FAQs

March 28th, 2011
by JP Trostle

Here are our Frequently Asked Questions about Speed Rally. If you click here, you’ll find several important tweaks to the rules, and corrections to the Pace Car Edition. If you have any questions about the rules, please email them to jape (at) nc (dot) rr (dot) com.

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+++ FAQs +++
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Q: When it comes to a vehicle’s suspension, do you have to buy suspension for each wheel on the car (thus off -road becomes 400 points and uses 4 slots), or do you pay the point cost for the total amount of wheels, but only take up one slot (thus off road becomes 400 points and uses 1 slot)?

A: You need to buy the suspension for each wheel on the car (so, 400 points and 4 slots for off-road). So, for instance, getting off-road for a 6-wheeled car would be 6 slots and 600 points.

Q: What happens if you don’t buy suspension for each wheel?

A: You must have buy a suspension for each wheel on the car to get the bonus — no partials. if you had a 6-wheeled vehicle, you’d need to buy 6 slots worth of suspension.

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Q: As written it says, “Slots: 1 per tire” … did you intend that a bug could not ever have an improved suspension? Baja bugs would disagree 😛

A: Yup, bugs and street cars can not have improved suspensions. Bugs are supposed to be really really little cars, and not just a certain product of German engineering (in other words, a beetle isn’t always a bug). In your Baja case, I’d make the desert car a Standard or Sports class and give it Off Road suspension

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Q: What are the stats for __________ ? Are you going to release an official list of Speed Rally stats for popular makes and models of vehicles, or the cars from the _________ movie?

A: At this time we have no plans to publish any stats for any existing vehicles, fictional or otherwise. Mostly it has to do with copyright issues, as every car company and its model names are registered trademarks. (And trying to secure the rights to several toy lines, or more than a few TV shows and movies would be an intellectual property nightmare.) We hope that with the rules provided, however, you can design any vehicle and its stats you can imagine.

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Q: OK then, well I’m not entirely sure which class to put in my favorite car, the  _________ .  Should it go in Street, Standard or Spor

A: True, it is easier to place some types of vehicles: Stock cars and F1 racers clearly go in the Stock Class and Indy Class, Pickup trucks and Vans in the Pickup/Van/SUV…  As for the seemingly slight differences between Street, Standard and Sports, we know it’s a little vague when it comes to specifics — but then again, car companies themselves are guilty of smudging the distinction  (“gosh, is that a sports compact or a sports sedan or a sporty little SUV?”).

Here are our suggestions:

• Any everyday car, the kind you or I probably own, the kind that make up the majority of vehicles on the road, are in the Standard Class.

• If the car is a slick little two-seater or a fast and furious model that’s been modified for racing, it probably belongs in the Street Class. These are sporty cars you wouldn’t be surprised to see on the highway, tricked-out or not. Smaller two-door models you see in European-style road rallies would also fit in the Street class. (Though you can argue that anything with “mini” in the name should be a Bug.) To get a better idea, go to YouTube and enter “speed rally crashes” … plus, it’s really entertaining!

• As for the Sports Class, these will be your more expensive, more powerful, and often somewhat larger cars. These vehicles will turn your head when you see them on the road. If your car is named after a snake or wild horse, put it in Sports. Likewise, for full four-seaters, higher-end German and Italian cars, and American makes with lots of horsepower, such as the Trans Am.

• The key thing is the difference in point costs and slots — If you are running a race where the cars all have to have a low point value, put them in the Street Class. if you want to run, for example, an RX-7 but find you need more space for weapons or devices, bump it up from from Street to Sports Class. (Although, certain small roadsters should always stay in the Street Class. I know this is “fantastical” game, but really — how much space is there in, say, a TR7?)

• Finally, your big, high-performance vehicles that only the rich can afford — say, something from Lamborghini — should go in the Formula Class. Same thing with anything that looks like a concept car.

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Q: Do the classic American “muscle” cars, the big V8s from the ‘60s and 70s, do they go in the Muscle Class or Sports?

A: Those initially belong in the Sports Class. We pictured the Muscle Class as being your Hot Rods and Street Rods, those powerful and fast beasts that have been rebuilt from other vehicles, that have engines so large the hood can’t contain them — or there’s no hood at all, with the motor exposed. So if you have, just for example, a Corvette that has been modified with a massive engine block sticking out of the hood, it’s now in the Muscle Class.

