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So this week, we played Car Wars, again.  It was a lot of fun.  Afterwards, a smaller group of us played Toon, by Steve Jackson Games.

Car Wars started out with way too many people, again.  This was fun, and a lot of mayhem occurred, however, it was unfortunate that one of the new players died within a few phases into the game.

We all had $12,000 to spend on our car, truck, bike or trike.  Everyone had a different view on how to proceed. I built a trike, everyone else had  a car.

I warned people the previous week that if they didn’t have a vehicle created, I would give them a “clown car”.  I built a car that had a driver, three passengers, a hopped up engine along with personal weapons for each of the “clowns”.  It had some armor, but no vehicle based weapons.

Here you can see Mike working on his final edits to his chits and sheets of paper.  Eric is staring at me, like “when will this start?”.  Luke is to the right of Mike.  Now Luke is a former Cav Scout, and he designed a 40K Ork mobile.  He didn’t understand some of the missile rules, but he really liked how his misunderstanding worked out for him in the long run.  Brendan is thinking about how to steal Luke’s sheet, just to mess with Luke.  That is how Brendan works.  Jeremiah is in the background.  I am not sure if Jeremiah is telling stories about being a Marine in Fallujah, or if he is using his degrees in Psychology to psyche out the rest of the group.

Robert is considering where he should start.  Loren is just off camera, deciding how to use her targeting computer to really mess things up.  Another new person, Lyndon is just off camera, and Sue, with her plus 3 finger of wagging has not shown up yet.

So the game starts out simply enough, and like all Car Wars games, turns nasty pretty fast.

You see, Lyndon and Brendan decided to get into it at about 1.2 seconds into the game.  It might have been from 0.8 seconds to 1.0 seconds.  It involved both driving at each other, and firing at each other.  Now Brendan and Lyndon were using vehicles that were designed by Jeremiah.  Jeremiah, being a Marine, did not appreciate the need for armor on the vehicles.  So he bought guns, lots of guns, and left very puny armor on the vehicles.  Now between Brendan and Lyndon’s frontal attack, Brendan survived, slightly, and Lyndon died a horrific death.  That is what 5 points of frontal armor does for you against anything more powerful than a paperclip.

So, in an attempt to bring new people into the game, one died within a short, very short, time of starting.  Lyndon packed up and walked off.  Brendan was able to continue moving.

Soon thereafter, I was on the short end of the stick.My trike was minding its own business, and Robert and Eric decided to mess with me.  I drove between them, and they both shot at me.  My side armor barely held, on both sides, and I pooped out a mine.  It just happened that I pooped out the min at the last phase of the first second.

Limping away, I pooped out another mine at the beginning of the next second, and sped up.  Robert dropped flaming oil at the last phase, did an amazing 90 degree turn, and dropped flaming oil again.  Somehow, Robert missed hitting the mines.

Eric wasn’t so lucky.  He drove over the mines, and they exploded.  The explosion caused serious damage to everyone’s tires, including mine.  Drat, and double drat.

Meanwhile, Mike and Sue were going at it.  They collided, and pushed each other around.  Mike dropped mines, fired guns, and a bunch of other stuff.  Sue managed to come to rest against the outer wall.  Mike limped away.

The next thing I knew, Luke was taking an interest in me.  Rockets were fired.  Guns blazing, and I took off, around the corner, to find Loren chasing after me, also firing guns and stuff.  She had a nasty targeting computer and a Vulcan Gatling gun.  It was not pretty, so I did the only thing I could do, run while leaving a trail of mines.

Now it didn’t work so well for Luke.  He got the Vulcan right into his side, wiping the driver, then he was T-boned by Loren.

Now Luke, as I said was a former Cav Scout.  He determined that the 8.4 seconds of game time was almost 3 times the life expectancy of an observed scout in combat, so that was pretty awesome from his perspective.

Now, Loren was not happy about the mines I kept pooping out.  She kept saying things like “Mines should not be allowed”, and “I blame THAT one” while pointing at me.  Evidently, things were going in her favor, since she drove over the mines, and they didn’t explode. Thank the Dice Gods!

