Car Wars Internet Newsletter
Vol. 6, No. 10
December 06, 2053

Web Posted August 08, 2004
Updated August 08, 2004


Hello again worshippers of weapons and followers of fuel-injection gods. This issue is very short because of my effort to get the newsletter finally to a normal schedule and the Car Wars community has been very quiet this autumn.

The big news this issue is Gen Con is occurring next week. The highway refuse of SCAB will be in attendance to run several Car Wars events.

Several auto-combat console games are now out in the market. RoadKill, a combination of the Grand Theft Auto series and the Twisted Metal series, is a very dark and humorous post-apocalyptic adventure game. Spy Hunter 2, the sequel to the 2001 remake of the arcade classic, was released a few weeks ago. From the reviews I have read it appears to be a solid game better than its precedessor.

On December 16th a two-DVD set of Escape From New York will be available. I do not know for certain but I would suspect this version will have the bank robbery scene at the start of the movie where Snake Plissken is caught by the United States Police Force. This scene was cut out of the movie and never seen before except in a John Carpenter interview.

Battlestar Autoduel

The new Battlestar Galactica console game was released on November 21st. I received it for a Thanksgiving gift. It is very hard (I am still on the first level) but the graphics and sound effects are great. It is not a Car Wars nor a BattleTech game but it is a great science fiction combat simulator whether or not you are a fan of the title.

Monday, December 8th and Tuesday, December 9th are the dates when Sci-Fi Channel will be airing the new four-hour mini-series Battlestar Galactica. After watching the special "Battlestar Galactica: The Lowdown" and the trailer of the mini-series found in the Battlestar Galactica console game, the mini-series looks like it will be a great production. There will be many projectile and missile weapons used in combat, therefore Car Wars fans should enjoy the production.

Painted Target

Battlestar Galactica Console Game

Sci-Fi Channel: Battlestar Galactica

I am mentioning I want to extend my congratulations to Francis Greenaway of Painted Target. If you purchase the Battlestar Galactica console game, you will see at the end of the credits, on the television screen and in the instruction manual, in the "Extra Special Thanks" an individual named Francis Greenaway. Yes, British autodueling legend Francis Greenaway was part of the production of the Battlestar Galactica console game. Francis's Battlestar Galactica Star Fleet Battles Web site was used during the development of the console game. Please show your support of Francis's accomplishment by purchasing Battlestar Galactica and sending him congratulations via e-mail.

That is it for this issue. In two weeks another issue will be released, possibly with the first version of ACE. No, I am not to tell you what ACE is until the first pages of this ever-changing resource are launched.

Drive Offensively,

Lab Rat



Report: Company develops rifle that fires at right angles

The Associated Press and CNN
Wednesday, October 29, 2003
Posted: 10:27 AM EST (1527 GMT)

JERUSALEM (AP) -- Israel and the U.S. are to spend at least $57 million for development of a laser cannon that can shoot down short-range missiles, an Israeli legislator and security officials said Tuesday.

A recent Israeli delegation successfully lobbied Congress to approve the new funding package for the joint U.S.-Israeli Nautilus laser weapon project, said Israeli lawmaker Yuval Steinitz, who was part of the delegation.

Israel wants the Nautilus to help protect its northern border towns from Katyusha rockets, fired by the Lebanese guerrilla group Hezbollah during Israel's 18-year occupation of southern Lebanon that ended in 2000. Israel claims that Hezbollah now has 11,000 rockets aimed at Israel.

Congress approved $57 million to fund the project, and Israel will also contribute funding, Steinitz said, but could not say how much.

There is, however, no public record of congressional approval for Nautilus funding. It may fall under the classified portion of the 2004 Defense Authorization bill, passed by Congress and signed by U.S. President George W. Bush on September 30.

The laser beam system was successfully tested at the U.S. White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, in February 1996. However, since then,
development of the project had been held up by skeptics in the U.S. Congress, said an Israeli security official.

