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"Car Wars and all that..." Topic

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1,507 hits since 12 Mar 2009
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Honcho Inactive Member12 Mar 2009 11:20 a.m. PST

I've never been into CarWars much or its variants…
How do the games compare, CarWars, Autoduel…what are the good rule sets in this category?

I've got bit by the bug when I started collecting the new Matchbox cars. I love the weird ones. The seem perfect for this type of gaming.

Captain Apathy Inactive Member12 Mar 2009 11:27 a.m. PST

I was a big fan of Car Wars back in the day when the rules were simple. However, over the years more and more was strapped to the game to the point where it was just too cumbersome. Still fun and playable but not the game it used to be. Too much min/max'ing for me.

There is always the new Warlands game. The initial reviews on it are good and hot wheels/mathcbox car will work just fine.

Angel Barracks Inactive Member12 Mar 2009 11:48 a.m. PST

I played Dark Future by GW, that was ok.

Phil Walling Inactive Member12 Mar 2009 2:18 p.m. PST

Car Wars is superb.. you can pick up rules n stuff on ebay very cheaply..

Doctor Bedlam Inactive Member12 Mar 2009 4:40 p.m. PST

Car Wars and Autoduel were the same game, kind of -- "Autoduel" was the RPG version, powered by the GURPS engine.

It depends how you like your wargaming. Car Wars is the full tilt boogie version, the Squad Leader of automotive combat. There are simpler systems, but Car Wars covers every eventuality and possibility, and extends to boats, helicopters, and even zeppelins. Can still be had on Ebay, or in the new lite version from Steve Jackson Games.

Augustus12 Mar 2009 5:22 p.m. PST

Depends on your taste. A short intro:

Car Wars: As mentioned previously, is the one that started it all (more or less). The detail level is high and requires heavy use of record keeping to track vehicle condition, crew, weapon ammunition, and the like. A lot of this information could have simply gone onto one sheet of paper, but at the time of the early '80's their record system was seen as simple. Maneuvering is somewhat complicated and requires the use of a turn indicator cardstock piece that helps determine the difficulty of your maneuver, subsequently requiring a roll (not always, but in the cases of extreme maneuvers, necessary).

Autoduel: Same company, but has more RPG elements included. To me, having played both games, whilst Autoduel at face value had a more difficult looking system of record keeping, I thought it simpler than Car Wars simply because you could roll two dice and determine the success rather than go through charts. However, the limitation of Autoduel was the RPG aspect – it was never meant to be a wide-focus game with fleets of cars going at it. But I have to say, it's armor penetration system always seemed more realistic than CW's ablative armor. Shrug.

Axles and Alloys: Written by Owen Cooper of the now-retired website of the same name; also free. Worked on a vastly simplified system compared to CW or Autoduel, and was primarily meant for use with Matchbox cars. A great beer & pretzels game using a maneuver clock for turning (11'o'clock turn so your car essentially makes a drift sort of maneuver – a hard turn would be 3'o'clock. Very simple). Combat is D6 based like Car Wars but works by using different numbers of dice depending on the "shot weight" of the firing weapon. Record sheet is as simple as possible and you can potentially track a lot of cars from a single sheet. It is really what Car Wars should have been.

Road Rage: written by Chris Johnston and free. Sort of a halfway between Axles and Alloys and Car Wars on the detail scale. Frankly, this is even more so what Car Wars should have been. It has a construction system like Car Wars and it uses a square grid for precise maneuver control. Square grids are often used to prevent the dreaded "fudging" that is WAY too prevalent in non-grid games. Cars have all sorts of interesting accessories and items to buy on a simple Major/Minor system sort of like Big Eyes, Small Mouth RPG. The vehicle record sheet bridges the gap between ultra simple and detailed with great aplomb and you should be able to fit 4-5 vehicles on a single sheet of paper. The game has fire modifiers, moves in each 10 MPH equals increments of 50mm, etc.

Overall, I'd wager Road Rage as being the best of the three as it manages to take bits of inspiration and combine them in a way that balances playability, cost, and detail.

You can download Road Rage or Axles and Alloys here as well as ask further questions: link

Honcho Inactive Member12 Mar 2009 6:57 p.m. PST

Brilliant Augustus.
Thanks everyone!

Personal logo javelin98 Supporting Member of TMP13 Mar 2009 4:38 p.m. PST

And if you're interested in plastic kitbashing parts (weapons, dozer blades, armor plating, turrets, etc.), you could consider supporting the Wargames Factory car warriors sprue project:


Farstar Inactive Member13 Mar 2009 5:10 p.m. PST

After a few volumes of additional "stuff" to stack on cars, and the various supplements for Planes, Trains, and (oh by the way) Automobiles, we began calling Car Wars "Car Fleet Battles" locally.

Jape77 Inactive Member14 Jul 2009 5:50 p.m. PST

If you're interested in racing and autoduel rules, the Green Flag edition of Speed Rally is now available.

SR is designed for use with 1/64 scale vehicles and gives you all the info you need to run fantastic races between gadget filled cars, with everything from booster jacks and buzz saws, to machine guns and oil slicks.

We've also included a short preview of some of the armor and weapons you'll see in the SR expansion "Bigger, Badder, Faster," due out at the end of 2009/early 2010. (All of which should work well if you happen to be using the new Battle Machine cars from Jada.)

This is the final version of the basic game, which we offered as a micro-release last summer, and incorporates all the tweaks and clarifications we made over the past year.

You can get the Speed Rally as a PDF at

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