Classic Car Wars: Omni Coliseum, Div 25 Jobber Match

(UBN Omni Coliseum Marathon promo ends, cutting back to studio)
Announcer One:  Welcome back, duel fans, to our coverage of this special all-day event.  I’m Phillip McMurtrie, and with me as always is former AADA Division 15 champion and three-time winner of the coveted Harold Caswell Sportscaster of the Year award, Susan Masters.  We’re live at the rebuilt Omni Coliseum in Atlanta, Georgia as part of UBN's continuing coverage celebrating their grand reopening.
Announcer Two:  Hard to believe it’s been five years since ASP levelled the place, Phil.
Announcer One:  A dark day for autoduelling, but a great day for our ratings, amirite?
Announcer Two:  Indeed you are, Phil.  Everyone remembers where they were that day, when a covert ASP agent triggered his dirty suitcase nuke in the VIP box at the AADA World Finals.
Announcer One:  Took a lot to clean that site, for sure, but you’d never know to look at it, Sue.  The old girl looks as good as she ever did.
Announcer Two:  They even managed to replicate that smell in the women’s locker room, I understand.
Announcer One:  "Allied Builders, Rebuilding Your World Right Down to the Smell”.  They’re gonna owe you royalties on that slogan, for sure.
Announcer Two:  I’ll be waiting for that cheque, Phil.  (Pauses) I’m getting word that the participants for our next event are about to take the field.  What can you tell our viewers?
Announcer One:  Our next event is a friendly match between two local businesses, CJ’s Seafood and Fresh Fish, and Carlos’ Hardware and Ammo, both of whom are here today as local sponsors of the Omni Rebuild.  According to our event synopsis, it’s “As many vehicles as you can field for under 25 grand”.
Announcer Two:  That’s an interesting one, Phil.  What can you tell us about the competitors?
Announcer One:  Up for CJ’s Seafood and Fresh Fish, we have The Clamshell, a Division 20 mid-size sporting a turreted large-bore gun, ramplate, wheelguards and armored hubs.  He’s coming in at just three pounds under the mid's max weight, so we can only assume he spent the rest on armor.
Announcer Two:  With nearly five grand left on the table, Phil, I hope he’s stocked up on personal gear, too.
Announcer One:  Hope so, Sue.  The car is the brainchild of the driver, one Dave Benton, a jobber on the local amateur circuit with a modest win record.
Announcer Two:  Let’s hope he can keep up.
Announcer One:  Carlos’ Hardware and Ammo are fielding two identical but unnamed cars, for a combined total of $24,920.  They’ve decided on a driver/gunner team for each vehicle.  From the files, the teams are made up of Carlos’ shop employees: Juan and Carlos Jr, last names not given, in Car 1; Miguel Sanchez and Oscar Hernandez are in Car 2.  Only Hernandez has duel experience, the rest are unknown track amateurs with no arena experience.  Each car is a mid-size with a ramplate, small-bore gun in front, and not much else.  Each comes in at just under 380 lbs short of their max load.  It’s likely they put the rest into armor which, by my math, is going to be pretty thick.
Announcer Two:  With one gun on each vehicle, this is going to end up a demolition derby if they’re not careful with their ammo.
Announcer One:  Our special celebrity referee tonight is none other than veteran National Combat Football League referee, Earl Hepner.  Hepner is now walking onto the fifty yard line, joined by the vehicle crews.  We take you live to the field.
(Camera zooms in to the middle of the Combat Football field.  The ref stands straddling the 50 yard line.  On one side is Dave Benton, wearing Improved Body Armor.  His visor is up.  On the other side are Juan, Carlos Jr, Miguel, and Oscar.  They wear nothing more than their work coveralls and caps.)
Ref:  I’m gonna remind everyone of the rules of this event.  You have each been assigned a starting gate, correct?
Teams (in unison):  Yes.
Ref:  Awright.  The following event rules are in effect:  No team may attack or enter the main field until they have successfully completed one circuit of the outer track.  The circuit is not complete until you have passed over the starting line at your respective starting gate again under your own power.  An attack is defined as any fire from vehicular weapons, personal weapons, melee, or ramming, intentional or not.  Per the rules of the establishment, dropped weapons are prohibited.  This includes dropped liquids, gases, and solids, whether from a projector, dropper, or discharger.  All other AADA rules and regulations concerning the sport of autoduelling apply.  Do you understand?
