Web Posted March 24, 2007
Updated March 24, 2007
Hello again, drivers and gunners. I mentioned last issue I was going
to aim for a quarterly schedule. After finding a large amount of content
for this issue, I decided to attempt for bi-monthly schedule and release
this issue in June.
Oops From Hell
I am extremely sorry to Jimmy Anderson and MADHAT for making two major mistakes in the last issue. My gasoline tank must be leaking vapors once again and my brain is absorbing the complex hydrocarbons.
First, I used the wrong first name when referencing the MADHAT President. Second, the awesome Car Wars Podcast produced by Jimmy and MADHAT is not in support of MADHAT's PBEM games necessarily, but is in support of Car Wars in general. I had stated the Podcast was dedicated to the PBEM games.
Jimmy, if you are ever in Seattle, I give you and the rest of MADHAT permission to attack my car with Street Legal* weaponry for my outrageous errors.
* See The Space Gamer, Vol. 1, No. 58.
April Mail Massacre
Each issue I lose a few subscribers because of e-mail addresses that
are invalid. When I mailed out the last issue I lost over 40 subscribers
because their addresses were non-functional. Ouch. If you are changing
your e-mail address, let me know as soon as possible your new address so
I can prevent another artillery barrage of bounced-back messages in my
inbox. Many thanks to all of you who have sent me e-mail changes in a timely
End of an Era: AVRO RIP
The Autoduelist Vancouver Regional Organization (AVRO) Web site has
traveled to Highway One. As of May 2006 the Web site has been removed from
its server. The CAADA chapter existed since the 1990s and had one of the
first Web sites for Car Wars. AVRO Internet HQ, uploaded in 1996, set the
standard for Car Wars Web sites with its incredible graphics and excellent
content. Bruce Lam, AVRO President and Webmaster, used his superb computer
graphics skills to produce one of the best Web sites for autodueling. Thanks,
Bruce, for 10 years of great auto-combat memories. You and AVRO will be
Frappr Maps: Car Wars Players
Frappr Maps is a free (registration required) service that maps members
of a group on a globe. Car Wars players now have a Frappr Map. Please add
yourself to this database. Do not forget to also register with Access Denied,
the SJ Games Player Finder and other gamer databases.
Wow. This Car Wars Web site has a huge amount of content regarding vehicle
construction, pre-built vehicles and other aspects of the game. Autoduelists
need to visit this Web site to see this great resource for themselves.
The gangs on the Autoduelin' on I-64 Yahoo! Group are continuing to
run their Skunkyard Challenges, quarterly contests of modifying a specific
die-cast metal car into vehicular combat monsters. Please check the message
board regularly and build models for the contests.
North Carolina Autoduel Association vs. SWAT
The author of the fantastic Jeffro's Gaming Blog, Jeff Johnson of North Carolina, wrote me this spring to inquire on meeting during his Seattle vacation this June.
Today I had the honor of meeting Jeff, who wanted to give me a warm welcome from the North Carolina Autoduel Association. Jeff decimated my bandit forces in the ADQ 6/3 adventure "Brothers in Arms."
Jeff drove a cabover traver pulling a van trailer. The combination vehicle was armed with three turreted BCs, many HRs, a large amount of metal armor on most sides, and many electronic devices. Jeff's weapons were very accurate. The first battle of the scenario was the helicopter attack. Jeff successfully hit the main rotor with a BC. The expected result was the helicopter crashing, however many of the components were intact. Like hungry vultures or jackels on a carcass, Jeff's crew went to work on the wreck and salvaged all of its weapons and electronics.
Jeff's combat expertise was repeated in the bandit base set on the East Midville maps. The three vehicles were quickly turned into salvage for his crew.
The adventure ended in a Draw, however with the spectacular kill of the helicopter (within two seconds of the duel starting), I upgraded the Jeff's result to a Marginal victory.
After the scenario we played three games of Car Wars: The Card Game. One of the duels resulted in each player drawing a Fireproof Armor card. The Special did not help me as Jeff poured Machine-Gun, Autocannon and Rocket fire into my vehicle to win the match.
I have not actually played Car Wars in over two years. I had forgotten the enjoyment of playing the game. Jeff's enthusiasm to meet this old duelist brought back the fire I had when I first played 19 years ago. Thanks, Jeff, for spending some of your vacation time with me. I am looking forward to seeing the campaign ideas we discussed appearing on your blog.
Speaking of Jeff's blog, please visit it regularly. Jeff's blog is one of the best resources on the Internet for autodueling. The archives are full of very well-written articles and variants, therefore spend a few hours to search all of the posts.
Jeffro's Gaming Blog
This issue's homework assignment for you is in two parts. First, search
for weapons, gadgets and vehicle types not in Car Wars. Second, make a
list from those items that should be included in Car Wars. These items
can be from console games, computer games, RPGs, other boardgames and the
world of 2006. You do not need to develop statistics or write the lists
in detail of an Uncle Albert's Catalog entry.
Michael Garrity Safe and Sound
Michael Garrity, former member of NOVA and now residing in Arizona, returned home last month after serving over six months in Iraq as a military police officer. Mike escaped serious injury and death on several occasions. I did not mention Mike's assignment in this newsletter out of respect and not to compromise the security of hislocation during your assignment.
Thank you, Mike, for your service. I am thankful you can do your autodueling
at home once again.
Thanks for the support once again. The next issue is planned for an August release. Please send me submissions whenever possible.
MY FIRST CAR WARS EXPERIENCE
I was a latecomer to Car Wars, but it was one of a small handful of
games that hurled me into hobby-gaming in the span of a single weekend.
It was the first day I ever set foot in a game shop (I was there looking
for comics, which they also carried), and I got roped into several games
that kept me coming back several days in a row: Car Wars, D&D, Talisman
and Nuclear War. I don't have any clear memories of the very first duel.
I can't imagine I lived long, these gamers weren't the sort to coddle newbies.
What I do remember clearly is borrowing a copy of the rules immediately
so I could rush off and design some vehicles, something that would consume
a LOT of my time. The shop was in a
particularly heavy Car Wars phase anyway because the original Deluxe Car Wars had just been released (the White Rulebook, I mean, not the later Compendium bundled boxed sets), complete with the introduction by Scott Haring which was the essay that -- more than any other -- spurred me into wanting to make games.
Little did I know, of course, that Scott Haring would (years later) be the party leader in a campaign taking place in the fantasy-world those D&D and Talisman games would inspire that same week, or that I would eventually -- however briefly -- take the driver's seat of the AADA (an AADA already suffering from a mobility kill, but the seat was warm, at least). Heck, I didn't even know of the AADA at that moment (nobody had loaned me any ADQs). What concerned me most -- and really it is the more important consideration, then and now -- is just how many rockets I could cram into a single Van (I overlooked the 1/3rd spaces per facing rule at first . . . something a helpful duelist at the game shop pointed out, dashing my hopes of that particular bumper-triggered volley).
So, vehicle design is what I remember. It's hook that really grabs -- the ability to go all mad-scientists and test your evil creation against others. And that memory comes back very clearly right now because, just a couple of days ago, I had the pleasure of introducing a couple of new gamers to Car Wars, and I lent them some rules and I've already had to field one odd-hours cellphone call of frantic and excited questions. They're just as hooked as I was, and with just a little luck we'll turn it into a neighborhood trend of real force as we (and most especially they) bring more newbies into it. Good times, then and now.
