2005-09-14 : Pencil and Paper Vector Car Race Game

In his blog Jonas dagar, Jonas presents the rules to a cool game: Pen and paper car game. It's credited to Martin Gardner, you play it on graph paper, it features vector movement, I'm'a see what Sebastian thinks of it.

I'm inspired to fix and finish my game Hogscapades, a little.

1. On 2005-09-14, Ninja Monkey J said:

Remember when I said I wanted to make a game that was like Car Wars, only fun?

I see this being made with Lego, with cars being about 6 dots long. Modify them to add weapons and acceleration boosts like rockets, big tires, spoilers, and the like.

Weapons shoot off those "accelerators", so your damage is directly connected to your offensive capability.


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This makes...
XP go "CarWars!"*
MCM go "Me too!"*
NInJ go "Car Wars was fun..."*

*click in for more

2. On 2005-09-14, Vincent said:

The prob with racing+shooting games is: why would you ever pull into the lead? When you do that, you get shot to pieces.

If it's a shooting cars game, it oughtn't also be a race, that's what I think. It should be a demolition derby. You probably already thought of that and it was so obvious you didn't mention it. Um.

Look, a monkey!

What was the name of that video game where you could be an ice cream truck and you set each other on fire all the time? Twisted Metal maybe?


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This reminds...
MC of Hugely fun - about the only computer game I still play

This makes...
HS go "Yeah, Twisted Metal"

3. On 2005-09-14, Vincent said:

Here's the problem with making this little game of Martin Gardner's any bigger than it is: it has no friction.

No joke. Those cars are driving on glass. I think they must be rocket powered or something to accelerate - maybe they have big propellors on top.

Can anybody tell me how Formula Dé works? I've been going to pick it up but I'm not gonna if it's frictionless too.


4. On 2005-09-14, Vincent said:

Check it: Formula Dé combat rules.

Do they suck? Are they awesome? Who knows!


5. On 2005-09-14, xenopulse said:

Yeah, the simulation is one of space ships, not cars (otherwise, you'd need to account for facing with regards to speed, just like Car Wars does). Still, a fun little game.

This thread tickling me to look on ebay to see if I could find a CW box cheaply somewhere...


6. On 2005-09-14, Ninja Monkey J said:

Well, V., there's no reason this has to be racing. And even if it is, it doesn't have to be around a track.

But! Dig the asymmetrical goal possibilities! Offense vs. defense! Football! Capture the flag! Elimination! Ha ha! Soccer: you have to get your car in the goal!

Christian, I played a looot of Car Wars as a kid and early teen. It has some neat stuff, but all the fun stuff is in building your car. It's a really hard game to pick up.

Also, the vector thing vis-a-vis race cars vs. space ships: you add friction! Every turn, take off x squares of movement. Every blown off bit adds another x/2 of friction, or whatever.

The vector of movement is the same as for spacecraft or whatever; you can just only turn so much: at the end of a turn, you have to "steer" the car to your new heading. Not changing heading before executing the turn is a skid, which costs 3x friction, and if you accelerate too fast, you roll vs. wipeout! Any acceleration will have the same effect.

I think this would be best on a hex map (for facing purposes) so you don't have to make up some sort of Car Warsy "Turning Key". Which was great, don't get me wrong, but that's one place to take out complexity.

As for racing-around-a-track rules, it's easy: the only guns allowed on the front will slow down the leader, but the ones on the back and sides are smashy smashy. The ones on the sides are particularly so (though that may have a Penguin Effect).


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This makes...
XP go "Yeah, ok..."*
NInJ go "Awesomeness came at too high a price."*

*click in for more

7. On 2005-09-14, Vincent said:

My friction concern isn't slowing down, it's changing your direction by turning your wheels. If I accelerate up to 5 forward in a car, then turn my wheels 60° to the right, I don't keep sliding 5 forward - friction changes the direction part of my vector. I lose some of the speed part, but not hardly all of it, maybe a whole 1 of it but maybe not even that.

I guess I better buy Formula Dé and see what's its deal.


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This makes...
MW go "Formula D?? is cool"*

*click in for more

8. On 2005-09-14, Ninja Monkey J said:

I think you're right!

But, really, the closer your heading is to your angle of vector, the more in-control you are. Simple enough.

So turning costs you speed. That seems OK. Easy rule to implement.


9. On 2005-09-15, Matthijs Holter said:

I played this a lot when I was younger. We added house rules - like oil/ice on the track; if you start your turn on the ice, you can't change your velocity, you just keep going the same direction until you're off the ice or crash into a wall. We also had traps - like a cord (just a line across the track) that dropped a wall behind the first player to pass it, causing the next one to crash.


10. On 2005-09-15, Matt Schlotte said:

Formula De is interesting. It is simulating umm... I guess Formula racing, hence the name et al, which is everyone zooming around a narrow race track in cars that are all pretty darn similar. You can try to out pace your opponents but when you do so, especially on a turn, and there are lots of turns, then your tires wear down. This is one of the key ways it deals with friction. There is more to it, but I haven't played it in years.

It is a fun, easy to learn game, with initial really simple rules and then "expert" rules. I plan on buying Formula De as well at some point.


11. On 2005-09-21, Tobias said:

There has been a stand-alone PC game version of this, which I have played in the past. Looking for it again, I came across the following:

It's not what I want yet, but I'm gonna keep looking.


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This makes...
JonasK go "Nice link!"*

*click in for more

12. On 2005-09-23, Ninja Monkey J said:



13. On 2006-06-15, Ghoul said:

This is an old thread, but a bit of blogspam earlier today reminded me of it and of something related...

Just recently, an Italian company created a board game starting with these rules and adding additional rules to represent things like car setup, wet/dry tire selection, fuel load and pit strategy and other racing details.

Check it out here or here if you want to jump straight to the rulebook in English.  Pricy compared to a sheet of graph paper and some pencils, but a nice evolution of the base idea.


14. On 2006-06-16, Knut said:

Incredible! I was looking for the rules for this Pencil and Paper Vector game and lo and behold the last post that was registered yesterday has what i was looking for!

Thank you so much


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