Tuesday, March 20, 2018

P1 PBeM New Season Announcement

The 2017-18 season is over for my play-by-mail series.  Which has been struggling with branding for a while now but I'll now be calling the P1 series for this post.

Doug Galullo won the season after winning the 1st two races in the top tier -- coasting to the series win even after finishing last in the final race of the season.  Below is the 2nd to last turn of race 2 in Baku.  Doug was 4 spaces behind Don and Chris a turn before this image.  Going 200, Doug closed the gap through the last corner.  Next turn, Doug would push to 220 while Chris L would fail his push to 180 and get beat out at the line.  Third to first in the last turn of the race for Doug.

Now lets look forward to the next season featuring some changes.  First off, thanks to everyone who responded to my survey (See the survey results).  Here's the summary of what will be new.

  • No more mid-season demotions or promotions.
  • Slip movement guidelines.
  • Bidding change.
  • New series names.

Mid-Season Driver Movement
I was leaning towards eliminating the mid-season driver movement so I was glad to see the survey results agree with me.  I think the move from a pure ladder to more of a pyramid structure for the series means that people can move from the bottom to the top tier in a couple season.  I also do not like punishing drivers who push hard for a race and crash or dnf.  For instance, Chris Long ended up performing very well in the top tier this year but DNF'd the first race of the season.  Having 2 races to prove he should stick in the top tier was good I think.

There was some controversy in the top tier last race about double slips and the appearance of team-work.  Guidelines will be promulgated to the stewards so that we can promote as fair a racing environment as possible.  All of the words will take up a lot of space.  The short version is:
You can't line up to give someone else a slip next turn, unless there is another reason to.
Those reasons can be many and pretty liberal but there has to be some reason.

Knock-Out Bidding
For the 2017-2018 season, the 3rd tier will stop using knock-out pole bids.  The top two tiers may continue to use knock-out pole bids if the drivers and stewards in that race unanimously agree.

Since the races do not directly feed into each other this season, I had the freedom to rename the series.  The top tier will be named P1 after the series at large.  The two second tier series will be named Divoll and Reilly after the co-designers of the original Speed Circuit.  The third tier races will be named after old formula greats: Ascari, Clark, Fangio, and Moss.

Other Updates:
The Driver and Steward line-ups will be announced later.  If you would like to volunteer to be a steward, let me know.  It is no lie to say that this series would cease to exist without the excellent stewards that sign up for more time, effort, and grief than you'd think.  If you want to help out, I will be very grateful.

The first race of the season will be Montreal (pdf) -- so sharpen your knives.  I will announce race 2 and 3 in the season at later dates.  The main reason I delay announcing tracks for this series is that it is the most effective test bed for my tracks.   One race of a track in P1 is now 7 play-tests at once.  In 3-4 months, the track I most want to validate or test may be very different, so I hold off as long as I can.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Organized Play 2018 at the Half-Way Mark

This blog post is going to start like a confessional.  It's been two months since my last post but I have another organized play update.

click for larger

Here's our new top 10.  As promised, we now have two tournaments in the books for the 2018 season.  No surprise than that the winner of both events now tops the rankings.  Doug Gallullo was 4th a couple months ago, but he won PrezCon and then won my Play-by-mail event.  The points from those events plus two more good race results puts him nearly 50 points ahead of Don. 

But more points will be available as the season progresses.  Three live series are scheduled to finish up by early summer and the Redscape play-by-mail series has started its final race.

Already, 2018 has eclipsed the inaugural 2017 season in nearly every category.  So far, 119 drivers have been ranked over 50 total races.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Organized Play Rankings Update for Championship Formula Racing

I've been silent for a while... been busy at work and my web site went down!

Still busy at work, but the web site is back up so here's a long over due update on the 2018 Organized Play rankings.  But with not a lot of words...

< click to see larger size >

A quick look at the current top 10 above shows some of the usual suspects, some drivers showing improvement from last season, and some new drivers to these rankings.

Doug G is looking strong still with his only 2 races being strong wins.  Tim Baker has the best single race score so far on the board.  No series have completed yet but Doug G is in line to score a ton of points as the champ of my Play by mail.

