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Subject: A disappointing first outing rss

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Ben Turner
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It had been a long time coming, and finally I had Formula E, a game I hoped would replace Ave Caeser as my "go to" light racing / hand management game.

Our first game was... odd. The holy cows kept getting used to totally block the track, meaning an elephant pile up until someone broke the pack with a charge or another holy cow card. This in itself wasn't too bad. But then one pack broke ahead, and used a cow card to remove a blockade set up by the losing elephant, and also managed to set up a blockade behind themselves, pretty much removing the poor trailing players from the game (as neither had magic carpet or charge left).

A break-away leader seemed tough to stop - mice were a little annoying. Monkeys didn't cause much irritance. As always, cows were used to keep the leaders at bay, all one move from the finish. The trailing elephants got within 20 squares of them, but it was clear that it was over. One of the leading elephants played a charge card, which inevitably was blocked by one of the tigers that has been saved for most of the game. Another moved the cows out the way, and got within spitting distance, but the third elephant, having depleted all the tigers, played a move card to finish.

The cobra chips played during the game (only 2 came out) had little effect - one lost card each round, but the ability to dump the lowest card, and getting to always draw TWO new cards to pick from each round seemed quite useful. I almost played one on myself, except someone did it to me the turn before I could !

Overall, it's a really nice idea, fairly well packaged (although the art on the boards is so-so, and the box is just-a-little-bigger than 40x40cm, which is annoying for storage). But the game felt flat, had little racing tension, and was just an exercise in playing the cards dealt at most points. I'm going to give the second board which I backed a go, but I think I might take up the offer to sell it onto one of my players, who thought his kids might enjoy it quite a bit. Aside for the number of cards to teach, I think he might be right. But for this adult gamer, even as a light racing game, it's looking to be a bit of a disappointment, I'm sad to say.
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D
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Thank you .... So, I am assuming that Formula E won't replace Ave Caesar for you? I was just wondering because I have Ave Caesar and I WAS considering buying it (Formula E) but if Ave is better, then I won't buy Formula. Just trying to get a general consensus on that.
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Ben Turner
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dcm70 wrote:
Thank you .... So, I am assuming that Formula E won't replace Ave Caesar for you? I was just wondering because I have Ave Caesar and I WAS considering buying it (Formula E) but if Ave is better, then I won't buy Formula. Just trying to get a general consensus on that.


It's a lot more chaotic that Ave Caeser, and has no solid mechanism for slowing the leader down which doesn't also impact everyone else (wall of cows) - the other methods (cobra, monkey, mouse) simply don't make a huge impact.

For me, it was about having the right card at the right time, but I rarely drew that card, so felt a little unempowered. Maybe I should of missed a whole turn to discard my entire hand to redraw (which I did do once) but that seemed to widen the gap between the lucky leaders and the stragglers. Maybe that's the issue - I didn't feel I had enough opportunity to effectively manage my hand in what is supposed to be a hand management game.

I have Fast Flowing Forest Fellers, which also clashed with Ave Caeser as my "hand management racing game" - it shares the hand management parts of Ave Caeser with the "forced assistance" part of Formula E (you're in my way, so I need to push you along to help me out too!), but that stays pretty tight due to the individual, fixed distribution, player decks.

This really does feel like a less tight design, which a decade ago might have been great, but in this era (or maybe just my current familiarity with a wider circle of games) it sticks out as something that isn't nearly as good as it's peers.

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Susie_Cat
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We've placed it twice now: Once with two small children and their parents, and once with a game group. Both games were an absolute hoot, however, it is true that it is very "blocky" as one gamer called it, as the cows tend to get parked across the roads with players struggling to get past. As a result, it takes quite a while if you are playing with six gamers!

That said, in both games (particularly the second one) players came from miles behind to lead later in the game. One thing we did (which I now think was wrong) was the rule where you could only change lanes if you could not move forward, which we also applied if you were playing a "loopy juice" card. This lead to a hilarious pile up on the line with players not wanting to move forward as they would push another player over the line. We then had a sort of reverse of the earlier scenario where people *wanted* to get stuck behind a cow as it would enable them to move sideways...

Like I said, great fun, though I can see a lot of people not liking it.

Susie_Cat.
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