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.

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