Backfire



I'm writing this letter on behalf of all the independent duellists who usually just get together with a bunch of friends to play Car Wars. My major gripe is the "roll two dice and pray" method which has been the editor's ruling on quite a few questions which could have been answered with an easy percentage or basic success roll. These answers offer no help to us who play is lawless batches without a referee and who need something in print to have it work. So please, no matter how crude a system you work up, it is better than the ol' "RTDaP" method!

Also, one of the best properties of a game like Car Wars is that the rules are a rigid medium around which the players can test their designs and battle strategies. The basis on which this property stands is the unity of the rules. So whenever the editor replies "let your referee decide," it only aids in separating all Car Wars players from such a unity. In addition, when a player in the aforementioned lawless bunch tries to standardize a particular rule before a duel, it usually blows the cover off a tactic or plan of his, and also gives his opponents a legal way to make doing a simple, realistic plan harder than tightrope walking across the Grand Canyon! I hope you think of these comments before you answer your next batch of questions.

- Bob Somogyi
Highland Park, NJ

Well, Bob, if you have a problem with the RTDaP system, why don't you talk it over with your referee and have him come up with something better?

Sorry, just kidding. I understand your complaint, but there's not much I can do. So many of the kinds of questions you're talking about are role-playing issues - what are my chances of seeing this, what roll do I need to catch that. Off-the-cuff, consistent answers to such questions are impossible to give without developing a much more complete skill system for Car Wars. We've done this already - it's called GURPS Autoduel.

Short of a skill system, the only answers I could give would be arbitrary and inconsistent. Furthermore, these questions often refer to situations that are highly unlikely to ever occur - in or out of a game. I can't justify giving permanent, graven-in-stone answers to one-shot questions. However, I'll keep the issue in mind and try to give more detailed answers.
- SMB


"while some claim 'ripoff' when we put the rules in Autoduel Champions, it would be much more unethical to try to sell the exact same product twice..." That is a direct quote from Backfire, ADQ 1/4. Would you care to change your ethics now that Deluxe Car Wars has been released? I don't know what the current rate of exchange is, but 13.95 pounds is a lot of money to pay for a collated rulebook and a cardboard box. How about offering just the rulebook to players of the Car Wars game who have supported it for five years, without whom there would be no Deluxe Car Wars and less money in your Swiss bank accounts?

-John Cudmore
Cefn Coed, United Kingdom

Well, you're talking to the wrong person. Personally, I would have published a helicopter rules supplement, in the style of the Car Wars Expansion Sets. But that's immaterial. Deluxe Car Wars is not just a rehash of the old rules. True, it is a compilation of the three Pocket Box supplements (and the trike rules from the AADA Vehicle Guide and the helicopter rules from Autoduel Champions), but it also contains some major rules changes, revisions, corrections and so forth. Selling the DCW rulebook alone wouldn't reduce the cost by much. The price isn't the box, and it isn't the road sections and cardboard counters. The price is the work that went into putting it together - writing, editing, drawing and typesetting. We like to think that the extra components add to the value of the game; it's unfortunate that you don't agree. But it's not a matter of ethics, ingratitude to our customers, or Swiss bank accounts.

- SMB


The more my companions and I travel across the U.S., the more areas we find declared "off limits" by the national and Free Oil States governments. Some of these areas we can dismiss as weapons testing and training sites, but some have made me very suspicious.

The following areas are under question: southwest North and South Dakota, northwest Nebraska, eastern Wyoming, Scottsbluff, Nebraska, central Montana, Lubbock, Texas, and various small towns surrounding these areas. Most of them are unfenced, with warning signs posting the land as "government reserves." On frequent occasions, we were met by armed troops, some of which had protective suits; we were advised that deadly force would be used unless we left. My curiosity was aroused, so I did a little investigative work.

I was intercepted and forced back every time I tried to fly over such prohibited areas for reconnaissance; every time I ran computer searches for information about those areas, I was stopped by "Classified" labels. Eventually, through more and more covert investigations, I came up with some shocking preliminary findings. Radiation levels in these areas were several times safety limits - and where radiation levels were normal there were traces of chemical and biological contamination. Records showed that these areas had been abandoned through federal "strategic relocation."

