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Flamme Rouge» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Flamme Rouge, a very original cycling game rss

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Jean-Michel lafouge
France
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Being a fan of racing games and especially of cycling games, I own many of them at home. They are often very similar and only some are really innovative. Flamme Rouge takes place without any doubt in this last category. Flamme Rouge is not just different, it is unique, incomparable with the others due to its design and the playing mechanism which gave me a different gaming experience and for these reasons I'like to write this review.
Lets start with the box and its content. It is a pretty big box (not too big)with a design deliberately beautifully vintage. I find it rather original to place this game in another epoch, the epoch of the heroes of cycling in the early thirties. This vintage aspect of the box contributes a lot to the charm of the game,and inside the box the same design is repeated on the components like the cards, player boards, tracks and the cyclists.
But the biggest originality of the game consists in its rules. The mechanism is easy to understand without being "simplist" and easy to learn as the choice of the cards make advance the riders and in the same time define the tactic. Each player has two decks of cards in front of him which correspond to his two different riders, sprinteur and rouleur. Every round is played in three phases: the first phase is the decisive phase because the players have to choose one out of four cards drawn from the deck of each rider (the remaining three cards are 'recycled' open under the deck) and it is this card which makes advance your rider in the second phase which is the movement phase. All players have to show their drawn cards simultaneously and the riders are moved correspondingly. The played cards are definitely removed from the game. The third and end phase represents the application of slip-streaming -inevitable in all cycling races - in form of the distribution of an exhaustion card to every rider who has no other rider in front of him and for that does not profit of slip-streaming. The cards of exhaustion are punishing because they allow an advancement of only two squares and when they become outnumbered in the deck, they considerably limit the tactical choices. You will understand easily that it is important to place your rider protected by slip-streaming without however loosing the contact with the rider in front of the race.
Once you have understood these rules and its principles, the playing will be smooth. The games are fast and exciting (less than 30 minutes for two players) and when one game is over, you'd like to play another one. This is also due to the different tracks and the many possibilities of variations in addition to the six stages suggested. You can build your own tracks (respecting always the use of 21 tiles), introduce hills as well which will strongly influence the tactic.
Asger has designed a game that captures nicely the flavor of the race and the rules are simple enough that even 'non-gamers' can enjoy it.
The originality of Flamme Rouge consists especially in the fact that it is played simultaneously, you will not be bored waiting that the other players have finished their turn and astonishingly it can be played very well by only two players without loosing any of its charm, speed and tension and by offering many variants of the tracks, number of players and you can play 'un grand tour' with several stages.
The name of Flamme Rouge is very well chosen, from the beginning of the game you have the impression that you are already in the last kilometer and from the beginning of the race each move can be decisive.
Flamme Rouge is for me not just another cycling game but it is unique and different and will surely gain an important place in my game collection and will be played very, very often.
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Asger Harding Granerud
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Thank you so much for the review, Jean-Michel. Super glad that you liked it, and I hope it will hit the table often in the years to come! How many games did you mange to play already, including solo plays?

Is it ok for me to ask that you add a small section on how I found you, and choose you to send a review copy?

Happy racing
Asger Granerud
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Asger Harding Granerud
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Ok, I can't hold it in. Correct me if I'm wrong Jean-Michel, I do think it is more or less 15-18 months ago I first reached out.

Basically Jean-Michel is THE player with the most registered plays of Leader 1 on BGG. He was then, and he still is. And Leader 1 is the highest rated cycling game on BGG!

Happy racing
Asger Granerud
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Richard Mullet
United Kingdom
Exeter
Devon
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Thanks for writing this- cycling is my main hobby beyond gaming & I've been waiting to hear some reviews before committing to buying the game. Sounds very promising from what I've heard so far, & your endorsement above means I'll probably pick it up. I'd be interested to hear more of your thoughts about the tactical scope of the game. For example would getting your rouler in the breakaway work as a way of forcing other teams to chase him & tire out their sprinters while your sprinter sits in others slipstreams to maximise his chances for the final sprint? Do breakaways often succeed? How well do the mountains reflect their impact on a real cycle race? Thanks again for writing this review!
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Jean-Michel lafouge
France
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You are right Asger,you contacted me the first time on 06/29/2015. Indeed I played Leader 1 very often,I even think that I was the first having bought it in Paris following what Alain Ollier (the author) told me. I also play other cycling games like Breaking Away, Um Reifenbreite, Devil take the Hindmost a.s.o Flamme Rouge was however the first review I wrote.
I have played Flamme Rouge at least 30 times ( having no tv, we have much time) with my wife, we have tried sometimes with a fictive third player (as proposed) which was not convincing, we lost all the time,but basically, it is not necessary. Never tried to play solo plays up to now.
More next time.
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Jean-Michel lafouge
France
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I understand your questions, Richard, but as they concern mainly games of groups I prefer to answer you in detail after having played this thursday with my gaming group, cyclists as well. Up to now I have played with my wife simulating 4 players game which however is not the same as real player game.
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Miguel
France
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(from Valencia, Spain)
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Philocross wrote:
I also play other cycling games like Breaking Away, Um Reifenbreite...