-- S. John Ross
April 03, 2006
Editor's Note: Thanks, S. John, for reminding me as Car Wars turns 25
this year Uncle Al is 1 year old according to the Car Wars timeline.
I was in college when Car Wars was released.
I remember seeing the pre-release ads for the game and knowing that it was a concept that I wanted to play. I sent my check and waited, knowing that the expected release date was a couple of months away. The date came and went and so I waited some more. Eventually I knew the game was available because I had read about it in a magazine, so I wrote SJG about my order. I got an apology letter, and a note that the game would be sent shortly. A couple more months went by and still no game, so I sent another letter. The BIG DAY finally arrived. The timing was interesting because my roommate at the time had a friend visiting from out of town and the game sounded interesting to him as well. So we went out to lunch and I brought the rules to read in the car.
After reading the rules and explaining the game a bit, the friend was interested in trying it out, but my roommate (who was not a gamer) was not. Fortunately for me his friend talked him in to it and so we spent the evening playing Car Wars. I no longer remember what cars we used, who won or lost or any other game related info. We probably played wrong. I did not care. This was the game I had been waiting for my whole (short gaming) life! My roommate enjoyed it but was never interested in playing that or any game ever again. He had his drums and his motorcycles and thought that games were 'just not as much fun as real life'. The friend enjoyed it a lot.
I introduced it to my gaming friends at college and it became a regular game of choice. We often had games with five to seven players. When PolyCon got started, I ran a couple of games (and hand drew arenas on large sheets of graph paper -- I even worked out the physics of jumps before any rules were published). Life was terrific.
After I left college my playing time lessened, mostly because I moved to a new town and had fewer gaming friends, most of whom were not interested in a "driving and shooting" game. There were a couple of people who were interested, so I did still play. I eventually worked out design rules for different sized trucks, vans, and station wagons, as well as jeeps, limousines and a few weapons and submitted them to SJG. My ideas were rejected by SJG because they were "not in accordance with areas that [they] wanted to take the game". Two months after the rejection came a supplement with some of my ideas. I got mad and quit playing.
I probably would have remained active had it not been for that rejection/betrayal. My anger/angst has long since faded but I have probably only played the game half a dozen times since then, mostly due to a lack of opponents. I still fondly remember the early days and I am not selling my collection of ADQ magazines or any of Uncle Al's Catalogs.
Matt, wherever you are, thanks again for playing a game that wonderful day and for helping me to understand what it meant to be an engineer.
-- Martin Gallo
April 13, 2006
AIR FORCE TESTING NEW TRANSPARENT ARMOR
Air Force Research Laboratory Public Affairs
Air Force Link: Official Web Site of the U.S. Air Force
Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio (AFPN) -- Engineers here are testing a new kind of transparent armor -- stronger and lighter than traditional materials -- that could stop armor-piercing weapons from penetrating vehicle windows.
The Air Force Research Laboratory's materials and manufacturing directorate is testing aluminum oxynitride -- ALONtm -- as a replacement for the traditional multi-layered glass transparencies now used in existing ground and air armored vehicles.
The test is being done in conjunction with the Army Research Laboratory at Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Md., and University of Dayton Research Institute, Ohio.
ALONtm is a ceramic compound with a high compressive strength and durability. When polished, it is the premier transparent armor for use in armored vehicles, said. 1st Lt. Joseph La Monica, transparent armor sub-direction lead
"The substance itself is light years ahead of glass," he said, adding that it offers "higher performance and lighter weight."
Traditional transparent armor is thick layers of bonded glass. The new armor combines the transparent ALONtm piece as a strike plate, a middle section of glass and a polymer backing. Each layer is visibly thinner than the traditional layers.
ALONtm is virtually scratch resistant, offers substantial impact resistance, and provides better durability and protection against armor piercing threats, at roughly half the weight and half the thickness of traditional glass transparent armor, said the lieutenant.
In a June 2004 demonstration, an ALONtm test pieces held up to both a .30 caliber Russian M-44 sniper rifle and a .50 caliber Browning Sniper Rifle with armor piercing bullets. While the bullets pierced the glass samples, the armor withstood the impact with no penetration.
In extensive testing, ALONtm has performed well against multiple hits of .30 caliber armor piercing rounds -- typical of anti-aircraft fire, Lieutenant La Monica said. Tests focusing on multiple hits from .50 caliber rounds and improvised explosive devices are in the works.
The lieutenant is optimistic about the results because the physical properties and design of the material are intended to stop higher level threats.
"The higher the threat, the more savings you're going to get," he said. "With glass, to get the protection against higher threats, you have to keep building layers upon layers. But with ALONtm, the material only needs to be increased a few millimeters."
This ability to add the needed protection with only a small amount of material is very advantageous, said Ron Hoffman, an investigator at University of Dayton Research Institute.
"When looking at higher level threats, you want the protection, not the weight," Mr. Hoffman said. "Achieving protection at lighter weights will allow the armor to be more easily integrated into vehicles."
Mr. Hoffman also pointed out the benefit of durability with ALONtm.
"Eventually, with a conventional glass surface, degradation takes place and results in a loss of transparency," Mr. Hoffman said. "Things such as sand have little or no impact on ALONtm, and it probably has a life expectancy many times that of glass."
The scratch-resistant quality will greatly increase the transparency of the armor, giving military members more visual awareness on the battlefield.
"It all comes down to survivability and being able to see what's out there and to make decisions while having the added protection," Mr. Hoffman said.
The Army is looking to use the new armor as windows in ground vehicles, like the Humvee, Lieutenant La Monica said. The Air Force is exploring its use for "in-flight protective transparencies for low, slow-flying aircraft. These include the C-130 Hercules, C-17 Globemaster III, A-10 Thunderbolt II and helicopters.
While some see the possibilities of this material as limitless, manufacturability, size and cost are issues the lab is dealing with before the armor can transition to the field, the lieutenant said.
"Traditional transparent armor costs a little over $3 per square inch. The ALONtm Transparent Armor cost is $10 to $15 per square inch," Lieutenant La Monica said. "The difficulties arise with heating and polishing processes, which lead to higher costs. But we are looking at more cost effective alternatives."
Lieutenant La Monica said experimenting with the polishing process has proven beneficial.
"We found that by polishing it a certain way, we increased the strength of the material by two-fold," he said.
Currently, size is also limited because equipment needed to heat larger pieces is expensive. To help lower costs, the lieutenant said researchers are looking at design variations that use smaller pieces of the armor tiled together to form larger windows.
Lowering cost by using a commercial grade material is also an option, and the results have been promising.
"So far, the difference between the lower-grade material and higher purity in ballistic tests is minimal," he said.
Lieutenant La Monica said once the material can be manufactured in large quantities to meet the military's needs, and the cost brought down, the durability and strength of ALONtm will prove beneficial to the warfighter.
"It might cost more in the beginning, but it is going to cost less in the long run because you are going to have to replace it less," he said.