So far in 2018 there have been 29 races ranked including 102 different drivers -- which is already a new record for drivers ranked in a season.

Looking ahead, my PBeM will be finishing in the next month or two and PrezCon is gearing up for February.  That will close out the first two series / events of the season which will add more detail to the growing puzzle of who will win the 2018 season.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

CFR at Winter Game Fest January 13th

Last Year at CoG Winter
Winter Game Fest is right around the corner.  If you can get to Rockville, MD, $20 gets you tournaments, an open gaming area all weekend, plus access to a Championship Formula Racing race.

The race will take place at 10:30 am on Saturday.  We will run 3 laps at the modern configuration of São Paulo [track map PDF].  I will run a demo at 10:00 am.  This race will be an official CFR Organized Play event but beginners are welcome as always.

The convention is open 9:00 am to midnight Saturday and 9:00 am to 9:00 pm Sunday.  I will be there more or less the whole weekend.

The event is held at the Rockville Senior Center, 1150 Carnation Drive, Rockville, MD  20850.  More information can be found on the event site, including pre-reg.

Corner 1 at Sao Paulo (from my Historical Driver series)

Monday, December 4, 2017

Game Review: Motorsport Manager Mobile 2

I know that a lot of you are F1 fans or racing fans in general and specifically fans of racing games, so let me tell you about Motorsport Manager Mobile 2.

As the name suggests, this is not a racing sim.  This about setting up your team.  I admit that this did not sound like the most interesting thing to me but it was pretty well recommended and racing so I gave it a try and have now played it for 40+ hours since downloading it less than a month ago.  It has become my go to iPad game.

And there are races, but you spend a good bit of time between races tinkering with your cars, managing drivers, hiring engineers, and lining up sponsors.  In line with current F1 rules, your team is composed of two cars and two drivers.

You also have 3 engineers.  Each engineer has a race performance rating that helps you on race day in some obscure way.  They also have a handful of ratings that help you build new parts and design next year's car -- we'll talk about cars later.

Interestingly I've seen engineers get old and their skills will deteriorate -- forcing you to replace them.

Each driver has 6 different stats with both a current rating and max potential in each.  Every so often you get an extra point to spend increasing a driver's stat closer to their max.  Drivers can also accumulate buffs and debuffs throughout the season.

Drivers can be hired and fired.  You negotiate with drivers so you aren't sure what a driver will cost when start negotiations and you might not be able to afford them after all.  After your first season you can also start a driver development program where talent develops and you can pick one at the end of the year to sign to your roster.

Car development is a big part of the game.  Each car has 6 different components, two or three of which will have an outsized impact on your performance at different tracks.  Each part also has both a performance and a reliability rating.  There is a lot you can do here.  You can swap parts between cars (each car will start similar but slightly different).  You can buy parts in a marketplace -- some of which can be very expensive but can also be a lot better than what you have.  You can build new parts -- usually cheaper than buying new but takes time and the gains can be smaller.

Then, half-way through the season, you start developing next year's car.  That development is improved both by your engineers on staff as well as by dollars invested.

Right, then there are races.

You start with a qualifying period.  Then to the race.  For both you have tire choices, weather, and car set-up.  Above you can see tire selection for a qualifying heat... the track is starting to get wet so I'll probably have to switch to inters and hope I got a good time in earlier or the track dries off for a late attempt.  You can see what weather is coming up to a point so I can plan ahead a little.

Below you can see me setting up the car's aero and gear ratios for qualifying.  On this screen you can also see the track profile which can give you hints as to how to set up your car.  Interestingly, the tracks are clearly modeled after real F1 tracks... usually with slight changes: a different start location and often a slightly different city in the same country to obscure what it is copying.

During the race, you will have to manage when to pit for new tires and which tires.  You can also instruct each driver which of 3 engine setting to use right now and whether to push or hold back which has an affect on tire wear as well as performance.  Depending on your car's reliability you may have to spend some time in the pits repairing the car or performance will fall off a cliff.  Sometimes you may have to deal with safety cars or re-fueling.