Teams (in unison):  Yes.
Ref:  Let’s keep it respectful.  To your vehicles, and may the best entrant win.
(The teams shake hands with the ref and each other.  Camera pans back to show ref and participants walking away before cutting back to studio.)
Announcer One:  One complete circuit, Sue?  That’s a new one!
Announcer Two:  Brand new, in fact.  The Omni is experimenting with new rules in this, their comeback season.  Fortune favours the quick and agile, Phil.
Announcer One:  Always does, Sue.  
Announcer Two:  Also new is the prohibition on dropped weapons this season.  According to a recent press release, the venue has been experiencing supply chain issues which has made StellarTurf very hard to come by.  In fact, the StellarTurf that’s currently on the field was installed only yesterday, just in time for their Grand Reopening event.
Announcer One:  Like my dad, who lived through the Food Riots, always said, “Ya gotta make do with what you got".
Announcer Two:  Indeed we do, Phil.  The crews are in their vehicles now and on the track, awaiting the countdown.  Benton is in Gate Six, Juan and Carlos Jr are in Gate Three, with Miguel and Oscar in Gate One.
Announcer One:  The Start Engines light is on.  Drivers are getting their last minute instructions from the pit.
(Cut to outside view of the Clamshell)
Announcer Two:  An upclose view of CJ’s Seafood and Fresh Fish's entry.  Look at that turret, Phil.  I’d know a Mitchell 20-mil recoilless rifle anywhere.
Announcer One:  And those sleek lines, too.  Benton’s splurged on streamlining and sloped armor as well.  A bit more aerodynamic than his opponents.
Announcer Two:  Dave Benton has been a jobber in the regional scene for two years now, with most of his events taking place at the Macon Duel Extravaganza, where he had a 3 and 5 record last season.  Three confirmed vehicular kills.  It will be interesting to see how he does in a more open space such as the Omni, Phil.
(Cut to outside view of Car 1)
Announcer Two:  And here we see one of the entries from the Carlos’ Hardware and Ammo team, a tool wholesaler and licensed Uncle Albert’s clearance outlet.  Looks like they’ve equipped a sizeable ramplate, no bumper triggers, and… can we zoom in on that front weapon port?  Ah, looks to me like they’re sporting a Vulcan MG.
Announcer One:  A good choice, Sue, for what is sure to be a prolonged shooting match.  If Benton isn’t packing an extra magazine for that recoilless, he might find himself short of ammo.
(Cut to outside view of Car 2)
Announcer One:  Car Two seems to be identical to Car One.  Same lines, same ramplate, same Vulcan.  If we’re assuming full weapon loads, Sue, Benton is facing forty Vulcan bursts to his ten recoilless shells.
Announcer Two:  Only one of the Carlos Team has amateur duelling experience, Oscar Hernandez in Car Two, who eked out a dismal oh-and-eight record three seasons ago at a local duel track.  The other three have had an Amateur Night dueltrack event each.   Experience is certainly on Benton’s side, but that will only take him so far. 
(Cut to track)
Announcer One:  There’s the green light, and the event has begun.  Juan and Miguel power up, each starting nearly on top of the first turn.  Benton starts on the straightaway, affording him extra time to bring his car up to speed.  Juan inches his car forward as he takes the first turn wide, while his compatriot at the other end takes his first turn a little too close, scraping a bit of paint off his passenger side.
Announcer Two:  That’s the thing I remember most about dueling in the Omni, Phil... tight, unforgiving corners on an all-too-narrow track.
Announcer One:  Miguel wobbles a bit, but keeps it under control as he approaches Gate 5.  Juan straightens out as he approaches Gate 2, while Benton powers past Gate 8 as he steers into his first turn.
Announcer Two:  That turn looked shaky, Phil.  Benton started that turn a little late and, as you can see, was forced into a second 30 degree bend to compensate.  Lucky for him, he’s barely at 40 MPH, so he was able to smooth it out before he reached Gate 1.
