Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Rouen Design is Done

Apparently when I said I was going to remove some of the racing lines, I meant all of the them.  Lines can be interesting, but it was breaking up the flow of this track -- making it harder to stay with the car next to you through corners.

I also tweaked each the corners I removed lines from.  In the first corner I made the outside lane 120 to match the middle lane -- again giving drivers more options.  In the second corner I made the outside lane 120 -- again making each lane more valid.  I also thinned the track here -- more in keeping with what I think makes sense in this part of the track.  Corners 4 and 5, I made 80 in both the inside and outside lanes.  This still makes the inside lane best, but makes it easier to pass people going through the corner without a line.



I widened a couple of places.  The two spaces after Samson is now 3 wide to make it easier to run that corner with speed without worrying about the cars in front of you.  Later I also made D132 3-wide -- providing the same benefit in that corner.  I also made the 3-wide part of Gresil extend a space more into the corner.  Now the last row completely lines up so you could switch lanes in that last row, although I doubt that will come up much.

I added a space between the final two corners.  By separating them more I wanted to make it harder for a car without wear to easily run both at the end of a race.  Hopefully also making it easier for a late charging car with wear to make up ground.

But the biggest change was at Nouveau Monde.

 


The corner remained 3-wide as did the two rows before and a single row after.  But the corner itself changed.  The entrance is no longer staggered and I the outside lane is now 60 which makes it less then terrible -- not great but not terrible.  The inside is still the best way through the corner, but its now easier to catch people here.

I'm happy with how this track turned out and look forward to seeing it tested in earnest soon.  Now I just need to clean it up and polish it.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Rouen Track Iteration

After a couple test laps, I decided that a couple of the straights needed to be a little longer.  The first 3-wide straight was 9 spaces.  Making it 10, means that a 200 top can actually use that straight.  I also added 2 spaces between the Paradia corner (last one on the track) and the start / finish line.  I wanted to give more room for the sprint across the finish line at the end of a race.  To balance the track out I added a space to the straight right before Greisel.

I also went in and ended the 3-wide after the first corner onto D938 (this corner does not really have a name but I've borrowed the name of the road it turns onto).  This required some changes to the next corner and the hairpin.

Here's iteration 2.



After a couple more text laps with more cars, I've decided that there are some places I want to widen the track in order to make passing easier in certain places.  I may also shorten or remove some lines from some corners.

Well, progress is being made.  I'll update again after more testing.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Rouen Championship Formula Racing Circuit Construction Begins

I am in the process of building 3 older tracks for the Redscape Championship Formula Racing PBeM.  The series participants voted on which historical European tracks they'd like to see.  First up is Rouen.  This French track hosted only 4 Grand Prix between 1957 and 1968 but gained a reputation as a track along the lines of the revered Spa-Francorchamps.

Working on these older tracks involves a lot more guesswork on my part.  I don't have the kind of comprehensive speed trap and corner speed data that I can usually find for modern tracks.  But YouTube has been a god-send.

Here is a great video from 1962 that really helped me figure out what was a corner and what was not a corner and relative speeds for those corners.


Here is a lovely map of the circuit on StatsF1.com (love that site).  As I mentioned above, I am modeling the newer, longer 1957 version of the track.  I'll probably work up the 1952 version at some point, but only 1 Grand Prix was run on that iteration so I'll do it another time.

Here is what I have so far.



I'm roughly 4 spaces short from my initial target.  I'll see as I test if I need to add some spaces somewhere.  I'm also going to have to think about width.  The track is clearly pretty narrow until the road widens coming out of Grésil.  My initial thought of running 3-wide from the start through Nouveau Monde is clearly wrong historically, but the 3rd lane of the 3 involved corners is basically run-off.  As I test with more cars I may thin that out and see what happens.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

New Sepang Track for Championship Formula Racing

Sepang has been one of my favorite tracks for Championship Formula racing since I built it.  This year, the F1 track underwent some updates mostly to things that are important in real life but did not functionally change the profile of the track, except in the final hairpin.

