Ireland Autoduel Association
Unofficial Car Wars Compendium
Posted by David Gregg, August 1996
Reprinted by the Seattle
Washington Autoduel Team, March 08, 1998
Updated February 15, 2010
The following is an errata sheet/rules
for Car Wars arena dueling.
Because of the competitive nature of arena dueling,
it requires a more precise set of rules than role playing or adventures
with a referee. The advantages of more precise rules include that it is
fairer for the players to know in advance what the rulings on certain
ambiguities in the rules will be, they result in fewer rules arguments,
and unscrupulous players will find it less easy to exploit ambiguous
especially in car design. This sheet relates only to those rules and
available in AADA-Sanctioned Events. Boats, helicopters and even
will not be considered, since they are illegal under the AADA rules in
ADQ 9/l. Actually, it was originally intended that instead of an errata
sheet, that this would be a full rewrite of those Car Wars rules used
arena dueling. However, the probability of the AADA accepting and
a rewrite is minimal, and I could hardly distribute the rewrite myself,
since this would be tantamount to giving the Car Wars rules away free.
Unfortunately, Steve Jackson Games appear to be
giving up on producing new Car Wars products. Some roleplaying and
material is being produced but arena combat material seems to have been
dropped. This is a terrible pity, since the Car Wars rules have become
exceptionally complicated and inconsistent and the game is crying out
a more precise and consistent (but not necessarily much less
set of rules for tournament style arena combat between cars. The
rules are too ambiguous, have been written by too many people, are
and are full of useless information about all varieties of baroque and
esoteric vehicles that are totally irrelevant to the arena duelist.
These rules correct, clarify and add to the rules
in CWC2, UACFH and ADQ 9/l, to bring these texts into line with the car
wars rules as I understand them. Where possible, I try to quote the
of the ruling, although there are so many contradictory rulings that
which is correct is difficult. In addition, a number of unofficial
and changes are included in this sheet. These are clearly marked as
and do not form part of the official Car Wars rules. They may be useful
as they make some clarifications on ambiguous rules on which I am not
of any AADA ruling. They also suggest some changes to the official Car
Wars rules which I think would be good.
These rules are not appropriate for roleplaying
or adventures, the rules for which should always take second place to
interaction and speed of play. It should also be noted that these rules
are appallingly ambiguous. To write a properly precise set of rules,
would need to be written in a formal language. If there are any
scientists or linguists out there who are interested in such a project,
feel free, but I doubt that the AADA would be willing to use them.
This document is considered unofficial. It has not been published
nor endorsed by Steve Jackson Games.
The original version of
this document was written with Car Wars Compendium Second Edition First
Printing.The page references have been changed to correspond to Car
Compendium Second Edition Fifth Printing.
Car Wars Compendium 2.5 is now available for
purchase in Adobe Acrobat format on e23.
e23 - Car Wars
Compendium Second Edition Fifth Printing
Michael P. Owen
February 15, 2010
p.67 Fireproof Armor
If a vehicle catches fire, fireproof armour takes
one point of damage per turn, like normal armour.
p.68 Metal Armour
If a vehicle catches fire, metal armour takes
no damage from the fire. (There are a number of contradictory rulings
this, but this is the latest I am aware of). -- ADQ X/X
Clarification: The only way to use metal
and plastic armour together is with the metal outside and the plastic
It is no longer possible to layer it arbitrarily as was allowed by
p.68 Rubber Armour
Rubber armour is omitted from CWC2 altogether.
A point of rubber armour costs and weighs the
same as a point of normal plastic armour. Rubber armour takes half
from collisions, but takes five times the normal damage from weapons
Unofficial Clarification: Rubber armour
may be made fireproof, laser-reflective or radarproof at the same cost
and weight as plastic armour.
It takes a full five points of rubber armour to
stop a single point of weapons fire. If there is less than five points
remaining, then all of those points of rubber armour are destroyed and
the point of damage goes through.
Laser reflective rubber armour takes 2.5 times
(rather than 5 times) normal damage from lasers. It takes a full 2.5
to stop a single point of laser fire. Rubber armour cannot be bought in
half point increments.
Weapons fire is defined to be any damage from
any direct fire weapons, as well as damage causing dropped weapons,
as mines, flame clouds, etc. Rubber armour takes no damage from and
that do not damage vehicular components.
