Mr. Fixit

Patching Some Holes

by Scott D. Haring
The time has come to correct some of the more blatant rules abuses currently in vogue out in the autoduelling world. I saw a couple of these at the AADA World Championship tournament; others were brought to my attention through letters. But they all need fixing.

How does a job for Mr. Fixit differ from a plain old "Oops"? The "Oops Page" was designed to correct typographical errors and silly little mistakes. The things we're going to discuss below were not mistakes - at least not originally. No, we meant every word. But after the tens of thousands of Car Wars players across the world got through with them, problems, loopholes and downright abuses were discovered and duly reported. Now, I've got to try and fix them. These rules are official.

Mini-Safes

These were originally designed as a role-playing gadget, useful for people who actually cared about cargo and fulfilling difficult missions and things like that. But it didn't take long for it to find its way into the hands (and cargo spaces) of the rules lawyers, who quickly discovered that when placed in cargo space - preferably empty - it was cheaper and lighter han armor.

This won't do. I could lecture about having fun with the game, and not taking advantage of loopholes that are obviously against the spirit of the game, but it's apparent that many fo you like loopholes. So we'll try and close this one:

First, reduce the armor value of both sizes of Mini-Safes to 35 total, not 35 a side. Consider this armor universal. It doesn't matter where the safe is hit, the damage is taken out of the 35 total. And no Cargo Safe fo any size may use metal armor.

What's more, when a Mini-Safe is put in cargo space (or any other kind of space, for that matter) and would normally take damage, instead roll one die. On a 6, the Mini-Safe is hit and takes damage normally. On any other roll, the safe is bypassed and the next component takes damage. If there is more than one safe, roll separately for each. (This rule should also apply to the slimy tactic of loading cargo areas with spare tires and other cargoes and components for their damage-absorption value.)

Gas Tanks

In the current Dueltrack rules, gas tanks are treated like buildings - a single attack that does less than the tank's DP has no effect. And even after the tank is breached, it continues to have full DP. This won't do.

Instead, use the following rule. The four grades of gas tanks still have the DP listed, but now treat the tanks like any other vehicular component. When a tank with 8 DP (for example) takes 5 points of damage, it has 3 DP left. After the tank is breached, determine the amount of gasoline lost in the usual way. If the tank has lost all its gas, it is destroyed. If it still is holding fuel, it has half the original tank's DP. If the breached tank takes damage in excess of its (new) DP again, it is automatically destroyed and all gas is lost.

Speed Modifiers

The current rules in Deluxe Car Wars for a targeting modifier based on the speed of the target is based solely on that speed, and no other factors. It has been pointed out more than once that in certain situations, the system is not very realistic. I agree, but I was afraid that a more realistic system would be too complicated. Instead, a paragraph about referees using their best judgement followed the listing of speed modifiers. As I discovered at the World Championships, "best judgement" is often not good enough to keep everybody happy. So let's try this:

This new targeting modifier system depends on four things: the target's speed, the firer's speed, the position of the target in the firer's arcs of fire, and the position of the firer in the target's arcs of fire.

To determine the proper speed modifier, refer to the chart below. Cross-index the target's position across the top with the firer's position down the side to find the modifier to the target's speed. Then simply get the appropriate modifier (from the original system) based on this new speed. Since no situation increases the target's speed for purposes of the speed modifier, don't bother with the table if the target is moving 30 mph or less.

When there is doubt about which arc of fire a vehicle is in, the firer gets his choice. Also, for purposes of this rule only, trikes do not include their front arc in their side arcs, and oversized vehicles have only one arc of fire per side. This system is still not mathematically precise, but it is more accurate than the old one, and still easy to use.

Turrets

In a recent ADQ article, "The Truth About Turrets," we published a table listing exactly what sizes and types of turrets and other external goodies could be mounted on what sizes of vehicles. Perceptive readers noted that compact cars appeared under the "one-space turrets only" column and asked, "Is this a mistake? Or a change?"

It was intended as a rules change, and the rule reads that way, (if you look carefully) in the 2nd edition of the Deluxe Car Wars rulebook. The reasoning is as follows. Every other vehicle type - trikes, car trailers, helicopters, etc. - has an orderly, logical progression of allowed turret sizes. The smallest vehicle size cannot mount any turret, then there's a size that can mount one-space only, then larger sizes that can mount up to two-spacers, and so on.

The only exception was cars. It seemed illogical to me that subcompacts not be allowed to mount any size turret (except the zero-space of course), and the next size up car be allowed a two-spacer. And with the new sedan vehicle size (coming soon in The AADA Vehicle Guide, Volume Two) due, design options should not be reduced too severely.

But, the critics argue, lots of already published designs in The AADA Vehicle Guide, Combat Showcase and ADQ become illegal. Well, that's true. And I don't know any way around it. The mail I've gotten in support of the rule is of the general opinion that it's too bad about the designs that have to be scrapped, but the rule makes sense. The mail in protest doesn't say anything about whether it's a good rule or a bad rule, just that it makes some designs obsolete (four in the Vehicle Guide, two in Combat Showcase.) So, for the record, while everybody is listening - Compact cars may mount only 1-space turrets. Already-published vehicle designs in violation of this rule will be changed as soon as those products are reprinted.

Limpet Beacons

At the AADA World Championships, somebody tried to put a half-dozen or so limpet beacons in a car-top carrier, hoping that if anyone fired laser- or radar-guided weapons at him, the beacons would draw them to the car-top carrier, blowing it to smithereens and leaving his car untouched. It doesn't work that way.

A limpet beacon attracts laser- and radar-guided weapons to the vehicle it is in or attached to. The set-up described above would only have served to make his vehicle more susceptible to the missiles! If the beacons had been in a separate vehicle - a car trailer, for example - the ruse would have worked.

Etc., Etc.

Links. Some of the difficulties we've been having in checking vehicle designs stems from the way links are counted. As far as I'm concerned, one link is required for every desired firing combination, and that's it. It is not necessary to build "pyramids" of links, with each link only connecting two items.

For example, imagine a van with six heavy rockets front, which we will call A through F. One way to interpret the link rule is to say that if you want to fire all six rockets at once, you'd need a minimum of five links (link A to B; link C to D; link E to F; link A-B to C-D; and link A-B-C-D to E-F). That's not the way it should be. If the only odd firing combination you want is to fire all six, that should only take one link (firing each weapon individually is always possible). Now, if you want more firing combinations, like A-B, A-C-F, B-C-D-E-F, or whatever, each of those will take another link.

Links to Turrets. Many vehicles in Combat Showcase feature vehicles that have front-firing weapons linked to similar weapons in the turret. Many, many folks have written claiming this is illegal. Well, almost.

In the sense that the driver wants to aim and fire the two weapons together, it is illegal. However, remember that any two weapons can be linked under any circumstances as long as one fires on automatic. So in the vehicles in Combat Showcase, one of the weapons (usually the turreted one) is aimed, while the other just goes off, using the automatic fire rules. This seems to me to be a collosal waste of ammunition, but it's only $50, and no one has to use a link - it's just an option available for special circumstances.

I hope this wraps up some of the more pressing questions out there. I hope this is the last time this is necessary, but I'm not holding my breath. The simple truth is that two or three staff members here at SJG - even well-trained, hard-working staff members - are no match for tens of thousands of players searching for that next loophole. Stuff's bound to get through. Thanks for helping us catch it.


HTMLized by Tim C. Morrison & Odette Mintrom, tcmom@c130.aone.net.au