Saturday, July 31, 2021

Corporate Car Wars

Shaun M Wheeler brought up playing a corporate autoduelling campaing in the comments on Thursday's post.

Back in the 80s, we played a lot of Car Wars. When Autoduel Quarterly 4/4 came out, with "Corporate Car Wars," we had to go for that.

Or at least, I had to, and I dragged my friends along.

"Corporate Car Wars" was written by Mad Al Loud of the Canadian Autoduel Association - that's the actual author credits.

The concept is simple - corporate teams of autoduellists. Instead of the "lone duellist" approach of standard Car Wars, or perhaps a driver and a gunner, you run a whole team of skilled duellists with a corporate pool of money to support them. You fund vehicles out of that pool, recoup prizes based on the competition size, and sell off (or keep) vehicles to keep the books balanced as you head to the next event.

I loved that the article was written very much with a "here is how we play" approach. There's an address for the Black Death Autoduel Association if you want to write to them and compare corporate league scoring. There is discussion of why they made rules such as Prestige Rollback to deal with long-serving popular duellists. There are examples, not of "maybe you can . . ." but rather of "we tried and enjoyed . . ." scenarios.

It was amazingly fun to read, and fun to actually play. While our game derailed after a few events - mostly because of a small number of players and one guy winning all too often (okay, me) and an argument about a result of another game (between one of my still-occasional players, and me). So the whole thing kind of ran down. Which is too bad, because I really liked the structure of play.

If you're the kind of person who still sits in traffice behind a tractor-trailer and thinks, "That's the only vehicle besides a bus that can mount a Tank Gun," and you like organized structures for play . . . go find a copy of ADQ 4/4 and read this article. It's inspirational and fun even if you don't get to play the game itself or use a different edition. Re-reading it really made me miss Deluxe Edition Car Wars in a way that the new editions simply don't.


  1. "Ooh! We've been mentioned on telly!"
    ADQ 4/4 and 5/1 (the Variants issue) were turning points in the way my group played Car Wars. Corporate Car Wars was more than just "hitting the big leagues", you WERE the big leagues!

    I'm glad the second edition of GURPS Autoduel brought back The Corporate Approach (P.119). Paired with Boardroom and Curia, the business side of things should be easy to run in GURPS 4e.

    Running the autoduelling and vehicular design side of things in 4e, though... ugh.

    1. Back in 3e my group adhoced rules to run the Autoduelists using GURPS and we ran the Car Wars side using Car Wars... it was a thing, basically just converting GURPS characters into Car Wars stats because no one wanted to try to run the vehicle combats using GURPS rules.

    2. I had to go back and look at ADQ 5/1 to see what was in it. I think we only ever used the advanced maneuvering system.

      Looking back over the issues a bit, I'm reminded of feeling that, although that era was fun, I think the game was more balanced in the days of RRs vs. RLs and so on instead of rocket magazines to feed turrets using quad-mounted laser-guided AP HRs doing 4 x 3d+3 with no splash effect with a "to hit" of, what, 4 or 5 or something like that? That was fun, too, but it rewarded system knowledge and min-maxing in a way that the vanilla "Deluxe Car Wars" rules didn't.

      Either way, I wouldn't want to play "Car Wars" using GURPS 4e; I'd rather just convert back to the original game for car combat.

  2. I do tend to agree with your Deluxe Edition comment, our group mostly played in Division 5 in our last year of gaming together. It was probably the most fun we'd had in our 35 years of playing Car Wars!

    As for playing Car Wars using GURPS 4e, I'm finding it a masochistic endeavour, but I'm determined to make it work on some level. Who knows?


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