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Q: Can I put a Double Engine in a Muscle Car?
A: No.
Q: Please?

A: Uh, the Muscle Car already has the double engine ability built into its design, so it’s redundant.

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Q: What class do station wagons, woodies or cars with a large flatbed go in?
A: Pickups/Vans/SUVs

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Q: Okay, what makes a Wacky car wacky? If I have a vehicle that is essentially a classic hot rod with a giant German Pickelhaube on it, shouldn’t it be a Muscle car?

A: As a rule, any car with a giant hat on it is, by definition, wacky.

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Q: I’ve got this sports car that’s almost the same size as this truck — should they be in the same class?

A: Let’s face it, even though the advertised scale of most diecast cars is 1/64, when compared to each other the actual scale is all over the place. The best way to distinguish the car’s actual relative size is to look at the seat in the cockpit. If it’s pretty tiny, then it is a good bet the vehicle itself is pretty large.

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Q: At the start of a race — or after a spin out— do cars have to start moving in 1st gear or can they shift up?

A: If a car spins out, it must begin in 1st gear the next turn. A Muscle car or a vehicle with a Double Engine can try and jump into 2nd gear, but if the driver fails his Skill roll, the car doesn’t move at all.

As for race starts, you can either have them begin by shifting into 1st gear from a standing position, or you can announce a “rolling start” where everyone is already in 1st and moving so they can shift into 2nd gear the first turn of the game. I do this for all my convention games, and found this is particularly good to do if you have a large number of drivers.

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Q: How does a spin out affect a car position in terms of movement order? ie, if the car in first place spins out does it still get to move first in the next turn or does the next non spun out car get to go first with spun out cars moving last?

A: It is the location of the car on the track that determines order movement, not the speed or condition of the vehicle. If a vehicle in the lead spins out, and no one passes by them during that game turn, then the next turn they are still considered “in first”. If one or two cars moved by their position after the spinout, then that car goes second or third.

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Q: When you spin out off of a track, where are you supposed to come back on [the track]?

A: If there’s no guard rail or other obstacle keeping you from the track, where ever you can. The driver starts his next turn in 1st gear and begins moving from the spot where they stopped. Where he or she gets back on the track is up to them.

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Q: If a driver makes his Skill roll for going too fast into a corner, is he safe for the rest of the time he is in that turn? How often does he need to make that roll?

A: A driver making his Skill roll in a corner is OK until he changes direction again in the same movement. If they made the roll for a left turn, as long as they keep turning left they are fine. If they go into a right hand turn from the left, they need to make another roll. Also, if a driver is still going too fast at the beginning of the next game turn, they have to make another Skill check there as well.

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Q: If a driver jumps his car into a space next to where I am, can I block or bash them to keep them from passing me?

A: No. Just as you wouldn’t be able to stop a car from jumping over you, a vehicle landing in the space next to you from a jump is also unblockable.

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Q: The “Harpoon” weapon and “Cable Gun” item both seem to have the same range and capabilities but different costs? It seems to me that the “Cable Gun” would have somewhat less capability in some way. Have I missed something?

A: As mentioned in the errata below, the Harpoon should have had a longer range in the original rules. This has been corrected.

The difference between the two is that the Harpoon is part of the car, a canon that fires out a long cable attached to a large, well, harpoon. While it certainly can be used as a weapon, it was initially designed as a tool — either for use in taking very tight turns, or keeping the car from plunging down a steep incline. (It could also be used to help a car up a steep incline as well if it was on the front).

The Cable Gun is much less powerful. We pictured it as more of a “rescue tool” with a grappling hook to use, for example, to launch a rope to secure a car sinking in quicksand, or allow a driver without a safety system in the car a last second escape from a car going over a cliff.

It can’t damage another vehicle, and, because it is hand-held, it is tricky to use in helping the car make a tight turn. Unless you want the driver or sidekick firing it to be pulled out of the vehicle … which, I might add, one person tried to do during playtesting … the gun has to be quickly secured into holder on the inside of the car door — which takes an action — and then the cable has to be released once the car has made its turn — another action. (In other words, only a superhero or secret agent could use the cable gun in such a manner.)

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Q: What can henchmen do?