(Courtesy of Air Force Materiel Command News Service)
CAR CHASE ENDS IN BURGER KING DRIVE-THROUGH
Associated Press and KIRO TV 7 Seattle
Posted: 10:46 am PST March 31, 2006
Abilene, TX -- A police chase of a suspected carjacker ended abruptly when the suspect took a wrong turn: into a Burger King drive-through.
Abilene Officer Ralph Garcia said he spotted a vehicle that was reported carjacked in Dallas on Wednesday and started following it.
The car sped away on Interstate 10, got off the highway and then got stuck in the drive-through.
No one was injured during the chase.
Two people in the car were arrested and jailed on multiple charges.
U.S. ENVOY'S CAR PELTED WITH FRUIT, EGGS
Motorcycles also chase convoy, spokesman says
Associated Press and CNN.com
Friday, April 7, 2006
Posted: 3:03 p.m. EDT (19:03 GMT)
Caracas, Venezuela -- Supporters of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez pelted the U.S. ambassador's car with fruit, vegetables and eggs Friday, and a group of motorcyclists chased his convoy for miles, at times pounding on the cars, a U.S. Embassy official said.
No one was hurt.
"We're being attacked by groups of motorcyclists while we're traveling in an embassy car," embassy spokesman Brian Penn told The Associated Press shortly before the motorcycles stopped chasing the four-car convoy.
"It's a very violent demonstration by a small group of people who appear to be organized by the mayor's office," Penn said, adding that police escorts provided by the Venezuelan government did not intervene.
U.S. Ambassador William Brownfield has faced protests at recent appearances.
Chavez has repeatedly accused Washington of conspiring to overthrow him, allegations U.S. officials deny.
The U.S. Embassy has asked the Venezuelan government to improve security for the ambassador.
Penn said the protest started when Brownfield visited a baseball stadium in southern Caracas to hand out bats and other donated equipment to a youth league.
During the event, a Chavez supporter, who wore an identification badge from the pro-Chavez mayor's office, walked up and said the people in the area wanted Brownfield to leave, embassy officials said.
Brownfield stayed and finished the event, while a few dozen people formed a small protest outside chanting "Go home! Go home!"
Penn said the barrage of fruits, vegetables and eggs began when the convoy pulled out and drove through an adjacent market.
"Our car is stained all over," Penn said. "They were pounding on the cars, including pounding on the ambassador's car while they were driving. There was no one stopping them."
He said the motorcyclists chased the convoy for about 3 miles (5 kilometers).
"The motorcyclists were throwing things at us for at least 10 minutes, and the police did nothing," Penn said. "It was serious."
Photograph: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez often has accused the U.S.
of trying to oust him, which Americans deny.
FERRARI CRASH LEADS TO GAME EXECUTIVE'S ARREST
Richard Winton and David Pierson
Los Angeles Times and Seattle Times
Monday, April 10, 2006
Page updated at 12:00 AM
Los Angeles, CA -- Sheriff's deputies have arrested the Swedish video-game executive who crashed his rare Ferrari Enzo in Malibu in February, alleging that he didn't own that car and others in his $3.5 million exotic-car collection, authorities said Sunday.
Stefan Eriksson faces grand theft of property charges after detectives raided his gated Bel-Air estate Friday night, spent six hours searching it and then arrested him Saturday.
Los Angeles County Sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore said Eriksson was arrested after detectives concluded the wrecked red Enzo -- and a rare Mercedes and a black Enzo Ferrari -- were owned by British financial institutions.
The cars were purchased in Britain last year and Eriksson apparently brought them to Los Angeles. But financial institutions that held titles to the cars informed detectives that payments had lapsed, Whitmore said.
The arrest, he said, underscores that what started as a curious auto accident on Pacific Coast Highway has expanded into a multipronged investigation. The search was conducted by the sheriff's emergency-operations bureau, part of Homeland Security.
"This is the beginning of the investigation," Whitmore said. "All three cars have now been confiscated."
Although no one was seriously injured in the crash, the investigation has generated significant attention because of the strange circumstances and the fact that it destroyed one of only 400 Ferrari Enzos ever built. Authorities believe the car was going 162 mph when it smashed into a power pole.
Eriksson told deputies who arrived at the scene that he was not the driver and that another man, named Dietrich, had been behind the wheel. Eriksson said Dietrich fled the scene. But detectives have openly mocked his story.
A blood-alcohol test on Eriksson at the time showed him to be above the legal limit for driving in California, so he could face charges if he was driving.
Eriksson also told deputies that he was a deputy commissioner of the police department of a small transit agency. A few minutes after the crash, two men arrived at the crash scene, identified themselves as homeland security officers and spoke to Eriksson at length before leaving.
Detectives are also investigating what connection the agency had to Eriksson.
Eriksson is being held without bail because Immigration and Customs Enforcement has put a hold him, though it is unclear why. His attorney could not be reached for comment.
Eriksson was an executive with Gizmondo, a European video-game company that crashed with more than $200 million in debts. According to Swedish authorities, he was in jail in the early 1990s for counterfeiting.
During the search at Eriksson's Bel Air home, detectives found the black
Ferrari Enzo, worth more than $1 million, Whitmore said. His MacLaren Mercedes
SLR, worth $600,000, was seized last month when his wife was stopped in
Beverly Hills for driving without a license. That sports car was reported
stolen to London's Scotland Yard.
STRANGE SAGA OF SMASHED FERRARI BACK IN COURT
Associated Press and CNN.com
Tuesday, May 16, 2006; Posted: 1:34 a.m. EDT (05:34 GMT)
Photograph: A rare, red Enzo Ferrari was virtually cut in half after smashing into a utility pole along Pacific Coast Highway.
Los Angeles, CA -- It's the smash up that car lovers can't seem to get enough of -- an exquisite red Ferrari, rare by even its own lofty standards, gets shredded in a 162 mph crash on Pacific Coast Highway.
First came a simple question: How could anyone plow their car into a utility pole at that speed and survive with just a cut lip, as Swedish businessman Bo Stefan Eriksson did?
From there, the case has developed more turns than the winding route authorities say Eriksson couldn't navigate on the morning of February 21.
First there was a mysterious German man named Dietrich. Eriksson told authorities he was Dietrich's passenger -- that he let Dietrich take the $1.5 million Ferrari Enzo out for a pre-dawn spin even though he didn't know Dietrich's last name or where to find him after he wrecked the car.
Things got even more odd when two "Homeland Security" men showed up after the crash, demanding to talk to Eriksson. It turned out they actually worked security for the San Gabriel Valley Transit Authority, a small bus company in the suburbs.
Eriksson told authorities he was a deputy commissioner with the authority's anti-terrorism division, although most of his previous experience with law enforcement appears to be the five years he spent in a Swedish prison in the 1990s for assault, extortion and other crimes.
On Tuesday, authorities raided the headquarters of the bus company, took one man into custody and seized guns, badges and police jackets. Eriksson's tie to the company is under investigation.
Digging deeper, authorities uncovered Eriksson's connections to a bankrupt European video game company he once helped run, his convictions for assault and other crimes in Sweden.
Ericksson, in custody on a federal immigration hold, appeared in court Monday, but his arraignment on charges of embezzlement, grand theft, drunken driving and being a felon in possession of a firearm was postponed to May 30.