Below is a great video that shows what they did and the anticipated changes to the racing line.


Now, I've never had a problem with how the CFR version of this corner worked but this gave me an excuse to re-profile Sepang for CFR and thus the special 2016 version of Sepang is born.  The track is exactly the same as its earlier iteration until the last corner.

Sepang 1999
Sepang 2016



The 2016 version of this final corner has only one racing line through the middle lane and a longer effective corner.  The inside lane is normally going to be the worst approach through the corner -- reflecting the new banking inside the corner.  But if you hit that first space you can accelerate coming out of the corner and down off the banking.  The line is the best way through the corner, but sometimes it is better to stay on the gas and use the outside lane that allows for later braking.

The 1999 version of Sepang had two racing lines and a staggered entry that made it advantageous to line up as far inside as you could before the corner.  In many CFR corners it is better to take a longer lane through a corner if you can take it faster because you get to move before slower moving peers (in addition to other benefits).  But this staggered entry meant you could dive inside and be guaranteed to move before faster competition slightly behind you.

I plan to race the 2016 version of Sepang early 2017 at Winter Games Fest in Rockville if you happen to be in the area.


Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Silverstone 2010 to be Raced at Congress of Gamers

I want to do something a little different this weekend and run an odd, one-off F1 track.  The 2010 F1 Grand Prix at Silverstone used the modern layout but the previous year's start/finish line (PDF track map)... something I've never run before in CFR.

In 2010 a good chunk of Silverstone was redone but the new pit area was not complete so they ran the race using the old pits and start/finish line.  The modern version of Silverstone was not run using its existing start/finish line until 2011.

If that sounds fun or you don't care about the track and just want to race, come by Congress of Gamers in Rockville, MD on Saturday.  The race will be at 10:30 AM Saturday September 24th.  CoG is a great deal.  If you pre-register you can go both days for $20 and its not much more at the door.  Kids 16 or under are just $5.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Live CFR Race Scheduled for Congress of Gamers

I will run a CFR race on the big tracks in Rockville, MD later this month at the Congress of Gamers.  CoG is a fun little convention near where I live.  I went last year for the first time and brought CFR then too.

The CFR race will be at 10:30 AM Saturday September 24th.  CoG is a great deal if you pre-register you can go both days for $20.  Kids 16 or under are just $5.

I'll be bringing the big 1/64th scale tracks.  We'll use the core rules, and the race will qualify for driver rankings, BUT very rookie friendly.  Get there a little before 10:30 and I'll teach you to play.  Sit near me during the race and I'll help you out during the race as well.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Championship Formula Racing Driver Rankings 2016

Before every WBC for the last many years, I've constructed a driver ranking.  Originally I did this on the sly just so I could seed qualifying fields on the fly and the event.  Now its a big publicized thing I put on the web.  Next year it might well have some role in official organized play for CFR.

Quick top 10 view on the right, full driver rankings and explanation and history on the CFR pages.

A quick refresher:

A driver's rankings is a score that is the sum of their:
1) 4 best races over the last 4 years
2) 2 best tournaments/events over the last 4 years
3) average points per race
4) average points per event

Unpacking these things:

1) Each race that a driver participates in generates them some number of points if they finished 9th or better.  Those points are then increased or decreased based on the level of competition in that race.  So a win against better / more drivers is worth more points.  A driver's top 4 races based on points is the largest bit of a driver's ranking score.  4 race wins against average competition would be worth 92 points.  9 different drivers did better than that.

2) Each driver's final finish in an event or tournament grants them points if they finished in the top 9 drivers in that event.  Effectively events are scored exactly like individual races.  But we only count the top 2 event scores.  The fact that events are now adjusted based on the competition (of the top 12 participants) is new this year.

3 and 4 should be pretty self explanatory now.

