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Old 11-28-2004, 05:55 PM   #21
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Bellevue, WA, USA
Default Re: Car Wars Reloaded

Dear Piecemaker,

The Grain Blight is more plausible than most people think. The reliance on a few crops in the world for most of the planet's food, a heavy dependence on monoculture, is creating an environment for one or more pathogens to create widespread havoc, whether intentionally or accidentally released.

On a side note, agroterrorism is a very hot topic in the U.S. and is an area that is not receiving as much attention, funding or support as it should.
If a Coffee Blight was released, the coffee industry would collapse overnight, tea could take its place and the U.K. could restore the British Empire based on the resurgence of tea consumption. :o)

The 1987 ABC mini-series Amerika and the 1990s television series Dark Angel had EMP weapons used on the U.S., resulting in the collapse of the country. According to an issue of Popular Science a few years ago, a non-nuclear EMP weapon could be produced for a few hundred U.S. dollars.

Release of EMP weapons around the U.S. would be a plausible catalyst for a national collapse that would require the use of autodueling vehicles (when creating a new future timeline for Car Wars).
Michael P. Owen
Seattle Washington Autoduel Team
Twitter: Car Combat Central
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Old 11-28-2004, 11:36 PM   #22
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Default Re: Car Wars Reloaded

A grain blight might also be caused by the trend away from biodiversity in food crops combined with the influx of geneticly engineered seed. It is possible that a crop becomes so prevalent because of its short-term success, that it dominates the market. If something happens to stop its production in the long term, the world could suffer the effects of a blight. It wouldn't even have to be an external influence, it could be caused by a flaw in the crop itself.

Even today, some high yield crop seeds are engineered so that they will not reproduce on their own, forcing planters to purchase new seed every year rather than replanting some of what they grow. If something happened to the supplier, they would be forced to return to old crops. If the old crops have all but died out during the success of the new engineered crop, planters would find it nearly impossible to find viable, sustainable crop seed.

But, of course, the blight angle is a lot easier to explain in one sentence, and it provides a fairly inescapable crop doom.

I think that the food riots provide a good decline of civilization to retard the advance of technology. Widespread terrorism would be more likely to unite the terrorized peoples against the threat. Hunger is something that affects the daily lives of everyone, and would be more likely (IMO) to pit neighbor against neighbor.

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Old 11-29-2004, 01:33 AM   #23
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Default Re: Car Wars Reloaded

You don't even have to go that far into the realm of "sci-fi" in order to imagine possible events that could lead to economic/agricultural turmoil.

Global warming is a looming spectre. its real, its here, and its effects are present - how far they will go is the only question. some scientists think that the weather will experience wilder fluctuations, and large storm events will become more frequent and more severe. What happens if Florida gets nailed by 3 hurricanes next year? another big hit to agriculture. The midwest goes from no rain and practically drought conditions to inundating rainstorms and flash floods washing away prime topsoil.
new genetically modified crops are designed NOT to germinate, forcing farmers who use the new strains to buy new seed from manufacturers. They claim to be protecting intellectual property rights of all things. but what happens if in a fictional scenario, a major drought occurs for 2-4 years in a rows in the midwest and farmers simply can't buy new seed - the companies go bankrupt without the $$ from sales and aren't around to make seed anymore when better weather comes back. (side note - did you know that modern fertilizers require petroleum by-products to manufacture?)
Further out, possibly within a 50-100 year time frame, some scientists agree that the effect of global warming will shut down the North Atlantic Current, which would paradoxically cause an ice age. Now, I know you've probably seen "day after tomorrow" and while the ice age won't happen in the 3-4 day period that the movie uses for dramatic (and exaggerated) effects, the truth is that the current keeps the worldwide temperatures moderate. It could slowly happen over the course of a couple decades.

