Car Wars – A Trip Down The Memory Fast Lane, Part 7
The long and winding retrospective on Car Wars continues ~
Michael Eckenfels, 2 December 2016
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CAR WARS EXPANSION SET #9:
MUSKOGEE FAIRGROUND AND FAMILY EMPORIUM
For this ninth expansion, Steve Jackson Games has once again created a mega-map setting for the Car Wars universe. Instead of a town, like I talked about in Crash City, this one is more of a giant and world-famous autoduellist gathering. Think NASCAR meets vehicular violence meets Buc-ee’s, and you’ve got a general idea of what the Muskogee Fairground is all about.
Seeing that price tag made me think of Comic Quest…an old comic store off of Austin Highway in San Antonio that was one of my haunts back in the late 80s/early 90s, after The Dungeon off of Walzem closed down. The price was pretty low and if I remember right was what they charged for all of their Car Wars expansions.
In any case, the Muskogee Fairgrounds & Family Emporium is a giant map with multiple track layouts and many facilities to support the massive arena. This arena, located in the Free Oil State of Oklahoma, is dedicated mostly to the sport of gas-powered autoduelling. In a world where fuel is rare, the Muskogee Fairgrounds make it happen because they’re sitting on top of one of the last, largest oil reserves in the world. They also have the security and facilities to make sure they stay there for a long time to come. While the oil well doesn’t produce a lot by 20th century standards, it is highly impressive for the world of 2036.
Autoduelling is mostly based on electricity and power plants, so this adds something of a dimension to the game. I don’t know if this is covered in Deluxe Car Wars or not; perhaps so. Regardless, it’s easy enough to change things around if you don’t/didn’t want to run a gas-powered campaign and turn everything into Mad Max in your world.
If you thought the Midville map was massive, consider that the Muskogee Fairgrounds map is twice as large, with four 21” x 32” maps instead of just two. Combined, that makes for a huge 42” x 64” map, and there’s a lot of stuff on there. The track itself can be set up in one of eight configurations, all detailed on the fold-out instruction sheet. Finally, racing is much more interesting than just watching people do left turns at 180 miles an hour.
The track’s configurations don’t always include the Pits, but on the ones that do, this is the place where cars can get refueled. There’s a 40 DP wall protecting the Pits from random crashes and stray fire, but it’s only waist high, which is an odd design choice.
If you’re wondering just how bloody a business Car Wars is, consider that the Muskogee Fairgrounds has a hospital that would make a large city jealous. Two helicopter pads, two full operating rooms with two more rooms that can be used if needed, a “renowned” burn unit, and eight semi-private rooms ensure that messed-up duelists get the best possible care…though one wonders if the hospitals of the future take insurance anymore. Somehow, I doubt it, so I guess healing is for closers, maybe?
The facilities also have a large garage that can handle both electric-powered and internal combustion engine vehicles, sporting seven repair bays – one of which is big enough to handle a big rig. There are also extensive facilities for offices, crew quarters, and the oil well itself. Needless to say, with all of this around, there is a rather extensive security service employed here, making armed assaults something of a risk.
Besides the usual/typical autoduelling racing and destruction across eight different track types, several scenarios are suggested as well. There’s a Heist scenario, where you try to raid the payroll of the track (and it is a rather large payroll), and a Terrorist Attack scenario, which is kind of self-explanatory.
I don’t recall playing on this map much; in fact, I think it was something I bought in the early 90s, shortly before I stopped being a bachelor, so I didn’t have much of a chance to do anything with it. What else can I say about this expansion other than it is huge, detailed, and offers a lot of possibilities for gaming everything from single sessions to fueling a full campaign.