If a supervillain has a henchman, they could take them along in the passenger seat to operate various handweapons or other devices. Or, they may send a henchman out to set up a trap somewhere along the course, from planting explosives to rolling boulders down on other cars. One henchman can be set out once during a race (or lap, if you have a really big course) to set up one trap.

If you have a cartoon henchman, they can also do “classic” tricks that all cartoon character can seem to do, such as paint a giant canvas (in three strokes!) of the road going straight off into the distance and place it on a curve on the edge of a cliff. The first driver approaching the painting must roll equal to or above their Reaction to notice the deception. Otherwise, they will be fooled and drive straight over the cliff.

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Q: Can you put a ram on the side or back of the car?

A: Sure. You just have to be sure to ram an opponent (or be rammed) from the side of the vehicle the ram is on to get the +3 die roll bonus.

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Q: Can I throw a grenade into a car with a closed canopy?

A: if it is a sealed cockpit, like on a jet, or a retractable canopy that is closed, then no. If you are throwing it at a hardtop with windows, and the actual model has an open window somewhere, then yes. You need to roll 3 above the thrower’s reaction number to get succeed.

Q: What about with the Catapult?

A: If a driver fires an object (such as a grenade) at a closed car with a catapult, and they roll a 12 to hit, the object breaks a window on the vehicle and lands in the cockpit. Note: if the target car has armor, and a closed canopy, even rolling box cars won’t work.

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Q: Does Armor absorb damage from a bad jump?

A: No. Any damage from a missed Chassis roll is unaffected by armor and is taken at full value.

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Q: What’s up with rules about illegal weapons, or limitations on certain drivers from using certain weapons? I want to blow stuff up!

The basic scenario of Speed Rally is a world where the race is still a sporting event with rules and regulations. Most of the inspirations for this game came from movies and shows where it was clear there were some restrictions on devices and weapons. And, to be reasonable, on a closed track, with spectators in nearby stands, live ammunition would probably be frowned upon — no matter the scenario. Of course, when you’re running your own races, you may feel free to ignore safety restrictions. 🙂

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Q: In the rules it says if I have storage space I can take along up to 2 personal items. Does an open passenger seat count as storage space?
A: Yes.

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Q: I want to build a car and driver based on my favorite cartoon character _____________. However there is also a live action movie version of the character. Do I make them a cartoon with the Nearly Indestructible advantage, or a “real” character that could be killed in a crash?

A: Our thinking is live-action trumps a cartoon every time (and that’s the way I have set up all of the “famous drivers” in my own game); however, it really is up to you and the kind of game you want to run.

Another measure is: how violent was the original cartoon? If characters got killed off on the animated version, then don’t give them the N.I. advantage. If, on the other hand, the live-action version was as “cartoonish” and unrealistic as the Saturday Morning cartoon, allow them keep that trait.

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Q: I want to build a   ___-mobile for a superhero character. What class car should I use?

A: Anytime you are building a vehicle for certain superheroes, it should be in the Massive class. Think about it: the car needs to be intimidating, and you will need a lot of slots to load it up with gadgets and devices.

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Q: How do you make the distinction between a Stock car and a Standard car that has stickers and numbers painted on it?

A: Modern stock cars are built from the ground up specifically for the professional racing circuit (and in the game we would consider a heavily-customized fictional car, such as the General Lee, to be a stock car), so they tend to be both tougher and more aerodynamic than their “standard” ancestors.

A Standard car with stickers & numbers on it has, well, stickers & numbers on it.

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Q: Is a Good Ol’ Girl automatically a charmer as well?

A: No. For Good Ol’ Girls, think “tomboy” — someone who want to prove she is better than the boys and beat them on her own terms would never rely on her wiles to get ahead. Also Female Villains, Heroes and Superheroes can’t be Charmers, as they are too busy being villainous or heroic to use charm.

However, female Secret Agents have no such compunction and so can be Charmers as well.

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Q: Was wondering how many points we should use for a one off game just to learn the rules. I was thinking 1500-2000 points per player.

A: That point range is a good place to start — enough to buy some fun stuff but not so much that it overwhelms. During our playtests we ran a series of races where everyone had exactly 2000 points worth of cars and it worked out great for new people just jumping in to the game.

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+ + + TWEAKS & ERRATA TO PACE CAR EDITION + + +
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All of the following Tweaks and Errata were integrated into the full-release “Green Flag” edition of Speed Rally, published in July 2009. If you are still using the micro-release “Pace Car” edition from 2008, please incorporate these changes into your game.

