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Race! Formula 90» Forums » General

Subject: Is Push the new Hazard? rss

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Carlos Amato
Brazil
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Hi guys, greetings from Brazil.

We have a group of 6 players that have been playing Race! for about a year now.

After running a Championship of 8 tracks (twice each track from the basic game and Expansion 1), we have decided to banish Hazard. We've tried every Hazard rule variant we found in this forum, including the "fixed" version of the rule published by Lala in the 3.0 edition. None of the variants were able to balance Hazard with the other strategies, as we would still get drivers moving +6/+7 every turn as opposed to the regular +4/+5 of other stategies.

So we've decided to ban it from our new Championship series that has just started. We've also decided to incorporate the new rules from Expansion 2, even though our copy hasn't arrived yet.

And therein lies the problem. Push has become our new Hazard. It is the mandatory choice for the 3-4 best positions in the grid because, with free traffick ahead, you can easily move +6/+7 like you did with hazard. And if you are able to combine it with the Pitting skill, the drawback from moving the fueling chit back one space is easily nullified.

I've been able to win the first 2 races in our new season (Monaco and Hungaroring) by using push from start to finish, even though it made me pit 4 times in Monaco and 3 times in Hungaroring. I've beat even players who used strategies like Save Tires and just 1 pit throughout the race.

Are any of you guys experiencing the same problem? Does Push seem broke, or is it just our problem?
 
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Aaron Steward
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Quote:
None of the variants were able to balance Hazard with the other strategies, as we would still get drivers moving +6/+7 every turn as opposed to the regular +4/+5 of other stategies.


I'm not an expert at the game, but this sentence stood out. It seems like the other players could just let a couple cars push themselves way out in front and wait for them to pit. After the pack has been brought back together, the leaders should drive defensively to prevent the pushing cars from passing.

Are the cars with Push scoring specials more often? Does your group always just try to move as far as possible, or do you sometimes move one or two spaces slower to stop in a tough corner? If you've got a leader with banging wheels stopping in difficult corners, he can score lots of specials preventing the people behind from passing. Are you using the weather to slow down cars that pit early? If a car with Push just pit and put on a set of hard tires, the rest of the group should shift to rain and take advantage.

There's lots of tools available to the players to keep the runaway leaders in check. If the fastest cars have to pit 3 or 4 times per game, the group only needs to slow them down for a couple turns each stint before the pit stops start taking more time than the strategies save. Without knowing more about your group's playstyle, it's hard to tell if it's really broken or if it's just an issue for you.
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Carlos Amato
Brazil
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[q="ODaly"]
Quote:
Are the cars with Push scoring specials more often? Does your group always just try to move as far as possible, or do you sometimes move one or two spaces slower to stop in a tough corner? If you've got a leader with banging wheels stopping in difficult corners, he can score lots of specials preventing the people behind from passing. Are you using the weather to slow down cars that pit early? If a car with Push just pit and put on a set of hard tires, the rest of the group should shift to rain and take advantage.

There's lots of tools available to the players to keep the runaway leaders in check. If the fastest cars have to pit 3 or 4 times per game, the group only needs to slow them down for a couple turns each stint before the pit stops start taking more time than the strategies save. Without knowing more about your group's playstyle, it's hard to tell if it's really broken or if it's just an issue for you.


You pose some interesting questions. Yes, we normally try to move as far as possible. There have been rare situations where someone decided to move less in order to block a corner or something like that. Banging wheels is not a favorite choice for most.

And then there is another situation: as a house rule, we have decided to use 2 skills per pilot for the whole season. I'm currently using Pitting and Wise Driving. With Push as strategy, I try to maximize the number of red cards in my hand, since they make me score Specials through tire spending. If my hand is not "red" enough, I use Wise Driving to redraw my hand (once between each pit stop). Since I'm scoring Specials almost every turn and Wise Driving lets me keep the track cards regardless of hand limit, I'm able to build a giant hand, full of track card, that alow me to move +6/+7 every round.