A recent episode of "The West Wing" brought to attention the 'Hubbart Peak' (hope I got that right.) basically a guy many years ago accurately predicted when Oil production in the U.S. would begin to decline (which has since passed), and that some scientists agree that the *worldwide* Hubbart Peak could bew here now or could be within the next 20 years. Oil is gatting used at progressively faster and faster rates. and not only by cars, but aircraft and ships. Ships will always have wind available and could be converetd back to coal use at a vary large expense, but aircraft wouldn't work at all without oil. International trade will come to a grinding halt, and countries that can't feed themselves will find their choices very limited. countries that are heavily dependant on oil for electrical generation will be in even worse shape. Nuclear power will become very important very quickly in order to keep going. but with the collapse of a global economy, no one is going to be able to build new powerplants.

truth can be stranger than fiction.

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Old 11-29-2004, 08:38 AM   #24
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Default Re: Car Wars Reloaded

I've thought some about how to go about doing the Car Wars timeline myself for a possible Autoduel campaignat some vague far-off point. Going 50 years ahead from today I would do the following few oddities I think. Not certain and these are just off the top of my head.
  • The Oil Dries Up. Increased oil consumption by emerging economies in Asia (primarily China & Inda) along with North America's ever-increasing demands (US, Canada, & a Mexico who had begun to see a great economic boon thanks to things like NAFTA) Simply begin to put too great a strain on limited resources. To further exaserbate the issue, seperatists in Russia start bombing the russian oil fields to weaken the nations economy (one of the most radical groups manages to sieze a three nuclear weapons and actually sets them off over the greatest of russia's oil fields ensuring that they can no longer be used). South American oil reserves are struck at by Drug Lords who have decided to take decisive action against governments that are trying to drive them out of business. Taking a que from the russians, they set about destroying the oil fields as well, or in some cases, when a country is suffiently destabilized, actually seizing control of it for themselves. With most of the damand left squarely on the middle east's oil reserve, the supplies of the lesser countries soon dries up completely, and the oil fields of the more plentiful ones become the battle ground for desperate countries, religious isolationists who wish to drive out western and eastern powers from their lands, and finally the US, EU and China all make moves to try and influence the fate of the oil. Sands would be covered in black and red over all the spilt oil and blood.

    The Grain Blight. Just like in the old setting, a strange disease starts wiping out the crops of the major western powers. As the US and EU provided much of the food for the rest of the world, a great famine will sweep across most of the world. Some blame ecoterrorists who were trying to screw with bioiengineered crops. Others say it was a failed experiment of a disease to target the drug crops, and some even claim it was China's attempt to remove the threat of western powers and reduce their oil consumption. The last is only because the first wave of the blight seemed to leave rice undammaged. It is thought that tens, if not hundreds, of millions died from starvation caused by this.

    The 30 Minute War. With everyone blaming everyone else for the famines sweeping the world, tempers began to flare. Most said the war was going to happen when the U.N. Security Council was dissolved. Soom followed by a withdrawal of the various world powers from that governing body. Most claimed that it had become nothing more than a soapbox for desots and 3rd world tyrants. The 1st and 2nd world powers could no longer deal with their own problems, much less the disintegrating 3rd world countries. A group of terrorists managed to sieze control of 2 russian missile silos and 1 north korean missile battery. They launched at the US while broadcasting a hacked/cgi image of the russian president blaming the US for all the world's problems. The US autolaunched 2 four missiles in retaliation. and had their bergeonning (sp?) satellite defense system start taking out russian satellites. The russian versian of the SDS auto-retalliated as it was programmed to. Almost a third of all orbiting satellites were obliterrated before the orders were able to be sent to stop the destruction. Before another could be sent out the russian special ops raided the terrorists and broadcast the entire ugly battle on a live feed so that the world would know the truth about the lauch. This bloody skirmish is still one of the highest rated best of clips seen on tv in the present day.

    The Wyrm. Terrorists calling themselves the Green Earth Movement (composed largely of spoiled and ill-informed 1st worlded pampered children of wealthy industrialists) decided that their parents tech was to blame for the hell the world was spiraling into. The internet, still alive and well, was the symbol of all that was wrong. The terrorists launched a virus called "The Wyrm" on the day after Thanksgiving. Servers, networks, individual systems, stored information, all started being wiped out. Mastercard, Visa, Discover, and American Express lost all online information and had a core system failure that wiped out most of their records. The Wyrm also destroyed the databases of most credit rating companies and the online accounts for most of the major international trading houses. The world was thrown off the grid.

