Austin has a large gaming population and Car Wars creator Steve Jackson Games is located here, so I had hoped that I'd get more than a few people interested in playing and reminiscing about Car Wars, and I did.
I set up the game about an hour before my starting time and laid out a few of the old rulebooks and expansions such as the first Pocket Box(which people just love seeing), the deluxe rules, the Armadillo Arena, the AADA auto guide, and some others. I wish I counted, but I probably had more than 30 people come talk to me and tell me their story about Car Wars. All of them talked about the game with fondness. By the end of the day I knew exactly how each person would start their story. It would begin by the person coming up and eyeing the game board, then they would drift over to where I laid out the older Car Wars material. I would say "Are you familiar with Car Wars?" And everyone's first reply would be "I use to play, but I haven't played in years". And they would enficize "years".
I got to talk to quite a few people about Car Wars, some would bring up scenarios they remembered, many would tell me they still have all their Car Wars material, some talked about using Micro Machines, more than a few times taking on big rigs with cycles was mentioned. One teenager told me that Car Wars is legendary in their house hold. Apparantly, one of his parents first games together before they were married was Car Wars, during that game the Father had scored a kill vs soon to be Mom, and till this day the Father has never beaten (or dared to beat) Mom again in any boardgame. But, it sounds like they are still together, so maybe there is something to learn there.
I can definetly say, there are lots of gamers that still have a place in their heart for Car Wars, and I fully enjoyed talking to them about it.
For me this will go down as one of my best experiences hosting a game at a convention. Giving people a chance to revive the excitement of this classic game was worth all the effort. Something else I thought was very interesting was that I had a younger player play, a kid probably a few years away from his teens and he had a great time playing the game. He was right into it the whole way through. I'm glad to know that this game can still capture the minds of kids nowadays. So, with all that said, I am very happy I ran this game and had a great group of players join in.
I was only signed up to run one session at the convention, but I ran into a few people that couldn't join in the that game and wanted to play, so I agreed to run a consecutive game. Quickly we had a couple more people join in and I ended up running two 6 player games in a row.
I used the same scenario for both games, so it was the same arena and cars. Both games had a different feel, the first being more of a tactical game, the second being more of a run and gun and reckless affair. It was interesting to notice the different styles of play and was definetly due to the players personality.
The cars we used had 20 armor on all sides, a vulcan machine gun in the front, two linked medium rockets on both sides, a spike dropper in the back, and one heavy rocket in the back, the vulcan and the spike dropped was linked. It was a car with many weapon options, which I thought was a good idea to keep people always into the game.
It was a standard duel, drivers that survived could salvage their kills, gates would open after 30 seconds and you could escape if you need to at that time. But neither game lasted that long.
This is the info I gave to the players about the game:
Arena info: The Portland Car Arena
The “Portland Car Arena” located in Portland, Maine is an AADA sanctioned arena on the Atlantic Armor Circuit. While not an extremely popular arena most of the year, during November while the city of Portland holds its renowned literary festival, the arena takes the spotlight. During the festival period, crowds from around the country attend and many of the duels are televised internationally. Grudge matches and challenge matches are popular during the festival, and many companies strive to get their cars and equipment into the festival dueling events as they are widely broadcasted.
Vehicle Maker Info: Steinberg & Ewing Motors
“Steinberg & Ewing Motors” is a newly established company formed by the former ace autoduelist Mike Steinberg, and the genius engineering mind of Tony Ewing. The company’s first vehicle produced was marketed as a transport, and had little success due to light rear protection. But the company hopes to make a splash into the autoduelling circuit with their new sedan named the “Front Runner”. “Steinberg & Ewing Motors” have generously offered to supply enough “Front Runners” for the third amateur duel of the festival.
The "Portland Car Arena"
Beginnning of Game 1
Game 2 Beginning: Everyone dropped thier spokes quickly in this game. And they all converged in one corner.
And did you ever wonder who was driving the purple van in the picture on the back of the original pocket box version? Well, here he is. I beleive his name is Mike and I know he was a good sport about playing the celebrity bit. Thanks for the picture.