Monday, April 29, 2019

WBC Tracks Announced

The 20 space-long straight at Hockenheim


It is that time again, time to announce the tracks for WBC -- the last event of the 2019 Organized Play Season.  This is a great event and one I always recommend.  It is the largest single weekend event in CFR.

Chris Long continues his fine stewardship of this event and has selected the following tracks:

Q1 (yellow tracks -- favor running from the front)

  • Suzuka (PDF map) was the finals at WBC last year
  • Francorchamps 2007 (PDF map) last seen at WBC back in 2014
  • Sakhir (PDF map) last seen at WBC back in 2013


Q2 (green tracks -- balanced)

  • Speilberg (PDF map) never before seen at WBC
  • Yeongam (PDF map) last seen at WBC back in 2016
  • Silverstone 2010 (PDF map) never before seen at WBC


Q3 (purple tracks -- really favor running from the back)

  • Sochi (PDF map) was the finals at WBC in 2017
  • Shanghai (PDF map) last seen at WBC back in 2016
  • Sepang 1999 (PDF map) last seen at WBC back in 2016


Finals (blue tracks -- favor running from the back)

  • Hockenheim  (PDF map) last seen at WBC back in 2017
More Information

Monday, April 22, 2019

2018 P1 PBeM Season Recap

The latest season of my CFR PBeM P1 is over.  Lets review what happened.

A quick reminder that P1 is structured as a pyramid league (the bottom drivers from the top tier are demoted to the next tier down which is composed of more races and drivers than the tier above it... shaped like a pyramid).  P1 is the top tier.  Divoll and Reilly are the two 2nd tier races.  Ascari, Clark, Fangio, and Moss are the four 3rd tier races.  The winner of P1 in any given season is the league champion, so lets start there.

P1 Race 1 at Montreal [Full Race Report]
Don, Bruce R, and Tim B qualify 1-2-3 in a bit of a preview of the rest of the series.  Dennis qualified 4th and ran in 3rd for most of the first lap but he started the race with less wear then rest of the first 2 rows and started to feel it when Tim B passed him through the last corner of lap 1.  Tim B did a great job staying out of the traffic and ahead of the mid-pack.

Bruce spent 10 of his 22 starting wear in lap 1 to hold the race lead but Don crossed the line to start lap 2 only 2 spaces behind Bruce.  Bruce spent another 10 wear in lap 2 which built him a full turn lead on Don and Tim B but also left him with only 2 wear to nurse through his last lap.  Meanwhile, Tim B caught up to Don through lap 2.  Don and Bruce were both running cars with 20 accel and 20 decel (a set-up that does seem to work well at Montreal).  Tim ran a 40-40 car and that was where he was able to claw 3-4 spaces back from Don on lap 2.

A Championship Deciding 2 Corners

Turn 20, Don is Dark Blue, Tim B is Teal
One of the key decisions in this race came on turns 21 and 22.  Don and Tim B were side-by-side 4 spaces from the last corner of lap 2 on turn 20.

Don decided to go 120 and spend 2 wear in the corner.  Tim went 100 and spent 1 wear -- falling a space behind Don but saving a wear.

Turn 21

The next turn, Tim pushed his acceleration to go 160 into the first 120 space of the first corner of the last lap -- spending 2 wear.  Don went his top speed of 140 to spend 1 wear.

Turn 22
The two drivers would back off to maintain that wear expenditure on the next turn, but since Tim spent more wear to start the corner, he maintained a higher speed the next turn and passed Don.

Turn 23 -- Tim B into 2nd
Now with the same wear and a slower car, Don was never able to repass and Bruce looked like a sitting duck with his 2 remaining wear.  Although Bruce was able to stay in front until Tim eventually passed him through the hairpin (2nd to last corner of the race).  Don was never able to get past Bruce and finished 3rd.

