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Various tools and game aids to help intrepid Car Wars players and gamemasters become more efficient and effective at planning and executing their game play. Special commentary from our beloved president (who is also a raving lunatic) will elucidate (or further confuse) the functions of these various items.

Art of vehicle designing Arena designing Rule interpretations
Game tools Gamemastering events

Arena Designing

Foreword | Arena Objectives | Design Rules | Things to Add | Point Systems | Sample Arenas

Arena Designing - Foreword

The setting of a battle can influence the style of combat, the effectiveness of weapons, and the path to achieve victory. The type of arena being used can also determine the type of event that should be run and the rules that should be enforced -- thus affecting the playability of a game. Hear now the words of wisdom from AVRO's master architect of arenas...

My recipe for good arena:

Mix 2 parts potholes with 3 parts debris. Add about 3-5 large stationary objects (i.e., buildings). Sprinkle with either water, ice or dirt as desired. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, combine checkpoints, pitstops, and targets. Toss with racing stripes, oil drums and sandbags.

Combine both bowls' contents together on a large board, and form into an artistic shape, if so desired. Add curbs and walls as desired. Put in jumps.

Turn jumps to 15-30 degrees. Time while jumping should last no longer than 6 seconds.

When done, place on a large, flat surface and tape it down. Garnish well with trees, bushes and grass. Serves 5-10 duellists.

Uhhhh...right...Here are some more practical tips on arena designing:

Arena Designing - Arena Objectives

Before creating an arena, you should consider what is your arena supposed be. Will it be a place for duelling, racing or both? Will it be a complex maze or an empty landscape? Knowing these few points can help you save time and wasted effort when building your arena.

Duelling and racing each have different criteria for arena designs. Duelling takes place at slow (about 30-70 mph) speeds and involves heavy amounts of shooting. Racing takes place at extremely high speeds (+150 mph) and involves usually involves little shooting. A flat plane with few obstacles to shooting or bump would be fine for duelling, but might be boring for racing. Similarly, an elaborately curved racetrack with high walls along the raceways would not be good for duelling cars. If you are designing an arena that appeals to both duelling and racing, the arena will need an environment that can takes advantage of both competitions' strengths and weaknesses.

The theme of the event you want to run should also be taken into account (i.e., off-road, ice, city streets, water, night). By taking into account the things that are normally related to the particular theme, you can better match your game's rules and objectives. For example, ice would be a good match for a hockey-style game. This also helps with arena decorating.

The criteria for winning should be taken into account. Will it be by a point system or by death? If it is death, a simple or a mildly complex arena design would be alright. A point system would might require jumps, targets, checkpoints, etc. In this case, more complex arena designs would be required.

Arena Designing - Design Rules

When creating an arena, one should take into consideration the following basic rules:

  1. Arenas should not kill players outright. A destructive arena filled with flaming oil, automated guns and falling boulders may be a therapeutic release for gamemasters, but players don't particularly enjoy them (I can't see why not :). Players come to a battle to shoot each other up for fun, not to battle against the arena itself. Remember that the game is called Car Wars, not Arena Wars.

  2. Arena contents should be clearly defined by rules. Ramming a fire hydrant and then finding out it is considered indestructible can really ruin the rammer's day (not to mention his paint job, his front end, his engine, the blood on his steering wheel...). Make sure that you assign Damage Points to the things in the arena, figure out what it takes to hit these things, and what type of remains to these things leave when destroyed. Then, make sure all the players know this.

  3. Exterior walls should be clearly marked. Arenas should have clearly defined walls around themselves. First of all, this prevents players from driving off into infinity. Secondly, players will know that they will crash if they hit this limit. Finally, it prevents players from getting too silly by attempting to interact with the spectators.

  4. Exits should be clearly marked. Besides providing a more realistic feel to an arena, clearly marked exits (if any) allow players to strategies to escape or prevent escape from battle.

  5. Jumps should be clearly defined by rules. Jumps (and all potential jumps) should have their jump angles clearly marked. The type of jump rules (I think there are about 3 of them so far) to be used should definitely be noted since this can dramatically change tire damage, difficulty, jump distance, and jump angle.

Arena Designing - Things to Add

Here are a few ideas off the top of my head concerning the building of arenas.

Map your design first
On graph paper, layout your design for your arena first. Note where entrances/exits, pit stops, objects, curbs, off-road areas, jumps (and their directions), etc. are located. This will help you see the practicality of your design. It will also help speed up the actual building of your arena.
Budget lots of time
Try to get your arena ready at least a week before the actual battle. This will allow you to fine tune rules to the actual arena layout, and reduce your stress from the upcoming battle.
Laminated grid maps
These are very useful when building your arenas. You can precisely place your objects, competitors get a clear understanding of the distances in the area, and it is easier to draw (& erase) on the map. Also allows you to reuse maps, helping to save you money in the long run.
The 3rd-dimension
Flat arena are difficult for competitors to envision their battles (not to mention the arguments that can arise). Use of actual objects as opposed to mere drawings can help alleviate this problem. Hobby shops are good places for grass, dirt and tree representations. Hardware stores are good for the actual construction materials (plaster, glue).
The world is so expensive, but Car Wars doesn't have to be! Recycle as much as possible for your arenas. Little scraps of plastic, metal, wood, etc. that you would normally toss out can be reused in your arena designs. These can be turned into representations for lamp poles, trees, bushes, buildings, billboards, etc.
Model cars
Model cars are the final realistic touch in a 3-D arena. While there have been several failed attempts at producing models for Car Wars, you can improvise with the existing toy cars. However, existing toy cars use a much larger scale than the Car Wars universe, so scale appropriately (i.e., Hot Wheels is about 3 times, & Micro Machines is about 1.5 times bigger, I think).

Arena Designing - Point Systems

Point systems are a clear mathematical method of determining who is the winner in an arena battle. It is used to measure the achievements (i.e., kills, target shooting, etc.) of the participants according to a set scale that is also known to the participants prior to the battle. This allows even participants that have died off to win posthumously.

The point system used in duels depends on emphasis of the arena in question -- on killing or on cute stuff. If killing, the high point awards are given to firepower and mobility kills. If cute stuff, firepower & mobility kills are given much lower point values, while jumps, targets, kills, checkpoints, destroying buildings/objects, etc. are given similar or higher point values. Negative firepower and/or mobility point values should be given to participants that are killed (survival of the fittest, after all).

In races, point systems should always emphasize speed (i.e., laps around a track, reaching checkpoints). If there are targets, a much lower point values should be assigned to them (unless they are somehow necessary for checkpoints). Kills should be given a very tiny point value or no point value at all (this is a race, not a duel after all).

In some competitions, multipliers are used to add a bit more chance into the game. Certain targets need to be shot or jumps to be done in order to get a multiplier. Multipliers can increase the point values of certain point awards for those that earn them. However, multipliers also increase the amount of firepower & mobility points one can lose when killed.

Arena Designing - Sample Arenas

Below are a few old arenas that AVRO has created and tested in past championships.

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Copyright ©2000 Bruce Lam. All rights reserved.

Reprinted by the Seattle Washington Autoduel Team, January 16, 2015.
Updated January 23, 2015.
Original URL: http://www.brucelam.com/carwars/resources/arena/index.html