The following material was inadvertently left out of the initial release of the game rules. We apologize for the oversight.

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• The lost “chicken” rule (Page 10)
There is a sentence missing from the 3rd paragraph on page 10 that makes the rules for playing chicken somewhat confusing. The paragraph should read: “Finally, there is ‘playing chicken.’ If two cars are facing each other and both drivers agree to play chicken (‘their eyes locked over the distance…’), both cars will roll their gear dice and move on the first player’s turn; this is the only time in the game players move simultaneously. As both cars rush toward each other head on, treat it as if it were a regular ram attack: if both drivers make their Reaction rolls, one car takes 1 point of damage and the other 2, and both vehicles continue on their way; but, if either driver misses their Reaction roll, their car takes the COMBINED amount of movement remaining from both vehicles.”

As with the regular ramming rules, if one or both drivers fail their Reaction roll, both cars end their movement for that turn in the spaces where they collide, as all remaining movement has been translated into damage.

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• Spinning the Top (Page 14)
A car with a Highly Maneuverable suspension, and is driven by a driver type above Racer, can also race while driving backwards.

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• Reverse (Page 15)
The following is a clarification of the rule on page 15: “Any driver may drive backwards in 1st gear. As long as they have the space and can turn the car around by the start of the next game turn, they are then allowed to shift into 2nd gear and continue moving forward as if they had been moving forward in the 1st gear in the first place.”

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• Good Ol’ Boys and Luck (Page 16)
Good Ol’ Boys and Girls should have the Luck Advantage.

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• Double Engine (Page 23)
Any vehicle installing the “Double Engine” device will get an additional -1 to their skill roll when taking a corner too fast.

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• Driver/Passenger Seat Eject (Page 23)
Driver/Passenger Seat Eject cost is only 200 points total, not 200 points a seat

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• Harpoon (Page 24)
The range of the Harpoon should be 6 car lengths. (See the FAQ above on Harpoons vs Hand-held Cable Gun). Also, If a harpoon misses its target, the driver must release the cable with an action at the earliest opportunity. The harpoon is a one-shot deal and can only be reloaded during a pit stop.

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• Throwing a hand grenade or explosive (Page 28)
The range of a hand grenade or other small object thrown by a driver or passenger is 1 space.

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The following items are new alterations to the existing Speed Rally rules, as published in the Pace Car edition, and integrated into the full-release “Green Flag” edition of the game.

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• Taking A Corner Too Fast (Page 12)
In running races at various conventions and events over the last year, it has become clear that the current rule for taking a corner too fast is too confusing.

As written, any driver moving 1 gear above the type of turn they are entering makes a roll against their Driver Skill -1. We designed it this way because taking a corner too fast is where most drivers get in trouble in real life races, and pushing a vehicle in this fashion is the biggest test of a driver’s talent. However, because other Skill checks were against just the Driver Skill number, player’s often forgot to include the cornering modifier, or confused it with the additional modifiers a couple of car classes had built in.

Therefore, we are removing this particular modifier from the rules, and instead shifting any bonuses or penalties to specific car classes. (As you will see, this only changes the game slightly, though it will give certain smaller classes a slight, needed edge.)

Now, each car class will have a specific modifier for cornering (even if it is 0). Here is the breakdown:
Bug  0
Street  +1
Standard  0
Sports  +1
Muscle  -2
Indy  +1
Stock  +1
Formula  -1 (note, we see the formula cars as powerful, but hard to handle, vehicles)
Pickup/Van/SUV  -3
Massive  -1 (note, a 6-wheeled massive car gets 0)
Monster  -4
Wacky, any size  -1

The target number a player needs to roll against is now just his or her Driver Skill, plus or minus any car class modifier. All cornering modifiers should therefore be worked out ahead of time and included on the Car + Driver sheet. (They are included automatically on the new interactive PDF form.).

PLEASE NOTE: If a driver goes 2 gears above the turn type, there is still an additional -2 penalty to the roll; at 3 gears above the turn type a -4 penalty, and at 4 gears above, a -6 penalty. This now brings the penalties for going too fast in a turn in line with those for traveling too fast over terrain or an obstacle.