P1 Race 2 at Melbourne [Full Race Report]
The second race of the season took us to Melbourne -- another rather tight track that played to in front runners' favor.  Tim B, Don, and defending 2-time P1 champ Doug G all built the same 40-40-160-8w car and all bid 7 or 7.5 for pole.  Doug took pole with Don rolling better dice than Tim to end up 2nd on the grid.  Bruce started the race 10th with a different strategy and ended the race 10th to seriously damage his title chances.  Doug maintained the lead after lap 1, but had 4 less wear than Don who sat only 2 spaces back.  Tim was a turn back and in 5th at this time.  Tim B got a big break mid lap 2 when Chris L spins from 3rd.  With Tim M running low on wear, Tim B moves up 2 spots on track in the first half of the lap.  Don also spends his extra wear to over take Doug for the race lead at roughly the same time.  Tim B's wear advantage pushes him past Doug G in the beginning of lap 3.  But with the same 4 wear at Don and the same car set-ups, Don is never really challenged for the race win.

Second is enough though for Tim B to enter the final race of the season 5 points ahead of Don.  Bruce R was the only other driver with any chance to claim the title and only if Tim B finished 10th or worse.

P1 Race 3 at Sepang [Full Race Report]
Sepang is a very different track than the first two this season but Tim B still bid and took pole.  Don started 5th and Bruce started 8th.  However, Tim got swallowed up at the start when Dennis and Chris A both went 120 to his 80.  By the time they left corner 1, Tim B was 4th and Don was up in 2nd.  Mid-way through lap 1 Bruce ended up in the race lead, Don was 4th, and Tim B 5th -- all within spitting distance of a title.

Don was the first to see his race go south as he damaged his brakes heading into the Hairpin for the first time.  Tim B would then damage his brakes into the first corner of lap 2.  Mid way through lap 2 Bruce still led but he had been burning wear doing it and Chris A was right behind with 7 wear more.  Don was starting to fall back as he was low on wear in addition to his now 20 brakes.  Tim B still had some wear but also was hampered by 20 deceleration.

As the final lap began, Bruce was still leading but Chris A had 5 more wear and was close behind AND Tim B was showing no signs of finishing 10th, especially with Don now bringing up the rear in a seriously damaged car.  The end of the race would end up being very dramatic as Bruce crashed half-way through the lap which eventually set-up a drag race between Chris A, Rando, and Tim M -- which Tim M won.

The lead Tim B had built up in the first two races held up despite his 8th in the final race.  Congrats to Tim B for winning the 2018 P1 Season.  Don would end up 2nd on the season despite his 9th in the last race.  Tim M's dramatic race win at Sepang would catapult him to 3rd on the season only 2 points behind Don.

P1 Overall Champ: Tim B (1st, 2nd, 8th)
Rest of P1 Podium: Don T (3rd, 1st, 9th), Tim M (6th, 5th, 1st)
Demoted: Mario A, Chris L, Dennis N (Chris A retired after this so only 3 needed to be demoted)

Now lets give some love to the lower tiers.

Divoll, Tier 2
Jeff H won the first race at Montreal by managing his wear before overtaking Chris on lap 3.  John would also pass Chris to take 2nd and force Chris into 3rd. [Full Race Report]

At Melbourne Jeff H and Kevin H led most of the way with Kevin taking the checkered flag and Jeff finishing 2nd to enter the final race of the season 11 points ahead of Kevin.  Franklin moved up from the back of the pack at Melbourne to finish 3rd. [Full Race Report]

Jeff's dominance over the first two races meant that he only had to finish 5th to guarantee being one of the top two in the series and get promoted to P1.  The second spot would be contested by other podium finishers Kevin, John, Chris and Franklin as well as Mike (who had a 4th and 5th) and Fabio  (who had only a slim chance to get promoted after two 7th places).

A lap in, Jeff was doing just enough to make sure he got promoted sitting 5th.  Meanwhile John was leading the race and looking like the contender who would also get promoted.  But in a couple turns, Franklin emerged from the pack in 3rd with 11 wear to John's 4.  Franklin would pass Fabio and John down the back straight on lap 2 and then drive off into the distance never to be challenged for the race win.  That put Franklin in the driver's seat to be promoted next to Jeff (who had now worked his way up to 2nd for a strangle-hold on the season title).  Kevin was the only driver who could over take Frankin on points without winning the race but he was mired down in 6th, eventually being overtaken by everyone on track before blowing up his engine within sight of the finish line. [Full Race Report]

Season Champ: Jeff H (1st, 2nd, 2nd)
Also Promoted: Franklin H (5th, 3rd, 1st)
Demoted: Scott H, Tony L, Mike H (only 3 demotions because only 9 drivers were in Divoll and a P1 driver retired).

