play by fairly strict Compendium 2e rules for the game. For simplicity’s sake, we did play that each phase everyone conducted their movement… and then everyone had a chance to fire weapons. We tried to be conscientious about using reflex rolls to determine who moves first when two vehicles were going the same speed, and over all we were quite pleased with the effect of this on game play. There was just a lot less to argue about.
We also tried to remember to apply penalties to fire if you had maneuvered during that phase. Also, we marked vehicles that had been hit so that we could apply a to-hit penalty to vehicles that had taken hazards from enemy fire. (Cars making passes at each other tend to fire in the same phase, so this doesn’t tend to be as fiddly as you might think.) We also moved the useless top and underbody armor to the much more critical left and right locations.
(Our homebrew speed/range chart seems to be holding up, though neither of us are entirely happy with how we’re accounting for relative movement. For now the main use of high speed under the chart is to maybe gain an extra -1 to be hit and to deny enemy’s their point blank bonuses.)
We chose to randomly determine starting gates for variety’s sake. There’s a long tunnel in the middle of the map that we used as an impromptu eighth gate. One of my cars started the game surrounded by all of my opponent’s cars. My poor driver only lasted 6 seconds of their combined fire, but dealt enough damage to his target that it wasn’t a complete loss. Another of my cars tailed an opponent that was speeding in to join his buddies in ganging up on my lone duelist. My opponent ignored the tail, and that driver got a kill even though I’d forgotten to roll to-hit one turn. That left two of my cars on the opposite end of the action– they kicked it up to seventy in order get in on the fun.
Things were looking pretty good for my team in spite of the rough beginning. In our previous session, pedestrians generally left their vehicles as soon as they caught fire. One car that had caught fire was sitting harmlessly by the grandstands. My car that had gotten a kill sped by it in order to turn back into the fray. (This was difficult to do quickly because we were playing that our handling status only recovered 3 points per second. You just can’t execute consective D6 maneuvers with that rule in effect!) The supposedly “dead” flaming vehicle then lashed out and set my driver’s power plant on fire with a lucky shot! This was very hard to bear. The insane woman driver in her flaming wreck had stayed in the flames so long she was taking serious physical damage!
This left us with my two pristine cars facing two damaged opponents, but my opponent also had two pedestrians right in the middle of the hairball. My two cars each made a pass against a single opponent. The second one was interesting because we both chose to take a maneuver just as we’d closed for a point blank shot. My opponent moved first because of his high reflex roll and did a D2, while I only needed a D1. He missed his shot while I nailed his driver.
The glory wouldn’t last. In the final confrontation, my car that had just scored a solid kill lost his car when he turned and fought too near to the enemy pedestrians. I’d focused all my fire on the last remaining car but I just couldn’t take him down. Finally my last car (practically untouched) pivoted and dealt the killing blow. That last remaining driver got to keep his near-perfect Killer Kart, but got little salvage from his kill because he’d destroyed the power plant with his last shot.
The only person in the duel in danger of dieing was the driver of my first car that had gotten surrounded. He’d gone to -3 DP, but fortunately made his “health check” on 3d6 by rolling a ten exactly.
We were pleasantly surprised at how well the Armadillo arena worked out. Also, we were both pleased at how fair the rules worked out whenever we applied the Compendium 2e rules to the game. While we do play a little loose with the sequence of play sometimes, use house rules for hospitalization and speed/range modifiers, and also are extremely stingy with our extra restrictions on skill points, we admit that even the most fiddly looking rules in 2e make for a much more realistic and flavorful combat.