Car Wars – A Trip Down The Memory Fast Lane, Part 5
Rolling through our Car Wars retrospective ~
Michael Eckenfels, 4 November 2016
click most images to enlarge
CONVOY: A PROGRAMMED CAR WARS ADVENTURE FOR 1-6 PLAYERS
Now we come across one of my favorites. This little gem is basically a Choose Your Own Adventure for the Car Wars universe, and I played the holy heck out of it. Released in 1984 in the first issue of Autoduel Quarterly and then later re-published here as a stand-alone book, this game sets you up in an adventure where you could indeed play it solo (albeit playing six characters), or up to six players. As long as six players were in the game, you could play it. It could even be played tournament style, with a referee guiding the players and rolling for the bad guys.
The lure of $100,000 as a reward might not seem all that great, but if you were running with a gaming group, 100K could be injected into your campaign and could be a great way to up your standings, or make you a despicable gang.
The game suggested you have Truck Stop to play, which I think simply gave you access to different pieces that could prove useful, including skills. The skills really add a dimension to Car Wars characters, as I’ve discussed earlier, so to me it’s more essential to own it than not before enjoying this adventure. I already long since had it, so I was good to go from the moment I bought this.
If you’re not familiar with CYOA or other such books, you start off by reading a page and then making a choice; the choice told you to turn to a page (in the case of the CYOA books) or in the case of Convoy, to a paragraph number. You Grogs that played Ambush! will know exactly what I’m talking about.
In Convoy, your team of six characters has to drive a tanker from Lexington, Kentucky, to Memphis, Tennessee. You have to provide your own escort vehicles, and can have up to five of them, but combined they may not exceed $80,000. I assume if you have five vehicles worth more than this combined, you probably don’t need no measly 100 large and can continue running down old ladies and stealing their Social Security checks.
The game makes it quite clear that you lose by having everyone die. Naturally, this is a bad thing in any game and usually means your characters are unavailable to accomplish anything in the mortal realm. Also, if the tractor trailer gets wrecked, or the trailer itself is punctured (unless you can salvage the goop that’s inside), you’re going to lose. Conversely, you win by delivering the trailer, intact and full of the expected cargo, and on time. Not only do your characters get rich, they also gain prestige for, you know, saving a city from starvation.
The truck cab is a monster. Nicknamed “Mace,” it’s loaded with armor (45 points in the front and on each side, 40 underneath, 35 on top and 24 on the back), has linked MGs up front, an MG to each side, and a rocket launcher in a turret up top. It has space for a driver and two gunners, so up to three characters can ‘play’ inside this Mace.
I only captured a partial picture here for some reason, but you get the idea. The numbers in italics represent the number of miles between points. This is one of the cool things about the game; you could choose which path to take, which gave you some replayability with it. Of course, the other words on the map (“Beaver Dam,” “Bowling Green,” “Tennessee”) sound like made-up fantasy dreck from the bowels of Mordor and not like real places at all. (Relax, I’m merely trolling forum member JasonPratt with that last bit.)
I believe you have 13 hours to get to your destination, as the back of the book says, and everything you do takes time. This page helps spell it out, and you have to keep track.
Like I said, I really enjoyed Convoy, and now that I’ve found this and examined it, I might try an AAR someday soon in the forums with forum members playing the characters and me running the game.
CAR WARS EXPANSION…UH…UM…1? I DUNNO
Looks like I might actually have what kind of looks like Expansion Set #1, with lots of road bits and extra counters I apparently never tried to undo.
I seem to remember getting this from a friend of mine, and put it to use every so often, but otherwise didn’t do much with it. I include it in these pages just because.
With these sets, I could make quite a map…but I don’t even have the room. The next house should have a 30’ x 30’ space with a giant modular table to support such endeavors, I think.