New funding is now needed to transform the technology into a practical weapon, said Steinitz, who is the chairman of the parliamentary foreign affairs and defense committee.

"Now we have to make it an efficient, compact weapon that can be used in the battlefield and in the war on terrorism," Steinitz said.

The Nautilus uses a high power radar to track and lock onto the incoming projectile. Then a Mid-Infrared Advanced Chemical Laser (MIRACL), which looks like a large spotlight, shoots out an intense beam that destroys the rocket.

The White Sands test marked the first time that a rocket has been destroyed in flight by a laser beam. The laser has also proved its ability to shoot down artillery shells.

Israeli security officials said that the potential to use this technology in the war against terrorism was a major factor in convincing Congress to renew support for the project.

"If the technology is developed, it will be applicable to many other military mechanisms," said Steinitz, "It could be a central mechanism in the future battlefield." Congress also approved a further $89 million for a second joint U.S.-Israeli project, the Arrow anti-ballistic missile system, which has already entered production, Steinitz said. The system is already operational.

Also Tuesday, the Maariv daily reported that a U.S.-Israeli company has developed a gun that can fire at right angles.

According to the report, the pistol, produced by the Florida-based Corner Shot Holdings, is being tested by the Israeli military and has already been bought by a number of special forces around the world.

A spokesman for the Israeli branch of the company refused to comment on the report.

Pictures of the weapon show a gun composed of two parts -- the front, that can swivel from side to side, containing a pistol with a color camera mounted on top, and the back section which consists of the stock, trigger and a monitor.

The unique weapon allows the soldier to remain behind cover, with only the barrel of the rifle exposed in the direction of the hostile fire, even at a sharp angle.


Residents who do not comply will be fined $10

The Associated Press and CNN
Monday, November 24, 2003
Posted: 2:44 AM EST (0744 GMT)

GEUDA SPRINGS, Kansas (AP) -- This tiny south-central Kansas community has passed an ordinance requiring most households to have guns and ammunition.

Noncomplying residents would be fined $10 under the ordinance, passed 3-2 earlier this month by City Council members who thought it would help protect the town of 210 people. Those who suffer from physical or mental disabilities, paupers and people who conscientiously oppose firearms would be exempt.

"This ordinance fulfills the duty to protect by allowing each individual householder to provide for his or her protection," said Councilman John Brewer.

"This is simply using the U.S. Constitution -- Second Amendment in particular -- to the city of Geuda Springs' advantage."

Geuda Springs has no local police force; the Sumner County Sheriff's department is responsible for policing the area. Sheriff Gerald Gilkey said the ordinance makes him concerned for the safety of his officers.

"This throws up red flags," he said.

The town's city attorney, Thomas Herlocker, also opposes the measure, which has not taken effect because it has yet to be published. He said he plans to ask the council to reverse itself on the issue. The council meets next on Dec. 1.

Whitney Watson, a spokesman for Attorney General Phill Kline, declined to comment on the legality of such an ordinance, which is similar to one passed in Kennesaw, Georgia, 21 years ago that is still in effect.

Many Geuda Springs residents refused to talk about it, and others were tightlipped, saying outsiders should stay out of it.

"It's nobody's business but our own," said Phillip Russell, who owns a motorcycle shop in the town. "Everybody out of town is making this their business."


Friday, October 31, 2003

By John Cook
Seattle Post-Intelligencer Reporter

Airplanes. Software. Biotechnology.

Those are the industries that most frequently come to mind when discussing the Seattle economy.

But a rather low-tech consumer product is gaining a toehold here: the board game.

Three Seattle game makers -- Screenlife, Cranium and Front Porch Classics -- have raised $30 million in venture capital financing in the past six months.

That's more than double the amount that was raised by toy and electronic game companies in the entire country last year.

And it has some wondering if Seattle -- the land of lattes and high tech -- is the new board-game capital of the world.

Seattle does have some history when it comes to this. Pictionary, a blockbuster success that is now distributed by Hasbro, was created in the mid-1980s by Western Washington University grad Rob Angel.