Rubber armour may be used as a layer in composite
armour, with metal and plastic. The outermost layer must be metal, but
the designer may choose which order to place the rubber armour and
armour in. There may be only one layer of rubber and one layer of
If a vehicle with rubber/plastic composite armour
catches fire, the one point of fire damage each turn is taken from the
innermost layer of armour.
Rubber armour takes normal (one point per turn)
from vehicular fires.
p.68 Carbon Aluminum Frames
Just in case anyone is still in any doubt, CA
frames are legal in AADA events.
p.68 Streamlining and Armor
Clarification: You must round up the
of spaces lost to streamlining and/or sloping. You cannot keep
p.68 Six-Wheeled Frames
"You can either place the tires side by side or
one in front of the other. In the first case, one wheelguard and one
wheelhub protect both, but any excess damage on the outer tire (when
at from the side) goes to the inner tire. In the second case, two
wheelguards and two armored wheelhubs are required, and excess damage
goes on to the next tire if fired at from the rear (front)." --
Unofficial Clarification: It is suggested
that the extra $100 for a six-wheeled frame should be added to the base
cost of the frame, that is before adding CA frames, chassis
p.69 Extra Power Cells
Unofficial Clarification: It is suggested
that the cost and DP of extra power cells be calculated on the base
and DP of the power plant as it appears in the table on p.69 rather
the cost and DP after PCs, SCs, and ISCs.
p.69 Improved Supercharger
Unofficial Clarification: It is suggested
that the number of DPs lost by triggering an ISC should be based on the
DPs of the power plant as listed in the table on p.69.
p.70 Loss of Engine
Unofficial Rules Change: There is an enormous
number of different decelerations for a car that loses power, depending
on whether it loses its plant, driver dies, runs out of ISCs, N2O
It is suggested that any time a car loses power,
it decelerates at 5 mph/turn. This can be the result of the power
being destroyed, or the driver removing his/her foot from the
If at any time, a vehicle finds itself above its
top speed then the driver must, on that phase, either push the plant or
remove his/her foot from the accelerator. If the driver pushes the
then it takes damage as normal on p.71. If the driver removes his/her
from the accelerator, the car decelerates 5 mph/turn.
The 5 mph/tum deceleration from plant loss or
letting up on the gas is considered part of normal deceleration. It is
not in addition to braking.
Consider rocket boosters and jump jets.
p.52 Internal Combustion
Note that according to official AADA rules presented
in ADQ 9/1, gas engines are, by default, illegal in the arena. ("If the
arena is to be open to gasoline powered vehicles, this must be
This rule is rarely enforced, but it might be wise to seek further
or design two cars, if no statement is made on gas engines.
all vehicles must have a range of 150 miles at cruising speed.
Unofficial Rules Change: All gas engines
bigger than 30 cid take one extra space. Gas engines take far too
space. The new gas engine rules actually reduce the amount of space
gas engines take. Note that this is not in any way official. It also
a serious change in the balance of the game. Consider it carefully
you use it.
p.71 Fuel Tanks
According to p.72, cargo is any internal
other than weapons, crew and engine. Thus, gas tanks are cargo for
Unofficial Rule Change: For damage allocation
purposes, gas tanks are part of the engine compartment. Allowing zero
gas tanks to be part of the cargo gives an unfair advantage to gas
Gas tanks may be placed in cargo space. -- ADQ X/X.
p.71 Engine Critical Damage
Unofficial Rules Change: If the suggested
unofficial rules on power loss are used, then in item 8
the car loses 5 mph of top speed per turn, but need not necessarily
to meet the lower top speed. Similarly, under item 12 (Disaster!), all
power is lost and the car decelerates 5 mph/turn.
p.72 Plasticore Tires
Unofficial Clarification: When a plasticore
tire has taken 4 DP the rubber exterior strips off revealing plastic.
this point it is visible to other cars that the tire is a plasticore
has lost its rubber layer.
CWC2 and UACFH both say that steelbelting increases
a tire's DP by 25%. However, it has been repeatedly asserted in ADQ
the proper amount should be 33 and l/3%. It seems likely that the CWC2
and UACFH values are incorrect since the change from 33 1/3% to
was not on any of the SJ Games Car Wars Errata Sheets. Therefore, the
ruling is that steelbelting adds one-third to tire DP.