Some Notes:

* Terry Schulz (ie. my dad) is still #1 but has been sitting on his laurels and will likely drop precipitously next year when his great WBC run of 2012 falls off the rankings.
* Biggest rise in the rankings was Tim Baker who moved up 43 spots from 69th to 26th.
* Biggest rise in the top 10 was last year's WBC champ Mike Aubuchon who rose from 13th to 5th.
* Chris Long missed out on the top spot this ranking by less than 1 point.
* Will Kenard leads everyone in races with 42... 10 more than the next guy.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Thank You

It is an amazing feeling to put something out there that you've made and have people like it.  At some level I've been doing this for years at WBC and online but it feels different to have people give up hard earned money instead of just their time and attention.

Now it is time to acknowledge the actual hundreds of people who helped out in mostly chronological order.  Know that I likely owe each of you more thanks than expressed here.

Thanks to Thomas M. Divoll and John B. Reilly who designed Speed Circuit forever ago.  First published in 1973 by 3M, I hope that Speed Circuit is a proud parent of Championship Formula Racing and that Divoll and Reilly would be honored to have their creation continue more than 40 years later.

Special thanks to Dad who taught me the game and later went to many an AvalonCon and WBC to play it and support it and provide his 2-cents on the revisions that became CFR.  Thanks to Mom for playing many a 1-lap race around the old AH Monaco track with Dad and I.

Thanks to Jim Fleckenstein The Elder for making me go to my first AvalonCon for work (true story) where I discovered that people outside my family played Speed Circuit.  Thanks to Rob Cunningham who showed me that the game is best played with large fields and large cars and that there was a lot of space around the core mechanics to modify the rules.  Thanks for Don Greenwood for managing the convention where CFR was birthed.

Special thanks to the posse from my neck of the woods who have spent many many years supporting the game and helping me craft it.  First among supporters and play-testers -- Mike Aubuchon, Jim Fleckenstein The Younger, Chris Long, and Tim Mossman.

A big shout out to the guys who have helped expand the community around the game by running tournaments both in person and online: Chris Long took over stewarding duties from me many years ago at WBC; Fabio Pellegrino ran a PBeM for years and races in Italy and introduced the Italian contingent to CFR; Robert Rund ran two WBC PBeMs; Michael Polcen started a PBeM at Redscape a couple years ago; Kalvin Miller helps run the Redcsape leagues with Michael and also built The spreadsheet; Chris Brandt has been running a tournament at PrezCon for years; Tony LaMorte has been running another PBeM for years; Chris Hancock, Doug Galullo, Chris Brown, Randy Needham, and Jeff Harrington all stepped up to help me run my PBeM when it threatened to bury me.

Crazy thanks to Jim Dietz who reached out to me unsolicited a couple years ago to see if I would make CFR for Jolly Roger games.  I may have tripped over myself saying yes.  Jim has been a great guy to work with through the early development process -- pushing for things that turned out great and willing to let go of things that did not.  Also a shout out to Ginger Ludden who has made CFR look like a professionally designed game and not something I built in my basement and Colin Young who helped make the Kickstarter work.

I am also amazingly lucky to have a family that supported me.  Michael just recently decided to give CFR a try and loved it and was my wing-man for the Learn-To-Play videos of the game.  Its been really neat to be able to play with my son a game my dad taught me.

I can't thank Jodi enough.  She put up with me disappearing every summer for years to go to WBC and stalking off to the office too many nights to work on rules or tracks the last year plus and was still the happiest for me when the Kickstarter funded.  I'm lucky to share my life with her.

Finally, because the list is really long, I have to thank all of the people who have played the game with me over the years.  The Championship Formula Racing community is one of the best around.  Many of you have offered suggestions and ideas that became part of the game, many of you probably funded the Kickstarter.  All of you were hugely support even if all you did was play the game.  Apologies to any I forgot.