Reilly, Tier 2
Consistency was hard to come by over the first two races in this series.  Michael P followed up his race win in Montreal with a 5th in Melbourne.  Bruno blew up his engine at Montreal only to win Melbourne.  Luca finished 2nd at Montreal only to end up 10th at Melbourne.  Doug S followed up an 8th place at Montreal with a 2nd at Melbourne.  Scott M was the only car with two podiums in the first two races with consecutive 3rd places.  Consequently those 5 drivers all had decent chance to get promoted -- in fact a race win for any would guarantee promotion. [Montreal Race Report] [Melbourne Race Report]

At the important entry into Sunway Lagoon, 5 cars were hoping to clear the corner before the back straight.  Interestingly that pack included only 1 driver who entered the race in the top 5 -- Doug S.  Kalvin, Doug S, and Jim O were the only three to clear Lagoon.  Then Doug S used the outside lane to take the Hairpin faster to overtake Kalvin for the race lead to start lap 2.  Doug S kept the lead the rest of the race despite some challenges -- mostly due to having a wear advantage over those challengers.

Meanwhile Michael P kept slowly moving through the pack having qualified in 10th.  He was 6th half-way through the race and ahead of the other top contenders for promotion.  Near the end of the race Michael over took several more cars to end up finishing 3rd and comfortably in promotion bu 2 points behind Doug for the series championship.  [Full Race Report]

Season Champ: Doug S (8th, 2nd, 1st)
Also Promoted: Michael P (1st, 5th, 3rd)
Demoted: Pepe S, Kalvin M, Jim O (only 3 demotions because only 9 drivers were in Divoll and a P1 driver retired).

Ascarii, Tier 3
After the first three races, three drivers sat atop the season standings -- Ciccio I, Palmiro M, and Turyko) separated by only 4 points.  So it looked like they would fight over the two available promotion slots although Stephen P had a shot -- especially if he won at Sepang.  [Montreal Race Report] [Melbourne Race Report]

Stephen started out on row 1 and quickly grabbed the lead.  Meanwhile Turyko, Ciccio, and Palmiro were all down in the bottom half of the grid.  If the race stayed like this Stephen would get promoted.  By the end of lap 1, Turyko had moved up and taken the race lead but Stephen was still lurking in 2nd with a lot of wear.  As the season's final lap began, Stephen was back out front with a lot of wear, Turyko was sitting in second with a bigger car, Palmiro was back in 7th and Ciccio was languishing in 10th.  Palmiro and Ciccio would have to get up to 3rd to dislodge Stephen from the 2nd promotion slot.  By half-way through the last lap Ciccio had thrown in the towl but Palmiro had worked his way up to 4th and looked to have the wear to get past Christina and/or Turyko.  A couple corners later Palmiro was 3rd and Stephen was left to hope either Palmiro or Turyko lost a place.  They did not and Stephen missed promotion by a single point.  [Full Race Report]

This ended up being a very competative group as two race winners (Stephen and Ciccio failed to advance).

Season Champ: Turyko S (1st, 4th, 2nd)
Also Promoted: Palmiro M (2nd, 2nd, 3rd)

Clark, Tier 3
The first two races of the season had the exact same podiums: Justin S, Dave L, Dave B.  [Montreal Race Report] [Melbourne Race Report]

This meant that Justin was guaranteed a promotion regardless of what happened at Sepang and Dave L had a leg up on Dave B for that 2nd promotion.  Dave B had to finish top 2 and hope Dave L finished 6th or worse.  At the end of lap 2, Dave L was languishing down in 6th but Dave B was running low on wear and took a chance through the hairpin resulting in a crash and Dave L's promotion to tier 2.  [Full Race Report]

Season Champ: ?S (1st, 1st, 6th)
Also Promoted: ?L (2nd, 2nd, 3rd)

