A blog about tabletop hobby and or strategy games, with a side order of electronic turn based goodness here and there. Now with tons of retro gaming content both electronic and tabletop. Also with 20% more self loathing douchebaggery!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

[Operation Game Collection] Car Wars/GURPS: The Steve Jackson Connection Part 1

In preparation for my Ogre Kickstarter to hopefully come in at the end of the month (because East Coast is mostly taking it on the chin from the Texas Munchkin Consortium.. us dirty Blue Staters..) I decided it is time to show off my Car Wars and GURPS collection such as it is.

(Another reason is the D&D 4th campaign I am in I left due to the worst gamestore customer service I have EVER seen so I have a lot less content for the blog right now.  And MWO hasn't exactly given me a lot to share either!)

Car Wars was one of the earliest games I wanted when I first heard of hobby gaming and got that magical TSR Mail Order Hobby Shop Catalog.  (Also seeing the Origin Systems C64 game Autoduel.  Which my parents wouldn't get me with my C64 because it was too expensive or something.  But Microprose's Gunship was an excellent substitute.  Maybe better really.)

But it wouldn't be till I was in the Navy when I got my first taste of it from an Illinois game shop.  (Friend's Hobbies)


This lovely brochure thingie, where I ignored this odd Magic thing for:
Just like those old travel brochures we used to see in the 70s and 80s Mini Car Wars is a VERY stripped down set of Car Wars rules.  Enough to give you a taste of the game for a tiny price.

It really does give you most of what you need to get started.  2 pages of  rules, a page of charts and vehicles to use, and a double sided page to cut out/photocopy with car/motorcycle sheets and some straight roads to go vroom vroom on.

You might be asking what Car Wars is.

Well, its a "Machine Sheet" game where you have a detailed record sheet for your playing piece(s) to record ammunition and status.  The game itself takes place 50 years in the future (with 3032 being the main starting date as it matched the 1982 early edition of the game) where there were various catastrophes that turned the world into a "Mad Max" ish world where deathsports are highly popular and the biggest one involves something people have to do to get from one fortress town to the next:

AUTODUELLING (Basically mounting all sorts of weapons to your near future and usually battery powered automotive vehicles.  And using said weapons.  Also see every nifty toy from spy movies.)

So you have or build using in depth rules a vehicle you use and roll lots of d6s, make notes on a record sheet, and move counters on graph paper with things covering roads and walls and stuff.  

Except as we will see, like so many other games in the genre it got out of control trying to satisfy the hardest core of the players.

(Well also a messed up revamp model.  And Munchkin which basically kills most games from SJG.)

SJG (Steve Jackson Games if that wasn't obvious by now) quickly went from ziplock baggie bags which were better suited to sandwiches and pot to these ADORABLE plastic mini boxes packed with everything you needed.  Counter sheets to cut out, rulesbooks, maps folded up.    Just bring dice and maybe some pencils and paper!

By 1987 (When Mini is dated) the first Car Wars pocket box was 6 bucks in 1987 dollars.  They were like 3-5 in 82-83 when these sets came out.  Truck Stop adds in more character skills and all sorts of larger truck like vehicles.  Including trailer rules for all those jack knife events.  And hitting people with armored school buses.  Sunday Drivers is more a scenario pack with lots of urban combat to engage in.

This big old double sided paper has your roads and charts and all sorts of helpful things in the main Car Wars box.  The problem is those dotted lines.  1982 kids (and kids at heart) would have to chop it up to use if they couldn't find access to a photocopier.  

See that big map?  THAT IS STILL FOLDED IN HALF.  The other half of this big old map is the little folded thing to the right.  That is a very big Twinkie!  Shoved into a super tiny box.

We see  the movement chart to the left, and a special mailer thingie from the long running Car Wars in house magazine, Autoduel Quarterly.  And some fun "kill stickers".  But more on ADQ next post...

Here we get the first vehicle manual I know of for the game, covering all the rides up to that point (as far as I know), and a "Choose Your Own Adventure" (CYOA) adventure modue.

Yes not only do we have cars, buses, and tractor trailers, but now not only do we have normal motorcycles but 3 wheeled ATV type rides.  But stuff like Convoy is nice if you want to play solo because you live in an antisocial butthole like Southeastern Connecticut, or want to play WITH your friends instead of against them.  (Kind of like a lot of modern board games.  OMG BIG STEVE J COULD SEE THE FUTURE OF GAMING.)

Convoy on the right showing the classic CYOA RPG format.  On the left we can clearly see this is an 80s product.  STATION WAGONS!!!  In general these things are long gone and most 90s kids don't even know what one IS, much less rode in them as much as kids in previous generations did.  Now they have minivans and SUVs that never go off road...

I have no idea quite where I got this, but by the later 80s Car Wars already had so much... STUFF being covered it needed a double sided GM like screen just to summarize all this stuff.

Look at all of this.  This is just.. it is just TOO MUCH.  And this looks to still be in the 80s!  I just want to drive some cars around and make some quick PEW PEW.

And some books covering various arenas you can drive around and get your (Movie) "Running Man" on in.

You got some rules and info to play and adventure wherever the various arenas are.  Generally if the book didn't come with a map you had to draw your own going from the grid.  A bit of a pain but this was the 80s and early 90s.  The modern era where tile sets and map packs are a great way to make more money off your game just didn't occur to them back then if they could even afford to manufacture the things!

Mean Streets is another book similar to Convoy, and Turbofire is basically a generic car combat RPG adventure module allowing for three different systems to be used.

The back of the books to give you more info.  Turbofire sadly uses some T&A on the back.  Also it takes place in a different timeframe (officially) than Car Wars.  The future of 2012!  HEH.

Mean Streets' internals.  Nice CYOA fun.

And the internals with a bit of the gatefold cover's insides.  In 2012's future women merely wear leather jackets without undergarments.  And apparently it is so cold you can see if they can cut glass with their anatomy..

 These awesome books cover the world of Car Wars as far as the books got.  I sadly only have 6 of them, missing a couple states in the US.  I haven't gotten the Australia book either.  While Car Wars' future might have us eating algae thanks to a grain blight, and the country may have broken up into fortress towns and its full of lawless stretches of land, we DO have electric cars, cloning including your memories, and the World Trade Center still stands.

 The back of those three books showing the back blurbs.

 And the other three I have.  Another bonus for the Car Wars future: TEXAS FINALLY MADE GOOD ON THEIR THREAT AND LEFT THE US OF A!  (among other states no normal person wants to live)

An example of what the inside of the Road Atlases look like.  We also see that the Utah Mormon folks broke off in their own way too.  Again, makes the Car Wars future not look too bad.  Orson Scott Card can be hateful away from the rest of us...

(Opinionated?  Me?  CAN'T BE!!)

But next time?  Let's look at the big rules, the ADQs, the failed revamp, and maaaybe cover GURPS and GURPS' daddy...

Next installment: "WHAT'S IN THE BOX KEVIN SPACEY OF THE FUTURE!", or "We're on the Highway to Sperge (Featuring Munchkin)"

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