The order of tire modifications:
A. Take a tire (std, HD, PR or solid)
B. Steelbelt it, if desired (+50% cost, +50%
weight, +33 l/3 DP)
C. Add one handling modification, if
1. Radial (+150%cost, +20%
weight, -l DP)
2. Off-Road (+20% cost, +5
1bs. weight, no DP change)
3. Racing Slick (+300% cost,
+100% weight, +l DP)
D. Fireproof it (+100% cost)
E. Put it on a cycle (-50% weight)
"Up to two spaces worth of dropped weapons (four
spaces on a oversized vehicle) may be comer mounted." In this case,
weapons include dropped weapons, gas weapons, gas streamers and flame
Gas tanks may be placed in cargo space. -- ADQ
p.73 Placing Weapons and
No more than l/3 of total spaces in a vehicle
can be devoted to weapons that fire from any one side.
How do you calculate the number of spaces allowed
A. Slope and/or streamline the chassis
B. The total number of spaces is the sum of the
remaining regular and cargo spaces.
C. Divide the total number of spaces by three
and round down. The result is the maximum number of spaces per side.
For each of the six sides of the vehicle, add
up the space taken by all the weapons on that side. The space taken by
magazines is added to the space taken by the weapon to which it is
The space taken by component armour is also adds to the weapon(s) it
The space taken by weapon concealment also counts. The space taken by
boosters and jump jets mounted on each side is added to the the number
of spaces mounted on each side. Weapons and magazines mounted in the
count against the l/3 space rule for both sides that make up
comer it is mounted on.
It is not clear whether turret mounted weapons
count against the number of spaces of weapons that can be mounted in
top arc. The 2038 Wombat III took advantage of this ambiguity to attach
eight spaces of weaponry to its turret.
Although the l/3 space rule is part of the official
rules, and is enforced in most Chapter and Regional events, it is
never enforced in the World Championships. If you are competing in the
World Championship Tournaments, ignore the l/3 space rule. Countless
illegal World Championship designs demonstrate that the number of
per side is never checked. It may seem unfair to use an illegal car,
your opponents will probably be driving illegal designs, so if you
the rules you will be at a disadvantage.
p.84 Smart Link
There is a rather bizarre ruling on smart links
in ADQ X/X which says that two smart linked, identical weapons, one in
the turret, one on the front can be fired together with a cyberlink and
both get the full +3 bonus. Considering that p.107 says that a
works like an SWC and a SWC "must be set on installation to aid a
weapon type in a single position" (p.105 and p.106), this ruling seems
to almost certainly be in error. If it is correct, one wonders whether
it applies to SWCs and HRSWCs. In my opinion this ruling is incorrect.
Unofficial Clarification: SWCs and smartlinks
may not be combined. Although one (or both) of the smart-linked weapons
may have an SWC attached, the bonus from the SWC only counts when that
weapon is fired alone. If both smart-linked weapons are fired, neither
gets the SWC bonus. To get a computer bonus for smart-linked weapons,
need a full targeting computer.
p.86 Roll Cage
Midville enthusiasts will remember that the MONDOs
were allowed to build a single vehicle with a few points of armour per
side. One option for this vehicle was that it could have an open roof,
allowing a 360-degree arc of fire to passengers and crew, at no extra
as long as it didn't have any top armour. Of course this was long
there was any argument over official and unofficial rules. If such
are still legal, do they have five or six armour facings? Rules lawyers?
p.106 Laser Battery
Clarification: A laser battery is required
if a gas powered vehicle is going to fire lasers or run power draining
electronics (radar, IRSS, etc.).
p.106 Laser Guidance Link
Type the huge number of rulings on laser guidance
p.106 Magazine Switch
Unofficial Rules Change: It is suggested
that the player must specify before the arena starts the order in which
the shots in different magazines will come from if the weapon is put on
automatic. If the player does not specify, then it is decided randomly.
