Last week so we played a session of Tour with 5 players, each with 3 cyclists. This led to quite a busy peleton and we had some breakaways and then the pack catching up with the leaders as they tired, so I think the game is a good simulation. Clever use of the power factor enabled teams to bridge the gap and provide recovery for their leading cyclist.
Due to some lucky die rolls one cyclist managed to win ALL 3 sprints, thereby gaining 18 points for his team but he was free-wheeling at the end. One of my group thought this was a little unbalanced when the winner of the race only got 10 points, but personally I don’t have a problem with this, I think it was just a freak result. If the winning cyclist had thrown a 2 instead of a 3 or 4 on the penultimate corner he would have been overtaken and ‘swallowed up’ by the chasing pack and not had the chance to be the first to attempt the final Sprint Checkpoint for the extra 6 points, leaving him with 12 instead of 18….sour grapes I think !!
Despite the extra number of players we didn’t notice much of an extension to the playing time, completing the classic race in just over 2.5 hours. We enjoyed it but I don’t think my group, who are not keen cyclists, will be prepared to play the game too often. I think it will appeal to those who are really keen on the sport, which a lot of your respondents on boardgamegeek seem to be, especially the American ones, and that is where your market lies. I will certainly take my copy to game conventions where it should get on the table.
One final clarification needed in the rules. After having chosen the teams you don’t state in what order players get to place the cyclists at the start. We opted for the player who was LAST to pick in the final drafting round gets to place first, then went clockwise from that player. Please let me know how you resolved this in playtesting.
Again as I responded in the e-mail, I left the choice of who places first as up to the players.
So whether you want to choose whoever drafted last, or the youngest, hairiest, shortest, or the one dressed most like a cyclist.
In a season you could even 'pay' to place first. It's really up to the players choice and I don't want to push them into one way of choosing this.
I think it will appeal to those who are really keen on the sport, which a lot of your respondents on boardgamegeek seem to be, especially the American ones, and that is where your market lies. I will certainly take my copy to game conventions where it should get on the table.
It's funny that you say this, because cycling is an unknown sport here in the US. Yes, people know who Lance is, but he's one of the most recognizable athletes in the World. I've mentioned "Floyd Landis" plenty of times only to receive a blank stare; which is unbelievable to me given the media/WADA disaster going on there.
Anyway, back to topic.. thanks for the session reports. It sounds like you've run into a few ambiguities in the rules, and I'm glad you're finding them and getting them answered before me. Mine should be here just any day now!!!