Announcer One:  He still has the next turn coming right up.  Miguel at the other end has taken his second turn successfully and is approaching Gate 6 where Benton started.  Juan has passed Gate 3 and is almost upon Gate 4 and the next curve.
Announcer Two:  Benton doesn’t fare much better at the next turn.  He tried to take it wide with a pair of 45 degree bends a second apart, barely missing the outside wall.  His power plant whines as he hits the accelerator.  Juan powers into the curve at the opposite end and, like Miguel before him, loses paint to the inside wall.  He bounced slightly and is now fifteen degrees to the wall.
Announcer One:  That corner bites cars, Sue.
Announcer Two:  Always has, Phil.  The competitors have just passed their respective halfway points, only half a lap to go until the fireworks start!
Announcer One:  What do you think of the Omni’s new "One Lap” rule?
Announcer Two:  I’m on the fence, Phil.  From the venue's perspective, I can see it as a way to extend duels that would otherwise be over in a few seconds.  Done right, it could even serve to build up the excitement before the shooting begins.  From a fan and commentator perspective, though... if they don't get it just right, Phil, the event will be as exciting as unprocessed algae.
Announcer One:  True that.  Juan is taking the turn to Gate 6 slowly, hoping to avoid the wall this time.  Benton seems to be accelerating as he reaches 55mph.  He’s past Gate 4 and this time reverse-steers into the curve with two 30 degree bends.  A masterful bit of maneuvering that put him in the centre of the track but left a little involuntary rubber behind.
Announcer Two:  The crowd caught that one, rewarding Benton with short applause.  Miguel passes Gate 1 and slows into the turn to Gate 2, taking it easy before hitting the accelerator in the straightaway.  He passes Gate 3 just as Juan passes Gate 8 and Benton passes Gate 5.  Benton holds steady at 55 as he bombs into the final turn for this lap.  It looks like Benton will be the first to make a complete circuit aaaand he’s done it!  Benton is the first to complete his lap!  Juan finishes his shortly after, while... what’s this?!  Miguel has passed Gate 2 and veered toward the inner field at Gate 3 before completing his first lap!
Announcer One:  Is that legal, Sue?
(Cut to a shot of the referee in his tower)
Announcer Two:  No flag from Hepner trackside.  Let’s go to the replay.
(Cut to shot of Car Two entering the gate at 15 degree to the wall)
Announcer Two:  Ohhhh, this is questionable, Phil.  As you can see, the front passenger corner is just inside the gate as the Car 2’s front wheels cross the starting line.
Announcer One:  We’re getting buzz from Benton’s crew.  Can we get the feed?
(voice over)
Benton:  They did what?
Crew:  Took the field before doin’ their lap, Davy.  Replay says the front passenger corner was in a few inches before he fully crossed.
Benton:  How many inches we talking?
Crew:  Five or six?
Benton:  (bleep) it, let it ride.
Crew:  You sure?  We got a case for the DQ.
Benton:  Tell ‘em Not Contested this time.
(Cut feed)
Announcer One:  There you have it folks.  Benton has a case for disqualification, but has directed his crew to send a Not Contested to Hepner.  It’s still a two-on-one matchup although, I gotta say, I myself would have pressed for the DQ to even the odds.
Announcer Two:  Sportsmanlike behaviour from Benton regarding this rookie mistake, although it could wind up biting him in the ass, Phil.  Juan in Car 1 joins his teammates on the main field as he turns hard into the inner Gate 2.  Miguel slows to 20 as he points Car 2 toward Gate 6.  It looks as though he’s going to time it so he can cut Benton off.
Announcer One:  As Benton passes Gate 1 and speeds around the curve, Juan pulls his car into a BOOTLEGGER!  (excited) Car 1 ends up stationary between Gates 2 and 3, with the front end pointing right at Benton as he powers up toward Gate 2!  What a plan!  OOOHH!  Car 1 has fired its Vulcan and IT’S A HIT!  (yelling) A HIT TO BENTON’S RIGHT SIDE!
Announcer Two:  A good shot, Phil but… WHAT’S THIS?!  Zoom in on Benton’s car!  LOOK AT THIS, FOLKS!  NOT A SCRATCH!  That shine, that glint… is a telltale sign of METAL ARMOR!
