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Flamme Rouge» Forums » Sessions

Subject: Fanatic Grand Tour - Session report rss

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Asger Harding Granerud
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Fanatic Grand Tour
A Friday in July 2016 four friends met up in a basement in Copenhagen, Denmark to play Flamme Rouge. Three were veteran managers of pro teams, while the fourth was almost a novice. Between them they were going to finish the first Fanatic Grand Tour. Fanatic is the name of my local boardgame club, named after Giant Fanatic which was the miniature gaming convention I used to run for half a decade.

I love reading session reports. Not just reviews but reports. I've written dozens during my years of playing Warhammer Fantasy Battle, and hope that I can now add to it here with my new love of boardgames.

The Fanatic Grand Tour is a stage race, connecting several games of Flamme Rouge into a single ongoing campaign. This race was going to consist of 6 stages. We clocked it in at 6 hours total, which included getting and eating fast food, plus other breaks. Pretty decent for such a long session, and attention was held throughout.

Before introducing the teams, here are a few pointers regarding the Tour rules:
- They will be made available for free here on BGG.
- They are NOT needed to play or enjoy the game.
* You only discard half the exhaustion between stages, the rest carries over.
* All teams get a special power they can assign to one of their riders.
* Most Tour Points win. Each stage awards 3/2/1 TP for 1/2/3 place.
* Riders lose time for each stage, dependant on how long they take to follow the winner. After all six stages the top 3 of the General Classification are awarded 3/2/1 TP.

Complete Tour Profile



Four teams were competing. The red and blue team picked rider abilities for their respective sprinter. The green and black team boosted their rouleur. The green with a focus on climbing mountains, the black with an aim for the General Classification.

The race started easy enough with a small hilly first stage, and then headed into a flat sprint for the second one. Third and fifth were the real mountain stages, and could easily be where the race would be decided. Not that the fourth and sixth stages weren't taxing affairs. Fourth stage was very difficult technical stage, and though the sixth and final stage didn't have massive mountains, the finish still provided a great potential for a small group to break away at the end.

Firenze - Milano


It was immediately apparent that the agenda of the rouleur and sprinter teams differed. Even before the first ascend the sprinter teams were staying back trying to keep the pack together. As soon as the first mountain started a strong attack was put in place by the black and green rouleur, and a small break away was established. However in the space between the two mountains the sprinter teams put their rouleurs to good use in the main peloton, increasing the pace. All the time hiding their sprinters from the wind and drafting along.
The break away held a lead all the way across the last mountain, but alas early on the final flat stretch all the riders were reassembled. It thus looked like a sprinter finish, and while the red sprinter kept his cool the blue started the sprint a little shy of the Flamme Rouge. If that was a sign of weakness or just a tactical blunder was unclear as the red sprinter powered through and looked like a clear winner. At the last second though, the blue sprinter managed to force his bike forward and the two crossed the finish line side by side, with the rest of the pack close behind. However the red sprinter was first across, and though the goal line photo had to be used it clearly showed he was the winner!
The General Classification (GC) put the red sprinter in the yellow jersey due to bonus seconds for winning the stage. However as it finished as a group sprint, there were no debilitating loss of time to any other riders. The sole exception was the red rouleur, that ended up prioritizing preserving his energy rather than ride hard for a better time. Reasoning that he would have to work hard in the coming stages to try and keep his team mate in the running for the GC.


Avenue Corso Paseo


On the previous stage the Sprinter teams had done such a good job of protecting their sprinters, that they were completely unexhausted going into Avenue Corso Paseo. And this stage being completely flat, mean that the rouleurs would have a tough time getting into any meaningful breakaways. None the less both sprinter teams were again allowed to procrastinate at the rear of the peloton. From an outside perspective the stage was generally quite uneventful. There were certainly several attempts at break aways, but it never really got dangerous. Halfway through the red rouleur went to the front of the pack and set a brisk pace, making any attempts at break aways even less tempting. Once again the riders approached the Flamme Rouge together, and though the black and green teams had formidable sprinters in their own right, they lacked the final edge. The sprint came down to the red and blue sprinter once more, and once again they crossed the finish line side by side, only a hair’s breadth separating them. Cementing his lead the red sprinter inched out the win, and relegated the blue sprinter to second.
The GC stayed put, red sprinter was now 10 seconds ahead of blue and kept the yellow jersey. Most of the other riders were distanced by about 40-90 sec. The lead wasn’t commanding, but it was mounting. The black rouleur finished 3rd in the two first stages, but hadn’t been close to winning either.