Thanks,

Andrew Lorenz
Anthony Ricchioto
Barry Smith
Bert Schoose
Bob Janell
Bob Star
Brad Bauska
Brant Pawlak
Brenden Tracy
Brian Kirchner
Bruce Lavoie
Bruce Rae
Bruno Passacantando
Buck Karpowitz
Caleb Matlock
Carolyn Caton
Chris Albrecht
Chris Brandt
Chris Brown
Chris Erickson
Chris Gnech
Chris Hancock
Chris Long
Christina Hancock
Christina Harley
Chuck Kifer
Claudio Orlandi
Craig Fox
Curt Collins II
Dan Haigh
Dan McGowan
Darin Morley
Dave Anderson
Dave Blizzard
Dave Ling
Dave Miller
Dave Sullivan
Dennis Nicholson
Derek Landel
Don Tatum
Doug Galullo
Doug Palmer
Doug Schulz
Eric Ritler
Fabio Pellegrino
Francesco  "Cicio" Incorpora
Franklin Haskell
Frederico Scarpino
Giovanni Urzi
Giuseppe Incorpora
Glauco Bianchi
Grant Guillard
Grant Linneburg
Gregory Smith
Heinz McDurgen
Jack Beckman
Jack Cameron
Jack Wolfman
James Sulven
Jason O'Donnel
Jeff Cornett
Jeff Harrington
Jim Fardette
Jim Fleckenstein
Jim Marvin
Jim Orlando
Joakim Fältman
Joe Mach
Joe Meyer
Joel Powell
John Garner
John McLaughlin
John Shaheen
John Sharp
John Welage
Jonathan Winicki
Josh Stein
Josiah Kyle-Shen
Joshua Coyle
Kalvin Miller
Ken K
Kent Lewellen
Kevin Harrington
Kevin Keller
Lance Ribeiro
Lane Hess
Lane Newbury
Larry Sisson
Lembit Tohver
Luca Saletti
Mandy Mossman
Mario Ales
Mark Love
Mark Mitchell
Mark Sciera
Marshall Collins
Martin Burgdorf
Meng Tan
Michael Confry
Michael Lind
Michael Polcen
Mike Aubuchon
Mike Pacheco
Nathan Timko
Neal "Cody" Anderth
Paul Haynes
Paul Pawlak
Pericle "Pepe" Sopalajo
Pete Staab
Peter Ticola
Phillip White
Rachael Harly
Ralph Gleaton
Randy "Rando" Needham
Randy Collins
Randy Sands
Ray Regular
Richard I
Rick Catacando
Rita Polcen
Robert Hahn
Robert Kayser
Robert Kircher
Robert Rund
Roderick Lee
Roger Kyle-Keith
Ron Church
Ron Churchwell
Ron Emch
Russ Ernie
Russell Harley
Scott Chupak
Scott Cornett
Scott Hankins
Scott Mallard
Scott Nerney
Scott Shaffer
Seann Branchfield
Seth Kirchner
Seth Weiseman
Si Kai Ning
Simone Barietta
Steve Mariner
Stuart Tucker
Terry Schulz
Tim Baker
Tim Carnham
Tim Cheong
Tim Mossman
Todd Fowler
Todd Geyer
Tom Albrecht
Tony LaMorte
Trevor Bender
Turyko Suky
Vien Bounma
Will Kennard
William Kennington
William Raynovich
York Dobyas

Thursday, June 16, 2016

A Couple New Videos About Championship Formula Racing

First a video of Michael and I running a quick 1-lap, 2-car race around the Mexico City track.  We do a good bit of explaining to illustrate how Championship Formula Racing works.  After a bit of a rough start, I give Michael a run for his money at the end.

