Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Racing (cars & motorcycles)

10 Comments:

Blogger mark aka pastor guy said...

Two very interesting voting facts for this list:

1. The top five lists for 2006 and 2002 are identical. In other words, even with adding more voters & four years, this list of games is pretty darn solid.

2. The distance between the five winners & "6th place" was huge - the lowest vote-gathering winner scored double the best of the rest. Again, this indicates that this particular set of games has established their place firmly in the minds of the Apple Pickers.

10:16 AM  
Blogger huzonfirst said...

Easily my least favorite category. I could only find four games worth nominating (Street Illegal, D'r Af, Daytona 500, and Carabande) and only put two in my final vote (for some reason, I forgot to include Carabande, probably due to complete lack of enthusiasm). No reflection on these games, I've just never cared for racing games in general and motorized racing games seem to really bore me. So I'll just let the real fanboys talk now.

11:13 AM  
Blogger Womzilla (Kevin J. Maroney) said...

I think I only managed to vote for two games out of the nominees--the Top Race family and Car Wars--and of the winners other than Top Race you would have to pay me money to get me to play two of them and the other two hold no real interest. Definitely a sub-par category, which amazes me. (There are games among that I haven't played in the nominees that I might enjoy, but really, that's a pathetic showing.)

7:51 PM  
Blogger mark aka pastor guy said...

If Kevin & Larry keep whining like this, I'll have to start serving a cheese plate.

Sheesh, guys - we're talking about:
- Ausgebremst (a car-racing version of the classic "Ave Caesar" with MORE control than the original game)
- Carabande (a unique flicking game with incredible flexibility)
- Daytona 500 (the best of a series of games that require to help & hurt others to advance your own cause)
- Formula De (all right, I'm not a fan of this one, but I think FD Mini is a pleasant racing game with some nice wear point/gear shift decisions)
- Das Motorsportspiel (a racing game that actually FEELS like a race, since you have to make decisions on the fly)

8:12 PM  
Blogger Kevin_Whitmore said...

Come On Folks! We're here to applaud some good games. Not to sneer at these games and deride anyone for enjoying them.

I'll attempt to interject some "fanboy" commentary in hopes that some reader might be willing to try some of these games.

Ausgebremst - If you like Ave Caesar, but long for more control, Ausgebremst may be for you. I urge you to replace the provided cardboard cars with micromachines of an appropriate color.

Carabande/Pitchcar - This is a dexterity game. I have the older Carabande edition, but Pitchcar isn't really much different. This is a fun party activity for up to eight players to participate in. I think 3 laps is a bit much. I suggest a single lap as a warmer up, and then break into a couple tables of decent strategy games.

Daytona 500, et al - It's long out of print, but I urge you to track down a copy of Daytona 500 (on eBay). This is a great game where you have to decide, based upon the hand of cards you are dealt, a number of different things. Some factors include: which car to bid on, how much to bid, what sequence to play your good cards, when to enter the corners, & how to avoid helping your chief rivals. Good stuff.

Formula De - This is a game most anyone can easily hop into. Yes, it is a roll & move type game. But there is a ton of chrome, and some meaningful decisions around how you will work the corners and what your pit stop strategy will be.

Das Motorsportspiel - A timed game of simple rules. I have played this the least of the winners, but long to play again. be aware the game is long out of print, requires a especially large table, and the cars included are best replaced by micromachines.


Now for our nominees...

Bolide - The newest game of the list. The vector movement takes some getting used to. The game takes a long time to play. Yet even so my game group has responded nicely to this game. Other than some event rolls, the core of this game is luckless.

Car Wars - I haven't played this in years. In the microgame form this was a fun game. I lost interest as more and more expansions came out for it. The theme is great. The scale is very detailed, which means a 1 minute auto battle can take a considerable amount of time.

Formula Motor Racing - FMR does not worry about anything but racing position. This is a quick game suitable as a filler.

Mille Bornes - A French road rally. It is a fun social game that can be played easily with non-gamers. Collectors may be interested in "Touring" which preceeded this version.

Motorchamp - A lavish (and expensive) game. This is a dice-based game, which means control is fleeting. But NOT non-existant. Playing the odds is a core element of this game.

Speed Circuit - Another out of print game. I have the older 3M edition, but the Avalon Hill edition has also been out of print for a while too. This is a nice simulation. Players set up their cars allocating resources to brakes, acceleration, and top speed. As cars naviagte the corners they have to cope with their cars wear and tear. I think this is a good game. I believe that anyone starting in the rear of the field has a very tough time ahead of them.

I didn't comment on a few of the nominees where I don't have enough experience to contribute much.

I also have a few games I'd like to mention:

Formula 1 - A very old Waddingtons/Parker Bros. game. You can find this on eBay, and I recommend it. Players have a fair amount of control, and can choose to drive safely or choose to take risks by speeding in the corners. A very good game from the early 1960's.

