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Subject: Formula D or Thunder Alley? rss

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CPBelt
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I have never played either game. I saw Formula D being played at Dice Tower Con but was unable to join due to prior commitments. Then I saw Thunder Alley is out.

Ok, so if you had to choose between one racing game which would you prefer? Formula D or Thunder Alley? (Or is there a better choice?) Which is easier to teach? (Normally it's my son and me playing, but we're trying to get a games night going at our small church.)

Thanks

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Ladson
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My blind guess is that TA is better and more of a simulation. However this:

Quote:
(Normally it's my son and me playing, but we're trying to get a games night going at our small church.)


suggests Formula D would be a better fit.
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William Hoyt
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Thunder Alley leans a bit more towards simulating the particulars of Stock Car racing on ovals.

Formula D/De is an F1 or open-wheeled racing game on road and street circuits. And includes street "tuner" racing add ons in the form additional rules such as nitrous.

I think Formula D would be easier to teach to new players. With the combination of the unique multi-dice gear machanic and beautifully drawn circuits it's usually a draw for people. Not to mention being able to choose between Street Racers or open wheeled racers and personalities.

This is to say nothing against the newly released Thunder Alley.

~Will


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Jim Patterson
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I own and enjoy both. I basically agree with Will given the OP's parameters in terms of number of players that can be accommodated and ease of instruction. Thunder Alley is also a bit more of a "thinker," which is definitely good but a bit harder to get into, in part because of the different movement types and partly because of the team aspect (both of which are wholly or largely absent from FD). I think FD will also play marginally quicker, depending on the crowd, and it might hold up better, component wise, over the long haul with a lot of players (although there are a lot of pegs to lose).
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René Christensen
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FD is fun in the start until you find out that all it takes to win is not to stop between corners!
If you miss a corner, you can't catch up unless the opponent in front also misses a corner.
It does though have a lot of circuits!

I haven't played a Thunder Alley, so...!

But I do recommend Race! Formula 90!
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Michael Taylor
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Slotracer wrote:
FD is fun in the start until you find out that all it takes to win is not to stop between corners!


I agree. Formula D is an easier to teach game because it's not a very good game.

I haven't played Thunder Alley but cars make all the difference in the world.

That's why I recommend my favorite race game Speed Rally.
 
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Louis Brenton
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I own & love both games, so here are a few brief comparisons:

1. Complexity: FD is much more of a gateway game that TA. TA is more of a low-ish/medium-ish weight gamer's game. In FD you're making a strategic decision every 2-4 turns, while in TA you're making strategic decisions nearly every possible second.

2. Luck: FD is heavily dice-driven (although there are so many rolls it all tends to balance out), so a new player might do surprisingly well if the dice are with him. There's a lot of card-draw in TA, but hand management is a big part of the decision process, so not nearly as luck driven.

3. Appearance: Although I like the look of TA, FD is definitely more visually appealing.

4. Theme: NASCAR v. Open Wheel/Street Racing. I truly love both types of racing, but in an American setting, you're more likely to find people who like NASCAR than like open wheel.

5. Variety & replay-ability: TA comes with 4 tracks in the box. No expansions are currently planned. FD comes with 2 tracks in the box, but one is race track & one is street racing. Many expansions are available.

6. Player count: TA plays 2-7 players. FD plays up to 10 out of the box, but could easily have more added. In my opinion, it's best done with 5-10 drivers, or less drivers running multiple cars. (I don't actually recommend playing with more than 10, but I've done it more than once)

7. Entry price: Comparable for the basic boxed set.

8. Gameplay--downtime: Normally in FD you're racing 1 car & watch while everyone else races theirs. You may occasionally have to make a damage roll when it's not your turn, other wise you just watch. In TA, your cars are being affected in pretty much every single player's every move, so it's very easy to stay engaged. On the flip side, TA is a bit more thinky, so players may study their hand a bit longer than FD decision making.

9. Gameplay--player interaction: In FD you're racing the track more than you're racing the other players. You may sometimes make decisions based on other cars on the track, but certainly not every turn. In TA, you're constantly interacting with other players cars...pushing & pulling them in the draft, shoving them out of the way, etc. You're definitely racing the other players rather than the track.

Again, not really campaigning for either game. Racing is one of my favorite themes in games, & I'm really glad I own both of these. They'll both hit the table plenty. Just making a handful of comparisons. Hope it's helpful.
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CPBelt
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Thanks, fellas. This has all been very helpful, plus the other game suggestions. A lot to think about.

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My miniature, board, and card gaming blog: A League of Ordinary Gamers
 
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Greece
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superman829 wrote:
5. Variety & replay-ability: TA comes with 4 tracks in the box. No expansions are currently planned.

Pitty. Left turning has so many variants and possibilities!
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Bart de Groot
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A really great unique racing game is Rallyman. More of a thinker than a roll-and-move.
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Louis Brenton
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bdegroot wrote:
A really great unique racing game is Rallyman. More of a thinker than a roll-and-move.


Yep. I own that one as well. Love that game, and it's definitely a very different experience than TA or FD. I'd gladly recommend it.
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Matthew
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Slotracer wrote:
FD is fun in the start until you find out that all it takes to win is not to stop between corners!
If you miss a corner, you can't catch up unless the opponent in front also misses a corner.
It does though have a lot of circuits!

I haven't played a Thunder Alley, so...!

But I do recommend Race! Formula 90!


So you don't have to stop, some of the time? What are the consequences? How many times can you do this? I have never played but I'm interested, so I don't fully know the mechanics.
 
