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.

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.


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


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...


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.


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.


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.