Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog

Microgames, Monster Games, and Role Playing Games

The G.H.O.S.T. Arena Manual

Michael P. Owen, the great curator of all things Car Wars, has sent me this fantastic underground supplement from the later days of the game: The G.H.O.S.T. Arena Manual. This was put together by Brian Morrison and Todd MacDermid back in 1992, with each contributing about half of the material. If you dig up your old ADQ’s from the period, you can read about these guys’ exploits from back in the day; they really shook things up by being an extremely active AADA chapter.

If you liked The Arena Book or L’Outrance supplements, then this will be right up your alley. It’s basically ten arenas laid out and described with about the same standards as what you’d see in those Steve Jackson Games products. Okay, it’s amateurish looking, sure… but even the cover art captures the essential nature of the game as it was played at the time: cars falling off 3D ramps, pedestrians running around with handweapons, and it looks like someone even went hard core by getting a passenger that could fire out of the car’s sun roof. (Passengers weigh less than most weapons and can do as good or better damage! That’s what Mike Montgomery taught us, anyway….)

Nine of the arenas will fit on a single blank Car Wars map sheet. One of them is a special double sized monster. They are painstakingly placed in Autoduel America and a small amount of flavor text is provided along with the usual descriptions of the arena features and events. This is some fine work and a pleasure to behold. Thanks for sending this to me, Michael!



21 x 32

24 responses to “The G.H.O.S.T. Arena Manual

  1. Fractalbat September 17, 2014 at 9:32 pm

    That is a fine artifact! Are you going to try them out?

    • jeffro September 18, 2014 at 4:10 am

      If I take the time to draw up a map like that, I will find the time to play it. It’s inevitable. It’s still just about my favorite thing. Probably at least a year from now when my son is old enough to take another stab at the game.

  2. Barry Jones March 1, 2015 at 3:25 pm

    How do get a copy of this book

  3. owenmp March 21, 2015 at 3:30 pm

    I received a copy of the GHOST Arena Manual several years ago from the great autodueliists of NOVA. If we can work out any intellectual property issues, I may be able to get you a copy of the supplement. Send me a note. My e-mail address is on the SWAT HQ Web site.

    Today I found Todd MacDermid, one of the authors of the GHOST Arena Manual, on Twitter. I also learned he lives in the Seattle area. The two of us might connect to discuss Car Wars this summer.

    Seattle Washington Autoduel Team Headqarters (SWAT HQ)

  4. tmacd March 21, 2015 at 4:36 pm

    Wow, thanks to NOVA for keeping a copy alive. Todd here, I wrote maybe 45% of the thing. I can’t remember which 45%, of course. But that revision of the arena manual was kind of a samizdat thing when it was first published, and I’m sure as hell not going to discourage copying. (I can’t speak for Brian Morrison or Andrew Clark (the AC of the cover art)). We sent them around to other clubs we kept in touch with.

    We were going to make a full-fledged supplement for the Car Wars line, SJ Games paid the advance and everything, but it never got published. We were second in line for press when they decided to shut Car Wars down, hopefully it wasn’t our supplement that killed it.

    We ended up making 67 arenas. I’m not sure the world really needed 67 more arenas, and a lot of them are gimmicky as hell, but I still have copies.

  5. bcm March 21, 2015 at 7:41 pm

    Let me see if I can dig up the original files and put a pdf out. I know I still have the AI files at the very least.

  6. wolf90 March 23, 2015 at 10:22 pm

    Count me in as someone VERY interested in the GHOST Arena Manual. I cannot find an email to contact Owen, so please keep me in mind Todd! Thanks!


  7. owenmp March 24, 2015 at 7:42 pm

    My e-mail address is (owenmp AT seanet DOT com). I do have my e-mail address on the front page of my Web site as a hyperlink. I will try to make it easier to see.

    I would be glad to send a copy of the GHOST Arena Manual to anyone for the cost of photocopying and shipping.

    Earlier this year, I uploaded to my Web site two out-of-print arena-focused supplements from High Velocity Duelling.

    I have also uploaded a few pages from the out-of-print AVRO Web site. The AVRO Equipment Locker has items that are useful for the Flashfire Arena Circuit from HVD.

    SWAT HQ Salvage Yard – High Velocity Duelling – Flashfire Arena Circuit

    SWAT HQ Salvage Yard – High Velocity Duelling – Hot Asphalt Arena Circuit

    SWAT HQ Salvage Yard – Autoduellists of the Vancouver Regional Organisation 1996-1999 Edition – AVRO Equipment Locker

    SWAT HQ Salvage Yard – Autoduellists of the Vancouver Regional Organisation 2000 Edition – Resources for Car Wars

  8. owenmp March 24, 2015 at 8:05 pm

    “Adds spice to the autoduel” is an awesome comment. After reading that statement, I immediately thought of the movie Death Race 2000 when Frankenstein said, “The threat of the Rebels adds spice to the contest.” :o)

  9. bcm March 24, 2015 at 9:26 pm

    Todd and I have agreed to release this to the public domain. Details will be forthcoming. I do have the entire manuscript, and all of the designs, in electronic format.

  10. owenmp March 24, 2015 at 10:25 pm

    Brian and Todd: Wow. Releasing the GHOST Arena Archives to the autoduelling public. Thank you! I look forward to reading your files.

    I apologize for the incorrect quote earlier. Frankenstein in Death Race 2000 actually said, “Adds spice to the race.” :o)

  11. wolf90 March 24, 2015 at 10:40 pm

    I just got my son started with Classic Car Wars. This will be great!

  12. owenmp March 25, 2015 at 11:58 pm

    This morning, Brian sent me a Zip folder containing the complete 2043 GHOST Arena Manual. OMG. The detail of the arena descriptions and the graphics of the images are outstanding.

    The descriptions are presented in a single Adobe Acrobat file. The layouts of the arenas are presented as separate images. All of these files occupy over 10 MB.

    I do not have enough space on my Web site to host the 2043 GHOST Arena Manual at this time. I may have additional space later this year.

    I can host the supplement using my Dropbox account for a while until a more permanent location for the files can be determined. Brian and Todd, the decision is up to you.

    Should the GHOST Arena Manual be kept in its current format (one Adobe Acrobat file and multiple graphics) or be presented as a Web supplement (one HTML file for each arena and section with each arena graphic on the HTML file with its description)? I am interested in hearing opinions of Car Wars players, but the decision is up to Brian and Todd.

  13. wolf90 March 28, 2015 at 3:20 pm

    My preference would be the Adobe file.

  14. Barry Jones March 30, 2015 at 7:54 pm

    I would prefer Adobe as well. And BTW … thank you, thank you, thank you!

  15. Justin Knight April 8, 2015 at 2:16 pm

    I would prefer the Adobe file too. Sounds like an amazing document.

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