Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog

Microgames, Monster Games, and Role Playing Games

“Amateur Kart” Duel at Gallagher Autodueling Stadium

In the Jeffro & Earlburt 2029 campaign, we pretty much run all of our characters through grueling Killer Kart events at various arenas. This is actually pretty fun, though what few house-rules we have are tuned for just this sort of event. Duelists that do well and earn prestige get the chance to drive in slightly more expensive cars like Stingers or Iron Horses. The ones that don’t do so well…? Well what should happen with those guys, anyway?! In a recent game, Earlburt and I chose to put them into even cheaper cars, confined in an arena that is the same size as a football field.

Amateur Kart: Subcompact, Standard Chassis, Small Power Plant, Improved Suspension, Standard Tires, driver only, MML front, JD back. Armor: F8, R5, L5, B5, T2, U2. Accel. 5, Top Speed 96, HC 3, 2,166 lbs., $2,597. (Note: this car was designed by somebody on the Steve Jackson Games CAR WARS forum.)

The two teams were Jeffro (red/pink/gold/green) and Earlburt (black/blue/grey/silver). Note that we refer to individual vehicles with the name of the vehicle depicted on the counter for convenience. You can see from the mess below how tight everything got:

You know, everyone did seem to converge on the center there....

On the left side of the arena, the gold Security Six has coasted to a stop after having its engine shot out on the opposite side. (The long trail of debris is from the Security Six’s junk dropper.) This situation was disastrous: the guns of his teammate in the red Econobox were blocked and he was forced to surrender to the black Bombardier! With everything in motion, it is very hard to anticipate these sorts of interactions, but I still feel like I should have known to stop that Security Six and position it better.

The blue Sargasso had driven violently toward the center, but went into a spinout. Its driver recovered and drove to the outside area in order to look for a fight. I think he had some tires that were blown, but this only made it marginally harder to maneuver. (Under the Compendium rules, you only lose the ability to maneuver if you have wheels destroyed on two or more corners. Debris can only cause tire blowouts, so it is really just an annoyance more than anything else.)

The green Scorcher has just killed the blue Courier and then pivoted to trade fire with the grey Texan. Unfortunately, his unconscious team-mate in the pink Applause has just killed him with a head-on collision. Tough break! (The pink Applause had killed the grey Texan, but was subsequently killed by the black Bombardier in the early battle passes.)

All of this left Earlburt with two operational vehicles to my lone Econobox. These remaining three cars didn’t have enough oomph to finish each other off, so this was pretty much game. On the whole this was a pretty strange session: kind of like a clock that is slowly winding down. Everything depended on being able to get a decent shot off on an opposing vehicle’s side armor. Without some decent continuous fire modifiers, the cheap MML’s just aren’t going to be hitting subcompacts, though– and with only ten shots, you don’t have long to do what you need to do!

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2 responses to ““Amateur Kart” Duel at Gallagher Autodueling Stadium

  1. RogerBW December 13, 2011 at 6:46 am

    Sounds like a decent way to get started in a campaign. I’m not sure how popular it would be in TV terms, though – not a lot of blood and gore, from your description. Maybe even less armor?

    • jeffro December 13, 2011 at 8:39 am

      This is actually a minor point of contention between Earlburt and myself. I have argued that Amateur Night events would be rigged for (a) whatever produced the best footage and (b) whatever promoted the most vehicle-related products. A strict reading of the original pocket box game implies that any car from the original stock lists might have been used. Jim Gould’s Amateur Night article goes on at length about not shooting at your opponents’ turrets and also mentions off-hand that you might get dropped into a Joseph Special. Putting it together, Amateur Night was originally for cars even up to the $8,000 and even $15,000 range… and they probably had several options to choose from in addition to giving duellists a choice in how to allocate their armor. The best duelists could quickly obtain enough money to buy some really nice cars to play in divisional events after a few sessions like this.

      I think it was in the Armadillo Arena expansion that the most common Amateur Night vehicle was established as being… the Killer Kart. Fiction further developed this “cheap” approach to the game, and Earlburt accepts these retcons as canonical. (This change more than anything else eliminated the rags-to-riches campaign from most groups’ repertoires and encouraged them to move to the “Corporate” approach where they could play whatever games they fancied.)

      Our compromise is to accept the Killer Kart events as the usual thing… but allow the duelists with the best prestige scores to get to play in the more expensive cars in their third or fourth outing. (The three game limit that cropped up in some folks’ Amateur Night rules seems inconsistent with a cheap game… unless the winner gets the salvage value of *all* the cars, which I think was Aaron Allston’s method. But we like tracking each individual duelist’s salvage so that you get varying degrees of success in the games over time– it just seems more fun that way….)

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