I own those two, and I like them. Do you find Flamme Rouge much better? At least in some aspects? I don't know if a third cycling game will be too much...
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Richard Mullet
United Kingdom
Exeter
Devon
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Thanks for your reply- I take your point about the difference in playing with 2 or with a group. Will look forward to hearing your thoughts. Was glad to see you has rated this a 10 alongside other racing games
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Jean-Michel lafouge
France
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Me as well,Miguel,I like those two games but I cannot say, which is the best one. I will just compare some aspects of the three games
Much luck in Um Reifenbreite (UB),none in Breaking Away and just a little bit in Flamme Rouge (FR);in BA and UB you manage a team of four riders, in FR you manage only two riders. BA has only one track possibility, several in UB and innumerable in FR. The biggest difference is the presence of exhaustion cards in FR. Those cards have a big influence as well on the progression of the riders as on the tactic, which increases the effect of simulation of a real cycling race. For example, you can discard an exhaustion card (2points) on descent squares and move however by 5 squares at least which gives the impression that the rider is recovering. FR is also the fastest game of the three to play and you can really play it with two players.
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Jean-Michel lafouge
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Hi, Richard, we have just played FR with 4 players.I must confess the game is even more convincing played with 4 than with two players because with 8 riders you meet much more situations of a real race. You find 'breaking away', a rider alone between two groups or a long stretched peloton...For that the mountains -especially the ascents- play an important role. Very often the riders at the end build again a new group in the last round and it is very important to have a good place in the peloton and especially the right card in the end to win the race. In any way all of us 4 enjoyed very much the game. A friend of mine said that indeed it is easy to learn but it is a real challenge to play it well.
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Richard Mullet
United Kingdom
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Philocross wrote:
Hi, Richard, we have just played FR with 4 players.I must confess the game is even more convincing played with 4 than with two players because with 8 riders you meet much more situations of a real race. You find 'breaking away', a rider alone between two groups or a long stretched peloton...For that the mountains -especially the ascents- play an important role. Very often the riders at the end build again a new group in the last round and it is very important to have a good place in the peloton and especially the right card in the end to win the race. In any way all of us 4 enjoyed very much the game. A friend of mine said that indeed it is easy to learn but it is a real challenge to play it well.


Thanks for the feedback- I think I'm sold!
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Andy Mesa
United States
Portland
Oregon
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Philocross wrote:
Me as well,Miguel,I like those two games but I cannot say, which is the best one. I will just compare some aspects of the three games
Much luck in Um Reifenbreite (UB),none in Breaking Away and just a little bit in Flamme Rouge (FR);in BA and UB you manage a team of four riders, in FR you manage only two riders. BA has only one track possibility, several in UB and innumerable in FR. The biggest difference is the presence of exhaustion cards in FR. Those cards have a big influence as well on the progression of the riders as on the tactic, which increases the effect of simulation of a real cycling race. For example, you can discard an exhaustion card (2points) on descent squares and move however by 5 squares at least which gives the impression that the rider is recovering. FR is also the fastest game of the three to play and you can really play it with two players.

Thank you for these comparisons. I'm a fan of Um Reifenbreite so it was nice to see how the two compared.
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Richard Dewsbery
United Kingdom
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I've only played two flat stages so far, but I liking what I see.

The first was "grouppo compacto" most of the way around, with the occasional chancer trying to break away but always being reeled in before the inevitable bunch gallop, won by a nose.

The second stage saw one rider break away quite early, in a valiant but doomed attempt to stay away. His gap was pegged back to something manageable by the peloton, who left him dangling out in front, to be cruelly caught in sight of the finish line.

I need to play this again soon.
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Asger Harding Granerud
Denmark
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Do try the mountains! The game really blooms when they are around

Happy racing
Asger
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Miguel
France
Caen
(from Valencia, Spain)
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AsgerSG wrote:
Do try the mountains! The game really blooms when they are around

Yes, but if even the flat stages are interesting, then I'm sold! meeple
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