But in the past five years, a flurry of activity has occurred, with more than a half-dozen new board and card game companies started in Seattle. Former Microsoft Corp. Senior Vice President Brad Chase created a word game called Derivation; unemployed dot-commer Rich Koehler developed Burn Rate; and former Boeing Co. technical writer Brian Pelham drafted 37 different adult games with names such as Preposterous
Proposals and Beer! Sex! and Weed!

"Seattle is like an incubator for innovative new games," said Koehler, who is rolling out a Korean version of Burn Rate next month. "And (it) is a hot spot for new board/card game companies."

So what is driving this burst of creativity?

The gloomy weather? The entrepreneurial mind-set? The literary culture?

Frank Catalano, who has worked for the Toy Industry Association and is currently consulting with a New York board-game company, thinks it
is a combination of those factors. But he also said it goes deeper.

"Two words: Cranium and Starbucks," said Catalano. "Basically, Starbucks and Cranium proved that you don't have to be part of Hasbro or
Mattel to launch a successful board game. You can do it through what is not considered a traditional channel, a coffee shop."

In 1998, former Microsofties Richard Tait and Whit Alexander persuaded Starbucks to carry Cranium after they missed the primary buying cycle at a New York toy show.

Luck was on their side.

As the only board game on the shelf of the coffee retailer, Cranium became a runaway success as young professionals who frequented the coffee shops identified with an interactive game that combined elements of Pictionary, Trivial Pursuit and charades. Now more than 6.5 million copies of Cranium's games have been sold worldwide -- making it one of the most successful game franchises of the past decade.

"We really changed the rules on games distribution with our original launch partners," said Tait, who also landed and Barnes & Noble as partners. "In our business, distribution is very tightly held and the market is dominated by two large players so you have to change the rules to break through."

Starbucks also has played a key role in the breakout of another Seattle area game company. Last year, the coffee retailer became the exclusive retailer of Hear Me Out! -- the first game developed by ToySite.

ToySite, the retail game division of Woodinville-based Bensussen Deutsch & Associates, is expanding Hear Me Out! to major retailers this holiday season. It also has two other games -- This vs. That and Kuduuk -- that are being distributed exclusively through Starbucks.

Steve Avanessian, vice president of marketing at Bensussen Deutsch, doesn't play down the role that Starbucks has played in the success of his company's games.

"It was a great opportunity for us to find a place wh ere there is a social experience and the coffeehouse culture," Avanessian said.

While Starbucks helped revolutionize board-game distribution, it can't take all of the credit for Seattle's spate of dice rollers, card turners and trivia buffs. Several board game entrepreneurs also suggest it has something to do with the rain.

"With the weather in the city, we end up entertaining each other with fun family games," said Tait, who came up with the idea for Cranium during a rainy vacation in the Hamptons. "A lot of creativity comes from those moments."

Avanessian agrees.

"Seattle offers a number of great outdoor experiences, but sometimes the weather draws us indoors," he said. "Board games really lend itself to that opportunity."

New York toy and game researcher Chris Byrne doesn't buy the rainy day theory, saying there are a lot of great games developed in California "where it is always nice to be outside."

In his view, Seattle is establishing itself as a game center because of its high-tech culture.

"It is not that big of a shift of putting together code to doing a game," said Byrne, who operates The Toy Guy newsletter and Web site. "They are both very detail intensive and sophisticated disciplines."

The fact that several high-tech employees made fortunes at, Microsoft and InfoSpace also makes it easier to finance a game, Byrne said.

But some aren't sure if there is any reason for the recent spurt of board-game companies.

"It is not like there is a coffee shop where I get together with Richard Tait of Cranium and Craig Kinzer of Screenlife," said Steve Edmiston, a former environmental attorney who co-founded Front Porch Classics in 2000. "I think there is some serendipity that it happens to be board games."

Still, that's not stopping Seattle's investment community, buoyed by the blockbuster sales of Wizards of the Coast to Hasbro and WizKids to Topps, from taking a closer look at the category.