Fangio, Tier 3
Stephen E won the first two races of the season to clinch a promotion with a race yet to go.  Bruce L had a leg up on everyone else for the 2nd promotion slot after finishing 3rd in Montreal and 2nd in Melbourne.  But if he faltered at Sepang literally everyone had at least some chance for promotion.  [Montreal Race Report] [Melbourne Race Report]

John G was the first to take the reins in this race and spent some wear to take the race lead and 2nd place in the season standings up through the last corner of lap 1.  Will K out accelerated John across the start/finish line to being lap 2 in the race lead and now Will was 2nd in season points.  All this time, Tom F had been lurking behind John and then Will and conserving his wear before over-taking both of them through Berjaya at the half-way point of the race.  That put Tom just barely in 2nd on the season.

As the cars exited corner 1 for the last time, Tom was a turn ahead of everyone and would not be caught.  But his promotion would depend on where others' finished.  Stephen and worked his way up to 2nd and had enough wear to hold off John and Will (who could have gotten promoted with a 2nd).  Bruce was in 5th and needed to get to 3rd place to beat Tom on season points.  Bruce managed to work his way up through the field during the 1st half of the last lap before finally passing John for 3rd through Berjaya.  Bruce was then able to set himself up to clear Sunway Lagoon a turn ahead of the pack and would coast to 3rd and promotion -- only 3 points clear of Tom.  [Full Race Report]

Not to be lost in his early clinching of 1st on the season, Stephen also had the most successful run this year in any series with two 1sts and a 2nd.

Season Champ: Stephen E (1st, 1st, 2nd)
Also Promoted: Bruce L (3rd, 2nd, 3rd)

Moss, Tier 3
Keith R, Dave I, and Mikael M entered the final race of the season within 4 points of each other with two other drivers behind them also having a chance for promotion (Federico S and Robert R). [Montreal Race Report] [Melbourne Race Report]

Most of the smaller field would stay in a pretty tight pack until the start of of the final lap with previous race winners Keith R and Dave I 1-2 in this race and the season and in line for promotion.  By the time they reached the back straight both were a full turn ahead of the field and seemingly locked into promotions -- until Keith broke his damaged engine.  That knocked him from what looked like a guaranteed 2nd  and guaranteed promotion (Dave was going to pass him down the back straight but I'm pretty sure no one else could).

That added some drama to the end of the race.  Mikael inherited 2nd on the season when Keith DNFed but Mikael got passed by two cars down the back straight and Robert had worked his way up to 2nd -- putting Robert tenuously in 2nd on the season... until Mikael out accelerated Federico across the line to regain a position, a point, 2nd on the season, and a promotion.  [Full Race Report]

Season Champ: Dave I (4th, 1st, 1st)
Also Promoted: Mikael M (3rd, 2nd, 5th)

Friday, January 4, 2019

CFR 2019 Rankings Begin

Lets start the new year by getting some Organized Play rankings out.  I've been behind getting races recorded but caught up recently (well, mostly).

Our current top 10 shown on the right.  More detail and all the drivers here:

117 drivers have participated in a race so far this year.  Already more than participated in all of 2017.  Interestingly, average field size has grown to just above 10 drivers per race after 5 consecutive years of decline.  Last season a race averaged 9.2 drivers.

More importantly, lets look at Don's crazy 1st half of a season.

Four wins (most so far) in nine races and every win has been against good competition.  From each of those 4 quality wins, Don picked up at least 30 pts.  No one else has more than two races where they got 30 or more from their win.

On a related note, I added something to the race list.  I now list the points gained by each driver that podiumed in every race so you can get a sense of how people got their race points.  I'll duplicate this for tourney once a tourney ends.

Speaking of tourneys... no driver has any points from them yet because I have not gotten results from any (well, actually I just got results from the Detroit series, but don't have the final race for that season yet).  When those come in things may get tighter up top.  Despite Don's impressive run, Tim Baker is doing almost as well but has just participated in fewer races so far.  Tim's two wins have been worth 30+ points and Tim is leading Don in both the P1 and Redscape online series which have been two of the top three series the last two years running.

