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Category Archives: Classic Reviews

Car Wars – A Trip Down The Memory Fast Lane, Part 6

The long and winding retrospective on Car Wars continues ~

Michael Eckenfels, 18 November 2016

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THE BEST OF AUTODUEL QUARTERLY, VOLUME 1

 

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Released in 1986, and packed with 48 pages of goodness, this little book republished the best articles as per the demands of Car Wars fans everywhere. The hard part, the editors state on the inside cover, is how to pare down the list and include the actual best stuff. So, they decided to not republish stuff that had already been released on its own, like Uncle Albert and the Convoy module. Instead, you have a book that is loaded with some good stuff that’s not easily found elsewhere, all in one place.

Car Wars – A Trip Down The Memory Fast Lane, Part 5

Rolling through our Car Wars retrospective ~

Michael Eckenfels, 4 November 2016

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CONVOY: A PROGRAMMED CAR WARS ADVENTURE FOR 1-6 PLAYERS

 

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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.

Car Wars – A Trip Down The Memory Fast Lane, Part 4

Car Wars in the rear view mirror, again ~

Michael Eckenfels, 21 October 2016

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CAR WARS EXPANSION SET #3: EAST MIDVILLE

Yes, it’s marked #3. Expansion #1 (uniquely and cleverly named “Expansion Set #1) had a ton of road sections and extra counters, along with suggested track and arena layouts. Expansion #2 (named…yes, you guessed it!) had more of the same…more counters in the form of duplicate counter sheets from the original game, as well as from both Sunday Drivers (err, Crash City) and Truck Stop, and even a ‘Turning Key’ that was apparently a maneuver template of some kind to move your cars around more easily.

 

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Car Wars – A Trip Down The Memory Fast Lane, Part 3

Our Car Wars retrospective rolls on ~

Michael Eckenfels, 7 October 2016

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CRASH CITY: A CAR WARS ROLEPLAYING SUPPLEMENT

Starting with the words “If you don’t like the way we drive, get off the streets, and the sidewalk…and the lawns…” this particular expansion was originally published in Space Gamer magazine as an article called “Sunday Drivers.” It later became a full Car Wars supplement, eventually becoming known as Crash City. Ultimately, this name is more suitable for this expansion. Both Sunday Drivers and Crash City were published in 1982, so there must not have been a lot of lead time between them, but they made do, I think, by re-using existing material, as you’ll see in a moment.

The game box.

The game box.

Classic Reviews: Cactus Throne

Against the Odds Magazine

Against the Odds Magazine

An early game from Against The Odds Magazine that looks at what was going on while we were recovering from the US Civil War / War Between The States / War of Northern Aggression / “The Wahr” ~

Brant Guillory, 5 October 2016

INTRODUCTION

Cactus Throne is an operational/strategic-level game that covers the war in Mexico between the Republican Mexican government forces, and the Imperial forces of France, Britain, Spain, Austria, and their Mexican allies. The war was originally fought between 1862-1867.

Although there were significant political machinations that affected the campaign, especially in Europe, the game focuses on the allocation of forces within Mexico, and control of the important areas of country.

Some of the political events are included as random events. Additionally, there are events that could have happened, but did not, such as the appearance of both Union and Confederate forces from the American Civil War. Cactus Throne does include some elements of seapower, but only to the extent that it affected the land battles. Ship-to-ship combat is not simulated.

Car Wars – A Trip Down The Memory Fast Lane, Part 2

Continuing his series on Car Wars, Michael rolls back through the memory banks again ~

Michael Eckenfels, 23 September 2016

TRUCK STOP: A CAR WARS (FIRST EDITION) SUPPLEMENT

This expansion, released the same year I bought the original Car Wars, added massive 18-wheelers and other large rigs to the Car Wars universe. It seemed only right, given the fact that tanker trucks were a lynchpin of the Mad Max universe. Besides, these things are righteously huge. Just imagine them armored up with large-caliber guns bristling everywhere, and one wonders how cars, much less cycles, would have a chance in Hades against them.

One could virtually feel the temptation to HULK SMASH and sledgehammer smaller opponents with tons of rolling steel death. (Hell…I have this feeling even to this day.) I had to have the expansion, and so I have owned it for 32 years now. The box has held up well in that time, and I probably haven’t opened it in some 30-odd years, to be honest. So this will be something of a time capsule.

This box is in surprisingly excellent condition. I hope the insides have aged well, too…

This box is in surprisingly excellent condition. I hope the insides have aged well, too…

Car Wars – A Trip Down The Memory Fast Lane, Part 1

The first of a series, Michael looks back at the wasted years of burning rubber through the blacktop battlefields of yesterday ~

Michael Eckenfels, 09 September 2016

CAR WARS: A MEGA-ARTICLE RETRO LOOK

 Back in 1983 or so, when I was transitioning from middle school to high school, hobby stores were a refuge of mine. Mostly I, as well as some of my friends, were into role-playing games such as Dungeons and Dragons. I still remember the modules at this store costing six dollars, which at the time was of course a princely sum for a 13-14 year old. (My first job in 1986 paid minimum wage, which I think was $3.25 an hour.) I’d be lucky to get five dollars from my cash-strapped parents, and having to save that money was a chore of epic proportions, because this was, of course, the heyday of the arcades.

Arcade games like Dig-Dug, Tron, Jungle Hunt, Zaxxon, Joust, and Burger Time hypnotized many a kid into pouring quarters into them, and I was one of the zombies. Saving money was never my strong suit, but when I found something I wanted in the hobby store, I’d save up religiously for it. Car Wars was one of those games.

The Battle of Waterloo: A Comparative Exercise, Part 3

In the finale of our Waterloo comparisons, our resident Napoleonicist continues his side-by-side comparisons with the groggiest of the grog games ~

Jim Owczarski, 23 July 2016

The 201st anniversary of the Great Battle has passed, Spring has turned to the heat of Summer, and, for those who have come this far, it’s time to explore the rarefied air breathed by the more complex simulations of the Battle of Waterloo.  (ed note, links to read part 1 and part 2)

I begin with a game to which I react much like that famous speech from the end of so many relationships, viz.: “it’s not you, it’s me.”  Martin Wallace is one of the great Euro-game designers of our time and there’s much conceptually to admire in his “Waterloo”, but, despite my best efforts, I’ve never been able to bring myself to love it the way some do.

You can keep your Mona Lisa.

You can keep your Mona Lisa.