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Subject: Car Wars - The Card Game Session/Review rss

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Andrew Moore
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...or How we learned to stop worrying and just play the Wii.

Wednesday night three of us collected at a friends for some gaming. We began the evening with some Magic: TCG while our host put his kid to bed. 1) I won for a change, 2) I used his deck, 3) He's a jerk.

Child sleeping. What to play? Our host suggests we try Car Wars: The Card Game. Heavily armoured sports cars shooting missles and machine guns at each other, how can you go wrong? So we tear it open. While opening the box we have the obligatory conversation about when we are actually going to play Car Wars. No decision made.

Inside the box we find 6 large cards representing the cars. We each select one. Warhawk, Piranha, and Banzai. Red, Black, and Yellow. On these large cards is a depiction of the car we are assumed to be racing. Around the edges of the card arre listed the pertinent statistics for the car. To note, all of the cars are identical except for thweir colour. A further to note, there are two red cars. So back to the stats on the sheets. Each side of the card lists the number of damage points that need to be inflicted on that side of the car to penetrate the armour. In all cases it is 12 (Front, Rear, Left, and Right). The bottom left corner of the card indicates the amount of tire damage the car can take, 9 in all cases. In the middle of the card is printed the word driver and the number 5 indicating that the driver can take an additional 5 points of damage, once at leat one side of the vehicle has been destroyed, before being eliminated completely. And finally, the bottom right is where special cards are placed as they come into play. Two decks of cards (one of which had an almost matte back, the other glossy!?!). The art on the cards was respectable and the different coloured backs only noticable upon relatively close inspection. The decks included a number of different cards with various functions. The two most common being Attack and Armour cards. Attack cards indicate the type of attack being made, the location of the attcak, and the number of damage points being dealt. The armour cards indicate the location of the (spontaneously appearing) armour as well as the number of damage points that the armour prevents (which, I beleive, is always 3). The other cards in the deck were special cards that allowed for various counter attacks, special defences, and dirty tricks. Some examples follow; Spin: Allowing the holder to redirect damage currently targetting one section to any adjacent section, Swerve: Allowing the holder to prevent any damge card by inflicting a point of damage to their tires, Autocannon Backfires: Allowing the holder to counter a damage card where the type of attack is from an autocannon and also inflict the amount of damage prevented back on the attacker. There are a bunch of other special cards that all do similar things.

The two decks were shuffled together prior to realizing that 1) there were two Battle Cattle promo cards in the deck, and 2) in a three player game we needed to remove one each of three different kinds of special cards. So, cards removed, and we continued.

Each player was dealt a hand of 5 cards. And we began. Our host started.

The actual game play is very very simple. Draw a card. Play a card. So on each players turn the draw up to 6 cards and then played an attack card on one of their opponents. If they do not have an attack card, or do not wish to play an attack card from their hand, they must discard one card. This is so that they are always drawing up on the beginning of their turn. There are several exceptions to how cards are played. Armour cards are played in response to an opponent attacking your car, therefore they may be played out of your hand on an opponents turn. They must be played "immediately" or they do not count. Straight out of the rulebook. Not sure specifically what the means but I presume players are only given a second or so to play an armour card before the next player draws up. Also, special cards can be played at any time (at least the ones I saw could) so they can be play preventativly, in response to an attack, or, as one opponent decided to do, before the round had even started. Another thing to note is that you can play two armour cards that list the same location to prevent all damage from an attack. The maximum attack value is 6 (the flamethrower) and each armour card prevents 3.

The first game was quick (at least for me). Euro player take head, this card game has player elimination. I was eliminated early in the round and had to sit and watch for 5 or so minutes while my two other opponents barraged each other with machine gun fire. Now in a fast game player elimination is not a big deal but there are circumstances where this game could drag on, and on, and on. In our second match our host was eliminated early, and through poor draws my opponent and I just couldn't defeat each other. Finally the last card of the deck was damage enough to end the round but it tooko close to 10 minutes for a one on one duel. I can not imagine a six player game. The first player eliminated could have more than an hour to wait. If you are going to play this game with that many people I suggest you force eliminated players to sit out a couple rounds and then come back in with a fresh car. Keep a pool of kill counters in the center of the table for the player who dealt a killing blow. End the game at a predetermined number of kill counters.

In summary: the game is fast and fun, the art and card quality is fine, it is a decent time killer but nothing more. If you play normally expect eliminated players to leave the table and play Guitar Hero.
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Robert Choi
Canada
Toronto
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You should have played the reverse...

Players who get eliminated in Guitar Hero are forced to play Car Wars...
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Andrew Moore
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Still doesn't really solve the problem as the first person eliminated from Guitar hero (would be me) must wait for at least one other person.

I think a better solution would be that the first person eliminated from either game gets to go drink some beer and grumble about how between Wii and boardgaming there wasn't a decent game to play.
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Sam Carroll
United States
Champaign
Illinois
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Soli Deo Gloria!
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Don't let the card game sour you on the real thing, though. Car Wars is a tremendously fun game.
 
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John Ward
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spartax wrote:
Don't let the card game sour you on the real thing, though. Car Wars is a tremendously fun game.


Car Wars is a fun game.

This is not Car Wars.

I recommend this only for people who love Munchkin and other similar "take that" games. It is very big with early teens in my school game group, but tends to be quickly dropped in favor of Bang or other games with a bit more game to them.
 
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