Maveron, the venture capital firm of Starbucks Chairman Howard Schultz, participated in Cranium's $21 million financing in April.

Northwest Venture Associates recently backed Front Porch Classics, which has raised $5.6 million for its high-end wooden games.

And Seattle's network of high-net worth individuals came out in full force to support Screenlife, which raised $7 million to support the DVD trivia game SceneIt?

Screenlife co-founder Dave Long said the company appealed to investors who had been burned by Internet and high-tech investments.

"With our product they were able to see and actually play the game itself," said Long, a former financial analyst who came up with the idea at a Halloween party. "And then once they started researching the game industry and how lucrative it can be, that got their
attention." The fact that Screenlife had a major distribution agreement with Mattel also didn't hurt, he said.

Venture capitalists are accustomed to placing bets on risky endeavors. And developing a successful board game is no different, said Byrne.

"As with video games or with movies, it is very much a title driven business," said the former marketing manager at Pictionary. "For every Cranium that blows out of the water, there is another game that is not working."

For now, board games appear to be resonating with a public that is looking for ways to connect during the economic recession that followed the Sept. 11 attacks.

The entire toy industry remained fairly steady at $20 billion annually over the past four years. But the game and puzzle category increased 19 percent last holiday season.

Long, whose SceneIt? game will benefit from a major advertising campaign this holiday season, thinks Seattle game companies are poised to take advantage of the so-called "cocooning" trend.

"We go around the country to different events and it is amazing, people say: 'Oh my God there's another game company from Seattle. What is in the water up there?' " he said. "The most successful games that have launched in the last few years have come from the Seattle area."


Some of the board and card game companies in the Seattle area.

     Cool Studio, "Burn Rate":

     Cranium, "Cranium":

     Entspire, "Derivation":

     Front Porch Classics, "Dread Pirate":

     Kheper Games, "Preposterous Proposals":


     Screenlife, "SceneIt?":

     ToySite, "Hear Me Out" :

     Uberplay Entertainment, "New England":

     Wizards of the Coast, "Magic: The Gathering":

     WizKids, "Mage Knight":

P-I reporter John Cook can be reached at 206-448-8075 or <>.





GEN CON 2003

Subject: [SCAB] GenCon Car Wars
Date: Thu, 20 Nov 2003 13:29:34 -0800
From: Rob Hagmaier <>
Reply-To: Southern California Auto-Dueling Brotherhood <>
To: <>

Okay all. Gen Con is almost on us. We'll be running Car Wars events, so be sure to be there.  Don't forget that Gen Con uses pre-registration, so be sure to register now. Here is the event schedule for Gen Con Car Wars events:

Event BG00028
Saturday, Dec. 13th 10am

Event BG00033
Saturday, Dec. 13th 3pm

Event BG00034
Sunday, Dec. 14th 8am

Event BG00035
Sunday, Dec. 14th 1pm

A couple of things. First, the exact divisions have not been set. I will send a subsequent e-mail on that subject after I get some input from you guys. Second, don't <DELETED> to me about the times, especially that Sunday morning one. Not my choice. Third, you have to pay to play Car Wars (or any game for that matter). Isn't that neat? Again, don't whine to me about it.

Gen Con is trying to bring a "real" convention to SoCal. So get your <DELETED> registered and show up to at least one of the Car Wars games.  SJ Games has promised decent prize support. For crying out loud, the Shat-man will be there. Set your fricken' phasers on fun. (Real sorry about that one Tom, but the rules require me to stick the convention slogan in here somewhere, LOL).

I don't want to hear that you can't make it because Aunt Mabel is having bypass surgery that day. You've got other aunts. Be there. If you can't make it to Gen Con, you have no right to call yourself a gamer. And real gamers play Car Wars. What's wrong, are you scared some 14-year old is gonna spank you? Come beat up little kids with the rest of us. If you look on the event schedule, you'll see that only one of the four duels requires actual maturity.

Robert Hagmaier
Computing Analyst
AIM: hagmaierr

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