AVRO Autoduellists of the Vancouver Regional Organization
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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

Gamemastering Events

Foreword | Setting | Rules | Contact | Gameplay

Gamemastering Events - Foreword

A Gamemaster is one who coordinates a game during the match. He or she provides the setting of the game, guides the gameplay, and enforces the rules. As such, gamemasters tend to take a fair bit of time to plan all the elements of the gameplay and to review the rules. Let us hear some words of wisdom from AVRO's gamemaster:

After years of meditation & experimentation, I have designed a special purification ritual that will form link the soul of the gamemaster to that of the game itself, thus producing a harmony in the actual gameplay. Below are the five steps to Car Wars gamemastering Nirvana:
    1. stare at the arena for hours on end to admire its perfect lines and curves. (However with each little crack, bump or grit, I scream & faint -- this can go on for awhile.)

    2. play the event in my head to predict every possible conflict and situation. (At the same time, I produce the accompanying sound effects out loud, too.)

    3. reorganize all my counters by colour, shape and size by feel alone with my eyes closed. (Ever wonder what green actually feels like?)

    4. put yellow stickies in my manuals noting important rules. (However, I tend to mislabel my stickies, so it actually takes me twice as long to find stuff.)

    5. enter into a meditative state by binging on all the artificial sugars available - aspartame, sucralose, saccarine, and acesulfame potassium. (This puts me in an artificial sugar rush that leaves me so maniacal looking that no player would ever presume to my divine Car Wars commandments.)
After each match, I then have to spend a few months at detox & deprogramming to return to normal society.

Uhhhh...right...Here are some general tips about gamemastering Car Wars events:

Gamemastering Events - Setting

In order to play a game, one should have the proper facilities to support your players. This doesn't mean refuelling bays, garages or car washes in the arena. It means a practical environment in which your players and yourself can stretch, relax and have fun. For Car Wars, you need the following for comfortable playing:

Gamemastering Events - Rules

To be a gamemaster, one should be very familiar with the rules of the game. Gamemasters need to guide players on the proper path of Car Wars gameplay. Otherwise, players can interpret the rules very strangely (e.g. ramplate armour only weighs 50% of normal plastic normal -- NOT!).

Unfortunately, Car Wars has undergone several revisions that can make rule familiarization a bit difficult. Also, there are errors in some of the manuals, making this task even tougher. To begin with, I would suggest reading the standard manuals for Car Wars listed below. You should also read the errata that is available at SJ Games' website in the Car Wars Errata section.

This is the following information that you should be particularly familiar with:

Please note that if you do allow hovercraft into your battles, you should take a fair bit of time understanding its different type of maneuvering and speeds, the use of vectors, the effect of dropped weapons on it, how to rotate, etc. You may need a few aspirin, too.

There is some more rule advice in the Arena subsection and the Vehicle subsection of the Resource section.

Gamemastering Events - Contact

Players usually need to be contacted about dates, times, locations, rules, arena details, stock vehicles, etc. Otherwise, you may be faced with a diminishing attendance at your games. Also, it helps in cases of emergencies when rides can't be done, when the game has to be cancelled, etc.

Make sure you have all the information needed (dates, times, locations, rules, arena details, stock vehicles, etc.) ready before contacting players; otherwise, you may have to contact them again and again just to give them the basics. Below is the contact information from players that you should have:

Websites can also be useful for posting the required information. The site should contain info on rules, arenas, stock vehicles and past reports. Members will need to be notified when the site has been updated with the next match's details.

As for advertising your events, this is another kettle of fish. For your members, posting usually doesn't work -- you'll have to contact them directly for a decent member turnout. For attracting new members, this can work if you target your audience properly.

Posters, bulletins, or cards at game shops don't work very well. People usually don't take the time to stop and search the posting spot for the latest games in the city. Postings in game club newsletters would probably be better. You should also try Car Wars game registries (check the SWAT website).

On a side note, gaming tournaments can be a way to turn on people to Car Wars. Simple Amateur Night-type of short games are useful to introduce people to the game while they are waiting for another event (use stock vehicles or slightly customizable designs). Just make sure you don't run a normal Car Wars meeting there -- it will cost too much for your members and newcomers will be blown to bits too easily.

Gamemastering Events - Gameplay

Gameplay can be a rather chaotic event -- even more than what actually happens in the game itself! If not done right, gameplay can slow to a crawl. The keys to good gameplay flow is organization, division of effort, and cooperative rulings.

For gameplay, you should have the following ready before the game:

Note: Make sure that your counters are reasonably organized and not all cluttered in a box. Also, lots of debris and obstacles will be needed.

In very small games (2-4 players), Movement and Handling should be taken care of by one person. In larger games, split up the task so that one person takes care of 3 players, maximum. Grouping together this task helps to streamline movement, standardize control rolls, and reduces the chance of cheating.

When calculating to-hit and damage, let the opponent and defender calculate this out. If it sounds as if they don't know what they are doing, then step in and show them how to do it.

As for gaming conflicts, check what the rules actually say about the situation. When there are rule conflicts that have no particular right answer, try one of these three popular methods of dealing with them:

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Comments or suggestions? Contact Bruce through the general contact form in the contact section.

Copyright 2000 Bruce Lam. All rights reserved.

Reprinted and revised by the Seattle Washington Autoduel Team, January 17, 2015.
Updated January 23, 2015.
Original URL: http://www.brucelam.com/carwars/resources/events/index.html