Next, a 2-video series explaining how the Historical Driver System works.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

I'm on a podcast

Furthering my sister's theory that I am now famous... I'm on a podcast talking about Championship Formula Racing.  Go take a listen and many thanks for the great people at Random Access Podcast.  They were great, had good questions, and were very patient with me until I figured out that my computer mic was turned off.

http://www.rapodcast.net/

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Creating Automated Opponents (AOs) for a Board Game

When Jim Dietz and I discussed the final form that Championship Formula Racing (CFR) would take, one item in particular stood out on Jim’s wish list - a way to race against the best drivers in history.  The vision was to create a Historical Driver system where different drivers had different personalities, tendencies, and difficulty levels.  It was important that the top historical drivers in the world would be hard to beat, not just rolling obstacles.

I wasn’t sure how this would work when I started but this ended up as one of my favorite parts of CFR.  The challenge forced me to consider some core concepts for creating Automated Opponents.  Below I’ll share what I learned for any other game designers or tinkerers who might also want to go down this road.

Identify Strategies
My first step in creating an Automated Opponent (AO) was to figure out what broad strategies I wanted each to pursue.  Most hobby games have multiple paths to victory.  Write down those paths and variations and note which are more popular than others.   Don’t worry if some strategies are not as good as others.  If people pursue a strategy, include it on your list.

Having multiple strategies that an AO can follow allows you to have multiple AOs that end up doing different things.  Some games are just better with a lot of players so the ability to have multiple diverse AOs can fill in that gap.  If only a few AOs would ever be used at the same time, a variety of AOs will keep each use fresh.

I like an automated system that makes me feel like I am playing against actual opponents.  Real players have tendencies and goals.  Making popular strategies better represented or more frequent in your AO design will keep the meta game consistent with or without AOs.

Championship Formula Racing Example

In CFR broad strategies focus on how quickly to spend your resources.  Spend them early for the early lead and try to hold on, save them for late in the race when everyone else running on bald tires, or spend them evenly throughout the race.  I created variations on those three broad strategies for the AOs in CFR.  However, the popularity of different strategies varies based on the track being used so I tweaked each AO to pick a different strategy based on the track.

For example, James Hunt will use one of three different strategies: U (more of a mid to late game strategy), Mathy (more of a mid to early game strategy), or Front A (an early game strategy) -- typically in that order.  But if the track is particularly suited to an early game strategy he reverses his order of preference.  Most of the Historical Drivers in CFR do something similar.

Decision Trees and Set-Up
Now that we’ve identified the broad strategies that our AOs will pursue, we need to build a decision tree for each. 

For each strategy, figure out what their ideal play would be and rank all of their other options based on how that will help their strategy.  As a general example, if an AO is pursuing a military strategy in a game, their first choice for an action on a turn could be to buy the largest sword, second choice might be to buy more armor, third choice… etc. 

You’ll probably figure out pretty quickly that there are variations on how an AO could pursue the same basic strategy.  Maybe one flavor of military AO buys swords first, while another makes sure to balance swords with armor.

Don’t forget set-up.  Are there set-up options that might favor one strategy over another that individual players can choose?

CFR Example

CFR’s basic strategies lend themselves pretty cleanly to different choices on a given turn.  But the reality is that these strategies exist on a continuum so I ended up creating 10 different strategies along that continuum:

Front X: uses a ton of resources early and then keeps spending resources until it is in the lead
Front A: pretty much uses resources as much as it can until it runs out
Front B: uses some resources early and then really uses a lot of resources in the middle of the race
Stalking: uses some resources early to stay ahead of most cars, then tries to use resources evenly from then on.
Mathy: will use resources for best effect as soon as possible
Even: attempts to use resources completely the same and evenly throughout the race
U: uses some resources early, saves resources in the middle of the race, then spends the rest at the end
Random: starts out saving its resources, but can switch to spending everything at any time
Back S: spend little at the beginning and then spends more for the rest of the race
Back X: spends little for most of the race before spending everything at the very end

Set-up is also a big part of CFR.  Certain car builds and pole bids lend themselves to different strategies.  If you want to spend your resources early for an early lead, you might as well design a car with a high start speed and spend more on the pole bid to start at the front of the grid.  Obviously there is a continuum to set-up options as well.

