Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog

Microgames, Monster Games, and Role Playing Games

Typical Amateur Night Survivors

These are the continuing characters produced by my recent game… produced by a strict adherence to the Compendium 2.5 rules. One goal of that scenario was to produce at least one adventure-ready character. I wouldn’t mind cutting out the post-game number-crunching by just giving the characters a flat dollar amount for each kill a la 5th edition, but I take a perverse pleasure in calculating out the exact salvage value– it produces such a varied range of outcomes that and subtly influences tactics. I can’t stop myself. There’s also the fact that you have to make hard choices about what to salvage just so you an get a road-ready vehicle. I think that’s more fun than designing a vehicle from scratch. It also produces very believable road vehicles that are consistent with the premise of the setting.

Why jack up the price of the average car for an amateur event?

  • While an Aaron Alston style winner-take-all approach with Killer Karts can generate a viable character, it can only produce one such duelist.
  • If Amateur Night is the default introductory game (spiritually, if not in fact) then you want it to be something that showcases the best aspects of the game. While I personally will praise the fighter-plane style combats of Stingers and Killer Karts, the type of game such vehicles produce is not sine qua non of Car Wars.
  • Earlburt and I have run an entire twenty-seven game campaign focusing on the exploits of participants of an extended Survivor or American Idol style series. If we weren’t doing massive team duels, we were running whatever nifty scenarios that the sponsors could conceivably have wanted to pay for. This produced some neat characters with nuanced histories and five or more duels under their belts. We slowed down character development so that they would stay Driver-0, Gunner-0 for an entire season. The result of this was to produce a small number of successful characters that ultimately just wanted to retire from autodueling altogether– if you’ve beaten the odds that many times, you need to quit while you’re ahead! If you can graduate Amateur Night in a single duel by scoring some passably decent wheels, then there’s no telling what you might get into next. And if you die in a road duel, you can just play a couple more Amateur Night games to start over again…. (Nobody is going to play five two hour sessions in order to maybe start over….)
  • Most people played some sort of corporate campaign back in the day. I think the reason this style of play developed was in response to the default rags-to-riches game being broken once the “mostly Killer Kart” idea got grafted onto it. I don’t think the corporate style makes sense any more– is anyone actually going to sit down and have their opponent design eighteen Car Wars characters anymore? I think a better approach now is to go back and invest the necessary development time to ensure that the default rags-to-riches game is sustainable. Increasing the dollar value of the cars to something closer to what Glenn Gould ran back when ADQ 2/2 came out seems like a good start to me.
  • In a sense, amateur night is the default character generation system for Car Wars. If you think about that… it really is an awesome and unique aspect of the game. It would be even more awesome if it could produce characters that people would want to keep on playing!
—————

Yutaka Taniyama
Kills: 2
Driver Skill Points: 1 + 3 = 4
Gunner Skill Points: 1 + 2 = 3
Handgunner Skill Points: 0
General Skill Points: 3 + 1 + 2 = 6
Prestige: 1 + 2 + 6 = 9

Goro Shimura
Kills: 1
Driver Skill Points: 0
Gunner Skill Points: 1 + 1 = 2
General Skill Points: 3 + 1 = 3
Prestige: 1 + 2 + 6 = 9

7/7/2012 — Team amateur night event at Dumbarton arena in Oakland, CA. Killed all three vehicles on the opposing team– a Torch, a Joseph Special, and a Combatant!

Vehicle: A stock Torch (VG1)

Wealth: $12,053

+ $7,535 (salvage value for Torch, -15 points armor, -5 FT shots, -4 HDFT shots, -5 RL shots, and repair/reload destroyed FT)
+ $5,168 (salvage value for Combatant, -42 points armor, replace plant, 6 RR shots, and repair/reload two destroyed SD’s)
– $650 (repair 13 points of armor on stock Torch)

David Hilbert
Driver Skill Points: 1
Gunner Skill Points: 1
Handgunner Skill Points: 0
General Skill Points: 1
Prestige: 1

7/72012 — Was on the winning team in an amatuer night event at Dumbarton arena in Oakland, CA. Failed to score any kills, but gets to keep his car.

Vehicle: A stock Joseph Special with PS removed, only 5 shots left in the ATG, no RL ammo, 3 points damage to right armor, and 6 points damage to left armor. (Sold PS and 8 RL shots to repair 9 points of damade on the right.) Front left and back left tires havce taken 1 hit. Back right tire has taken 2 hits.

Wealth: $15

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