Announcer One:  This certainly evens the odds, Sue.  That Vulcan took off less paint than the turn before Gate 5!
Announcer Two:  Benton takes a potshot at the stationary Car 1 as he accelerates past.  The recoilless scores a hit on Car 1’s passenger side and HEAR THAT?!  THAT’S the sound of Squash-Head ammo on plastic… look at that divot!
Announcer One:  Juan hits the gas a little and gets moving again.  Miguel has been staying at 20 mph this whole time, almost as though he’s biding his time as Benton blows past him toward the Gate 5 turn.  He can’t seem to decide whether to engage Benton at Gate 5, or Gate 6.
Announcer Two:  If he can coordinate with his teammate, they could trap Benton between them at Gates 6 and 8.  I think Benton just realized this as he guns his engine while he speeds past Gate 5.  Miguel takes his car up to 30 and speeds toward Gate 6.  Juan is at the other end of the field, and will have to push his power plant if he wants to make it to Gate 8 before Benton.  Miguel is almost at Gate 6 as Benton accelerates into the turn.
Announcer One:  IT’S NO USE!  Car 2 has nowhere to go as Benton attempts to blow past him.  OHHHH!  IT’S A T-BONE!
Announcer Two:  Car 2 broadsides The Clamshell’s rear quarter for a 40 mph ram!  Benton is pushed into the outer wall and stopped dead as Car 2’s ramplate tears it open and serves it on the half-shell!  Both cars are stationary now, and there’s a large gaping hole in Benton’s passenger side.  WAIT!  CAR 2 IS FIRING INTO THE BREACH!
Announcer One:  OHHHH!! Talk about adding insult to injury!  Car 2 has fired its Vulcan into the Clamshell's interior!
Announcer Two:  This can’t be good for Benton.  Can you take us to his feed?
(Voice over)
Benton:  I’m hit, body armor is holding.  Power plant is on fire.
Crew:  Get outta there, Davy!
Benton:  Yeah, I can’t take another machine gun burst.  Signalling Surrender. (static) All channels, this is Benton.  I surrender, you win.
(Dramatic pause)
Miguel:  This is Miguel.  Surrender accepted.
(Cut back to studio)
Announcer One:  Bad luck for Davy Benton, as he served himself up for the collision that took him down.
Announcer Two:  No one to blame but himself for that one, Phil.  Let’s go down to Andi Zbornak, standing by on the track.
(Cut to reporter on the track, with Car 2’s driver and gunner standing beside her.  Benton’s burning vehicle is in the background as the crew struggles to extricate him.)
Reporter:  Thanks, Sue.  With me are Miguel Sanchez and Oscar Hernandez of Car 2.  Miguel, how does it feel to be handed your first autoduel victory?
Miguel:  It feels really good, Ms. Zbornak.  I didn’t know what I was going to do.  Juan screamed “metal armor” and I panicked.  We were facing the wrong way.  Then I saw him come around the bend behind me.  I thought maybe I could catch him at the south gate but he was going too fast.  So, I hoped we could catch him at Gate 6 and maybe get close enough to get a good tire shot.  But then he drove right in front of me and we hit him.  Kapow!
Reporter:  Kapow is right!  Your hit tore him open.  Oscar, what were you thinking when you fired that Vulcan burst?
Oscar:  I was thinking “Win”.  
Reporter:  Well, win you did.  Congratulations, guys!
Miguel and Oscar:  Thanks, Andi.
Reporter:  I’m hearing now that Dave Benton is free and standing by.
(walks toward Benton, sitting in his pit area.  The pit crew boss steps in front of the reporter)
Crew Boss (holds up hand to block camera):  Mister Benton has no comment at this time.
(Cut back to studio)
Announcer Two:  Can’t say I blame him, Phil.
Announcer One:  Nor can I, Sue, nor can I.  So there you have it, folks.  After an incredible miscalculation by the opposing team, Carlos’ Hardware and Ammo have won this sponsored event.
Announcer Two:  As the Coliseum staff clear the arena for the next event, we invite UBN viewers to visit our channels for all of this week’s highlights, available on all major streaming platforms.
Announcer One:  … and while you’re there, be sure to check out our Autoduel Funnies channel, featuring all the best bloopers from the autoduelling world, and BLUD Blunders for all the competition’s foibles.
Announcer Two:  Don’t forget to hit those Like and Subscribe buttons!  I’m Susan Masters...
Announcer One:  … and I’m Phil McMurtrie, and we’ll be back after this short break.
(Fade to UBN logo, cut to commercial)