The investigation has widened to include Carl Freer, a former business associate of Eriksson's and a member of the transit authority's "anti-terrorism unit." He is accused of posing as a police officer to buy a gun; Freer's attorney has denied wrongdoing on behalf of his client.
It all began with the wreck of a car so exclusive it was named after company founder Enzo Ferrari. Only 400 were made between 2002 and 2004.
Eriksson, 44, somehow wound up with two Enzos, as well as a Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren. Police have confiscated the cars and accuse him of stealing all three, which they say were worth $3.8 million.
His lawyer didn't return a call for comment, but he said at a pretrial hearing earlier in the month that Eriksson wasn't trying to steal the cars when he shipped them from Great Britain under other people's names.
The lawyer said Eriksson, who still owed more than $500,000 on the cars, only quit paying the banks after his company, Gizmondo Europe Ltd., went broke last year.
The Ferrari crash wasn't Eriksson's first problem with expensive cars. He has been charged with driving a Porsche Cayenne that rear-ended a Ford Explorer on January 4 -- more than a month before the Ferrari spill.
Ultimately, it was his penchant for fast cars that landed Eriksson in jail here. If he'd crashed a Volkswagen Beetle instead of a Ferrari, he might have remained under the radar.
"I would rank it as probably the most incredible exotic car crash in
history," said Greg Carlson, whose Web site, wreckedexotics.com, keeps
track of such things.
SWEDISH MAN PLEADS NOT GUILTY TO CHARGES FROM PCH FERRARI CRASH
Associated Press and SFGate.com
Tuesday, May 30, 2006
Posted: 05/30/06 12:11 PDT
Los Angeles, CA -- A Swedish businessman who authorities say crashed a stolen Ferrari sports car at 162 mph on Pacific Coast Highway pleaded not guilty Tuesday to grand theft, embezzlement and drunken-driving charges.
Bo Stefan Eriksson, 44, appeared briefly in Superior Court in an orange prison jumpsuit, his hands shackled. His plea to seven felony charges and two misdemeanors was entered by his newly hired attorney, Alec Rose.
Eriksson spoke only once, saying "yes" when confirming for Judge Craig E. Veals that he was changing attorneys.
Rose indicated outside court that he would seek the release of Eriksson, who is being held on $3 million bail and a federal immigration hold.
"We intend to prove in trial he's not guilty," Rose said. "He denies any car was stolen."
A trial date was set for July 31, but Rose said he expected that to be postponed.
According to prosecutors, Eriksson illegally imported two luxury Ferrari Enzo sports cars and a Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren to the United States from Great Britain. One of the Enzos was destroyed Feb. 21, when he hit a utility pole on Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu while traveling 162 mph. He suffered only a cut lip but the red sports car was ripped apart.
Eriksson initially identified the driver as a German man named Dietrich, who authorities could never find. Later, he acknowledged he was driving the car, according to testimony from a sheriff's investigator. Also, authorities say Eriksson claimed he was a deputy commissioner with the "anti-terrorism division" of a small transit agency in the suburban San Gabriel Valley.
Rose said the case could involve witnesses from Sweden, as well as issues of foreign law. He said he expected no problem finding an impartial jury, despite the wide publicity on the case.
Eriksson is a former executive with Gizmondo Europe Ltd., a computer game company that went bankrupt last year. He spent five years in a Swedish prison in the 1990s for assault, extortion and other crimes.
He is charged with three counts of embezzlement, three counts of grand
theft and illegal gun possession, all felonies. Authorities say they found
a .357-caliber handgun registered to a reserve Orange County sheriff's
deputy at Eriksson's Bel-Air mansion. He also faces two misdemeanor counts
for drunken driving.
WOMAN RAKING LEAVES IN FLORIDA YARD FINDS GRENADE
Associated Press and KIRO TV 7 Seattle
Posted: 6:41 am PDT April 27, 2006
Orlando, FL -- A woman raking her yard discovered a military training grenade in a pile of leaves, forcing the evacuation of several neighboring homes while a bomb squad removed the device.
It's not clear if the grenade was live or how it ended up in the home's back yard , where the woman found it Wednesday morning.
Orlando Fire Department Deputy Chief Kathy Miller said the woman had just moved into the house. Miller said arson units checked the rest of the back yard and found nothing.
The arson bomb squad turned the grenade over to the U.S. Army.
BOSTON POLICE FIRE ON SUV DRIVING ON SIDEWALK
Associated Press and CNN.com
Tuesday, April 18, 2006; Posted: 3:25 p.m. EDT (19:25 GMT)
Boston, MA -- Boston police fired shots at a man who sped through a busy sidewalk in a stolen SUV on Tuesday, smashing cars along the way and injuring four officers.
The driver was shot once in the stomach while still inside the vehicle and was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital, said Boston Police Superintendent Robert Dunford. He said the four officers were examined at a hospital, and "They're fine."
The suspect, who was not identified, had fled a traffic stop before crossing the sidewalk and heading the wrong way on a one-way street, police said. He was shot around noon just outside a Registry of Motor Vehicles office and a subway station.
Police cornered the vehicle and several officers fired their guns because of the danger the situation posed to pedestrians and others on the street, Dunford said.
Adrian Corporan, 30, of Boston was at the registry when he saw police cars corral the vehicle and three officers with guns drawn approach the SUV. He said he saw two officers fire.
The suspect was in stable condition Tuesday afternoon, Dunford said.
He faces charges of receiving a stolen motor vehicle, assault and battery
with a dangerous weapon: the SUV. Officer Mike McCarthy said it was not
known if the suspect was armed.
MONOPOLY ROLLS DICE, CHANGES LOOK
The legendary game, out since 1935, will have a new, contemporary version this fall.
April 24, 2006: 9:39 AM EDT
New York -- Monopoly, invented in 1935, is getting with the times.
The game's updated Here and Now edition, which is due out this fall, will replace Atlantic City landmarks with legendary streets, neighborhoods and national monuments.
Until May 12, fans can vote on www.monopoly.com for their favorite landmarks from 22 cities — including New York's Times Square, Chicago's Wrigley Field, Honolulu's Waikiki Beach, Beverly Hills' Rodeo Drive and San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge.
Additionally, the votes will determine where each landmark will appear on the game board, the city with the most votes landing on the coveted Boardwalk spot.
"We encourage Monopoly fans to help create the look of our new game board by voting often at our website for their favorite landmarks," Matt Collins, Vice President of Marketing for Hasbro, said in a statement. "Your vote could be the difference needed to land your favorite American city on a blue property space."
Among other changes, the railroads will be replaced by New York's JFK airport, Chicago's O'Hare, Los Angeles' LAX and Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson.
Property values will rise, money will be in higher denominations and "Community Chest" and "Chance" cards will reflect more modern scenarios.
But, the original version will still be available for sentimental fans
of the game.
NO GREEN LIGHT FOR DRIVER WITH TRAFFIC SIGNAL GADGET
'That thing paid for itself'
Associated Press and CNN.com
Wednesday, April 19, 2006; Posted: 12:42 a.m. EDT (04:42 GMT)
Longmont, CO -- A man who said he bought a device that allowed him to change stop lights from red to green received a $50 ticket for suspicion of interfering with a traffic signal.
