Blast from the Future Past

Recently, as I’ve been a bit starved for gaming, I decided to setup and play a solo game of a board game I haven’t played for over twenty years: Car Wars by Steve Jackson Games.  A long time ago, I was a pretty hard-core Car Wars player; I played it every weekend it seemed, and the first gaming convention I ever attended was a local Car Wars event in San Antonio, Texas.  I used to have all the books, tons and tons of counters, folders full of car designs, and all the maps I could find.

Unfortunately, over the years I lost track of all those things, and it’s only been recently that I found a copy of Car Wars in a boxed set for sale at my local bookstore, along with the boxed set of arena maps.  I got home, set up some folding tables, laid out some maps, and tried to play out a simple (I thought) arena match with six different Division 15 cars.

I’d forgotten just how much there is to keep track of in Car Wars.  I quickly got lost and confused, and I also felt like there was something missing.  Where were all the other options I vaguely remembered?  A quick search online brought me my answer.  The boxed Car Wars set is the basic game.  I found and bought the Car Wars Compendium through the Steve Jackson website, printed it out and put it into a folder, and tried again.

It was great having all those other options, but again it was just too much for me to remember… I’m losing my memory, by the way, which made it even more difficult.

So I scaled it down.  Found a great website for designing cars online, the Combat Garage (, spent some time designing and downloading some Division 5 cars, trikes, and a motorcycle (four vehicles altogether) and set out to try it again.

Success!  I was able to get through it and had a blast.  What memories this brought back!  The strange thing about this combat is that of the four, the winner was the one car that didn’t even have any weapons mounted at all!  It was just a subcompact with a rocket booster (the rules for using rocker boosters are complicated!) and a ram plate.  It managed to plow through the competition and come away with three kills!

If you’ve never played Car Wars, grab some friends, some table space (lots of table space) get the Compendium and Uncle Albert’s Catalog from Hell, and go to it.

This post is dedicated to a friend and fellow Car Wars enthusiast I lost many years ago name Bryan Fleegle.

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