And yes, my group hates rain condition, so they avoid this all the time. So, you are right, there are strategies meant to slow down the runaway leaders. But even then it's difficult to avoid accumulating track cards when you play Push. And a hand full of track cards + the ability to combine them with a +2 is very tough to beat.
 
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Stan Hilinski
United States
Laurel
Maryland
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If you're winning all the time with your strategy, then why aren't your opponents doing it too? If they did, you wouldn't win so much. Right?

But here's what I really notice. You've added two house rules: no hazard (which hurts the players who could compete with you) and you allow 2 skills per player. So why aren't you asking if your house rules (and the particular skills you picked) broke the game instead of pointing fingers at the game and Push?
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Carlos Amato
Brazil
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shilinski wrote:
If you're winning all the time with your strategy, then why aren't your opponents doing it too? If they did, you wouldn't win so much. Right?

But here's what I really notice. You've added two house rules: no hazard (which hurts the players who could compete with you) and you allow 2 skills per player. So why aren't you asking if your house rules (and the particular skills you picked) broke the game instead of pointing fingers at the game and Push?


In the opening post I explained that we banished Hazard after a full season of races (8 races in total) because in the last few races EVERYBODY was using it regardless of position or momentary situation in the race. All other strategies were completely ignored because they were unable to compete with Hazard.

I understand that the choice of any strategy should be down to race contingency and/or personal choice. That on a "perfectly neutral world" any strategy would give you close to the same chance of success. That different strategies would give you different benefits depending on the position or situation. That there isn't a single strategy that is almost always better than the others.

We had that problem with Hazard. I'm afraid we might have the same problem with Push. On our last race the first 2 drivers on qualifying used Push all race and ended up first and second, way way ahead of everybody else. The last human driver, who started in 10th, finished 3rd after also using Push troughout the entire race. The other 3 human drivers used other strategies and didn't even come close to the first 3.

That's my only concern, that we don't have an "optimal" strategy that is almost always better then the other strategies, regardless of the race status.
 
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Y P
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Stan's point is that perhaps it's the 2 skills house rule that is game-breaking when combined with Hazard or Push, not Hazard or Push by themselves.

I'm not nearly experienced enough to offer any insight. Just trying to clarify comments.
 
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J Emmett
Canada
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shilinski wrote:
But here's what I really notice. You've added two house rules: no hazard (which hurts the players who could compete with you) and you allow 2 skills per player. So why aren't you asking if your house rules (and the particular skills you picked) broke the game instead of pointing fingers at the game and Push?



Let Hazard back in and let it duke it out with Push, and drop your two skills house rule.
 
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Aaron Steward
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Chamato wrote:
... as a house rule, we have decided to use 2 skills per pilot for the whole season.


I think people may be jumping to conclusions about interpreting this house rule. Are you picking two skills at the start of the season and choosing one or the other depending on the race? If so, that shouldn't matter if only one is in effect at a time.
 
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carl hilinski
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It bothers me a little that people would just decide to ban a strategy/skill without any innovative suggestions on how to fix it. What are the parts of hazard that bother you? Is it the ability to gain MP by doing checks or playing damage cards? Is it the ease of drawing lots of track cards (which lead to bonus movement in general) by doing blind checks and playing damage cards? In theory, damage should throttle back the use of hazard. Do you think there's not enough damage? Do you think more brown damage would slow hazard down?

The initial hazard rules which required a physical move of 6 sectors really favored the leader who had a lot clear space in front of him. There was no good way to catch him, even if you used hazard, too, if you were behind. So hazard was changed to 6MP and this made it a viable "in the pack" strategy and helped reel the runaway leader back in to some extent. The point is that adjustments can make improvements.

And what are your expectations? Do you think you should be able to win with any strategy/skill? Should there be balance among all the skills and strategies (or should there be "Marussia" skills that are just not as good/fast?) Should you be able to win from any position on the grid? Should strategies be better/worse depending on your position or where you are in the race? Should there be a limit on how many times you can use a strategy in the race (e.g. you can use hazard for only one pit-to-pit stint)?