Jason Niccum of Longmont, Colorado, said the device, which he bought on eBay for $100, helped him cut his time driving to work.
"I guess in the two years I had it, that thing paid for itself," he told the Daily Times-Call on Wednesday.
Niccum was issued a citation March 29 after police said they found him using a strobe-like device to change traffic signals. Police confiscated the device.
"I'm always running late," police quoted Niccum as saying in an incident report.
The device, called an Opticon, is similar to what firefighters use to change lights when they respond to emergencies. It emits an infrared pulse that receivers on the traffic lights pick up.
Niccum was cited after city traffic engineers who noticed repeated traffic light disruptions at certain intersections spotted a white Ford pickup passing by whenever the patterns were disrupted.
City traffic engineer Joe Olson said engineers plan to update the city's
Opticon system this year to block unauthorized light-changing signals.
TEXTRON FOUGHT STORM TO DELIVER FOR ARMY
Elliot Blair Smith, USA Today.com
Posted 5/1/2006 11:44 PM ET
Updated 5/2/2006 2:36 AM ET
Photograph 1: The M1117 Armored Security Vehicle includes an armored turret and self-inflating tires. (H. Darr Beiser, USA Today)
Photograph 2: Tony Patrolia works on an M1117 Armored Security Vehicle at Textron's Slidell, La., plant, which was temporarily shut down by Hurricane Katrina damage. (H. Darr Beiser, USA Today)
Photo Gallery: Textron's armored vehicle a survivor.
New Orleans, LA -- Retired Army colonel David Treuting rolls down Chef Menteur Highway at 70 miles an hour in a 30,000-pound, desert-camouflaged armored vehicle that his employer, defense contractor Textron (TXT) , builds for the Army. The wind-whipped Bayou Sauvage passes by as a gray blur.
Treuting, a Textron salesman, says the police complain when he speeds, demonstrating the M1117 Armored Security Vehicle to military brass, politicians and VIPs. Gawkers are taken aback by its oddly slanting armor, which is designed to deflect rocket-propelled grenades and land mines.
But these days, Textron and the Army are hurrying to make up for lost time. Whenever the defense contractor completes the assembly of a half-dozen ASVs at its two New Orleans-area plants, the Army rolls them onto a cargo airplane and flies them directly to U.S. forces in Iraq.
Last July, the Army agreed to spend up to $500 million to buy 724 ASVs. That represented vindication -- and more -- to Treuting, 54, a former military police officer who spent a decade trying to persuade the military hierarchy to adopt this armored ugly duckling. Though he recently had retired, his son and son-in-law, both Army officers, were fighting in Iraq.
"This vehicle is designed to bring the crew home," Treuting says, leaving no room for doubt.
Just as Textron ramped up production, however, Hurricane Katrina struck. A 16-foot wall of water swept across the Bayou Sauvage. Overrun by sea spray, marsh grass and mud, the principal ASV manufacturing line in east New Orleans was largely destroyed. A second plant, in Slidell, was damaged.
Today, after a major recovery effort, the ASV again rolls out at prestorm levels. Having barely escaped an early demise at the hands of Pentagon cost cutters, and then surviving the largest natural disaster in U.S. history, the ASV's comeback is a testament to the resiliency of Textron employees and leadership. The rugged ASV also offers an inspiring tale for American men and women whose lives it protects.
"I know for a fact that my mom loves the idea that I'm in a nice big
tank-looking vehicle," says Army Sgt. John Russell, 29, a military policeman
at Camp Liberty, Iraq.
Treuting, 6-foot-4 and 285 pounds, was director of combat development at the U.S. Army's Military Police School in 1996 when he began writing Army specifications for a new generation of armored vehicles. After the Cold War, U.S. military planners realized future combat might not be on traditional battlefields -- with the enemy massed in front of U.S. forces -- but against guerrillas and terrorists.
Textron won a small design contract for the Army's military police, based on an early-1960s dinosaur it had built known as the V-150.
Between Army demands for new technology and Textron engineers' development of the vehicle, the ASV continued to evolve until it was fielded on a small scale in 2000. The company argued that the wheeled ASV's armor, firepower and mobility were perfect for the type of urban warfare that Allied forces had confronted in the Balkans and anticipated in Iraq.
But, two years later, the Army opted for General Dynamics' larger, more expensive Stryker combat vehicle, the first new vehicle to enter Army service since the M1 Abrams tank in the 1980s. Each Stryker basic infantry vehicle costs the Army about $2 million compared with $700,000 for the ASV.
Congress zeroed out ASV appropriations. The program seemed destined
for oblivion until a military police commander in Iraq issued an urgent
request for the ASV in June 2004, Textron says. By then, U.S. military
convoys and patrols were being targeted by threats the ASV defends well
Safer than the Humvee
Retired Army colonel Douglas Macgregor, a former armored cavalry commander, says, "This Textron vehicle is a good example of what was needed in Iraq early on. ... It's come late, just as the body armor came late and everything else has come late." Macgregor has no professional ties to Textron.
Bigger and better armored than a Humvee but smaller and more maneuverable in urban settings than a tank, the ASV's oblique armor sends explosive devices tumbling away on impact, rather than presenting a flat, more vulnerable face as the Humvee does.
It also incorporates heavy guns -- a grenade launcher and machine gun -- that are mounted in its turret, allowing the three-man crew to reload safely, unlike the Humvee, on which the gunner is exposed.
Army Spc. Anthony Bernini, 22, of North Hampton, Pa., a military policeman
at Fort Carson, Colo., was the gunner in an ASV that survived a roadside
bomb attack and a firefight last year in Mosul, Iraq, without incurring
any significant damage. Says Bernini: "The first time I saw it, I was amazed
with it. I fell in love with it right away. The way it looked, it looked
Textron, founded in 1923 as a small textile company, supplied landing boats and parachutes to the military during World War II. After the war, it made bed linens, blouses, lingerie and other consumer goods. Today, the company builds Bell Helicopters, Cessna aircraft and E-Z-Go golf carts. Its 37,000 employees in 30 countries generate $10 billion in annual sales.
In Katrina's aftermath, Textron Systems President Richard Millman formed an emergency management committee at divisional headquarters in Wilmington, Mass., to make some hard decisions about the program. "We all felt the urgent need to get the production back up and running," Millman says.
The biggest question was whether to salvage the two New Orleans-area plants and their 1,150 jobs or to move production and start from scratch. In effect, the choice was whether to sacrifice many of the company's longtime employees for the Army's urgent, near-term needs. Textron spokeswoman Karen Gordon, who participated in the deliberations, describes them as "gut-wrenching."
Vice President Tom Walmsley says, "Given the Army's need for these vehicles, we said whatever is the quickest way to get the vehicle up and running is the avenue we will pursue." The calculations came down narrowly on the side of salvaging local plants and jobs.
Textron officials used company helicopters, air-cushion boats and motorized golf carts to shuttle in and out of the plants even before roads and airports opened. Textron Vice President Clay Moise says, "I was the first one into the facility . . . and, having been through (hurricanes) time and time again in my life, even I was absolutely shocked at what I found here."
