Wheel Wells

I find it pretty strange that car wheels are just as easy to hit from the front and back as they are from the sides, while it’s pretty plain on most of our models that they make much smaller targets in the former case.  So, I was thinking of suggesting that they be -5 from front and back instead of -3, but then the whole wheelguard thing came up (why wouldn’t that penalize to hit rather than absorbing damage?), so I settled on the following:

Wheel wells – $10 and 4 lbs. per point of armour.  Wheel wells must be bought separately for each tire location, and have a maximum weight 40 lbs. each.  Wheel wells must match the car’s armour type, like wheelguards.  Wheel wells protect just like wheelguards – when the tire is hit, roll 1 die; on a 1 to 4 the wheelwell takes damage first, and on a 5 or 6, the well is bypassed and the tire takes damage directly.  Wheel wells do not affect the HC of a vehicle in any way.  Wheel wells can be used with armoured wheel hubs for additional protection.  Wheel wells cannot be used with wheelguards.  Unlike the wheelguard, which stops damage from all sides, the wheel well stops damage only from the front or back (as defined by the vehicle’s front or back arc of fire).  Cycles can use wheel wells.

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6 Responses to “Wheel Wells”

  1. richardbranson Says:

    Armoured wheel wells would make realistic-sense as protecting against shots from the back or front, but they would add yet another dimension of play-complexity to the wheel rules (which already include both wheel guards AND wheel hubs). It is this play-complexity problem which, for example, makes me averse to the rules set out in some of the documents the AADA people have made available on line which distinguish between tires and wheels.

    I would be entirely in favour of declaring a -5 to hit on tires-wheels from the front or back. And I suppose this rule could be read as just a question of what direction you assign your generic wheel-protectors to, given the side- and front-protection are not mixable.

    I think my final ruling would be: wheelguards absorb front or rear shots on a 1-2, assuming that wheelguards include some wheelwell armour of the kind suggested here. This would allow us to use to the same vehicle designs with alternate rules on wheelwells according to the roadmaster’s almighty will.

  2. diefnbaker Says:

    I think I agree more with Branson. Make tyres harder to hit from the front and behind (this might have saved el presidente in our last battle). And then a lesser (or no) chance of hitting the wheelguard from behind. It is simpler than adding wheelwells. The simplest change would be to leave WG as they are and make hitting tyres from front and behind -5.

    Another suggestion: Wheelguards penalize the to-hit, so even from the side tyres with WG are -5 and forget about their separate DP. They are destroyed only when side armour is destroyed. Cost remains the same and they must match car armour. This would be at odds with Car Wars rules and would partly erase the difference between plastic and metal guards. It would make it even more difficult to hit wheels behind wheelguards, even with repeated attempts. But it would be a single calculation as part of the to-hit modifier, rather than extra rolls and damage calculations.

  3. richardbranson Says:

    I like this simplest change, but I am now leaning towards accepting these wheelwells, because they’re kinda fun. If the player is willing to make them comprehensible on the vehicle sheet they should be acceptable. I would rule that:

    1) wheelguards protect from all sides on a 1-4
    2) wheelwells protect only front and back (as hubs protect only the side) and only on a 1-2
    3) It’s a -5 to hit tires from the front or back

  4. More musings…

    1) I would be down with testing wheelguards/hubs as a to-hit penalty instead of damage absorbers.

    Statistically, it looks to me like a -2 to hit usually makes it easier to hit tires than a flat 1-4 protection, especially if you have a good starting to hit roll. This might make up for the fact that to-hit-penalty wheelguards can’t be destroyed separately.

    We would have to decide on a fixed cost/weight, or a formula using the car’s (presumably side) armour value.

    We could consider saying that a roll that would hit the usual -3 for targetting a tire but that doesn’t hit the -5 provided by a wheelguard hits the side (or back or front) armour, but that starts making things complicated again.

    To-hit-penalizing wheelguards would be conceptually related to the cover provided to a pedestrian by sunroofs, pickup beds, etc… Would we consider making gunshields like to-hit-penalizing wheelguards related to top armour?

    I guess if there’s a (structural) argument against all this it would be the nature of tires as separate targets. i.e. after you’ve destroyed side armour, targetting the side of the vehicle will hit internal components (like pedestrians), but will never hit tires.

    2) We could also consider going the other way, and saying that wheelguards/hubs/wells don’t penalize the to hit roll, but when you get a 1-4 on 1d, the damage goes to side armour rather than to a separate wheelguard/hub/well armour value.

    3) Standardized extra -2 to hit wheels front and back has up sides and down sides.

    I was, in fact, worrying about El Presidente-like catastrophes. The other two vehicles I’m using as models to think about are Miss Demeanor (whose rasied, off-road suspension means that her tires still look like -3 from front and back) and Johnny Law (whose front wheels are tiny targets from the front, but whose back wheels are wide open from the back).

    It would be pretty easy to say offroad suspension negates a standardized -2, but Johnny law is harder. If I remember, Killed by Death would fit into this latter category.

    There are grounds to argue that CW already assumes that wheelwells are standard and that wheels being the same to hit from all sides is just a matter of convenience. Consider that wheelguards weigh the same as armoured hubs. To me this seems to imply that we’re talking about one piece of metal covering the same openning in both cases, rather than wheelguards being a box built around (at least 2 sides of) the tire.

    We could say that wheelwells are standard and that removing them gets you a discount, but I sense that you guys are loath to give discounts. 😉

    I suggested above that wheelwells would cost and wheigh the same as wheelguards (just because hubs do), but we could make wells and hubs cheaper/lighter or wheelguards costlier/heavier.

  5. richardbranson Says:

    I think we can make a generic -5 penalty from the front or back seem fair even for the Johnny Laws because a tire has a smaller aspect from the front or back than from the side. Obviously there will have to be some approximation with reality here. Furthermore, I am not even sure tire targeting was supposed to be possible from the front or rear AT ALL in the ‘official’ rules.

    I would rule that wheelguards supply full all-around protection (1-4) for simplicity’s sake. I think the reason that wheel hubs weigh the same as the full guards is about a game-dynamics factor, preventing people from easily making their tires totally unassailable. Hubs are what you can ADD to wheelguards if you want EVEN MORE protection; getting hubs without guards would not make sense, as they cost/weigh the same (though I suppose hubs on the front wheels have don’t negatively affect handling in the same way).

    So, my two cents:

    tires are -3 to hit from the sides and -5 from the front or back
    Wheelwells can be used with wheelguards AND hubs.
    Wheelguards protect all around; wells only from the front/back, and hubs only from the sides

    Finally, regarding rumours of a catastrophe with the Presidential Gentleman, surely one must be ready for catastrophes if one is tailing a school bus with an anti-aircraft mount?

  6. richardbranson Says:

    And then there’s this idea – the ‘tire shield’ from the NOVA catalogue (see the external links). I would think that it should maybe cost more than NOVA has made it cost, but anyway….

    Tire Shield: $20/4 lbs per point; maximum of 80 lbs.
    This item covers the whole tire, and protects it from weapons fire on a roll of 1-5 on a D6. The shield is attached to the axle, thus allowing the tire to turn freely within it (no loss of HC for using it). No wheelguards or wheel hubs may be used with this item.

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