# Backfire

I just recived ADQ 3/1 in the mail. Thank you for correcting the mistake about my subscription. Also, I don't believe I thanked you for your inhumanly-fast respones on "Doppelganger"; my thanks for your couresy and my apologies for not thanking you earlier.

I hate to be a wet blanket, but Mike Emrick's solution to the problem of ejector seat trajectory describes a situation which would be, uh, unlikely.

For Emrick's solution to be valid, the ejector seat is launched and thusts continuously upwards (By the way, I'm not an expert but I think that 3.3 Gs applied for two seconds to someone in an upright position would cause blackouts). Then, ath 150 feet, the recovery device is deployed. The seat is traveling at 150 ft/sec - one hundred miles per hour - when the 'chute is popped. The seat then decelerates in a negligible amount of time; rateher like hitting a brick wall.

The upwards flight of the seat would have at least two phases; an upwards thrust followed by a deceleration; presubably the second phase would be the seat slowing down after its fuel had been spent.

When I assumed a final velocity of zero and a deceleration at 1G, I was unable to find any initial acceleration which would work within the previously stated constraints (total flight of 150', total time of 2 seconds). Therefore, the seat either ends up with some upwards or downwards velocity (which would help deploy the chute) or there are three phases in the flight: initial thrust (to clear the car), a lower thrust (to continue upwards), followed by a period of free fall (to slow down to a point where deploying the recovery system is safe). I considered the possibility of an increasing acceleration (as the fuel is burned, the chair loses mass and therefore its acceleration would increase), but abruptly decided it would be a better idea to turn on some Vangelis music and have a quiet lay down.

Frankly, guys, it would be a lot easier to assume an acceleration (not to exceed a total of 2.5 Gs) and work out the altitude/time tables. It would be even easier to ignore the whole problem and spend the time saved thinking about the more serious glitch of why hand grenades rolled out of cars at high speed remain obediently on the road. Try it some time with a ball. Be very careful, though: I once got hit by an apple falling out of a moving car and literally couldn't move for a few minutes.

For a while, I thought the EWP was a variation in my design until I found the credit. I think it's interesting that Reed Decker and I came up with a lot of the same numbers, specifically for armor cost, weight, maximum armor, and chances to hit pods accidentally. I guess our minds worked along the same lines (did you notice that armor is really from wheelguards?).

When Justin (Bialy, of "Nightsword" and "Doppelganger" fame) mentioned bad TV programs when describing Tabitha's armor, I had something like McDade in mind. It might be a good idea to have him mention that show in particular (I can see him now, sitting in a hotel room watching the tube with a fixed, incredulous, glassy stare...).

A couple of my friends built something similar to the Lawn Mauler; I'm glade to see that Car Wars recognizes the obvious advantages of garden tools equipped with antipersonnel systems. In fact, look on p. 103 of Inventions Necessity is Not the Mother of: Patents Ridiculous and Sublime by Stacy V. Jones (1973) for an 1862 cannon also useful as a plow.

A while back John Ford suggested the kamicar, a vehicle loaded with explosives and allowed to blow up after the driver ejected to safety. The addition of remote control equipment in Autoduel Champions adds another way of implementing vehicles which self-destruct.

Therefore, please find enclosed a brief article on rolling bombs. Yes, I know they are nasty; but they are also expensive and please remember that battleships were crippled by kamikaze aircraft and a van bomb is a truly terrifying piece of ordnance.

--John Nowak
LaGrangeville, NY

I recently purchased Car Wars and Truck Stop from your company. They are great. I'm writing to comment on the trailer-kingpin system in Truck Stop. The system is the book is a good one, but I think I have a better one.

I took a straight pin and poked out the black dots on the tractor and trailer counters. Then I cut the pin off about 1/8" and I pushed it through the hole in the tractor from the bottom and put the trailer on top of that. This makes movement easier and you don't have to mess with lining up the dots because yu don't have to take the two apart. You might even make a color code to represent the three different types of kingpins.

--Ryan F. Curren
Shelby, OH

I have just received issue 3/1, and I love it! Especially "Grand Theft Autoduel" and the article on grenades (something all my players need - "Oops! Not again!"). It's a shame about having to raise the price (not that I'm worried overmuch - I subscribe). But it does happen.

You should be interested in this. I don't kow how many people have already send designs in, and I don't really want to: I may get discouraged and not send mine in. They are designs for 1) Ground-effect vehicles (hovercraft); and 2) Tracked (and half-tracked) vehicles.

Ther is one big problem with giving us all this new stuff; every time I get a new issue of ADQ, I have to spend hours upgrading vehicles; it's a good thind ADQ isn't ADW! There is another problem with Car Wars: I now have over 1200 pieces of cardboard all over my room!

A question - when does the Car Wars computer game come out? Also, when can we have fusion motors (there's a researcher who says that he will have a working fusion motor that will go in a pickup in 5 years, and one for a car in 8)? And who's the lunatic who runs Prometheus Motors?! That Lawn Mauler is crazy! Thank you all for a great magazine!

Paul May
Canberra, Australia

Frankly, Paul, I don't think we're going to get into hovercraft, military vehicles, tracked vehicles, or any other off-beat conveyance (including skateboards, wheelchairs, and boats) any time soon. The folks at Origins Systems say the Autoduel computer game will be out very soon. I know they've been saying this for some time, but have faith.