Cleanup crews, armed with pitchforks, waded through thick mud, marsh grass, a dead alligator and wriggling water moccasins; more than 200 poisonous snakes were killed in the compound, some finding refuge as high as the second-floor conference room.
Private contractors hastened to remove 1,000 truckloads of mud, scrap metal and marsh grass from factory grounds. About 250 welding machines -- critical for piecing together the ASV's armor -- had washed away. Much of the plant's electrical wiring was destroyed by the salt water. In any event, the city's electrical power supplies were intermittent. Water and sewage facilities were inoperable.
Management found it easier to solve these problems than the human ones. "The No. 1 problem when we got this plant back is we had no employees," says Walmsley.
Millman says he decided to pay each one of the plant's displaced employees indefinitely, even though he did not know how much the expenditure might amount to. "They lost their homes, they lost their belongings, they lost their car, they lost their living environment, which is a brutal thing to have happen. They may have lost a loved one or a pet. If you lose your job -- walk in their shoes," he says.
As workers gradually reassembled in federal trailers, at what became known as Textron City, the company provided them with three meals a day at an estimated additional cost of $1 million.
Textron estimates total uninsured storm damages at $18 million against just $70 million in ASV revenue last year. It would be eight weeks until the ASV resumed rolling off the New Orleans assembly lines. Each ASV requires 3,000 worker hours, much of it involving skilled handwork, to complete.
But the company estimates it retained 88% of its workforce at a time when its east New Orleans neighborhood is all but inhabitable and many competing employers in the area are laboring short-handed.
Moise, vice president of development, says, "They rallied every resource
possible to help people here first. It's not wholly unselfish. Ultimately,
we will be generating tens and tens of millions of dollars of revenue and
profits for the company. But their focus was on the 1,150 employees that
By the end of March, Textron was delivering 32 ASVs a month. That is right where production was before Katrina struck, though short of the 48 a month the Army wanted by now. Textron plans to deliver 450 ASVs worth $315 million this year.
As the ASV has proved itself in Iraq, Army orders have grown to 1,200 worth about $840 million.
It has been a remarkable journey for a fighting machine the Army barely kept alive, year after year.
One ASV booster is Lt. Christopher Treuting, 25, of Fort Hood, Texas, the retired colonel Treuting's son. A military police platoon leader who recently returned to the USA from Iraq, the younger Treuting says the ASV enabled one of his crews to survive a bomb attack near Baghdad last year.
The blast destroyed the ASV's drive shaft and deflated all four tires yet did not stop the vehicle and its crew from limping to safety.
"I would have probably three dead soldiers if they weren't in the ASV," he says.
Lt. Treuting also credits his father for battling the Army brass to save the ASV, saying, "That was a major fight until the day he retired."
The father replies that he has "65,000 reasons" -- as many as there are Army MPs -- why he keeps promoting the ASV.
The retired colonel says, "It's personal, real personal."
TOP 10 DRIVING PEEVES
Survey: Between the pushy and the clueless, it's the cell phoners that annoy drivers the most.
May 4, 2006; Posted: 12:26 p.m. EDT (1626 GMT)
New York -- Drivers who leave their turn signals on for miles? That's nothing ... it's those juggling their cell phones that irritate their brethren the most, according to a recent insurance company survey.
The list of the top ten most annoying driving habits describes, essentially, two types of annoying driver. The checked-out driver and the overly aggressive driver.
The two things that most annoyed drivers, according to the survey, were "distracted drivers talking on cell phones," followed by "slow drivers in the fast lane."
The annoyances that ranked third through seventh in the survey all relate to aggressive driving habits. They are, in order of rank: tailgating, weaving through traffic to gain one or two car lengths, speeding up to prevent other drivers from changing lanes, changing lanes without signaling, and "road rage."
Motorcyclists made the list at number eight with the annoying habit of driving between lanes. Women applying makeup or men shaving in the car ranked ninth.
The survey was conducted by Hagerty Insurance, a company that insures collectible cars. Web users at various automobile-related Websites were invited to respond to the survey. Results were compiled from about 10,000 responses, according to Hagerty.
Most annoying driving habits:
1. Distracted drivers talking on cell phones (28.5 percent)
2. Slow drivers in the fast lane (21.6 percent)
3. Pushy drivers who tailgate (18.1 percent)
4. Drivers who weave through traffic to gain one or two car lengths (12.5 percent)
5. Obnoxious drivers who speed up to keep you from changing lanes (5.5 percent)
6. Hasty drivers who change lanes without signaling (4.9 percent)
7. Road Rage (2.7 percent)
8. Motorcyclists who race down the middle of a lane, between cars (2.1 percent)
9. Women applying makeup and men shaving (1.7 percent)
10. Drivers who leave their turn signal on for miles (0.92 percent)
Source: Hagerty Insurance
OLDER GASOLINE PUMPS CAN'T DISPLAY PAST $2.99
Associated Press and Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Sunday, May 7, 2006 - Page updated at 12:00 AM
Salem, OR -- When gasoline prices hit $3 a gallon, some owners of older pumps had a problem beyond unhappy customers.
Some pumps are unable to show prices beyond $2.99 a gallon. So some owners must sell gas by the half gallon or manually calculate the price.
State regulators are allowing the stopgap measures, but pumps built before the 1970s will have to be retrofitted by the end of the year or be replaced.
At the Lincoln Store on the outskirts of Salem, prices are $2.99, and owner Rachel Byers said she'll have to make a tough decision soon if it's worthwhile to upgrade.
The store's gasoline sales make up about a third of its business.
Statewide, the average price for regular gasoline went past $3 a gallon last week, AAA officials said. And it's not expected to fall soon.
At Mill City Chevron in the Santiam Canyon, the station's operator is selling gasoline from pumps that can't display the current $3.12 per gallon price for regular.
"It's a bit of hassle," said Jeff Frazier, who leases the station. He said the owner has talked about replacing the pumps.
A gasoline pump can cost $4,000 to $12,000. Kits to retrofit older pumps
are available for less, said officials with the Oregon Department of Agriculture,
the agency that checks the accuracy of fuel pumps.
HIGH PRICES FORCE MAN TO TAKE GAS
Associated Press and Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Saturday, May 6, 2006 · Last updated 3:13 a.m. PT
West Bend, WI -- Authorities say a man came up with an unusual way to combat high gasoline prices: Filling about a dozen containers with gas from his former workplace after hours.
Andrew Otten, 44, was charged with misdemeanor theft after a sheriff's deputy said he found containers with about 56 gallons of gas in Otten's sport utility vehicle.
Deputy Ryan Herman noticed the vehicle being driven slowly about 12:20 a.m. Tuesday. Herman followed the SUV and pulled it over after spotting an equipment violation.
While questioning the driver, Herman noticed 11 gas jugs in the vehicle.
At first, Otten said he was checking out some lights left on at the nearby West Bend Elevator Co. and he was making sure everything was all right, according to the criminal complaint.
Later, Otten said he used to work at company and used his old key to enter the facilities and take the gas, the complaint said.
Otten was released on a $500 signature bond under the condition that
he have no contact with West Bend Elevator
WESTERN STATES TOPS IN CAR THEFT
Auto theft rate dropped nationally last year. West had highest rates of theft in U.S.
