Saturday, March 15, 2008

Gaming With Grandma - 55

It's the start of the Formula 1 season with the first race kicking off in Melbourne, Australia this Sunday. So with the Saturday morning F1 practice sessions on the TV in the background, my mother (Grandma to our kids), my 6 year old daughter Maddie and myself sat down at our dining room table to play Formula De using the circuit 20 expansion track representing Melbourne, Australia.

I attended the Melbourne Formula 1 Grand Prix back in 2004 and 2005 so was familiar with the Albert Park circuit. The board does a great job of representing the track. The artwork on the game board is colourful and full of flavour and atmosphere.

The Melbourne Formula De circuit

Years ago I bought and painted several pewter F1 cars for Formula De. Click here to see some pictures. Our race today would be a one-lap race using two cars each. To make is quicker and easier for Grandma and Maddie I modified the rules slightly. I chose not to use the normal wear points (WP) for body, breaks, tires etc. Instead I just gave them 10 plastic tokens (from a Connect 4 game) for each car to represent wear points. If a car ended its move one space from a corner the player would be allowed to burn 1 WP to move forward a space to end up on the first space of a corner. Cars could overshoot a corner by up to 3 spaces and would burn a WP for each space they overshot. If a car overshot a corner by four spaces it would crash. You could drop gears but a drop of two gears would cost 1 WP, three gears would cost 2 WP, and four gears 3 WP. Collision rules were in effect but weather rules were not.

Maddie chose the red cars, Grandma chose yellow and I chose blue. We rolled the black d20 for qualifying positions (lowest got pole). Starting grid was as follows:

  • 1st - Team Dad - Juan Tobasco (red helmet)
  • 2nd - Team Maddie - Cloe Angel (red helmet)
  • 3rd - Team Maddie - Jade Coolcat (yellow helmet)
  • 4th - Team Grandma - Clyde Steele (red helmet)
  • 5th - Team Dad - Akira Wasabi (yellow helmet)
  • 6th - Team Grandma - Stirling Moss (yellow helmet)

The starting grid

It was a very exciting race with Juan Tobasco from Team Dad holding on to the lead for several turns before losing it to Cloe Angel of Team Maddie. Some risky moves paid off for Akira Wasabi of Team Dad and he gained a couple of places in the middle straight. Meanwhile, the Team Grandma drivers Steele and Moss slowly gained on the pack which had raced ahead. Some cautious driving by the Team Maddie drivers meant that the Team Grandma drivers made up places at their expense. Coming into the final turn it was Stirling Moss from Team Grandma in first place and Akira Wasabi from Team Dad in second. A risky decision to stay in a higher gear (with a 1-in-6 chance of crashing) by Wasabi meant that he was only one space behind Moss coming out of the final corner. It was a nail-biting finish with Akira Wasabi of Team Dad taking the chequered flag to win the race just in front of Stirling Moss from Team Grandma who crossed the line in the next turn.

Akira Wasabi of Team Dad wins the Melbourne Formula De Grand Prix!!!

The battle for the last place on the podium was closely fought between Team Grandma and Team Dad. Clyde Steele from Team Grandma ended up just inching out Juan Tobasco from Team Dad to take 3rd position.

The final placements were:

  • 1st - Team Dad - Akira Wasabi (yellow helmet) (4 WP left)
  • 2nd - Team Grandma- Stirling Moss (yellow helmet) (1 WP left)
  • 3rd - Team Grandma- Clyde Steele (red helmet) (5 WP left)
  • 4th - Team Dad- Juan Tobasco (yellow helmet) (1 WP left)
  • 5th - Team Maddie- Cloe Angel (red helmet) (5 WP left)
  • 6th - Team Maddie - Jade Coolcat (yellow helmet) (7 WP left)
Using the tokens for wear points cut down on the record keeping. If we wanted to play with the wear point rules from the rulebook then I guess we could use different coloured tokens to represent brakes, body, tires, fuel, etc. It's interesting to note the combined wear points left to each team - I had 5 WP, Grandma had 6 WP and Maddie had 12 WP left. Obviously, being able to effectively manage the wear points of your cars contributes to final places. There is also the issue of the luck of the dice but over the 17 turns we played the luck tended to even itself out.

I really enjoyed this game. I've always thought it would be a lot of fun getting together with a bunch of like-minded gamers every fortnight to play a series of races with points from each race going to determine an eventual Driver Champion and Constructor Champion.

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