Still lots of racing to go so it will be very interesting to see how things progress.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Changes for 2019 CFR Organized Play

2018 OP Champ Getting His Trophy
But before we get to the small change for the 3rd season of Organized Play, a quick note wrapping up the 2nd season.

I have the good fortune to live not far from the 2018 Organized Play Champion Michael Polsen and saw him at the Congress of Gamers Fall session.

Before the CFR race, I presented him with the trophy.  Michael is a great guy, huge supporter of CFR, and I couldn't be happier that he won last season.

I think he was pleased with the award and I thought I heard him say he could retire happy now.  Of course, he then proceeded to win the CFR race so I doubt he really is retiring.

2019 Change

The only change I am making for the 2019 Organized Play season is that I will now count a driver's top 5 races towards their ranking points.  For the first two seasons I counted only the top 4 races.

Quick reminder of how OP scoring works
Each driver gets a score for each race based on their finish and how much better or worse than average the field was.  Fields are rated based on the (now) 5 best (unadjusted) finishes for each driver in the field.  Similarly, each drivers gets points for each season, series, or tournament they enter based on their finish in the tournament and the quality and quantity of the competition and the number of races involved.  The top 5 race results and top 2 tournament results are added to together to get your score.

Why?
Over the last two years, to contend for the OP Championship you likely needed to score points in two events and race in four races.  Really, you needed to do well in two events and four race -- probably really well -- but you get the idea.

I set those numbers based on the idea that I wanted a decent number of people to be able to contend for the title, not just people who could do 10+ races a year.  But with more people participating and twice as many racing opportunities occurring I looked over the numbers a little to see if 4 races and 2 tournaments still seemed right.

Below is a table showing how many people participated in at least a certain number of races and tournaments over the last two seasons.


In 2017, 37 different drivers participated in at least 2 tournaments compared to 44 last season.  Not a huge increase, and only 9 drivers participated in 3 or more tournaments.

In 2017, 57 different drivers participated in at least 4 races compared to 73 last season.  A bigger jump.  More importantly, I think 62 drivers participated in at least 5 races last season -- still more than the 57 who participated in 4 or more races in 2017.

What This Means
This will likely emphasize race results over tournament results a bit more than the past.  Although both will likely remain important.

All in all, I do not think it will change who is ranked well.

What About The Future?
In theory, I would like to take into account as many races as possible in order to accurately calculate that year's best driver.  But I also do not want to award that trophy to someone just because they showed up at a lot of races.  So while I could see these numbers rise again I will try to be careful not to over do it.

I also expect that the number of races and overall participation will plateau at some point.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Forced Passing and Championship Formula Racing

Last week I introduced a possible Skill replacement called Balance and a new way to bid for pole.  This week, lets talk Forced Passing.

Forced Passing

I find forced passing to be a very good thing, especially with larger fields.  It gives cars behind an option for when the road is just too crowded.

Problem

It can sometimes be just too hard to make that pass.

Solution

Again a two-parter and again involving the previously discussed Balance proposal.

The specific rule change is that the attacker in a pass can now use the racing line when passing.

The other change involves some of the forced passing die roll results: you can't lose wear from a random die-roll result.  You can lose Balance instead, but losing wear late in a race is often just a spin in disguise.

Game Impact

I think allowing the attacker to use the line will allow for many more forced passing attempts.  A lot of forced passing attempts come into play in corners and usually the attacker is only going to clear the defender by a space.  Taking away their use of the line often means that they just can't pay for the corner.

The impact of Balance on Forced Passing may be a bit of a wash.  Cars with low Balance may be un-willing to take the chance on what will be a bad die roll for them.  However, cars with higher Balance may be more willing to make the move as it is a roll that probably will not result in any loss of Balance.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Pole Bidding for Championship Formula Racing

Earlier this week I unveiled plans for the new Balance attribute to replace skill.  Today, lets talk about Pole Bids.

Pole Bidding

The pole bid is a crucial moment in a game of Championship Formula Racing.  But...

Problems

Every one of the new rules I am introducing was spurred by issues I wanted to address in the current rule set.

