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Subject: Seating suggestion for when you are playing with an odd number of cars rss

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Matthew Lindley
United Kingdom
Larkfield, Aylesford
Kent
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Hi,

A group of five of us have a regular league we love this game so much. I noticed an imbalance when playing with an odd number of cars.

Take this as the starting grid for a game:



In this example Red is playing last in this round.

The round starts like this:

1. Purple activates #6, lateral movement inside and then drafts, choosing to take Blue #15.
2. Pink activates #20, laterally moves to the outside and drafts forward.

Already Yellow and Red are struggling. For Red it's worse as there are still two more turns before he can move up - all to probably get left behind anyway. On a track like the Velodrome, I think it could be possible that a car can be lapped when that player hasn't even taken a turn. (I haven't counted.)

This doesn't happen so much with an even number of cars as the first player has a car at the back and there's an incentive to move everything. In this case, there isn't so not only is Red at the back, but Red is also last in the round - double whammy!

To "fix" this, I suggested and we implemented a system whereby we draw the Team Bar for the starting grid but then seat ourselves so that the first player sits wherever, and then from that player, the others seat in reverse order on the Team Bar.

For example, this is the Team Bar for this race:



This way, the first player still goes first to open the pack out a bit, and going first isn't always a great advantage. There is enough action to be had over the race what with pit stops and yellow flags that it ought to be as fair-but-random as it can be.

Once Purple has gone, Red has a fair chance to catch up as he gets to go second. Yellow then follows and so on. While Pink goes last in the round, his back marker (let's assume it didn't move) is further forward. This way, if Red and Pink both have a 7-movement card, Pink's will mean he can catch up a little better and do it with more information.

After trying it out we didn't have any real stragglers in the two races we played at the last meeting. I'd really like to hear what other people think of this.


Thanks.
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Craig Marshall
United States
Anna
Texas
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If this is a concern, you should try doing a fully random line up.

Draw a card, put out the cars in the order listed at the bottom. When everyone has one car out, draw another card. Use the new order to put out a second set of cars. Repeat until all cars are on the track.
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Matthew Lindley
United Kingdom
Larkfield, Aylesford
Kent
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That has too much chance of one player getting too much benefit.

If you add all the grid positions of a team's cars together, they need to be the same.

For 4 cars:
- Purple: [1, 10, 11, 20] = 42
- Pink: [2, 9, 12, 19] = 42
- Blue: [3, 8, 13, 18] = 42
...

This is the same balancing as with Settlers of Catan when choosing starting positions; your turn numbers are the same so mathematically you have a fair chance.

You start seeing the imbalance when you remove the fourth car - combined with going last means more issues. On the system you suggested, someone could easily draw [1, 6, 11] for a total of 18 while another could get [5, 10, 15] for a total of 30, which is a HUGE deficit - an extra 2 turns MINIMUM (mathematically speaking) just to catch up to their starting position.

The structure of the start is good but, for me personally, I think arranging seating is a very minor change and still only relies on one Team Bar as per the instructions.
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Brian S.
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ThatNiceMan wrote:
...relies on one Team Bar as per the instructions.
The multiple team bars is an optional rule (12.2) in the rulebook. Seems like a good solution to me, but yes, it can create more bias than a standard setup.
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Ed Bradley
United Kingdom
Haverhill
Suffolk
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I don't think the game is deterministic enough for it to matter.

All your concerns about getting left behind might be solved by getting Clean Air. Everything else goes out of the window when you start drawing events and having Yellow flags.

We do full random setup every time.
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