La Haut Montagne


With one fell swoop the race could now be upended. La Haut Montagne is truly one of the most gruelling mountain stages of the Tour, and probably THE most. The sprinters aren’t completely shut out, but need exceptional riding to time their limited energy, where the rouleurs simply have a better constitution for powering through. However, the two previous stages hadn’t been taxing for the sprinters.
From the very start the peloton was shattered into several minor groups, and the yellow jersey was left behind. The rouleur teams were seeing their chances evaporating, and were going to make the race as hard as possible trying to break the fragile sprinters. However, the red sprinter did catch up with the pack at the foot of the first ascend, but no sooner than the front used the mountain to break away again. The green and black team were out in front with all four riders, and were actually riding more organized than the chasers trying to hang on. Some solidarity amongst sprinter teams helped a little, but alas the front runners reached the foot of the final mountain a full minute ahead of the chasers. A quick sprint assembled the sprinters with the rear of the pack a round after, and then the climb started in earnest. Surprisingly the red sprinter had saved enough energy, and cleverly used the descends to full effect, and started powering up the mountain. The blue sprinter quickly fell behind, but his rouleur was already out in front, and no one ever caught up to him. Red sprinter finished second just in front of the black rouleur.
The GC did see some changes, but not complete upheaval. The blue rouleur gained a little time, but was slightly behind the leaders and didn’t advance too much, while the blue sprinter formerly in 2nd lost several minutes, severely jeopardizing his chances at a top 3 GC result. Red sprinter defended his yellow jersey while black rouleur hung on, but felt he had missed a big opportunity to close the gap.
The red rouleur had been working so hard for his team mate, that he was the only rider that was almost certainly out of any GC chances by now, others still needing to up their game. In the Team Point competition red was in front with 8 TP, with blue just behind at 7 TP. Black was trailing severely at 3, and green (the novice) seemed a lost cause at 0 TP. However, the Tour was only halfway through, and the exhaustion was starting to mount. If the General Classification lead could be wrestled away from the red sprinter, anything could happen!

Plateaux de Wallonie


Plateaux de Wallonie is a notoriously tricky stage. The final hill leaves a difficult finish for both rouleurs and sprinters, while the two early but adjacent mountains provide prime opportunity for break aways. However even if break aways succeed the long flat approach to the final ascend may allow chasers to catch them again. As I said, a notoriously tricky stage!

Green & black knew they needed to really push hard to have any chance at the combined win. And they did. A break away got solidified already at the earliest mountain, and the sprinter teams were isolated at the rear chasing after them. Cooperation between the two teams was starting to wear though, and they didn’t chase as well as the previous stages.
To make matters worse for red, his rouleur was starting to show signs of weakness from doing all the hard work the three previous stages. The front runners got comfortably away across the second mountain too, and once the sprinter teams made it across the red rouleur was all gone. He never recovered, and crossed the finish line so late that he was forever lost for the GC. It wasn’t as if the lead group wasn’t working hard and racking up exhaustion though, but the red rouleurs job had been just enough to get his team mate free of the second mountain and in a heroic move he used all his sprint energy to close the gap. With a bit of luck the red sprinter was even the first rider to leap across the final ascend! Yet he didn’t have the energy to finish it before the others joined him. Limping across with most of the group in tow, the only thing that kept him in the running was the exhausted state of everyone else. The three previous stages were really starting to take their toll. They had all been finished and won by powerful finishes, and this was a rather lackluster bunch. The black rouleur had a shot at taking the stage, but cracked from exhaustion and once again the red sprinter came out on top! Everyone was there and hardly any changes to the GC happened. The black sprinter got 2nd, and the blue rouelur 3rd.
For red team it wasn’t all fantastic though. The rouleur was a complete mess, and was so exhausted that it was unlikely he would be of much use the following stage. Due to this and the sprinter having to close the gap himself and taking the final lead, he was also much worse for wear. All this happening just before the Tour’s second biggest mountain stage. It wasn’t going to be pretty.