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• Wacky Car Class Clarification (Page 21)
Ok, we admit it — the guidelines for creating a Wacky car were kinda vague. People have sent in all sorts of questions about how to create one, from size to points; and, I’ve found even more crazy cars out there than when I first started looking. Therefore, we are taking this opportunity to expand and clarify the rules. The following replaces the Wacky text on page 21.

There are still five possible sizes of Wacky vehicle, but now they are specifically called Tiny, Small, Medium, Large, and Huge. (Astute readers will notice these sizes correspond to the Bug, Standard, Muscle, Formula and Massive car classes.)

Tiny: 6 body points, 2 slots, 100 points basic cost
Small
: 8 body points, 4 slots, 200 points basic cost
Medium
: 10 body points, 6 slots, 400 points basic cost
Large
: 12 body points, 8 slots, 600 points basic cost
Huge
: 14 body points, 10 slots, 800 points basic cost

No matter the size, all Wacky cars have a basic chassis of 7 and a cornering modifier of -1

Examples include — Tiny: a kid’s red wagon with a engine on it … Small: a vampire coffin on wheels … Medium: a giant pith helmet on top of an old roadster … Large: a shark-shaped car or other wacky formula-type vehicle … and Huge: A dinosaur or house on wheels.

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• Armor (Page 22)
This is an important change for those using Armor on a car. The rule on page 22 should now read: “An armored vehicle will take only half Auto Body damage — rounded up — from any ram, weapon hit or crash. (This means that it will take at least one point of damage from a hit, as a half-point rounded up is still one point.) Armor does not absorb damage from a missed Chassis roll, fire or lava. If a car is Nearly Indestructible and reaches 0 Auto Body points, it loses the Armor protection until the end of the race.”

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• Class Name Change
The Truck/Van/SUV class is now the “Pickup/Van/SUV” class. While this is a minor change, it is to avoid later confusion when we introduce the Mammoth Car class, which will include trucks — as in 18-wheelers.

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• Defensive Driving (Page 11)
The following rule on page 11 has been expanded to take into account “missed shots”: “If a defensive move is successful, the attacker loses the chance to ram the defender, or, if they’ve fired a range weapon, the shot misses. If there is another vehicle in direct line with the weapon, and in range, it now becomes the target of the attack. Regardless of the outcome, if the attacker has another action they must move at least 1 space before making another attack.

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• Collisions during Spinouts (Page 13)
A driver in the way of a spinning car may attempt a Skill roll if they have a action available; if successful, they manage to avoid the collision. This doesn’t involve a change in position on the board, merely that the driver was able to steer clear. If the driver doesn’t have an action or fails the roll, treat the collision like a ram attack, except the skidding driver gets -3 to their Reaction roll because they have lost control of their vehicle.

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• Pit stops & Repairs (Page 13)
The section on Pit Stops on page 13 has been expanded and clarified:

A vehicle does not need to pull into an official pit stop to have work done on it, though it certainly speeds things up. As long as a car has not been destroyed, a driver, mechanic or pit crew can repair all but 1 Auto Body point the first time a car gets temporary repairs. The second time it goes in for temp repairs all but 2 damaged Auto Body Damage can be repaired, and so on.

A vehicle must be at a complete stop for repairs to commence. A regular driver can repair 1-3 points of damage on his own. A driver with mechanic skills can repair 1d6 worth of damage, as can a mechanic who is a passenger in the car. (i.e., if both work on it, they can fix 2d6 points of damage.) Note, it will take one full game turn for any driver and passenger to get out of the car, one full turn to make repairs and one full turn for them to climb back in the car. Due to the limitations working on the side of the road with limited tools, repairs in the field are a one-dice-roll deal per stop.

If you have a section of the course designated as a pit stop, each car will have a pit crew standing by to make repairs (and re-arm weapons, for those cars that need this done). A pit crew can repair 3d6 points of Auto Body damage a turn, and can repair a vehicle up to what is allowed. After a car is repaired to the driver’s satisfaction, it may get back into the race the next game turn, starting in 1st gear.

However the players, or gamemaster, decide to lay out the pit stop area, there should be a designated area where cars that are pitting are allowed to slow down and speed up without interference. No racing, passing, blocking, bashing or attacks should be allowed in this section of the track. (It is also a good idea to put a speed limit in this area, with cars limited to 2nd and maybe 3rd gear, depending on the length of the pitstop.)

