Fabian Stretton's defence against laser guided rockets is not viable; the description of the laser limpet beacon in the Uncle Albert's catalog update says that the laser limpet beacon must be placed like a limpet mine. It will not work if thrown, or dropped out a window for that matter. I also disagree that one may drop two or three out a window at any time. You surely couldn't do that with grenades!
My other complaint about the World Championship is that when Ramallo used his sneak attack trick against Stretton, he immediately got to turn back and kill Ramallo. The referee used the "two dice and pray" technique to determine the outcome of the charade, and it worked. The trouble is Stretton wasn't surprised, and he reached in a fraction of a second. He (Stretton) should have at least been delayed while Ramallo could have got a couple of "free" shots off at him. This almost reminds me of the trouble someone had way back in ADQ 4/1 when a cyclist turned around in one-tenth of a second to blow away a MONDO who just attacked him. I hope you can solve this problem.
--Stephen Teixeira, St. Albans, VT
Where to start ... First, the rule in Unc Al's update says, "The Limpet Beacon must be placed on a vehicle by hand, just like a limpet mine." This rule refers to how the Limpet Beacon is attached to a vehicle - it has nothing to do with the conditions under which it works. The Limpet Beacon will attract radar- and laser-guided rockets (after it has been activated, of course) when on a car, or in your hand, or at the bottom of the ocean. Most of the cases we get here are people bending the rules too far - it's a strange sort of pleasure to find someone reading them too literally.
In cases like this, it's important to use common sense (I'm trying not pick on Stephen, here, because he's contributed to the magazine before and I like his stuff. I am now speaking in general terms.) There's nothing about being glued to the side of a vehicle that makes the Limpet Beacon any more effective - where and how it's mounted has nothing to do with how it works! As for bundling two or three together - it was set up as a pre-duel preparation that the beacons were put in little fishnet bags. If someone did that with regular grenades, I'd let him get away with that, too.
As for the second problem, I think duellists on the edge, fighting in the World Championship tournament, just might have reflexes of less than a second. The actual ruling at the time was based on the common sense of the referee (do you sense a common theme here?).
I was somewhat upset to see your answer to a duellist concerning the use of dual turbo-chargers in a vehicle. You passed on to this person, and then made it an official ruling, that twin turbos produce no further effect on an engine and its operation. This upset me, and I'm sure a few other duellists, because as soon as I saw that turbos were available for my hard-earned and hard-won petrol-sucker, I went right out and slapped a pair on to my 350.
This caused a slight ruffling of the feathers amongst the fellows with which I duel regularly, as several of them also have gasoline engines, and had to bolt on one of those obnoxious super-charger/blower combinations to their engines in order to achieve the results that I had with two "no weight, no space" turbos. Our referee deemed it a legal modification, however, when I showed him several articles on turbos and their workings, and then showed him several automobiles (including quite a few twin-turbo diesels) with the same set-up. My sample vehicle was, in fact, a Corvette with a twin-turbo 350.
... Twin turbos do, indeed, work. By installing a pair of these wonderful beauties (with the variable-pitch option) on your car, you can have the power of a blower/super-charger without the loss of weight! This in itself does pose a problem. There must be a place for superchargers in Car Wars! Turbos will never make this system obsolete, because turbos will never make this system obsolete, because turbos will never put out the amount of power that a supercharger can. I know that I wasn't the only person to scarf up on the twin turbo idea nor was I the only one to be upset when the idea was squashed without so much as a "what do you think out there, fellow duellists?" from you staff.
I showed your catalog (Uncle Albert's) to my father and explained the game to him. He browsed through the catalog and told me that your supercharger is a wimp. He used as an example today's professional dragsters. In a little over five seconds, one of these monsters accelerates to speeds over 250 mph. That's right, about 50 mph acceleration per second! Of course, street supercharger systems aren't that mean, but even a mere one-fourth (a low estimation of supercharger street systems available today) the power, a street system can still rocket its driver and auto into the winner's circle with 10 mph/turn acceleration! And that's a wimp system! A supercharger should be able to provide 10 mph/turn acceleration bonuses. The cost and weight of a super-charger should not change; however, the cost of a twin-turbo system should be right around $5000 and should weigh about 50-100 points due to the increased ducting required through the use of intercoolers and waste-gases which tie the system together and keep it running cool and smooth. I, of course, favour the 50-pound penalty for the twin system. The punch in the pocketbook hurts enough to warrant this.
... Oh, by the way - as of this time, I am undefeated in arena and road combats and am looking for worthy opponents (with clones) who like a rousing challenge. I've been playing Car Wars forever and have the pocket game in first printing to prove it, therefore, my characters (who have never died ... yes, it gets boring) are bona fide killers and are all but retired due to the lack of competitors with real duellist colones! Keep duelling and drive EXTREMELY offensively. Remember - if they don't like the way you drive, tell 'em to stay off the porch!
--Gary Canterbury, Sheffield Village, OH
Always glad to hear from an expert, Gary, or someone who has access to one. We've got a new form letter that we use to answer rules questions, and I'd like to share a few of the stock answers that appear there:
12. Please don't try to compare the performance statistics of game equipment to modern-day hardware. While many of the names are the same (to increase players' enjoyment of the game), the Car Wars stats were written with an eye toward playability and game balance. Please allow us this compromise.
15. Almost every rule decision we made in Car Wars was one of Playability vs. Complexity. We had to draw the line somewhere, and there's always going to be somebody who thinks it should be drawn somewhere else. Feel free to change the rule if you're more comfortable that way.
20. Lighten up. After all, it's only a game ...
I'd say all three apply here.