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Bart de Groot
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M4TTHEW wrote:
Slotracer wrote:
FD is fun in the start until you find out that all it takes to win is not to stop between corners!
If you miss a corner, you can't catch up unless the opponent in front also misses a corner.
It does though have a lot of circuits!

I haven't played a Thunder Alley, so...!

But I do recommend Race! Formula 90!


So you don't have to stop, some of the time? What are the consequences? How many times can you do this? I have never played but I'm interested, so I don't fully know the mechanics.


Formula D is all about the compulsory stops in the corners. You don't have to ever stop on a straight, so the optimal way is to only ever stop in corners for the required stops. That is of course not always possible, and the roll of die will have something to say about it too.
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Craig H
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Apparently there is a road race / F1 version of Thunder Alley in the works - I'm waiting for that one.

 
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Anthony Paladino
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Formula D is a game about risk management, probabilities, rhythm and pace strategy. Do you have enough resources to make it another lap? Have you conserved enough to be able to blow a corner if you need to? Can you take a hit and still run? What are the odds you can make it into the next turn on one die vs. another? What are the odds you'll chuff the roll and careen to your death? Can you hit the right spots in order to take the next 3 stop turn in 4th, 3rd, then 4th gear or will you need to gear down prior to the curve to come out screaming ahead of the other drivers? Is it smarter to take a turn more conservatively, or should you push and take advantage of an opening?

At it's heart, Formula D is a "simple" roll and move game, but once you're familiar with it, long term strategies and planning come into play, making it accessible for new players and challenging for veterans. The game is relatively easy to teach and strategy is taught via experience.

The drawback with Formula D is there is an element of elimination, so players can drop out of a game well before it is over. Also, it's not difficult for novice players (or players having particularly bad luck) to fall way out of the pack and not be competitive without something drastic happening up front. I've seen many a Formula D game where a player or two are so far off the pace, the leaders could dead stop for 3-4 turns before the rear got caught up.


Thunder Alley is a game that revolves around hand management, placement strategy, and pack movement. You have much more direct control over where and how you move your cars on the board, eliminating the more random element of movement from Formula D. At the same time, you must be very mindful about where you place your cars. Leaving a car out of a drafting line is a surefire way to be left behind. Moving it into one is good, but you need to pay attention to which cars have already activated and which have not as their movement will affect your potential movement. This is because when it is your turn your activated car will very often move all of the cars in front of it, behind it, or both.

Thunder Alley, like Formula D, is easy to teach, and strategy is learned through experience. Play and rules are simple, but deeper strategies can be formed making it good for any skill level.

Both games do a very fine job of replicating the experience of a Formula 1 or NASCAR race. As to which one is better for your game group, I would lean toward the one which represents the sport your players are more familiar and/or interested in. If they're NASCAR fans, Thunder Alley may speak to them more and they will likely be able to translate race strategies they've seen in real races to the game. If Indy or F1 is more their speed, aim at Formula D.

I will also note that the more players you have, in general, the more fun each of the games are. If your primary game group is just two people, however, Thunder Alley tends to work better. Formula D really needs a absolute minimum of 4 people in single cars or 3 people running double cars to be really engaging and challenging.
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pilum pilum
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Slotracer wrote:
FD is fun in the start until you find out that all it takes to win is not to stop between corners!
If you miss a corner, you can't catch up unless the opponent in front also misses a corner.
It does though have a lot of circuits!

I haven't played a Thunder Alley, so...!

But I do recommend Race! Formula 90!


If you play with your son, don't buy Formula 90 !
Formula D is better.

Thunder Alley is for experienced player, but if you love Nascar...
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Tony C
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M4TTHEW wrote:
Slotracer wrote:
FD is fun in the start until you find out that all it takes to win is not to stop between corners!
If you miss a corner, you can't catch up unless the opponent in front also misses a corner.
It does though have a lot of circuits!

I haven't played a Thunder Alley, so...!

But I do recommend Race! Formula 90!


So you don't have to stop, some of the time? What are the consequences? How many times can you do this? I have never played but I'm interested, so I don't fully know the mechanics.


There are various 'corners' (zones of varying number of spaces) in which you have to stop 1, 2 or 3 times).
If it's a 1, and you don't stop, you take damage based on how far you overshot. If you take enough damage, you're out of the race (I think the "basic" game starts with 18 damage, which allows for a decent bit of taking the corners rough.)
If it's a 2, and you don't stop, or it's a 3, and you stop only once, you automatically lose the race (I 'themed' it as taking the corner way too fast and crashing.)
I think you also take damage if you downshift/brake more than one gear per turn.

(I've only played once, so I may be a little off. Please correct me if I'm wrong.) In my play I was up by a bunch of spaces (at least 20), with only 2 damage points, when I pushed too hard, taken the second-to-last corner too fast. Lost my lead when I crashed due to the worst die roll, and my opponent ended up winning.
 
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Srdj
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pilum2008 wrote:
Slotracer wrote:
FD is fun in the start until you find out that all it takes to win is not to stop between corners!
If you miss a corner, you can't catch up unless the opponent in front also misses a corner.
It does though have a lot of circuits!

I haven't played a Thunder Alley, so...!

But I do recommend Race! Formula 90!


If you play with your son, don't buy Formula 90 !
Formula D is better.

Thunder Alley is for experienced player, but if you love Nascar...


Formula 90 is better than D IMO. It's the most realistically simulated race game. It has more advanced rules, but once you get the hang of it is so satisfying. The card system means more strategy. A much more superior game.
 
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