(dead) Luke, however kept rolling on in his T-boned vehicle at a slower speed, and then exploded them.  Now Luke didn’t care, since he was dead, but it was kind of double awesome, since he died, then died even more.

Now I turned the corner, and kept on motoring, and found that Sue and Loren were lining me up for a double kill.  Now by this time, I had 1 point left of tire damage, almost all of my right and left side armor was gone, and my mines were almost used up, so I made for the exit.  As I left, I pooped out one final mine, and skirted out the side.  Thankfully, the angles worked out so that the final “kill” shots from each of Sue and Loren went into my front and rear armor, and not into the side of the vehicle.  I didn’t die, and I bravely left the battle field in one piece.

Now Loren and Sue were not happy about this.  Sue kept wagging her +3 finger of wagging at me, and Loren called me all sorts of things.  She even posted on Facebook something mocking my bravery.


Sometimes, the Bard retreats from the fight, so that the story can still be told, no matter the outcome.

So with me gone from the game, I have to be hones, I started reading some other stuff.  I just got a copy of the D-bees book from Palladium Books.  I was itching to read this…

Rifts® D-Bees of North America™

The game continued on for a lot longer.  There were more mines, spikes, missiles, popping tires.  Things got pretty bad.

At one point, someone realized that the business model of arena fighting didn’t make a lot of sense.  Why would people pay to see a 10 second battle?  There must have been long lines of cars like gladiators lining up to fight in the Roman Colosseum.

In the end, most everyone was immobile, and Mike was running around trying to survive, and then it was called.

Brendan was the only vehicle still able to move.  So he won.

Later, Shari from work, and her husband and daughter joined Mike and I for a game of Toon.  I vaguely remember playing Toon way back when, in college, might have been high school.  At the time I was a “serious” gamer.  The wild antics of Toon didn’t sit right with me when I was younger.

Playing with this group was a lot of fun. A whole lot of fun.

Maybe it is the group you play with?

Now a little explanation is in order.  I am not a “Toon Expert”, but it is more of a story telling game with some die rolls, as opposed to a rules based game.  Imagine Gurps, but super, ultra, mega light.  You have to create a character.  Good stats are not necessarily fun.  Failure is great.  If you reduce to zero hit points, you are out for two minutes of real time.  Then you pop back up.

I decided to roll up a sentient pretzel bag, who had the ability to quick change into any form of junk food possible.  I tried to keep the specific types of junk food related to the adventure.  For example, when we went into the desert, I turned into a large container of Jiffy Pop popcorn, and proceeded to pop.  At one point, I turned into a corn dog, because I knew that one of the other Toon characters could not resist corn dogs.  Now I wasn’t just any kind of corn dog, I was the nasty type that had chunks jalapeno chilis and greasy cheese, and had been left on the rotating grill at 7-11 too long corn dog.  I was hoping to die, leave massive indigestion, then reappear inside the other player, causing them to explode.  That didn’t work, so I had to improvise.

One of the fun things of Toon is that you get to have a “gizmo” once per episode.  The gizmo can be anything, kind of a deus ex machina sort of thing.  This is something that is in Fate, with the Fate chips. While the Fate system doesn’t allow for over the top stupid broken stuff, Toon is about what happens when all of the restraints are pulled off of a cartoon world.

It was a lot of fun.  I do have to say that Toon is a little too wild and woolly for me.  I do enjoy the play, and will definitely play again.  It will likely not be my go-to game, as I like a little more structure, but it is a lot of fun.

I also have to be honest, I don’t think I have the imagination to run this game.  I can deal with off the rails games, but most of the time, there is still a little bit of a story line to follow.  This game is really awesome, as it allows the players to take the game where they want it to go, without any form of structure, or reality.

That is why I don’t think I would be a good game master for this (animator in Toon parlance).  Shari’s husband, Colin did an amazing job of allowing us to take the adventures where we wanted to go, and kept it moving.

Toon is worth playing again!  I will need to find the books.