May 9, 2006; Posted: 11:32 a.m. EDT (1532 GMT)
New York -- The West has the highest rates of auto theft in the United States, according to an analysis of auto theft data by the National Insurance Crime Bureau.
All of the top ten metropolitan areas for auto theft last year were in California, Nevada, Arizona and Washington state.
Auto theft dropped nationally by 2.1 percent during the first half of 2005 compared to the same period in 2004, according to the NICB. That was the second consecutive year of decline in the national auto theft rate.
The nation's western states saw their second consecutive increase in the auto theft rate, however, said NICB spokesman Frank Scafidi.
The NICB reviewed data supplied by the National Crime Information Center for each of the nation's 360 metro areas. The theft rate was calculated as the number of auto thefts per 100,000 inhabitants.
Reasons for the increasing rate of auto thefts in the west are unknown, said Scafidi.
Currently most stolen cars are recovered. The rate of recovery is about 60 percent nationally, said Scafidi, but California claims a 90 percent recovery rate. Stolen cars are often recovered in "stripped" condition, missing many parts including body panels, said Scafidi.
Top ten places for auto theft
Source: National Insurance Crime Bureau
1. Modesto, Calif.
2. Las Vegas/Paradise, Nev.
3. Stockton, Calif.
4. Phoenix/Mesa/Scottsdale, Ariz.
5. Visalia/Porterville, Calif.
6. Seattle/Tacoma/Bellevue, Wash.
7. Sacramento/Arden-Arcade/Roseville, Calif.
8. San Diego/Carlsbad/San Marcos, Calif.
9. Fresno, Calif.
10. Yakima, Wash.
LASER 'OPTICAL INCAPACITATOR' ISSUED IN IRAQ
U.S. device for use by soldiers at checkpoints
Reuters News Service and CNN.com
Thursday, May 18, 2006; Posted: 1:01 p.m. EDT (17:01 GMT)
Photograph: An Iraqi soldier guards a checkpoint in Baghdad on April 20.
Washington, D.C. -- The U.S. military has given troops in Iraq a laser device to temporarily blind drivers who ignore warnings at vehicle checkpoints, the Pentagon said on Thursday.
Army Lt. Col. Barry Venable, a Pentagon spokesman, defended its use as legal and said the devices were intended to prevent civilians from being shot.
"There have been numerous incidents that tragically have resulted in civilian deaths" in which drivers approaching U.S. military checkpoints have failed to heed warnings from troops, who in some cases have opened fire, he said.
The U.S. military is fitting some M-4 rifles used by U.S. forces in Iraq with a tube-shaped device that is about 10 1/2 inches (27 cm) long that shines a laser beam. Venable stressed that the devices do not cause permanent blindness.
"They don't blind people. It's like shining a big light in your eyes," Venable said. "I think the term is optical incapacitation -- dazzlers as opposed to something that will blind you."
Venable said he did not know how long the "optical incapacitation" effect lasted.
"These are not illegal weapons. And in fact, calling them weapons would be a misnomer," Venable said. "They are a warning device intended to be inserted into the escalation-of-force process to minimize unnecessary casualties. You could call it a nonlethal weapon if you must call it a weapon."
"We haven't developed, acquired or fielded any blinding laser weapons that are designed to cause permanent blindness," Venable added.
Venable said he did not know how widespread the usage of the devices was in Iraq. The Los Angeles Times first reported the use of the devices.
In the 3-year-old war, violence at military checkpoints has been frequent,
with American forces sometimes opening fire on cars and trucks that ignore
warnings to stop or come too close. Insurgents often have attacked troops
at checkpoints, sometimes with car bombs. But civilians also have been
shot in incidents that resulted from apparent misunderstandings.
GIRL, 10, GOES FOR DRIVE, HITS OTHER CARS
Associated Press and Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Sunday, May 21, 2006
Last updated 4:08 a.m. PT
Pensacola, FL -- A 10-year-old girl who drove off with her guardian's sport utility vehicle with a toddler and a 5-year-old on board crashed the vehicle into several cars, authorities said.
The girl sideswiped several cars during her 15-minute drive Thursday night and reached speeds up to 50 mph, said Ted Roy, spokesman for the Escambia County Sheriff's Office.
"She was so little she had to go down and hit the gas and pop her head back up to see where she was going," Roy said.
The girl had grabbed her guardian's keys and walked out of her house without telling the guardian she was leaving, authorities said.
Dispatchers received calls about an SUV driving recklessly, and sheriff's deputies and highway patrol officers followed the vehicle. The trip ended when the SUV jumped a curb and hit a fire hydrant.
The children suffered minor injuries, Roy said.
Sheriff's deputies charged the girl as a juvenile with kidnapping and false imprisonment and vehicle theft.
The highway patrol charged her with careless driving, not having a driver's
license and not using a child restraint.
Date: Fri, 30 Sep 2005 09:03:53 -0700
ThunderRoad is Milton Bradley's answer to Car Wars. It's also a terrific game if you want to just have some fun and don't want to deal with all the paperwork of Car Wars! You rocket your plastic destruction team (three cars and a helicopter) down a stretch of post-apocalyptic highway and try to either wipe out the other teams or outdistance them and leave them in the dust.
Each turn consists of a dice roll to determine car movement and a combat
phase where you try to shoot or ram your opponents. The unique gameboard
consists of two pieces of highway and when the lead car exits the front
piece of highway, the back piece is placed in front (after dumping all the wrecks and slowpokes off of it) thus creating a never-ending gameboard.
Ages 10 and up. For 2 to 4 players.
Here's a review from the Internet:
Mad Max in Milton Bradley form. All these years, and this one holds up, with the help of some modified rules . . . even though I generally like to play games "straight."
Concept: Eliminate all the other player's armored death cars. This can be done by shooting at them, ramming them, blowing them up with your chopper, or if you can't beat em', outrace em.
Game Play: Each player controls three cars of various strength. There's
the tiny "Doom Buggy," the sportscar-esque "Avenger," and the all-out armored
tank power of "The Eliminator." There's also the "Thunder Chopper" although
it's more of a wild card element that starts off the board. The board is two interlocked rectangular pieces which form a long road. Running down the middle is a two-space wide stretch representing a worn-out paved area. Players who choose to travel down this path receive a "road bonus" which includes an extra die. Players all move forward, as if in a race. If a car reaches the end of the second board, the back board is picked up, in the process "dumping" every car on it out of the game. That board is than placed in front of the one left on the table, therby creating an eternal road. As cars race forward, they can maneuver into various attack positions. If you want to shoot at a car, simply pull up adjacent to it. Roll a six-sided die, and if you roll equal to or higher the target's car number (printed underneath it), you got it. If you want to ram, you land on the same space, then each player rolls a six-sided die and adds their car's number to the number rolled. Whoever rolled highest wins. And there's the chopper, which shoots like any other car, but can simply "fly" to whatever target it wants. The only catch being it can only attack once per board (dumping doesn't affect it).
Playing it today brings back good memories of getting this one on Christmas morning, but more serious gamers might want to try some rule variations.