How Much to Bid?

It can be hard to judge how much to bid for pole.  Races can be lost with a bad bid.  If you end up over-paying for the position you end up in -- regardless of if it is the front or back or the field -- and your race can be effectively over already.

This is not just a new driver problem, but it certainly is worse if you have little experience.

So, there needs to be more opportunity for signalling bidding intention.  Right now, start speed and chatter before the bid is all we have.

Strategic Balancing

Bidding is also an important element in balancing out the two main strategic extremes: racing from the front and racing from the back.  If bids for pole are low, it favors those drivers who do end up with a bargain pole. 

Given that run from the front strategies are generally more effective than run from the back, there is an argument to be made that the game should include more pressure to bid higher for pole... or otherwise have that pole bid involve more of a sacrifice for the people who get it.

Solution?

This one is a bit of a two part solution.

Only Wear

The new Balance scheme I discussed last week would remove skill chips form the game, so remember that you can only bid wear for pole now.

More Bidding Rounds

After all car attributes have been revealed and car set-up is complete pole bidding begins.

Pole bidding will now be a series of simultaneous bids.  In each round you can either bid 1 wear or nothing.  If you bid 1 wear, that wear is added to the total amount of wear you have bid so far and you may bid again next round.  If you bid nothing, you drop out of bidding having bid whatever your previous bid was.

As with the current bidding, cars are arranged on the grid starting with the cars that bid the most wear and all wear bid is lost for this race.

Tie Breakers

Like before, tie are broken with a die roll.  However, this time you must use 2d6, high result wins, AND remember that Balance modifiers are added to that roll.

How Does this Impact the Game?

I believe that wear is more valuable than skill, so forcing players to bid wear for pole should make the bidding more meaningful and impact the post bid race more.

Having each round of bidding be a binary decision of 1 more wear or dropping out is intended to do a number of things:
  • Add more peer pressure to bid for a top grid spot -- hopefully increasing the amount of wear spent to pole.
  • Prevent people from WAY over-bidding for position.
  • Provide more information for each round of bidding -- mostly in the form of how many people are still in this round.

Caveat

The idea of incremental bidding has been tried.  There is an optional rule in the published edition for 2-round bidding and I ran that in my PBeM for a decent test and found that it generally did NOT impact the end results -- bids were largely the same as before.

That said, I will be testing this as well to see if this form of auction does what auctions are generally supposed to do: get people to pay more than they might otherwise.


Monday, October 29, 2018

Introducing Balance, Replacing the Skill Attribute in Championship Formula Racing

I wish I could credit this properly but I heard a great quote on one of the podcasts I listen to -- probably Ludology:
"You are never finished with a game design, but eventually you have to publish it."
Championship Formula Racing has certainly been that kind of game.  In fact, I used to roll out new tweaks every year or so.  I've tried to tamp that down now that an actual printed version exists.  However, I think it is time to start talking about 3-4 changes I will be testing for inclusion in whatever the next version of CFR is.

I identified 4 areas to work on: slip streaming, forced passing, pole bidding, and skill.  Over a couple of blog-posts I'm going to outline my objectives and proposed solutions.  I expect and hope that the community will pitch in with their thoughts as well.

Lets jump right in then with what is the most expansive of the proposed changes.  Buckle in, this is not a short conversation.

Balance

Balance is a new attribute that would replace the skill attribute.  Instead of providing a pool of skill chips that can be used to modify die rolls.  Balance provides a modifier to all rolls that degrades over time in different ways.  I basically took this opportunity to re-work a lot about how die-rolls work in CFR.

Problems

Every one of the new rules I am introducing was spurred by issues I wanted to address in the current rule set.  I hope that Balance can address a number of issues.  Lets spend a little time looking at the problems I hope to address.

Skill is the Least Valuable Attribute

The only time I ever consider taking more than the minimum amount of skill is if I already have 8 wear per lap and absolutely can not figure out why I would want more of any other attribute.  Sometimes, I will take a lot of skill just to dump into a pole bid.  But I usually only want to have 2-4 skill in hand at the start of a 3 lap race.  maybe 1 or 2 for pushing my start speed.  Maybe 1 or 2 in the bank in case I need to try a chance or forced pass.