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• Legal vs. Illegal Weapons
The difference between what makes a weapon legal or illegal is fairly simple: with one exception, if a weapon remains attached to a vehicle, or doesn’t create a permanent obstacle, it is allowed. Therefore the ram and saw blade are acceptable, and the smoke screen is tolerated because it quickly dissipates (plus, let’s be honest here, the way some teams run their cars, whose to say whether it is a deliberate attack or a badly tuned engine.)

The harpoon, like the designated hitter rule in baseball, continues to be hotly debated. While it can clearly be used as a weapon, and has caused any number of wrecks, it was primarily designed as a safety device, and more than one driver’s life has been saved by a well-fired harpoon cable that kept a car from going over a cliff or pulled it out of quicksand.

The sole exception to the “connected rule” is the Wheel Blade, the razor-sharp tire cutter that only a scoundrel would use.

As both Road Spikes and the Oil Slick create a dangerous obstacle that can only be cleaned up after a race, they have been outlawed, as have all ranged and explosive weapons.

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Referees and In-game Rules Enforcement
If you decide to use the legal/illegal designation in your races, you can include referees to enforce the rules. (It is assumed that pre-race inspections somehow never manage to find the illegal weapons hidden in a vehicle, or that villains have ways of sneaking them into play — otherwise why bother to include them in a car’s design.)

All referees have a particular rating (either 7 or 8 ) and whenever a player commits an illegal act, or uses an illegal weapon, roll 2d6. If the result is equal or higher than the ref’s rating, he sees the infraction and calls foul. Otherwise, the player gets away with it.

Each referee covers a portion of the track, and in some areas their vision overlaps (in which case you roll for both if an infraction is committed). In order to make a race interesting, there should be sections where there are blind spots that villains can take advantage of.

In addition, there should be areas where NO attack can take place because it would be too obvious or too disruptive: The starting blocks and pit areas for example. (In convention settings, we never allow anyone to use weapons until they pass a certain point at the start of a race, ONLY because it is just no fun for the players to get knocked out that early in a game.)

As for penalties, getting pulled from the race is too harsh, but you could take an offending driver who has been caught and put them at the back of the field.

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• All out war
Of course, some gamers just want to drive and blow stuff up. If you choose, you can run scenarios where there are no heroes, no villains and no referees. In such no holds barred racing, all players run drivers, with 1 Action and no restrictions on use of weapons. Again, it is up to you. It’s your set up.

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• Driver Types
The following clarifications have been made to driver types listed on page 26:

Racer — This is your basic automobile racer, a regular driver who is there for the speed and the glory. Racers get one action, and can have any device in their car — but may only have one legal weapon installed.

Hero and Superhero — May have up to two legal weapons installed.

Supervillains now only get 1 or 2 henchmen.

Charmer — Female Villains, Heroes and Good Ol’ Girls can not be Charmers, though female Secret Agents can be.

Buffoons — If you choose to have a Buffoon as a driver, they get an 8 Driver Skill and and 8 Driver Reaction to begin with. A Buffoon can take one stat only down to 7 (for free), or to 6 (for 100 points), but can not reduce it beyond that. IF a player elects to have both stats remain at 8, then the driver is allowed to purchase and bring along two personal items as if they have storage space, even if all the slots in the car are already filled. (It is assumed that they are carrying said items in their lap during the race … which, if said item was a hand grenade or chain saw … did we mention these guys are buffoons?)

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• Disadvantages (Page 27)
The following clarifications have been made to various disadvantages:

Rubbernecker (Do-gooder) — This driver will always stop if there is a crash within arm’s length (literally arm’s length — put your elbow over the crash space and if the driver’s car is anywhere from there to the tip of your fingers, it counts). If they are a hero or superhero, they must stop and see if their assistance is required — or, for any other driver, they just like looking at wrecks. The driver only needs to slow to 1st gear for 1 game turn before continuing on. It is up to the player running the do-gooder whether they actually stop and help any driver in distress. (Note, a spinout is not a “crash”; a car must take damage and come to a stop to be considered a crash.)

• Witless Henchmen/Pit Crew— Because of their incompetent pit crew, at the start of any race, the driver must roll a d6 — on an odd roll, the car misfires and he or she misses the first turn of the race — even during a rolling start.

 

 


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