Clarification: The entire front armour
is taken into account when deciding how much a ramplate costs and
You cannot make only part of the front armour a ramplate.
p.106 Rocket EWP
Unofficial Clarification: A rocket EWP
is treated like a normal EWP for the purposes of wind resistance, being
hit, ejection, etc.
p.107 Rocket Platform
If a rocket platform is carrying a targeting laser,
the targeting laser is destroyed if the rocket platform is destroyed.
p.107 Rotary Magazine
Unofficial Clarification: If a weapon with
a rotary magazine is put on automatic, the shots are fired in the order
that they were loaded. If a shot is due to be fired on automatic but
already been fired in regular combat, then the shot in the next chamber
is fired instead.
p.108 Component Armour
Component armour is one of the most useful and
abused accessories in Car Wars. There are countless ruling on specific
cases of using component armour, but there has never, to my knowledge,
been any clean-up-type ruling on component armour, to iron out all the
ambiguities and abuses.
In a gas-powered vehicle, the gas tank and the
engine may be component armoured together or separately.
The driver and the gunner in a vehicle may be
component armoured together or separately.
A component may have a maximum of 20 lbs. of component
armour per space. This corresponds to 2 points of metal armour or 9
of laser reflective armour or 10 points of normal armour.
A volatile weapon that is protected by component
armour will not explode from fire unless the weapon actually takes
from the fire (i.e. after the component armour is destroyed).
Component armour may not be placed on comer mounted
A turreted weapon may be component armoured, but
the component armour takes space inside the turret.
Component armour need not match the armour on
the outside of the vehicle. Fire extinguishers, ISCs and nitrous oxide
must be component armoured with the engine.
Dischargers may not be component armoured.
Items in rocket platfroms or rocket EWPs may not
be component armoured.
Unofficial Rules Change: The rules change
that has been most badly needed on component armour is to delete the
"It effectively increases the DP of the component in question". This
have been a useful analogy when people just used plain old plastic, but
For damage allocation purposes, components are
divided into crew, cargo, engine and weapons. Within the crew cargo and
engine compartments, components may be armoured in groups or together.
Thus, if a compartment holds three components -- A, B and C, then each
may be component armoured separately or A and B can be component
together, and C armoured separately, or all three can be armoured
and so forth. Under no circumstances can any component be protected by
two or more layers of component armour.
Components from different compartments may not
be component armoured together. Thus, unless the IADA rule stating that
gas tanks belong in the engine compartment for damage allocation
is used, gas tanks may not be component armoured with the engine.
Items of 0 DP composition may not be component
Weapons on the same facing may be component armoured
together, or a single weapon may be component armoured on one side or
weapons on a side can be component armoured and others not. The
thing is there is no more than one piece of component armour per side.
A volatile component armoured weapon will not
cause a vehicle to explode as long as it is component armoured, however
component armour provides no such protection against gas engines
p.109 Fake Wheelguards/Fake
Unofficial Clarification: When fake wheelguards
or fake armoured hubs are hit by weapons fire and destroyed, it is
to everyone that they were fake.
p.109 Fire Extinguisher
Unofficial Clarification: Any turn that
a vehicle has a positive Fire Modifier total, the fire extinguisher
attempt to extinguish (reduce to zero) the existing Fire Modifiers.
If a vehicle is on fire, check to see if the
puts out the fire before applying fire damage.
p.109 Heavy-Duty Shock
Clarification: HD shocks cost $400 per
wheel, not $400 total.
p.111 Antilock Braking System
How about oil on ice?
p.111 Car Top Carriers
Unofficial Clarification: Car top carriers
and fake car top carriers are illegal in AADA events.
p.113 Jump Jets
Excerpted from ADQ 9/l: "Jump jets: $150
per 20 1bs., 1 DP and 1 space per 100 1bs. or fraction thereof.
20 lbs. of jump jet will lift 1,000 1bs. of vehicle l/4 inch (3.75
off the ground. 50-lb jump jets are available, costing $375,
up 1 space, having 1 DP. A 100-1b. jump jet would cost $750, take up 1
space, have 1 DP and lift the car to l/2" altitude. A 200-1b. jump jet
would cost $1,500, take 2 spaces, have 2 DP and lift the vehicle a full
inch (15') of altitude.
When a jump jet is ignited, the car lifts from
the surface at l/4" per phase until the maximum altitude is reached,
then descend at l/4" per phase until it reaches the ground. The vehicle
is not considered to reach the altitude it is heading for until the end
of the movement phase. Thus a vehicle at l/4" altitude at the beginning
of a phase.