LeMans - Another oldie, from Avalon Hill in 1962. 12 different cars are included, each with statistics based on how fast they can go in each of the 6 different gears. Corners are rated as "sharp" or "hairpin". Once someone spins out in a corner, it is considered "wet' increasing the chances of a fututre problem. This game is fun.

Grand Prix/F1 - By Metoer. Sadly this game is already hard to find. I think it was released in 2002. This game is all about fuel management, and demands astute play. We have been enjoying this with 4 players operating 2 cars each. Pit strategies, and careful track positioning are crucial. Highly recommended.

Race games aren't for everyone, clearly, but there are a lot of good games honored in this categoy. Don't let the naysayers scare you away. Race games are capable of providing a lot of fun.

12:05 PM  
Blogger huzonfirst said...

There was no sneering or deriding by Maroney or I, Kevin (although I will admit to a small amount of whining). We're just relating our true feelings about these games. As Molly Magee used to say on the radio, "You've got to take the bitter with the batter."

The real problem is that you and Mark are the only racing fans commenting. C'mon, where is everybody else?

2:49 PM  
Anonymous Kurt Adam said...

As another racing game fan, I'll also chime in. I reserve the right to refute the idea that I did so because of Larry's last comment. ;)

I think Mark and Kevin pretty much hit their respective nails on the head with their comments. My one addition to the discussion is that I don't buy into the idea that Ave Caesar is better than Ausgebremst. Most people seem to be drawn to the former due to the crappy presentation of the latter, but it's far and away a better game.

I'm really interested in trying Bolide, but the negative comments I've seen regarding the length and plodding nature have made me slightly wary. However, I've heard favorable noises from Mike Siggins about it (although I'm not sure if he's tried it or not), so that definitely piques my interest again.

3:53 PM  
Anonymous estoote langobarden said...

Daytona 500 is the game that made me a fan of racing games in the first place, so naturally I'm glad to see it finishing "in the money" here!

The one shortfall of Daytona 500 -- the fact that it accommodates four players at most -- set me off on a quest, and over the last decade and a half I've played quite a lot of racing games, including most of the ones listed here. (The six-player versions in the same family as Daytona 500, which naturally I investigated at first opportunity, perversely do NOT work for me because of the superiority of the Daytona 500 track layout and the nonsensical changes in the cards in the other games!)

Although they're not in the same league with Daytona 500, I do like Ave Caesar and its smarter brother Ausgebremst. Ave Caesar is almost pure romp, while Ausgebremst has just a sliver more decision-making on offer. I suppose I have more fun with the romp, but I'm happy to take a seat at the table for either one.

Carabande is another romp, and a finger-flicking one at that! It's a wonderful, charming idea for a game, and if there weren't so many problems with the pieces flying off the track, I'd play it a lot more often.

I regard Formula Dé as being the natural evolution of Speed Circuit, keeping the decisions about braking and shifting gears but adding the fun of the random die roll. Maybe the only thing keeping me from playing this more often is lack of enthusiasm from other players... which might be due to the amount of time you can spend waiting for your turn if you get more than three or four players in the game. Still, there's a huge following for this one.

Das Motorsportspiel in my opinion is a terrific game, but one with some rules problems. (The penalty flag system doesn't work as written.) The challenge of choosing your dice and your path under time pressure is very cleverly conceived and lots of fun to put into action. Seems like I get to play this about once a year at conventions.

I also tried Bolide once (at a convention last year) and enjoyed it quite a bit. It's strictly calculation-bound, and I'm not sure how well the game will play as familiarity increases... but I'd be interested in finding out.

Grand Prix-F1, which Kevin Whitmore mentions, is another motor racing game I'm happy to tout. We find it a quick-moving game for six, a very interesting design in that everyone starts with identical hands of movement cards but at different spaces on the (highly stylized) track. The clever way the pit stops are handled is another point of interest in this game.

And while they may be low on the roar of the engines and the stench of gasoline, I get a kick out of some of the car racing card games like Mille Bornes and Jumbo Grand Prix as well.

Enjoy,
Stven Carlberg

9:02 PM  
Anonymous Ken Sheffield said...

I just saw this project linked from the Geek. One note, do not let Larry (or ANYONE related to the DC Gamers -except me) give an opinion on Racing Games :) I tried for years to get any one of them to enjoy a racign game with no luck. And yes, Larry - You do disparage us lowly race fans! :)

8:11 PM  
Blogger Mark (aka pastor guy) said...

Ken:

Ben Baldanza (who USED to be a DC Gamer) has a cool rowing racing game by Cwali... I can't even remember the name.

Otherwise, you're pretty much correct. (Love ya, Larry!)

8:21 PM  

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