My son asked for CAR WARS again and I wanted to try to avoid falling in a rut, so this time I randomly selected two “Division 5 Pro” vehicles from the Division 5 Vehicle Guide. This yielded the Doom Wheel (good acceleration, horrible tires, a wimpy incendiary machine gun and a gunner, fireproof armor) and the Roaster (poor acceleration, decent tires, two flame throwers, a flaming oil jet, and a fire extinguisher.) My son chose the Doom Wheel– I think because he wanted to go fast, control the tempo, and ram me to death. We both choose to allocate the extra armor to the front in order to make the vehicles into ad hoc ram cars. Here’s the complete play by play:
Turn 1: Accelerate towards the center of the table and take a pot shot at each other’s tires.
Turn 2: My son moved in and took his shot and I moved in just to the side of him to take a point blank shot to his front left tire. This killed it and put my son at -6… he failed the control roll, then fishtailed at a ninety degree angle… but this caused him to slam into the front of my car… which resulted in a T-bone! This brought his side armor down to a single point and caused him to pivot away from me. (In the heat of the game, I forgot to implement a similar pivot for my car and nearly forgot to halve my speed.)
A point blank tire shot is sure to hit, but the obstacle produced by hub getting blown off is sure to be a hassle-- so don't get too close!
Turn 3: My son slowed down and did lots of D0 Bends because his HC was so much lower. I had to roll over the obstacle and couldn’t get into a good position either.
Turn 4: We closed in for the second pass. My son had just enough speed to force a head-on collision before I could react.We traded fire and he wore me down to my last hub point while I missed a roll and took out his tire. The damage wasn’t enough to be decisive and we pivoted away from each other. My son maintained control and rolled past me.
Turn 5: We both pivoted and traded shots. My son lost his second tire/hub combination and was immobilized. I could easily drive to the side before he could immobilize me, so we called it a game.
A few observations about fifth edition CAR WARS based on this session:
- The Division 5 Pro vehicles in this supplement have good armor, lousy weapons, and crappy tires. This means the game comes down to whoever can coordinate rams well– but the 3 phase system means this is kind of arbitrary. If a car has 4 DP tires and nobody has a ramplate, then the game comes down to a tire shooting contest and even rams don’t matter.
- 5th edition is supposed to be simpler than Compendium 2.5… but if your vehicle designs yield a game that focuses on rams and tire shots, you will end up dealing with the most complicated and fiddly rules in the system constantly. A Compendium 2.5 game with Killer Karts is actually simpler and faster playing– and it allows for more player skill to boot.
- Flaming oil slicks burn immediately and indefinitely in 5th edition CAR WARS. Heh.
- The lack of a unified equipment list in 5th Edition is a big fat pain. And note that because the Gunner’s +1 bonus is sometimes incorporated into the stats on the record sheets, it isn’t immediately obvious what the base to-hit of a particular weapon is. Argh!
- Maybe having five players would make it more fun, but… these tend to break into separate one-on-one duels that converge into feeding frenzies when one car suddenly gets close to death. That sort of thing is inherently fun, but the basic tactics (or lack of tactics) remain consistent.
- Maybe making the arena layout more complex would make it more fun, but… in my experience, that just increases the number of turns between passes. More turns with nothing happening isn’t really fun. I’m not sure what the answer is here… but more passes and more players would maybe turn the game into a crazy duck duck goose kind of game….
I was looking at the Division 5 Vehicle guide again the other day and my son and my son immediately picked out the ram car loaded with six heavy rockets as being the best one. Based on how these games tend to go, I’d have to agree with him– especially for the one-on-one sessions we’re running lately.
More 5th Edition CAR WARS session reports are at the links below!