La Classicissima


La Classicissima takes no prisoners, and the peloton was in no mood to make it easy either. The first mountain comes early and hard, and the pace was set high from the first second. Sprinters sprinted just to keep up, and everyone knew it wasn’t going to be easy. On that first mountain the pack was split, but more importantly the red rouleur only momentarily regained contact with the rearmost riders. He was gone and his team mate in the yellow jersey was on his own. Matters were made worse as all other teams were riding hard for their rouleurs to take top 3, using the energy of their sprinters without concern to push ahead. Usually the only saving grace for sprinters on big mountain stages is if several teams have an interest in taking it easy to get them safely across, but they weren’t having it. Even descends that typically provide a good time to take it easy, were used aggressively to push forward. More over the three teams other than red were in open collaboration, trying to break the red sprinter. He was almost riding alone against six riders!
Green for the first time took a substantial lead leaving the 2nd mountain first with both riders, using his mountain savvy rouleur to full effect. Black rouleur, the main contender for the yellow jersey was with him. In fact the stage was effectively decided there. No one caught up to the three riders again, but despite being on his lonesome in the trio, the black rouleur had managed to ride mostly in greens tail wind and used that advantage to eek out a win.
More than two minutes later the damaged red sprinter in the yellow jersey stumbled across the finish line. No longer in first. The pounding of the red rouleur from previous stages had left the sprinter vulnerable and he was no match for La Classicissima and the stubborn effort put in by the other teams. The jersey went to the black rouleur, who even managed a small lead.
Green got his first TP of the race with a good showing of getting both 2nd and 3rd, blue and red added nothing to their account, but black powered ahead. Before the final stage, he was 3 points behind, but with his rouleur in the yellow jersey and red sprinter only in third place, he likely only needed to gain one point on red to close the gap, and holding the yellow jersey was the final tiebreak... Red teams only saving grace was that their rouleur had taken it so easy on the final passages of the 5th stage that he was as well rested prior to a stage as he had been from the start.


Ronde van Wevelgem


Blue and Green were trailing and knew it. Both teams needed to gain substantial time, to be in any position to threaten the two TP leaders. They thus pushed ahead early, but the long flat stretch that Ronde van Wevelgem starts with isn’t prone to solid breakaways. The pack was split once or twice, but everyone was on their toes trying to hang on. Despite black team taking the lead, the alliance established between them and blue plus green held, so the few breaks were not in red’s favour.
None the less the pack was together, going at a brisk pace, when the mountains came. Black’s primary concern was to avoid losing any time on his rouleur, so his sprinter still at full strength due to the alliance, lead his rouleur across the 1st top at a brisk pace. Still the group stayed together. The descend came and went without any surprising attacks. And the 2nd mountain came and went with everyone keen on going as fast as they could. The first riders to make it across the final mountain were not in a position to finish it, before they were joined by the rest. Thus a hard ridden stage, and overall a hard ridden tour, was coming to a close. On the final stretch the pack was together again, and a sprint was ready. Five of the eight riders crossed this turn, the rest the round after. Black rouleur was just enough ahead not to be overtaken by the sprinters and managed 1st. Red rouleur for the first time in the Tour got a top 3 podium, by following just behind in 2nd. Green kept the momentum from the 5th stage and got his third podium finish! The red sprinter was elbowed out of the way at the last second, or would actually have gotten 3rd himself, but now had to settle for fourth. Finally the blue rouleur was the 5th across, all riders got the same time save the bonus.