--SDH

Your "Rocket Magazine" in Uncle Albert's new catalog is the stupidest invention ever. If someone wants three rockets, why doesn't he just put them on a side? If you use a "Rocket Magazine," you add extra weight and cost! You can't even fire more than one rocket at a time; it's just like a normal set of rockets! Also, the ice dropper description doesn't say how big the patch of ice is. I presumed it was 1" x 1/2". Other than these items, I am pleased with the catalog. However, why didn't you add stuff from Autoduel Champions like sound enhancement and cloading devices when you added the Vulcan and such (like radar and infrared). Now I ahve to blow another 10 dollars for these items.

--Chandler Klose

You're right; the ice dropper creates a 1" x 1/2" patch of ice. The rocket magazine is useful when paired with a turret - since extra magazines don't count against the space limitations of a turret, you could set up a van (for example) with a pair of heavy rockets in a turret - then back them up with a bunch mor in a rocket magazines for a high-damage, multiple-fire weapon that's downright cheap! That's what it's good for.

--SDH

First, let me congratulate you an a remarkable job: Deluxe Car Wars is great! However, I'm disappointed that you left out many excellent items. Three whose absence were missed the most were the External Weapon Pods, High Density Ammo, and especially Cycle Turret Sidecars. Why did you omit the CTS?

Your definition of a "kill" in Deluxe Car Wars is fairly clear, but what happens in this situation: A vehicle cannot move and cannot fire at the vehicle that disabled it, but the disabling vehicle doesn't have enough ammo to make good on a threat to blast the car to scrap metal unless the occupants surrender, and is unwilling to ram the target vehicle due to lack of armor? This happens a lot in prolonged duels, in which both vehicles pack a lot of armor initially. If the losing player decides to play it stubborn, he can make it a tough situation to referee. Who wins and how much prestige, how many skill points, etc; are earned?

I've come up with a new idea for attack dogs in Car Wars. It's fairly simple: A dog takes up one space, weighs 700 pounds, and will fit on any vehicle except a no-sidecar cycle. A dog has 2 DP, but one point of damage won't knock it unconscious. You decide if Paramedic skill will work on dogs. Any dog attacks hand-to-hand in the same way a human does, but only needs a basic 4 to hit. A dog attacks hand-to-hand in the same way a human does, but only needs a basic 4 to hit. a dog does damage equal to that done by a human. A character owning an attack dog must spend an additional \$15 a week for living expenses. Initial training of the dog costs \$100 and takes 3 months - the dog itself costs \$200 if bought from a breeder. Once trained, the dog will be fanatically loyal to the owning character.

--John Kitchens
--Austin, TX

I like the dog. On you "kill" question - if the disabling car doesn't have the ammo or the armor to finish the job, it shouldn't get credit for the kill on the disabled vehicle. But if the two cars you discribed were the last two survivors of a larger arena duel, I would still declare the non-disabled vehicle the winner - at reduced prizes and prestige, of course.

--SDH

I enjoy Car Wars a lot, but I have found that certain elements of the world you've created have inherent flaws to them.

In order to create a future society that 1) is temperamentally open for sports of such incredible violence, and 2) is technologically not too far ahead of our own beloved 1980s, you have had to come up with a series of catastrophes that sent the world into near-barbarism, from which it is now recovering.

Fine so far. Your catastrophes are imaginative, if not totally realistic (Texas seceding from the Union, while an attractive concept to you, seems a bit far-fetched in the opinion of this Midwesterner), but I'm sure they weren't really meant to withstand microscopic scrutiny anyway. My quarrel is with the "present" - 2035.

Apparently, North America has pretty much recovered from its catastrophes. I cite the reemergence of advanced heavy industry, of which the specialty fields of automotive engineering and weapons science are just two symptoms. Gold Cross is everywhere, and algae farms provide basic food needs for all, replacing grain. (By the way, is the Blight sill around? Can the Midwest grow corn and wheat ever again?) If the continent has recovered, this means that internal stability should no longer be a problem, right?

Yet, we still have this cult of violence, gung-ho for autoduelling, combat football, and other death sports. As an analogue, compare this to Imperial Rome. The Circus Maximus and gladiatorial combat only thrived during Rome's decline, as it slid further into complacence and decadence. Similarly, the rise of modern death sports coincided with the decline of society and the wake of the economic collapse, the Oil Wars, the Russo-American conflict and the Food Riots.

The Food Riots ended 18 years ago. Society is on the upswing, which calls into question the need for institutionalized violence.

My second quarrel involves the motorcycle gangs. According to the future history, the strongest of the outlaws are still around, terrorizing the countryside, raping and pillaging where they please. But if the gangs were such a threat, wouldn't the various armies, the law enforcement community, and the Brotherhood have eliminated them long ago? And how do the gangs survive in the wilderness, anyway? One stripped wreck divided 40 ways is hardly a ticket to Bandit Heaven. If no town would have them, and if every com and red-blooded American (Texan, etc.) shoots to kill on sight, why are they still around?

The simple answer is that they're not. The age of the cycle gangs as modern Huns is over - if it ever existed. The survivors are either living hand-to-mouth, or else they've settled down and now work for a living. Either way, they will be mostly law-abiding citizens, because those who weren't are now dead.

Basically, what I object to is how cycle gangs are used in the game. Cycle gangs are basically the Orcs of Car Wars - foul creatures that apparently exist only to be massacred at the hands of players. Sure, they may kill a few characters, but they invariably lose five or more men for each player they get. And with odds like those, how do yu recruit new members? Any way you slice it, the cycle gang has no place in Car Wars, circa 2035.

--Herb Helzer
Champaign, IL

You make some interesting points. Any comments?

--SDH

Issue 3/3 Index