Kickstarting a new edition of Steve Jackson Games's Car Wars

Originally published at:



And new issues of Autoduel Quarterly, please.


If the game is still essentially Star Fleet Battles with cars then hard pass. It was fun in high school but now I am too old to want to deal with that level of record keeping in my game time.

Fantastic!! I have great memories of playing Car Wars with friends as a kid. Thanks for the tip!


Creating this new edition of Car Wars was actually a stretch goal for SJG’s very first Kickstarter, Ogre Designer’s Edition, way back in 2012. At the time it was the highest funded Kickstarter campaign, and nobody at SJG really knew how to handle the success (it raised nearly a million dollars), so they kept throwing more and more outrageous stretch goals at it.

Now the last stretch goal is finally complete. I’m looking forward to playing it.


Check out the gameplay videos on the campaign page. It’s really streamlined, and essentially an entirely new game that just happens to be about cars with lots of guns on them. Pretty much all the bookkeeping is handled with cards and tokens, and it looks like it plays really fast.


the older editions of Car Wars is a lot of fun. But it also takes hours to complete a game. Usually with some people having been eliminated a few hours into the game. It’s nice to have some refinement and modernization to the rules in this new era of board gaming.

Thematically the game was always a blast and generally made sense to a broad number of people. In a way movies like Mad Max: Fury Road brought the theme back to the popular consciousness and to a new generation. It’s easier to get people to play a game if they understand and enjoy the premise behind it. Sometimes I have trouble with sci fi games (I love the Firefly board game) because some people just aren’t into sci fi or didn’t watch/read the same space operas as I do.


The original Car Wars instructions contain my favorite game rule:

“Pedestrians are a D6 hazard and do not affect speed.”


You might want to check out Gaslands, as well. It’s a car based combat game which uses modified (or not) hot wheels cars as tokens. The book contains everything you need to play, although buying templates is a good thing too. (The templates are in the book, and to play with just the book you need to run them through a copier then cut them out, preferably gluing them onto cardboard or something.)

The games run pretty quick, and the pacing is really good. While it is round-robin style moves, unless you really have a problem you should get to play every 5 minutes or so.

The rule book is about $30, and you can play with completely stock matchbox cars, although a good part of the fun is using household trash and found objects (and some purchased objects) to transform the stock Matchbox (any 1/64th ish scale toys) into a post-apocalyptic doom buggy.

There is a very active Gaslands group on FB where everyone discusses it. There are a lot of local clubs too, many of whom have public show up and play kind of events.


I kinda agree so this may pique your interest if you don’t know it already:

Yes, it looks old now but it’s essentially Car Wars with some level based scenarios.
For $3, it’s less than most premium phone apps and, best of all, no pen and paper for fast combat fun.

/edit for pic
//double edit to add infinite love for Steve Jackson tho’.

1 Like

Sadly, that is my abiding memory of playing the game.

Even more sadly, that was over 30 years ago.


The Hot Wheels-modding element is very cool, though I haven’t played it yet.

I still remember my first Car Wars arena duel, where I roared out of the gate, tried to turn too sharp and immediately crashed before firing a shot. Good times…


SJG is sometimes late delivering on crowd funded product due to manufacturing/shipping delays but they have never failed to deliver. The quality of their products is beyond question.


I think I played more solo scenarios of Car Wars than I did with friends.

Also: The new rules better include motorcycles and buses!


Previously, one of the advantages of other games like Gaslands is that it supports Hotwheels/matchbox (1:64) scale without creating huge map sizes. Car Wars classic (1:180) had to scale everything up 3X to run ~1/64, and Car Wars 5th Edition was using 1/60th scale which was close enough to work. The vast majority of people still playing Car Wars today are on Compendium (4th edition) and are using the 1:180 scale or have house rules to run 3X, 8X, or 16X. I anticipate that enough of them will switch over to 6th edition shortly, even though it is quite a bit different from the 2nd-4th editions that ruled the 1980’s.

1 Like

Does nobody play this any more?
It really was a step up from Car Wars, “rolling road” sections and everything.


Very cool and tempting. I still have my various generations of Car Wars around my house somewhere. Including the original snap cases from the 80s.

The question is, if I got this would I play it?

I bought Gaslands last year and still haven’t gotten around to playing it.

ETA 31 days left, and they’ve already got close to 6x their target goal. Crazy.


The miniatures are nice, but I always loved the cardstock car markers. This Kickstarter got funded in no time just on the basis of nostalgia for a beloved game and goodwill toward SJG.


I had a copy and it got played often enough in the day.


It made for a more portable game at least.
With the new quality of printing and thicker cardstock I would be good with printed at about twice the size as the originals.