Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog

Microgames, Monster Games, and Role Playing Games

Mall Mayhem: An Armadillo Autoduel Arena Rematch

We had such a good experience with Armadillo Autoduel Arena that we decided to try another event there with random starting positions for the 8 vehicles. In the previous game, I’d had doubts that we were being completely consistent tracking damage, so I decided to track all damage scored in the game on a single page without any vehicle record sheets on it. I asked my opponent to pay attention to any duelists that had handling statuses drop below zero so we could keep track of their recovery correctly as well.

Rules wise, we decided to keep everything the same. The previous duel was so good that we didn’t feel the need to change anything. I think we might have been a little lax in keeping track of to-hit penalties due to maneuvers and hazards this time around, though. We kept our house ruled speed/range penalty chart, lenient survival rules, and our stingy skill award system. (We did end up dropping our gentleman’s agreement to do all movement for the phase first, then give everyone an option to fire after that. We also had some hinky fire at the very beginning of the turn before any movement at all. It’s probably time to reread the sequence of play rules again….)

Before we began, I suggested to my opponent that we be really fastidious for the first second of the game and pay extreme attention to the movement order due to the reflex rolls. He did not heed my request and moved most of his vehicles before me. This gave me the opportunity to react to his moves, and each of my pairs of vehicles on opposite sides of the arena ganged up on one of his cars.

On both sides of the arena we successfully took out our initial targets, though one took an especially long time to kill. By the grandstands, one of my cars lost its back and left armor and could not foil the following vehicle even when he dodged behind a TV bunker.

The other fight on the opposite side looked like a cakewalk until the nearly dead enemy lashed out with 6 points of MG damage to the side of one of my cars. That damaged car could no longer get in position without risking exposing a bare side, so the driver panicked and made a U-turn. He just couldn’t get his guns in position anymore after that even against the other closing enemy vehicle. That car’s “wingman” (my other car on that side of the board) got off a killing shot about that moment, but the other opposing vehicle was closing in for a T-bone. At just the last moment I turned in—converting it into a head-on collision. The damage rolled was exactly enough to do two hits of damage to each of the drivers. Body armor doesn’t protect from ram damage, so they were both knocked unconscious.

Meanwhile, over by the grandstands the hairball had shaken out so that we each were down to a single vehicle over there. Being very irate about the pedestrians from the last game, I said, “throw down your SMG, or I’ll kill you!” The pedestrian refused and responded with hand weapon fire. (The other opposing car was going too fast to bring his guns to bear for the next couple of seconds, so I thought I had time to take care of this. In any case, my lack of side armor on the car sort of forced me to target the ped anyway.)

I think I missed the pedestrian once, hit him for one or two points of damage on the next shot, and then did a single point of damage as I rammed him against his abandoned car. On the other hand, he managed to hit my power plant through the exposed facing. My car caught fire and the flame damage was exactly enough to cause my driver to go unconscious. To add insult to injury, the pedestrian pulled my driver from the flaming wreck—scoring a rare 3 point prestige bonus in the process for the sheer audacity of the act. The television crews at the event ate it up.

That left both sides with exactly one car each. My car’s left side was gone, but his car’s front armor was gone and he had only one DP left on his MG because he had taken down one of my cars already with a deadly rear-end ram. We took several seconds to accelerate and get into position. As we closed for the final pass, we traded shots. He missed, but I had rolled a natural twelve to take out his MG and set his power plant on fire. Even a parting sideswipe couldn’t even things up at that point, so he conceded.

The Armadillo arena has turned out to be an excellent location for our team events. It’s large enough that going any particular direction generally commits you to being in a particular sector for ten seconds—an eternity by Car Wars standards. Also, the randomized start positions in an already asymmetrical environment ensure that each pitched battle is subtly different as well.

Tactically, things were a wash. The Killer Karts are egg shells, but they can still take six seconds or more to kill even under heavy fire. Because we don’t reset handling status each turn, I drive much more conservatively. With our stingy skill point awards, that means I don’t pick up driver’s skill points in the games now. (We only give the usual driver skill point award for an event if the duelist makes a successful control roll.) My five mph pivot maneuvers leave me open to be rammed by my opponent, but the rams are risky and can cripple the attacker even if they are successful.

We were very pleased with the combination of solid Compendium 2e rules, the Armadillo map, and the minimal number of house rules. Sure, I have won three matches in a row now (and my opponent was nearly irate about that), but I’m not sure that Car Wars is a particularly good game to attempt to play competitively with only two players. There’s too many opportunities for serious mistakes to be made, and a lot of trust is required without a referee. We knew that going in, so the main purpose of the campaign was to generate interesting background for an ongoing alternating-refereeing type troupe style rpg. As far as that goes, my opponent is killing me. The flame damaged insane female from the last game is clearly a Daredevil with a High Pain Threshold. The minister that rescued my driver from the flaming wreck this game clearly has Enhanced Dodge, Luck and some sort of Code of Honor.

There’s a lot less salvage being generated in our games now because so many of the cars catch fire ever since we remembered to apply the 2 in 6 chance of fire for MG damage on power plants. Our slower speeds and larger arenas seem to cause a lot more vehicle losses as well. Winning a Killer Kart duel is worth some prestige, but the real money is going to be in the later Joseph Special and Hot Shot rounds. We’ve now played 5 of the 8 Killer Kart rounds—those high end events just aren’t that far off anymore. I wonder how much the dynamic will change when we switch Stingers… but we won’t have much time to adapt because the vehicle types will change pretty quickly at that point.

Anyways, this is great Car Wars…. Definitely some of the most fun I’ve ever had with the game….


4 responses to “Mall Mayhem: An Armadillo Autoduel Arena Rematch

  1. Hermes March 27, 2008 at 8:51 pm

    How long did it take to play all that out?

  2. jeffro March 28, 2008 at 6:37 am

    All of the 4-on-4 Killer Kart duels are taking almost exactly 3 hours to play out– regardless of the optional rules, house rules, or rules misinterpretations we play by.

  3. Hermes March 28, 2008 at 6:23 pm

    Yeah, I’ve been pondering getting a 5E arena campaign going with some friends and was curious how much faster 5E plays than C2E. It seems like it’s significantly quicker.

    Of course, the lack of design rules is a drag, but you already knew that. ;)

  4. jeffro March 28, 2008 at 6:35 pm

    I haven’t designed any cars for the past several sessions– eliminating custom designs can help shift the focus away from gadgets and more towards driving and shooting.

    The main problem with 5e is scale, IMO. We’re already using the whole table now. Shifting to 5e would put us in such a cramped space by comparison– the tactical effects of the gigantic Armadillo Arena are just much fun.

    But the new flame rules for 5e we really fun back when I was playing them….

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: