Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Van introduction (and rant)

Vans are the La Brea Tar Pits of beginners to Car Wars. "SO. MUCH. SPACE." they say to themselves, until they realize that you can only get 2 digits of armor on that mystery machine. As opposed to our everyday experience - where vans are useful and common - they are worthless in Car Wars.

I remember the first ADQ I purchased (3/3) has this ad for the "Security Stalker" - a state of the art wonder machine - that uses the new Gauss Gun and stealth technologies. Wow. Except that, young as I was, I realized that the armor (F15, R15, L15, B10, T11, U10) couldn't withstand one hit with most division 20 cars (let alone anything with a price tag of $57,130).

In the very same magazine was a great article - a perfect example of what game magazines should have - about a cross-country record made by two delivery people. It established the RPG mood of the car-wars world and it probably sparked a lot of my RPG designs. The world of Car Wars was a fascinating one to populate and elaborate.

So anyway, the car they made cross country in 2036 was this (thanks to Odette Morrison):
Warhorse: Van, extra heavy chassis, heavy suspension, super power plant, six solid tires. Armor 135 points (T10, F30, R25, L25, B30, U15). One driver, one gunner. Mounts one AC (autocannon) forward, also mounts 2 HR (heavy rockets) forward -- fired by front bumper trigger. One RL (rocket launcher), and 2 linked PS (paint sprays) also fired by a rear bumper trigger, are mounted in the rear. Carries an improved fire extinguisher, one LDR (Long Distance Radio), and hi-res targeting computers for both driver and gunner. 10 cargo spaces with a 60 lbs. capacity. HC 2, acceleration 5. Weight without cargo -- 7,140 Lbs., cost -- $33,250.

HC 2? 135 pts armor?? Cross country??? Vans were like "Hotshot" all over again.

But this clear, obvious, nonsense didn't stop me from making tons of vans. They're second to Luxuries for my favorite design. All that space, you see. And for a designer like myself - the vehicular homicide version of Versace - the design was part of the fun.

I even took some of these dummies into battle. So I have guts, give me that.

Rule-Change Proposals - Unsucking Vans

The goal is to make vans *plausible* for 2050s Autoduel America. Why should such a popular and usable car in 1990s America become obsolete - through suckage - in a car dominated world?

A first step is to employ the cargo and pickup rules I wrote about below. But in addition:

  • Increase weight capacity for chassis. This seems obvious. Make the van like it is in 2007 (acc. to Wiki: "While a minivan can tow between 2,000 and 4,000 pounds, a full size van can tow in excess of 8,000 pounds, as well as its own weight"). So instead of 6000 as base chassis, make it close to 7000.

  • and/or lower the armor weight.

  • and/or make the armor more effective (i.e. it takes 1.5 hits to take off 1 piece of plastic ablative armor).

  • and/or in addition to requiring the trucker skill to drive a van effectively (2057 demands more than just blocky movement; you need to drive a heavy unresponsive brick of a car while shooting at moving targets who are shooting back) - possibly vans over 7200 lbs require *truck power plants.* This will use the space more effectively.

  • Last Idea: Vans should only fight other vans.

    Anonymous said...

    Vans should only ever fight other vans? Who are you kidding. I can't think of anything more enjoyable than jumping in a well made subcompact and blowing a van to pieces.
    -Rick Havok

    JC said...

    Very true, Havok. As the rules currently have them, Vans are the baby seals of Car Wars: made for the new gamer to be easy targets for the veterans.

    But a subcompact/Van only arena also has promise. Another good idea from gearjammers (whose link I haven't yet put up...)

    Anonymous said...

    One of these days, I will build an arena that let's people play online, but it's gonna take time.
    Keep up the blog!

    JC said...

    Thanks for the encouragement, Havok. This blog has been a great distraction from the work I'm supposed to be doing.