Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Rant about Station Wagons & Cargo spaces

I'm now up to my list of station wagons and maybe I lack understanding of car construction, or advanced game dynamics, but 'required cargo spaces' have always bothered me. It's especially annoying with pickups - massive chassis and no spaces! - but the station wagon/luxury case shows the inner absurdity.

I've heard that rules doctors have recently allowed cargo space to be used to carry passengers. I remember when we could put extra magazines there. We got rid of that rules presumably because that made cargo space useful and rational to have in a duelling vehicle. As it stands, station wagons are almost by definition for scenario use only and aren't practical in arena duels. Why use a wagon and not a luxury (unless you were like me 20 years ago and couldn't help but fill every available car space with a weapon; the station wagon then becomes like stomach stapling - if you can't control yourself the physical restriction will do it for you).

Luxs and Wagons are the same car - in armor weight and they even share tires - except that wagons must have 7 cargo spaces. Yet, if you wanted, you can make 7 spaces of cargo in a luxury... does that make the luxury *into* a wagon or just a Lincoln Town Car with a big trunk?

I think that since we can create cargo spaces in any car, and that Station Wagons are basically converted Luxuries, we should change the cargo rules to make those spaces more worthwhile.

Rule-Change Proposals:
1. There should be a price and even a weight cost to convert any part of a standard car into cargo except for 1 or 2 spaces which can presumably be the 'trunk.' 1 space for subcompact to midsize, 2 for sedan & luxury.

2. Either that or a designated cargo space adds to chassis strength (which can explain the pickup), e.g. the first 50 lbs. in each cargo space is not considered in chassis strength.

3. Any standard car (sub, comp, mid, sedan, lux) can be made into a 'hatchback' and have the cargo carrying bonuses. These cars have existed for decades anyway - how could we not have a 2057 Car Wars version of the Gremlin?!

Pickups - special case:

Pickups. Sweet pickups. We've already tried to fix the space rule, first by creating the camper shell (remember, I'm old school, I remember that being added in 1985) and then ditching that for the Camper body style. We get more room for weapons but then get the horrible Van armor. Then Uncle Al's introduced extended cabs. Fine. But I have no idea why we can have a car body built to withstand 7800 lbs but can't build one that can use every one of it's spaces? It's not like the station wagon which has a regular body (luxury) that uses every space with the same weight. Why can't there be a pickup with every space for weapons, etc?

Two reasons can be given: (1) fiction consistancy and (2) Game balance. The consistancy is a crock, though, because every person who plays Car Wars wants there to be a car that can hold 7800 lbs and a full 24 spaces. And if *we* want that why wouldn't the car-makers of 2050 do that? It could be that cargo space distributes weight differently - using my assumption above. Fine. Then apply my invented rules.

Game balance is the more probable argument, but that can be re-balanced.

Rule-Change Proposals, Pickups:

1. Apply 1-3 above to pickups and that will satisfy 'fiction consistantly'

4. Introduce a new body - consistant with rule 3 - that would be the pickup without any cargo space. This can be a "SUV" or "four-by-four." The game balance trade-off could be either, or both:

  • Handling class is reduced by 2 (so Hvy Sus. would be a HC 1)
  • SUV/4x4 requires both a driver and trucker skill to drive without penalty.

    I think both rules could be excessive but I haven't play tested this idea enough. But the trade-off in Handling (which I think is a big bite) and/or to require a driver to use the arena-set 30 skill points to buy 0 in driver/trucker/gunner will balance things even more.
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