After another four years of research, I've come to the following conclusions:

  1. By the looks of it, the Short War was more damaging than the government admits; our SDI protection was not as foolproof as we thought. At last count there were 41 areas of radioactive, chemical, or biological contamination.
  2. Fallout readings have spread as far as Ohio. Various agricultural and manufactured products from the areas in question are screened several times before going to market. Apparently, the damage peaked just recently and is starting to settle down.
  3. Information on these areas is tightly restricted in other countries as well. Europe is keeping a tight lip when it comes to certain "off limits" areas in Germany, Poland, France and England.
  4. The reasons for the cover-up are unclear. Perhaps the various world governments simply don't want discouraging rumors spread just as they're beginning to recover from the Bad Years. These governments may also wish to avoid the public outrage that would follow the discovery that all the millions of dollars of research on SDI had gone to waste - outrage that might end the careers of politicians who supported SDI (many of whom hold office today).
  5. Avoid these areas if possible! Stay off any posted government land - we still don't know the full extent of contamination.
My investigations of Lubbock, Texas were sloppy. I'll have to hurry if I want to get this letter to the AADA headquarters in Austin. I urge everyone out there to consider these findings. The truth will out!
- Timothy D. Jacques
Bellvue, Nebraska

This letter was found in the wreckage of a brief road duel outside our offices. The body in the wreck was identified by police as one John Smith, a day laborer employed at the San Gabriel Nuclear Facility near Austin. According to medical reports, he was caught in a brief radiation accident at the facility, causing brain damage. No other employees were affected.

Still, believing his story worthy of investigation, the AADA contacted officials in the Texas and United States governments. They denied all such allegations; Poughkeepsie and Lake Geneva were the only major nuclear strikes in North America, though there were a few minor impacts in other locations. Obviously, this letter is simply the hallucinations of an unfortunately ill person and should be treated as such.
- SMB


Leslie . . .

Thanks for the beer offer, but I don't drink. I prefer to face the world with clear eyes, thank you. As for the "flat earth" comment, it's obvious you've never lived in Illinois . . .

I know what the All-Seeing Pyramid is, and what it means, and who most often uses it. And the ARFs might be carrying them just to annoy conspiracy theorists. At least I hope so.

Answering your arguments:

The Iran/Contra thing: The Iranians didn't talk, some Turk did. I had to search through some old news fiches at MiniRec to find out what you were talking about (most of these events took place years before I was born . . .), so pardon me if I let the past remain the past. The files on the whole fiasco are open to the public, and if you pay attention (watch C-Span if Anarchists use Cable TV), you can find out about these things when they happen. Get your head out of the 1900s and grow up.

Deep Throat: Tempting, but I won't say it. Not here, anyway.

The late SISC members: Where did you get that? You seem to forget that A) Wesley assembled the committee, and it's really stupid to have more than one token opposition member on your own team, and B) Wesley was a target! Are you insinuating that his late wife voted against him?

The Dempsey XM-6: Of course it's well hidden; you know as well as I do that it was demolished in Midville. I've still got video cubes of the fight. I'll grant you the B/B heist might have been a fake, but it seems like a lot of bother with no obvious goal when, given the political condition, $5 million was (and still is) a substantial amount of money to the U.S. government.

Wesley's rantings: Again, a check with the files of MiniRec utterly failed to find the quote you're so proud of. Find out what he said, not what you believe or think he said. In any case, he has no aspirations for the White House.

Power corrupts: Sure does, and that's why the mangy beast is arranged so that no one individual carries much of it. I know the Anarchy Party formed because the government couldn't bail America out of the Blight and accompanying riots, but did you expect to just sit on your duffs and wait for a miracle? GROW UP! FACE REALITY!! Disasters happen. And stop misspelling my name; you hermaphroditic clown.
- Charles Oines
Dekalb, IL

-" . . .hermaphroditic clown" Play nicely, children . . .
- SMB


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