This was a reenactment of last Sunday's Car Wars duel between myself and my longtime cohort, Karl.  We get together every so often to play a little classic Car Wars and shoot the breeze.  Karl and I have been playing the game together since the mid-1980s and, in that time, I've only managed to beat him on three occasions.

I was hoping to bag my fourth win last week, but... well, long story short:  I was Dave Benton.

Short story long, I suggested we get together for a duel.  Division 25, as many vehicles as you can field for a combined total of $25000.  No dropped weapons.  Car Wars Compendium rules with Advanced Collision System, Alternate Maneuver System, Variant Fire Rules, and Confetti rules in effect.

I'd suggested the Omni Coliseum from the Car Wars Arena Book.  We'd rarely duelled in that venue in our heyday, and I still had my original hand-drawn facsimile I'd drawn on a Car Wars map sheet as a teenager, poorly sketched out in brown and green felt marker (all I'd had on hand at the time).  It would be a welcome change of pace from the Double Drum where we usually duelled.

Of course, I waited until the last minute to design my vehicle, thus The Clamshell was literally a spur of the moment design.  I had a sneaking suspicion Karl was going to enter at least three, maybe four vehicles, so I tried to design a car with a little more survivability than most of my designs.  If Karl was going to bring in 3-4 vehicles, chances are they'd be undergunned, sporting maybe 1d weapons like Machine Guns, Flechette Guns, Micromissile Launchers, and so on.  Thus, I'd do something I'd never done previously:  load up on metal armor.

Seriously, in nearly 40 years of playing Car Wars, this is the first time I'd ever designed a vehicle with metal armor (which is why the commentators above reacted the way they did).  I figured if I took eight points of metal armor in the four main locations (Front, Back, Left, Right) on top of ten points of plastic armor, it would keep me safe from most 1d weapons... and "average" damage from 2d weapons.  Figuring he might then try to take out my tires, but not having enough weight left for wheelguards and armored hubs, I added fakes to discourage such attempts, and added a fake ramplate to boot.

For weaponry, I stuck with a turreted recoilless rifle loaded with HESH rounds, with an extra magazine of HESH as well... just in case Karl took metal armor as well.  I had just under $5000 left to spend, so I gave my driver Improved Body Armor to increase his odds of survival.