Thus the General Classification suffered no changes from the 5th stage. Black rouleur in 1st, blue rouleur in 2nd and red sprinter in 3rd. Green team finished on 4TP, blue on 10TP while red and black were tied at 14TP. The tiebreaker put the final win in black’s hand, despite what on the surface looked like a foregone conclusion after the first 4 stages!

Thanks a bunch to Dennis Friis Skram, Steen Thorleif Dupont and Anders Frost Bertelsen for joining me. It was, as always, an epic journey!!!

Regards
Asger Granerud



Flamme Rouge will be available at Essen 2016 in Hall 3 at the Lautapelit.fi booth. I will be running around taking meetings, but will often be at the booth too, so please don’t hesitate to say hi! I look more or less like this


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Ali Shaw

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Great write-up. I am ridiculously excited for this game. Might even try my hand at painting the cyclists! (Hmm...maybe I'd better buy two copies...). Will FR be on general release after Essen? And will it be possible to order direct from the publisher (I live outside North America / Europe regions, so direct purchase is sometimes the most straightforward option). Oh, and loving 13 Days! :-)
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Asger Harding Granerud
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Thanks a lot for the comment! It is always nice to hear from people that finished reading it GG to you!

I'll make a small guide for some rudimentary paint jobs, it does elevator the experience!

It might even be available from September 1st. And ordering direct should be possible, but I've got no clue if they have affordable shipping www.lautapelit.fi

Glad to hear 13D is hitting the sweet spot for you

Regards
Asger Granerud
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Ali Shaw

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AsgerSG wrote:
Thanks a lot for the comment! It is always nice to hear from people that finished reading it GG to you!

I'll make a small guide for some rudimentary paint jobs, it does elevator the experience!

It might even be available from September 1st. And ordering direct should be possible, but I've got no clue if they have affordable shipping www.lautapelit.fi

Glad to hear 13D is hitting the sweet spot for you

Regards
Asger Granerud



Oh - early September! I will be sure to keep an eye on the lautapelit website (though you're right about international shipping - can be painful to Asia)!
And any painting tips always gratefully received!
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Jorge Blazquez Garcia
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Is it gonna be a preorder available for Essen?
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Asger Harding Granerud
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jbsiena wrote:
Is it gonna be a preorder available for Essen?


Yes it will. I'll put a note up here when it is up and running!

Asger
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Jorge Blazquez Garcia
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AsgerSG wrote:
jbsiena wrote:
Is it gonna be a preorder available for Essen?


Yes it will. I'll put a note up here when it is up and running!

Asger


Great!! Here is one buyer!!
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Asger Harding Granerud
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jbsiena wrote:
Great!! Here is one buyer!!


Glad to hear it. I'm very proud of Flamme Rouge and really hope you'll like it!

Regards
Asger
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Ali Shaw

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AsgerSG wrote:
Thanks a lot for the comment! It is always nice to hear from people that finished reading it GG to you!

I'll make a small guide for some rudimentary paint jobs, it does elevator the experience!

It might even be available from September 1st. And ordering direct should be possible, but I've got no clue if they have affordable shipping www.lautapelit.fi

Glad to hear 13D is hitting the sweet spot for you

Regards
Asger Granerud


Me again! I know this is technically a question for a separate thread, but do you happen to know if anywhere other than the www.lautapelit.fi website will be selling in September? Seems they don't ship to Hong Kong...

(Yes, I know, patience! But I never was one for being virtuous! )
 
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Asger Harding Granerud
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It will be out in general Nordic distribution immediately after hitting our warehouse. I'm sure some of them will ship to Hong Kong. When we get there I'll give you a link to www.braetspilspriser.dk which should show which retail/webstores have it in stock.

Feel free to remind me

Regards
Asger Granerud
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Ali Shaw

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AsgerSG wrote:
It will be out in general Nordic distribution immediately after hitting our warehouse. I'm sure some of them will ship to Hong Kong. When we get there I'll give you a link to www.braetspilspriser.dk which should show which retail/webstores have it in stock.

Feel free to remind me

Regards
Asger Granerud


Awesome! Thanks so much for being so accommodating/responsive!
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