Tactics Change as the Game Progresses
A diversion into my theory on the three phases of game play, as illustrated by Ascension.  This structure does not apply to all games but it does apply to a lot of medium to heavy weight modern board games.

Many games can be split into three parts: Build the Engine, Run the Engine, Grab Points. 

Early in a game, you want to acquire the tools that you need to pursue your strategy.  When I play Ascension, I spend the early game acquiring cards that let me best acquire more cards or kill off the junk cards I started with.  Initially, I don’t care how many points cards are worth, and I don’t care how cool its special power is unless it gets me more cards or kills more junk.

Once you have your tools, its time to augment that engine and run it.  Twenty points into a sixty point game of Ascension, I switch over to buying cards that have synergy with what I’ve already acquired.  I’ll pay a little more attention to point values now, but mostly I’m running my engine.  I’m probably not continuing to acquire more ways to thin my deck.

Near the end of the game, there are no long term consequences for your actions - it’s all about the short-term play that helps you win.  In the last twenty points of a sixty point Ascension game, I no longer care if the card works with what else is in my deck, and I stop thinning out junk unless it’s harmless to do so.  It’s all about  acquiring maximum points.

Now think about the game for which you are designing your AOs.  Are there recognizable phases?  How do you measure which phase you are in.  Is it based on the progress of the game, or a player based metric?  Should your AOs’ decision trees change based on the phase of the game?

CFR Example

CFR strategies are all about how your tactics change over the course of the race.  I developed two tools to trigger those phase changes.  I split each lap into three sectors.  No matter how many laps are being run, we can figure out if we are in the first, second, or last third of a race.  Next to each corner I noted how many corners were left in the race.  Corners are where resources are spent, so knowing how many corners is left compared to how much wear an AO has left is an alternate way to figure out what part of the race that strategy should be in.

For most of the race my Even strategy will spend resources depending on if the car has more resources then the number of corners remaining.  That way, the car spends resources pretty evenly through out the race.  On the other hand, the Back S strategy will spend very few resources before the 2nd third of a race.

Obfuscate
If I know what the AO is going to do before the AO does it, that AO will be a lot less effective.  This will be more or less true depending on the level of player interaction.  If there is little player interaction, you might be able to skip this step.  If there is a lot of player interaction, this step is crucial to creating a competitive AO.

Randomness is your friend here.  Each AO should have at least 2 things it might do on a given turn, or two ways it might do those things.  This way, human opponents are not completely sure what it will do.  Be careful not to resolve that randomness until you absolutely have to -- right before the AO needs to take an action or figure out if they will take an action.

But don’t take the randomness too far unless that is the actual strategy.  You want the choices an AO takes to make sense for its strategy.  The choices may just be slight variations of each other.  They probably should not be completely opposite.

CFR Example

I made sure that each AO in CFR had a choice between at least two different decision trees during each phase of its strategy.  Often this was just a reordering of choices or a slight variation.  After every corner you roll dice to re-pick a decision tree for the next corner.

On the right you can see a sample phase from CFR's Front A strategy.  Each line is essentially a decision tree giving the car 2 to 4 different choices for how many resources to spend in the next corner.  In turn this will determine the car's speed.

The choices at the top direct the car to spend more then the ones further down until the stars indicate that those resources will only get spent if the use is particular efficient use.

Simplify then Cheat
After all of this, your AOs are likely bad at the game and your decision trees are so complicated that it takes twice as long to take an AO turn as a real turn.

Go back over your decision trees and simplify them.  Then do it again.  Pay particular attention to anything you had previously done to obfuscated or randomize AO actions.  Does the obfuscation or randomization make it more time consuming to play an AO turn then a human turn?

Now find ways to have your AO "cheat".  Cheats can do three things: speed up AO play, make AOs harder opponents, and give AOs more character.