An hour later Karl arrived for our duel... with two identical cars.  When we did our"walk-around" where we give an overview of our vehicles, he mentioned the "small-bore weapon" at the front of each of his cars.  I knew they were Vulcan Machine Guns right away... Karl loves his Vulcans.  Thankfully, my metal armor would stop "average" damage from his vulcans, with enough plastic armor behind to stop any damage that got through.

We set up the map, rolling an eight-sided die to determine our starting gate.  His team got gates 1 and 3, while I got gate 6.  Karl agreed to my proposed rule that each vehicle had to complete a full circuit of the track before entering the main field or attacking - with an attack consisting of weapons fire, melee, or rams/collisions, intentional or not.

We started on the track and did our circuit.  The tight turns gave us trouble, and we were constantly skidding or scraping walls as we turned, even at low speeds.  We're a little rusty, after all...

I completed my lap first, but rather than enter the field, I figured I'd do another lap & take potshots at his vehicles, just to gauge their strength.  Karl's second car entered its gate pretty much as it crossed the starting line.  He took a 15 degree bend into the gate, and the front corner of his car was through the gate before he'd fully crossed.  For the sake of play, I waved it off.

I hadn't expected the bootlegger reverse from Karl's Car 1.  He ended up stationary and in the perfect position to get me with his Vulcan as I drove past.  He hit me for four points, enough to flake off a bit of paint.  He hadn't expected me to use metal armor and gave me a "grrrrrr" face.  I had to wait two phases to fire back as I'd just maneuvered a second ago, but I hit his right side for eight points with my recoilless as I drove past. 

His other car had stopped, then started going again as I passed him.  I was afraid he'd try to cut me off at the south gate, so I gunned the engine before a turn in order to beat him there.  He hesitated before accelerating toward Gate 6 that was just around the next bend... so I accelerated up to 75mph to try to beat him there.  

As we all know, it didn't work.  I tried to swerve to avoid his car as it came through the gate, but I ended up directly in front of him.  He had no choice but to hit me.  He ended up breaching the armor on my right side and hitting my power plant... then his gunner fired through the breach, hitting my driver for four points.

Then the power plant caught fire.

Knowing I was beaten, I surrendered.  The rest is academic.
I decided to document the play session in the form of a live sportscast, because it only seemed fitting.  I'd attempted this once before on my previous and now-deleted blog, when my former gaming group had played our final game of the season.  The characters of Phil and Sue were introduced in that blog post, although I toned Sue's dialogue down for this entry.  Previously, she'd shown derision for rural venues and duelists, and she and Phil were constantly sniping at each other on air.  This time, she's a decorated sportscaster and former champion duelist.  
Harold Caswell of the eponymous Memorial Award comes from Autoduel Quarterly 3/2, specifically the scenario Bigmouth.  The Caswell depicted therein is a caricature of the late and then-contemporary sportscaster, Howard Cosell.
Reporter Andi Zbornak is modeled on respected Canadian sportscaster Andi Petrillo.  The last name Zbornak was stolen from Dorothy Zbornak (nee Petrillo), Bea Arthur's character on Golden Girls.

I tried to keep the commentary as relatable as possible to the average autoduel fan of 2072, so I added the bits about the Food Riots, unprocessed algae, Uncle Albert's, even mentioning the terrorist organization ASP!  The bit about the "dirty suitcase nuke" was a reference to a GURPS Mysteries/Autoduel adventure I'd ran back in 2019, when I first got into GURPS.  The PCs in that adventure were Federal Agents tasked with stopping an ASP operative from blowing up the AADA Division 30 World Championships.  They arrested the decoy, allowing the real terrorist to blow up the venue along with himself, the PCs, the top AADA executives, and the BLUD head honcho, not to mention thousands of spectators, staff, and civilians in the vicinity.
This exercise was a lot of fun, and I'm likely going to post all our session recaps like this.  The blog is very much a work-in-progress and the final design is a long way off.  I'll be tinkering and retooling until I decide on something I like.



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