There you have my slight reinterpretation of what leads to the world of Car Wars. Famine, War, Plague, and Fear. This leads to the Free Oil States, Violence on TV, Fortress Towns, Power Cells, Unemployment. All the horrors that make the world a living hell, but a ripe place for gaming of whatever sort you like.
Always Remember
"The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination." Einstein
"You are remembered for the rules you break." Macarthur
"Wherever you go, there you are." Bonzai
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Old 11-29-2004, 08:38 AM   #25
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Location: Chicagoland Area, Illinois
Default Re: Car Wars Reloaded

Personally, I thought the background of Car Wars was unbelievable anyway. If a grain blight/nuclear war took place, arming regular vehicles, especially for the purpose of entertainment, would be the last thing on survivors' minds.

I was never too concerned about the background of the Car Wars universe as I treated it as a board game - armed vehicles in an arena needed little justification. The whole backstory was irrelevant.

However, in this current day of reality television, it might be plausible to envision a society where death sports become acceptable. Armed vehicles start out in the arena and then, with some sort of "disaster which topples society", they progress out into the "real world."

I would be just as happy with the backstory being that Car Wars is just a futuristic interactive video game played in a "battle pod" that simulates real world combat.
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Old 11-29-2004, 12:09 PM   #26
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Location: Iowa
Default Re: Car Wars Reloaded

Originally Posted by MIB0247
One of the things I especially like about the canonical CW setting is the "grain blight". A year or so ago I finally got a copy of "The Death of Grass" and it rekindled my interest in this kind of decline-of-civilization setting.

A disease which damages or destroys all forms of grasses, including all the corn and rice crops, and leads to mass starvation and unrest is applicable to any set of political/economic events. With the progress of DNA research and genetic modification techniques in recent years, it could even be a weapon.

One "interesting" thing about real world events since the original CW timeline, is that although the chance of a superpower thermonuclear exchange seems to have slightly lessened, there are now more ways than ever to destroy the planet. From tailored plagues, through dirty bombs to cyberterrorism and information warfare. We could easily end up with a setting as ravaged as CW without ever needing another "world war".
:) :)
All the grains, grasses, corn and rice crops die -- and the world is taken over by people on the Atkins Diet (who generally do not eat those high-carb foods).
:) :)
--Jim Tetrick
All Opinions expressed above are mine and mine alone
...unless my plot to control the Orbital Mind Control Lasers succeeds.
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Old 11-29-2004, 02:59 PM   #27
Join Date: Aug 2004
Default Re: Car Wars Reloaded

Atkins dieters or terrorists? I'd rather deal with the terrorists. At least they can be dealt with. Atkin's folks are just wierd. Let me have potatoes with my steak.

How's this? Armed vehicles came first. Good Ol boys out fightin in the fields started killin off da crops. A pickup doing a d5 turn in a corn field can cause all kinds of damage. Add in a few flamers and some napalm mines and the harvest is shot.
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Old 12-01-2004, 02:34 PM   #28
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Default Re: Car Wars Reloaded

My idea isn't much different than the others mentioned here, but maybe a little simpler...

Terrorists successfully set off nukes in a number of U.S. cities, completely destroying them (NYC and DC would be obvious choices). Fear and paranoia turn other major cities into fortress towns. Newcomers are not welcome, and vigilantes begin executions of suspected terrorists. The economy quickly spirals into a the greatest depression ever seen.

The suburbs and rural areas quickly fall into chaos as gangs of unemployed and desperate people gather together to take what they can from those who still have it. Many attempt to go to the big cities for protection, but are turned away. Few farms are able to defend themselves against the increasingly well armed gangs, and food production gradually decreases over time.
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