For instance, consider some mechanics that might take a while to resolve.  Having an AO always succeed at performing one or more types of actions will speed up play, make them better at the game, and reinforce their personalities and strategies.  Having an AO "cheat" more or less will also make some AOs better than others.

CFR Example

Originally, I obfuscated too much.  The symbols I used in decision trees had little relationship to the choices they represented.  I eventually switching to symbols that better represented the action desired, were easily remembered, and required less translation.

Basic AOs in CFR are passable, but to create challenging AOs I added a number of "cheats."

Many get bonuses during set-up.  This is my main method for creating some AOs that are harder than others.  A normal set-up in CFR uses 2 points to build a car.  Stirling Moss' car, shown on the right, uses 4 points including some options (9 wear per lap) that are beyond what is normally available.

All of the AOs in CFR can auto-pass certain die rolls during the game.  This is mostly a time-saver, but also clearly gives them some advantages.  Normally skill is used as a die roll modifier that helps drivers temporarily improve their car's performance.  Historical Drivers use skill to automatically pass those same die rolls.

Finally, many have special abilities or bonuses that reinforce their character and strategy but also give them advantages.  Stirling Moss can effectively use 3 wear in a corner, which is illegal for anyone else.

Diversify Your AOs
Look at your AOs.  Are there parts of each that can be swapped into another similar AO to create something new?  That’s a great way to generate a lot more AOs then you thought you had.

For instance, maybe you built 3 AOs that are variations on a military strategy.  Each has a slightly different set-up and slightly different decision trees.  If you separate the set-ups from the decision trees and randomly recombine them before each game you now have 9 different AOs, where you used to have 3.

Or maybe you find that you can split each AO’s decision tree into 3 parts.  Now you have 3 early game decision trees, 3 mid game decision trees, and 3 late game decision trees for each military AO creating even more variety and obfuscation.

CFR Example

In CFR I created 10 different decision trees (strategies) and 24 different set-ups (drivers) that come with in-game "cheats."  Each set-up uses one of three different decision trees.

This went through many changes during testing.  Originally, I had 12 generic strategies that were married to particular set-ups.  Then I separated set-ups from strategies and was able to reduce both the number of strategies and set-ups but still retained a lot of variety.

Conclusion
The most important part of designing AOs is the same as all game design:  testing.  Very few games come with Automated Opponents.  So there is a lot of space to practice using the games already on your shelf.


I’ve started designing AOs for one of my son’s and my old favorites, Valley of the Mammoths.  I’ll share the results of that project when I’m done.  Below is what I ended up with for CFR (development, not final version).


Thursday, June 2, 2016

Championship Formula Racing at WBC 2016


The largest in-person Championship Formula Racing tournament.  The birth place of the game.  The room where the years and years of play testing happened.  The World Boardgaming Championships are less then 2 months away so here are the details.

Tracks for this year:

Qualifying Heat 1
Montreal
Mogyorod
Barcelona

Qualifying Heat 2
Sochi
Abu Dhabi
Yeongam

Qualifying Heat 3
Shanghai
Sepang
Austin

Finals
Mexico City

One rule change for this year:
After a lot of debate about the start speed test table, I made a slight change. The idea is to prevent stalls from feeling like they end a driver's race after the first turn.  First, the odds of a mis-shift increased at the expense of the odds of a stall. Second, stalls no longer result in damage to the car and are now treated like a spin for all purposes.

New Die Roll Chart

For those of you who kickstarted CFR, we may have actual production copies of some of the individual components there.

Chris Long will be ably Stewarding for his 4th year in a row.  Huge thanks to Chris for doing that.  For more information about scheduling see the WBC page for Speed Circuit.  (Likely the last year the tournament will be called that...)

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Learn How to Play Championship Formula Racing

So I have a game on Kickstarter.  Want to know how to play?



Special thanks to Michael for being the best host on YouTube!