What I'm Backing on Kickstarter:

What I'm Backing on Kickstarter:
Codex Egyptium

Monday, January 12, 2015

Car Wars A Disappointment?

First off, this isn't exactly a review of the newly released printing of Car Wars, 4th Edition.  Rather, these are my thoughts to some of the criticisms of the game that I've seen. This printing of the game was released towards the end of 2014 and, I just got my copy of the game.  I was excited when I found out about it when I first saw some people comment on picking up their copies and so very happy when I saw it at a game store right next to where I work.  I never owned a copy of any version of the game but I remember seeing ads for it in early gaming publications and catalogs shortly after being introduced to AD&D.

I have been a huge fan of Steve Jackson Games products in one way or the other... their biggest cash cow in recent years is the Munchkin phenomenon which isn't something I care about over all.  Sure, I've played it and it's OK but it's just not something I'd buy into.  On the other hand, things like Car Wars and OGRE has always been an object of fascination for me.

When Steve Jackson Games did the OGRE: Designer's Edition Kickstarter, it was something I was very tempted to back.  However, initially it wasn't shipping outside the US and when this changed, I guess I must have thought it was too cost-prohibitive considering the minimum amount for the physical game was $100.  However, even back towards the end of 2012, there were whispers of the return of the original OGRE Pocket edition and I remained hopeful.  Others since the launch of the Kickstarter have wondered about Car Wars -- which was a fair question.

Sometime in 2013, a pocket version of Ogre was available at the exact same price that the original version retailed for back in 1977 -- a mere $2.95!  However, it wasn't till a few months ago that we go a full fledged version of Car Wars.  At $19.95, this latest printing of the game includes some dice, game map, rule-book (64 pages), and a bunch of counters and 'Turning Key'.  Pretty awesome stuff albeit nothing fancy in any of it.

And this is what people are complaining about.

One review I've seen called it a 'missed opportunity for SJG' and lamented the cheap quality of the rules booklet, dice, turning key, and so on.  If you want to check that review out, you can do so HERE.  Other comments have been mixed and all tied to expectations and desire to possess the game.  The reviewer does get one thing right though... if you already have a complete copy, you probably don't need this one.

However, calling this a missed opportunity is a bit much.  Nor is this a case where SJG was just lazy about it.  It's a just a reprint and they decided turn around and make it very affordable.  The 4 dice (d6's) are simple 12mm dice and I have no issue of using this kind of dice for the game.  Their great in this digest sized box and don't take up too much space.  For me I was content... I had enough room for my OGRE Pocket edition in this awesome digest box.  The rulebook?  The only think I would have liked more would have been a cardboard cover but since it's in the box, it's really no biggie.  The importance is the text -- it's a pretty dense read as far as rules are concerned even though it's considered a 'basic rule set'.  The Turning Key and cardboard counters are perfectly fine (albeit being small counters).  On the other hand, the map folds out to something huge so just having it printed on a slightly thicker paper and folding it up works.  The bottom line that can't be forgotten, is that this thing is ONLY $20!

The cheapest digest gaming box sets tend to go for $30 retailing so, if we just go and compare, Troll Lord Game's latest 'Black Box' I talk about HERE, consider that this includes three digest booklets whose page count totals 112 pages plus a set of gaming dice (10 piece).  Their White Box that TLG put out ten years ago also had a retail price of $30 with three digest booklets totaling 92 pages plus 6 gaming dice (and a wax crayon).  Given the size of the double-sided foldout map, the cardboard tokens, and rule book in a nice quality digest box, I think the price of $19.95 is pretty fantastic and does what intends to do -- have a solid game of Car Wars in print which is a reprint of the classic game.

As to a Designer's Edition of Car Wars?  I'm sure that's coming too and I don't think they missed the boat.  I think the 'classic' edition Car Wars is to open the way for a successful launch of the new edition of the game.  Will they Kickstart it?  Will they go 'big'?  Who knows.  However, I'm certain that when this new version is announced, it will lay to rest any idea that SJG are resting on their laurels on this one.


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