1. Change the repair rule. The book states that if you roll double sixes on your movement roll, you can repair a wrecked car (wrecks are left on the board). I would imagine that the smaller cars are eaiser to repair, so change this rule so that rolling doubles of a car's value number will repair it. So in other words, the Buggy's value is 4. You can repair it if you roll double 4s, 5s or 6s. The Avenger (value of 5) is repaired on double 5s or 6s. And so on. This slight twist alone makes the game more intresting.
2. No chopper attacks until the line on the second board is crossed. This keeps someone from trying to bring out the chopper too early.
3. Shoot down choppers. You can do this however you'd like. Just a suggestion.
4. Since a player rolls three six-sided dice on their turn, using one for each car, it's almost impossible to outmanuever cars following you at medium range, as on three dice it's almost certain they will roll the right number to get on you or just behind you. To keep someone from burning movement points by zig-zagging, therby keeping them from overshooting you on a ramming attempt, try changing movement rules so that it takes two movement points for a car to move directly from right to left or vice versa without moving one space forward first (the spaces on the boards are staggered).
5. Here's a tricky one. If a car is wrecked, roll dice to determine how far and what direction the wreckage rolls. Each space is touched by six spaces, so use a six-sided die to determine this. Then roll the road bonus die (its highest number is four) to determine how far. Then make rolls if the rolling wreck hits another car. You can do this how you'd please.
6. Here's a wild one: Tow Cables. Devise a way to roll for a car to attatch a tow cable to a wreck (either a player's or one of the eight pre-set wrecks), modified by the car towing and the car being towed. If attached, the car can pull a wreck to either hope to save it from being dumped, or to drop it to an advantagous location (blocking the central road). Depending on the car being towed, movement points could be subtracted. I'd think that the damaged car couldn't be repaired until dropped.
Played as it is though, ThunderRoad is an nice example of a mainstream game company thinking outside the box, and making a nod to the gamer industry in the process.
Challenge: C (played staight, games can be over too quickly)
Car Wars Compendium (Paperback) by Steve Jackson
April 14, 2006
Used -- Good
Comments: 1989 Edition.
Rating: 92% positive ratings over the past twelve months (10193 ratings).
Seller has 12832 lifetime ratings.
* Usually ships within 1 - 2 business days.
* Ships from AR, United States
* See shipping rates
Price at a Glance
List Price: $19.95
SKUNKYARD CHALLENGE 2002
The Dodge Viper. One of the hottest American sports cars on the market today. With its 450 hp V-10 engine and searing 192 mph performance, yours for a mere $75K, how could it possibly be improved?
Simple. Guns. Lots of Guns.
The Challenge was to take a die cast toy Viper model and turn it into
an auto-warrior's dream by fitting guns, rockets, armour, oil tanks, etc.
from your bits box. Once all entries were in, each participant could vote
for their favourite entry.
DARKWIND: WAR ON WHEELS
Darkwind is a persistent, 3D massively multiplayer role-playing game set in the near future, which combines the depth of detail inherent in turn-based games, with long-term strategic elements that keep the challenge going for months/years. The game is staged on a sparsely populated continent, one of the few surviving areas of civilisation.
A carefully developed economic model ensures that the control and distribution of key resources unperpins a realistic, dynamic economy, providing real opportunities for trade and commerce to develop. The focus of the game is on vehicular combat - cars with guns - both in the wilderness and in manmade arenas and racing circuits. The only sports that survive are the so-called 'deathsports' such as autoduelling, and fame and fortune can still be won for those brave enough to join the mayhem.
* Windows or Linux (OSX coming soon)
* 32MB+ Graphics Card Supporting OpenGL/DirectX
* Any Internet Connection
Wednesday 8 PM ET/PT
Things are quiet and peaceful in small-town Jericho, Kansas, but when
a baffling explosion occurs in the distance, Jericho's residents are plunged
into social, psychological and physical chaos. No one knows what to think,
and fear of the unknown takes over the town, especially because its isolation
cuts it off from outside help. When nearly everything they know seems gone,
will the residents of JERICHO band together to face their unfamiliar and
mysterious new world? Skeet Ulrich ("Scream," "As Good as It Gets") stars.
The year is 2024, the human race has once again become a victim of a world war. This time almost all perished in the nuclear blasts. Only those who seeked shelter survived to face the wastelands of their future.
In the beginning there were small tribes learning the harsh art of survival, then the few became many . . . And the hatred grew stronger against those who wanted to rebuild what was lost.
The tribe was divided in two, those full of faith and belief in the Lord Almighty and those who felt abandoned and betrayed.
And so the battles for survival began . . .
RoadKill Warriors (RKW) is a total conversion modification for UT2004.
RKW mixes first-person shooter and vehicular combat as well as semi-realism real world simulation gametypes to give the player a sense of realism but without removing the arcadestyle gameplay.
RKW is influenced and inspired by well known MAD MAX movies and games
like the Interstate '76 and Carmageddon series.
GEN CON INDY 2006
Forum: Dueling Debate
Subject: Classifieds and Conventions -- Car Wars at Gen Con Indy 2006
Date: April 30, 2006, 9:18 pm
Edited 5/1/2006 12:20 am by ParodyMan
With Event Registration opening tomorrow, I thought I'd remind everyone of the two Car Wars events running at Gen Con Indy 2006:
BLUD Bowl 2056: The SPARK-run Car Wars Dueling Tournament.
NMN00006: Thursday Noon - 4 PM (Division 5 Qualifier)
NMN00007: Friday Noon - 4 PM (Division 15 Qualifier)
Finals are Saturday Noon - 4 PM in Division 25.
Rogue Arena: Ongoing one-shot duels run by the Rogue Judges.
NMN00178: Thursday 8 AM - Noon
NMN00179: Friday at 5 PM - 9 PM
NMN00180: Saturday at 8 AM - Noon
NMN00181: Sunday at 10 AM - 2 PM
I hope to see you all at GenCon!
St. Paul Area Road Knights
ARAMIS'S CAR WARS WEB PAGE
AUSTRALIAN CAR WARS MSN COMMUNITY
AUTO ASSAULT TRADING CARD GAME: INTERVIEW WITH WORLDS APART
CAR WARS ONLINE YAHOO! GROUP
JONAS DAGAR BLOG: PENCIL AND PAPER CAR GAME
ANYWAY BLOG: JONAS DAGAR PENCIL AND PAPER CAR GAME
EN WORLD'S DISCUSSION FORUMS: MAD MAX/CAR WARS/AUTODUEL TYPE D20 GAME
FALLOUT: THE AFTERMATH
FALLOUT TACTICS PEN AND PAPER RULES
FRAPPR MAPS: CAR WARS PLAYERS
GEAR JAMMER MOTOR WORKS
HUMUNGUS FOR CALIFORNIA GOVERNOR
PAINTED KNIGHTS CAR WARS DISCUSSION FORUM
REAPER MINIATURES MESSAGE BOARDS: CAR WARS PLAYERS
RUSSELMANIA BLOG: CAR WARS
SKUNKYARD CHALLENGE WINTER 2006
STEVEN MAYES'S AXLES AND ALLOYS WEB SITE
VASSAL ENGINE WEB SITE: ROAD RAGE
WIKIPEDIA: CAR WARS