Think about it this way.  Would you rather have an extra 20 mph in acc or dec or top speed or an extra 9% chance of making a couple tests each lap?  If I think I can use that extra 20 mph in an attribute at least twice per lap I will decrease my skill to get it every time.

I'd rather all attributes have their place.  I'd rather find a way to make skill have value... maybe not for everyone, but at least for a decent number of people in a good number of situations.  This was my main goal for Balance.

Die-rolls are Too Complicated

Until you have the chart memorized, you had to check after every roll.  I still don't have the entire chart memorized and sometimes have to check it.  That feels very much like the old wargames influence that Avalon Hill added to Speed Circuit coming through.

I don't like the fact that many turns will go by without any die rolls and yet die rolls take up a disproportionate amount of the rule book.  Simplifying the rule book is noble in and of itself but I think it is also good proxy for game complexity.  For what it is, die-rolls just seem too complex.

So if I can to simplify something here I want to but not at all costs.  These issues are listed in order.  I care more about improving the value of the attribute than simplicity.  The next two items play into making things easier as well, I hope.

Higher Rolls Should be Better

This is a minor thing and Speed Circuit has always had high rolls be bad, but I think high rolls being good is more intuitive.  Especially when you think about the die roll modifiers.  A -1 modifier being a good thing is counter intuitive.

I know that most of the current players are used to this concept, but I just think it works better for new people if we take the time to fix this while I can.

Skill Chips are Clunky

The fact that you had to declare skill chip use before a die roll was always confusing for new people and have caught more than a few veterans napping as well..  The difference between the -1 and -3 chips can also be confusing.  The fact that there were limits to their use (only -2 unless you have a -3).  It all was just a lot.

The Solution?

As I noted above, Balance replaces Skill as the 6th attribute.  Below is a quick chart of what the 4 Balance attribute cards would look like.


Set-up

After car attributes are selected and revealed for all cars.  Negative or positive modifier chips are placed on that car's Balance card based on what the card indicates.  These Balance modifiers affect ALL die-rolls in the game.

In addition, create a starting Engine modifier pool equal to 1 plus 1 for every lap this race is scheduled to run.  (For a 3 lap race, each car would start with a +4 Engine Modifier.)  These modifiers are used only for engine tests -- acceleration, top speed, and start speed.

Deceleration modifiers can accumulate later in the race.

Die Rolls

All die rolls remain 2d6.  Modifiers are applied to those die-rolls based on that car's current modifiers.  These modifiers are not point pools like skill is now.  All appropriate modifiers are applied to every roll made.

After modifiers are applied, a result of 8 or more is a success, a result of 6 or less is a failure, and a 7 is a minor failure.  Box cars is always a success regardless of modifiers.  This is true for all die rolls.

Exactly what happens when each die-roll fails or succeeds varies.

Modifiers

There are effectively 3 sets of modifiers: Balance modifiers, Deceleration Modifiers, and Engine Modifiers.  Balance modifiers (the ones that each driver bought with their Balance attribute) apply to ALL die rolls.  Deceleration modifiers only apply to deceleration tests.  Engine modifiers only apply to acceleration, top speed, and start speed tests.

For example, if I had +1 Balance modifier and +4 Engine modifier, I would be at +5 to test my start speed.

Engine Tests

The chart below shows the results of the three engine tests.


Mis-shift means that the car ends up going 40 mph slower than attempted.  This is a big change over how we do things now and I think is more intuitive than the current result -- especially for top speed tests.

Like now, acceleration and top speed failures reduce the tested attribute by 20.  A second engine failure will also still result in a DNF.

The new Minor Failure result is a failure (and mis-shift) without damaging the engine.

Note that every time a car tests its engine it will reduce it's Engine modifiers by 1.  This represents wear and tear on the engine when it is pushed to it's limits. 

Also note that a Start Speed test is always rolled at -2 compared to Acceleration and Top Speed tests.

Below are some odds to give you a sense of what this means mathematically.