Depending on which sponsor you brought to the track you can get bonus payments for your qualifying and race performance.  Sponsors can also provide one time and per race cash infusions.  Because all that stuff you did between races cost money.

And I forgot to mention your headquarters where you can spend large money to unlock new abilities or buffs.  Phew.


I highly recommend.

One reason I like it is that it scratches similar itches as fantasy sports and legacy games.  I used to spend a lot of time on fantasy football but gave that up a couple years ago.  And my league had a lot of legacy elements with player development and cash and draft picks carrying over from year to year to year.  MMM2 is a fantasy/legacy game I can play much more frequently than Pandemic Legacy.

I'm currently wrapping up my 7th season in MMM2.  When you start the game you get a basic car and a couple crap drivers and can't even build most of the car parts -- in fact several are spec anyways.  Year 3 I won that league and got promoted to the next tier.  Some rules had changed (re-fueling, fewer spec parts, more races) but my drivers and sponsors and engineers carried over.  Year 6 my team won that league and I got bumped up to the top league.  No more re-fueling, no spec parts, even more races.  But again, continuity -- both drivers were ones I brought up through driver development programs.

Also, props for diversity.  Plenty of women drivers and engineers.  Plenty of colored skin.  Such an easy thing to do and yet worthy of praise for actually doing it.

Three Things I Wish I Learned Earlier

Now that I've convinced you, here are three tips.
  1. Be careful with your budget.  Especially the year after being promoted.  Everything costs more in that next series.  Earlier in my current season, I ran through my cash early in the season when my star driver had a motivation problem I could have solved if I had had a couple million in cash lying around.  I did not and now she's retiring at the end of the year.
  2. Driver development programs are the best way to grab good drivers.  Ones that are already good are so expensive.  But In three tries I got 2 drivers who had great potential.  A couple years later they are a solid team.
  3. When you build a new part.  Your base-line performance is the performance of your best current part of that type.  Your base-line reliability seems pretty static.  So, if you want to bootstrap a part and are willing to take a couple steps to do it, buy something with high performance rating and low reliability.  Then immediately build that same part and put all your engineers on reliability.  That part will have the same performance as your purchased part and probably a better reliability.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Forced Passing Explanation

Mail Bag:

Hi Doug, 
I really enjoy CFR but I was wondering if you would be kind enough to explain forced passes to me? ...  
Thanks Levi!  I will try...

I thought of this later, but in the scenario at the end of that video where the car paid 2 wear and a chance for the corner but was then forced to slow to 140 because the forced pass failed... the Tyrrell can stay at 140 for the rest of the corner but can not accelerate again inside the corner.  Even though it paid for that speed earlier, the fact that the car was forced to late brake inside the corner resets that.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Infinity Battle Report -- Chimera Part II, the Deal

Michael and I got another game of Infinity in recently on my new table.

The story from last mission continued.  This is a custom story I made up.  Part 1 involved investigating the crash site of an illegal shipment of unknown origin.  Part 2 involved breaking up the sale of those goods.  Points were available for investigating any immobile or unconscious or dead member of the deal (more points for the seller than the buyer).  Points were also available for being next to a immobile or unconscious member of the deal at the end of the game or for dragging one back to your deployment zone.  Any of those points not claimed by the end of the game went to player with more points in units still on the table... that person also got some points.

Michael kept his PanO list the same as last time, because he crushed me last time so why not.  One change I gave him was to switch out his Fusilier Paramedic for a Fusilier Forward Observer because Flash Pulse could stun the buyer and seller for investigation.

After the beating I took last time out, my list underwent some changes.  Again, we aren't using hacking and some of the other more involved rules.  But that said, I wanted to have as much out there that might be able to dent the Jotum -- Gecko w/ Blitzen, Sin-Eater with MULTI Sniper, Kriza Borac with MULTI Rifle.  Besides being able to play with my new Kriza I added my new Hellcat to the group as part of a plan -- stun the buyer then drop down near him for the search and possible extraction.  Also... I promoted the Alguacil that did something last game to Lieutenant with the intention of keeping her in the back maybe guarding someone's back.

Below, Michael and I take breaks between moves to talk about how it went.