Vehicle Guide 2 Designer's Notes
by Ken Scott

HTML conversion by Michael P. Owen, March 2000

As I mentioned in the introduction to Vehicle Guide 2, autoduelling changed in the four years since the first AADA Vehicle Guide. New body styles introduced more variety into vehicle design. Defensive technology advanced, keeping pace with the dramatic increase in the selection and capabilities of offensive weaponry. Even the rules changed, requiring new tactics. All in all, I think Car Wars became a more enjoyable game. No longer is it possible to slap a car together haphazardly and expect to be competitive.

In Vehicle Guide 2 I tied to include more of the less-common vehicle types -- grasshoppers, car trailers, reversed trikes and ten-wheelers are rare in other publications and thus were emphasized in this one. VG2 also includes the camper body style, a claritication of the rules regarding the pickup camper shell, and the sedan, a compromise between the lux and the mid. But the real changes over the years have been in what goes into the body.

I tried to include every weapon in the game in at least one vehicle design. Even the infamous vehicular shotgun found its way into the book. Variable ammo loads, available for nearly every weapon, give the player real flexibility in tailoring his design to the needs of the moment -- add an extra magazine or two and a magazine switch and you've got the ammo you need at the moment you need it. But the big changes have been in the variety and power of rocket ordnance available. Incendiary weapons have also become more common and more powerful. As direct-fire damage and accuracy, and dropped-weapon effectiveness, increased, tires became more and more vulnerable. In fact, the tires will be the one weak point of a well designed vehicle.

The cars in Vehicle Guide 2 are, for the most part, much more survivable than earlier designs. More armor, solid (or even metal solid) tires, wheelguards arid hubs, and lots of component armor seem to be the rule these days. Metal armor backed up by component armor can allow a vehicle to absorb an amount of damage that seems illegal. Fireproof armor, component armor and tires will keep away those nasty bum mods for a little while. The massive damage that modem weapons can deliver can be survived, but the best way to keep rolling is to avoid being hit.

Many of the cars in VG2 have an abundance of maneuverability equipment. Spoilers and airdams are common, as are heavy-duty shocks and improved brakes. Good handling lets you go faster, and going faster helps you dodge those rockets and ram plates. Besides, the game is more fun with cars zipping about at death-defying speeds than with lawn-mowers puttering around at a nice, safe 30. Enjoyment, after all, is what the game is all about. Use the cars in Vehicle Guide 2, have fun, and keep on duelling!

Finally, I'd like to say a few things about how to submit vehicle and gadget designs to Steve Jackson Games. It’s not as difficult as you might think -- mostly what it takes is a little time and trouble. When I signed the contract to write VG2, I received a rather large box filled with vehicle designs. (The box is full again, and there's a similar box full of gadgets.) The box contained hundreds, maybe thousands of designs, running from illegibly scrawled messes on 3" x 5" index cards to multi-page typewritten documents containing several designs per page. Of the two, the latter is preferable by a very small margin. I'm sure I overlooked some good designs because I couldn't read them. So, if you want to submit new designs, here's how to do it. Put one vehicle on one 8 1/2" x 11" piece of paper. Make sure each and every piece of paper has your name on it! Each vehicle design should have every vehicle component listed separately, as on the Vehicle Planning Sheet, with the cost, weight and spaces aligned in columns and totals at the bottom of each column. Gadgets should also be submitted one per page. If you submit a vehicle using a gadget you're also submitting, staple the two together. If at all possible, type everything! If you're using a computer, use a fresh ribbon so that the print is dark. This reduces author and editor eye strain, which puts them in a better mood, which makes them like you (and your car design) more. Follow these tips and you'll have a markedly better chance of getting your car, and your name, in a Car Wars publication.
Thank you for your support.

ADQ Vol. 6, No. 1 Index

Car Wars*Steve Jackson Games*ADQ Index