The odds above assume the start of a 3 lap race.  Of course these odds deteriorate each time such a roll is attempted.  But note that the first 2 tests at +3 Balance would automatically pass.  Odds would start out worse in a 1 or 2 lap race and would start out better for races of 4 laps or more. 


The odds above are also for a 3 lap race.  Start speed test odds never change since you can only ever test this at the first turn of the race.

Deceleration Tests 


First note that deceleration tests have a permanent +2 modifier.

Just as now, a failure results in reducing deceleration by 20 and requiring the car to use 1 wear for the deceleration (remember deceleration tests never really fail, they just result in penalties).  A second failure will still result in a DNF.

The new Minor Failure is a failure without deceleration damage.

Note that every time a deceleration test is made at least -2 will be added to that car's deceleration.  More for the failures.  Brake stress is mostly about over-heating.  But heat dissipates over time so every time a car passes a sector marker (there are 3 every lap) it removes a -1 modifier from its deceleration.


Above is the starting odds for deceleration at different balance buys.  

Because of how negative deceleration modifiers go away, if you do not test brakes too often and do not fail your rolls, you can keep testing deceleration or late braking at the same odds through out the race.  With +3 balance, that could be very powerful.

Balance Tests


Forced passing is the only die-roll without a Minor Fail result -- they simply count as failures which work exactly as before.  The only difference for forced passing from the current rule is that the attacker can be "damaged" even if the defender does not block and damage takes the form of -1 balance modifiers instead of wear.

Chance rolls are pretty similar to before but cars will take negative balance modifiers every time -- unless they crash.

Crash avoidance gets its own set of results -- which I think is cleaner -- and they are friendlier results.


Above are the starting odds for Forced Passes. Below are the odds for chances and crash avoidance.



The biggest strategic thing about these rolls is how balance modifiers affect every other die roll.  If you take a chance in the first corner, your balance is reduced by -1 even if you succeed and that will impact every other roll all race.  Forced passes, on the other hand, might never drop your Balance modifiers.

Pole Bids and Tie Breakers

Two things this also means.  First, there are no skill chips to use on pole bids now... only wear.  Second, Balance modifiers affect ALL die rolls.  So pole bid tie-breakers should always use 2d6, high winning, and apply Balance modifiers.

How Does This Impact the Game?

Lets looks at my goals and also some unintended consequences I've already noticed.

Is Balance More Valuable Than Skill Was?

I think so.  The 2 pt buy of +3 skill comes with some serious possibilities.  I could late brake into 1 or 2 corners every lap with no chance of damaging my deceleration.  I've got 3 or 4 basically free acceleration or top speed tests. Forced passes and at least my first chance come with a 83% success.

I would also seriously think about a +1 or +3 skill if I wanted to test my start speed.  In the past you could take only 2 skill per lap and still have enough to throw skill at the start speed table.  Low balance will make that roll very risky.

The fact that balance can now impact tie-breakers for pole bid -- and I suspect there will be more ties now that there is no skill to bid with -- could be interesting as well.

But in the end, we'll have to see.

Die-rolls are Too Complicated

Knowing that all rolls are the same helps (< 7 fails, etc.).  I also want to rejigger the stat cards so that die roll notes are on the cards.  Then in theory all you have to do is add up the related modifiers, roll, and hope you get 8 or more.  I am a big fan of off-loading rules from the book to the components when you can.

I suspect it will become less complicated as people get used to it.  But I'm not convinced it will in all be easier.

Higher Rolls Should be Better

Well I can check that one off as a success!

Skill Chips are Clunky

I think this method of modifying rolls is easier to deal with.  But I did add some complexity with changing modifiers, especially the fact that deceleration modifiers go away over time.  This might end up being a wash.

Pole Bids

I like the fact that now bids can only be made with wear.  I think it will lower the bids generally but it also may cause slightly more pain for people who do bid for pole.  I'm not going to go as far as to say that this will balance out run-from-behind strategies but it might help.

Implementation

There is already testing planned for this, but you should feel free to implement on your own if you want.  Usage of this rule set will still allow races to count towards Organized Play.

Here is a one-page cheat sheet.

What Do You Think?

Enough from me.  Give me your reactions.