Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog

Microgames, Monster Games, and Role Playing Games

CWQ&A: Where can I find scenarios for the CAR WARS Compendium?

Erik Twice asks: “So far, I’m only have the Compendium, which doesn’t seem to include any scenarios. Where can I find some? ”

Scott Haring’s Deluxe Edition rulebook included a healthy scenario section, but this was dropped from the Compendiums. Later boxed sets included a pull-out of the same material, so it’s one of those quirks of fate that the Compendium you have is without any scenarios. The book sort of assumes you already have stacks of CAR WARS stuff, or else that it came in a box with several more essential bits….

The most common CAR WARS scenario historically is arena duelling where 5 to 7 players each design their own cars for a gigantic free-for-all. Pick a budget and go for it! (For a high powered game, try $30,000; for a simpler death-match, try $10,000.) The original pocket box included rules for a rags-to-riches style campaign with the players taking the roles of media stars. As the game expanded, corporate play (detailed in ADQ 4/4) allowed for both continuing characters and the option to play whatever scenario people were in the mood for. L’Outrance is a great supplement because it includes lots of good arena layouts and also has the corporate rules.

If you’re in the mood for street fighting, check out the now classic Sunday Drivers scenarios. These were originally published in Space Gamer, reprinted in a black pocket box edition, and then later included with the original deluxe box. In my opinion, the victory conditions are broken and this might only be fun for hard core CAR WARS fans, but if you want to see an apocalyptic cityscape crawling with autoduelists, armed pedestrians, and crazed cyclists, this is your go-to game.

My random advice:

  • Learn to drive. Cars like the Stinger and the Killer Kart will make the game about driving and shooting and create an old school biplane combat feel. (An elaborate set-up that ends after fifteen minutes with someone rolling their car at 90 mph is just silly.)
  • If you play cars with heavy armor, someone will have to do a ram to win the game. (This may not be fun as it will stop the game while you hash out the rules.) Also, tire shooting becomes more prevalent the thicker the armor is.
  • Hand weapons and body armor can increase playing time by 50% or more at the lower divisions. My most memorable games included pedestrians, but it was time consuming to play them out.
  • There’s no need to worry about budgets or designing car at first– put everyone in identical vehicles until they get the hang of the game. Make up whatever car design you’d think produce the most fun for this. Change the design and arena layout each game until you discover what you like.
  • A set of heterogeneous designs are unlikely to be balanced… and even if you have a balanced set they might not be when run with your particular house-rules, referee style, and/or rules misinterpretations.

The old role playing adventures from ADQ (Convoy, Badlands Run, Grand Theft Autoduel, Midwest Passage,  etc.) can be a nice change of pace after a lot of competitive arena combat. They can often be played on just a few road sections for the most part, making a nice compact game.

There were also many mini-scenarios published in ADQ over the years. The mini-scenario concept debuted in ADQ 2/3, ADQ 3/2 presented four more, ADQ 4/2 had two, and ADQ 4/4 had five! (When ADQ went big, issues 8/2 and 9/3 presented an epic number of mini-scenarios for the Duelling in the USA series.) Earlburt and I have managed to work several of these into our campaigns: “Midville II”, “Rush Hour”, and “The Guantlet” all provided situations that very different from the usual CAR WARS session. Note that mini-scenarios can still take hours to play out– they’re only “mini” because they’re a barebones scenario that wouldn’t have required a brand-new hand drawn map to play it on.


6 responses to “CWQ&A: Where can I find scenarios for the CAR WARS Compendium?

  1. RogerBW January 22, 2012 at 10:40 am

    One might reasonably taxonomize Car Wars games by style of fight: the formal (arena duels and races, and the grey area between them) versus the informal (road fights). Orthogonal to this, any style can be turned into a campaign by keeping characters between scenarios: arena is rags-to-riches or corporate, racing is probably corporate, road fights become a courier or trucking campaign.

  2. Erik Twice January 25, 2012 at 8:37 am

    Hey, thanks a lot for your post!

    Now that I have finally received a copy of the Spanish edition of the Compendium and have memorized most of the rules I think I’m ready to get some games going. Scenarios will come later, sure, but I will try to have them prepared so this is in great help :)

    Why do you think Sunday Drivers scenarios are broken? I haven’t heard much info about them. So far, I think I might get some of those mini-scenarios you talk about, they don’t seem too complex for a beginner compared to a more full-sized campaign. Running an adventure would be cool but I would first need to get my friends into the game and with so much competition with other games chances are we will never take it to that level.


    • jeffro January 25, 2012 at 9:15 am

      If I recall correctly, the victory points reward the collapsing of buildings way to much. That or else it is too easy to collapse buildings according to the rules. This leads to the gang loading up on HR’s and RL’s and doing a single pass without tangling with the peds and cars so much. I don’t think that was quite the intent of the game. Also note… the scenario will be radically different depending on what equipment you allow. (It was originally designed for pocket box, not compendium.)

  3. Erik Twice January 26, 2012 at 6:29 am

    I just noticed something, the Spanish edition of the compendium has scenarios and I think it’s the ones you are talking about since it talks about Midville and also has some pages on a Truck Stop.

    The one you are refering to is the second one, the gang gets three times the DP of buildings it destroys, which must be a lot! It still looks cool so if I ever get a map of Midville I may play it.

    So far I’m thinking of getting issues 8/2 and 9/3, because they have a good deal of scenarios and the corporate rules are in L’Outrance, which is a book I will get sooner or later.

  4. Pingback: CWQ&A: Suggestions for Continuing Car Wars Campaigns « Jeffro’s Car Wars Blog

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