I'm all for suggestions on how to finetune RF90. I think that leads to progress.

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Carlos Amato
Brazil
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ODaly wrote:
Chamato wrote:
... as a house rule, we have decided to use 2 skills per pilot for the whole season.


I think people may be jumping to conclusions about interpreting this house rule. Are you picking two skills at the start of the season and choosing one or the other depending on the race? If so, that shouldn't matter if only one is in effect at a time.


I think you guys have a point. We are in fact picking 2 two skills and using them both during the race. We did this in order to add more elements to the season. In season 1, some players got frustrated because they got stuck with the same skill for the whole season. So we decided to let players pick and use 2 skills this season. But perhaps our drivers are now too talented...

I think we will have to abort this house rule. But I still think it's not enough to explain why Push is perfoming better than other strategies this season.
 
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Carlos Amato
Brazil
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chilinski wrote:
It bothers me a little that people would just decide to ban a strategy/skill without any innovative suggestions on how to fix it. What are the parts of hazard that bother you? Is it the ability to gain MP by doing checks or playing damage cards? Is it the ease of drawing lots of track cards (which lead to bonus movement in general) by doing blind checks and playing damage cards? In theory, damage should throttle back the use of hazard. Do you think there's not enough damage? Do you think more brown damage would slow hazard down?

The initial hazard rules which required a physical move of 6 sectors really favored the leader who had a lot clear space in front of him. There was no good way to catch him, even if you used hazard, too, if you were behind. So hazard was changed to 6MP and this made it a viable "in the pack" strategy and helped reel the runaway leader back in to some extent. The point is that adjustments can make improvements.

And what are your expectations? Do you think you should be able to win with any strategy/skill? Should there be balance among all the skills and strategies (or should there be "Marussia" skills that are just not as good/fast?) Should you be able to win from any position on the grid? Should strategies be better/worse depending on your position or where you are in the race? Should there be a limit on how many times you can use a strategy in the race (e.g. you can use hazard for only one pit-to-pit stint)?

I'm all for suggestions on how to finetune RF90. I think that leads to progress.



Our problem with Hazard was the combination of excess movement (+6/+7 every turn) with scoring multiple Specials per turn. The downgrade of damaging the car was not enough, because at some point everybody was using Hazard with cars with 6 damage slots. In 3 or 4 rounds you would get a hand full of Track Cards, and combining track cards of +5/+6 with track cards the had +2/+3 and the "plus" sign, plus extra movement from damage and blind checks and suddenly people would be moving +8/+9/+10 every other turn, with +5/+6 turns considered "bad" turns. That, combined with pitting skill (which was the skill chosen by half the pilots in the first season) and people would have a hand full of Track cards and the ability to make 3 or 4 pits in a race (to clear damage from the car) and still come up first or second. It wasn't a coincidence that the 3 drivers that had pitting and chose Hazard as their main strategy finished the Season occupying the first 3 positions in the Drivers CHampionship, far far ahead of the other 3 drivers who chose Banging Wheels, Saving Tires, etc.

We tried Lala's variant (only blind checks), then we tried Lala's variant and only one Special per turn to try to limit the aquisition of track cards. But even then Hazard was much better than the rest, because you almost always play at least 1 card with damage or check, so you get 1 Track card almost every turn, as opposed, for example, to Banging Wheels (needs to win a challenge, and you don't stop at curves every turn), lucky (you don't draw equal cards every turn) and Chase (you don't stop at the same section than the car ahead of you every turn).

So that is why we decided to ban Hazard. It was too powefull to at the same time move a lot AND accumulate Track Cards.
 
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carl hilinski
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To summarize, then, the problem you saw was that too many track cards were being collected and played. I've seen that from both sides...done it myself and watched as my opponent do it. So I don't dispute it happens.

But it's a good strategy and I'd hate to just toss it without trying some options, such as only allowing it's use during one pit-to-pit stint in the race or increasing the number of brown damage chits in the pool. With more players, it's much more likely that the existing brownies will get distributed more evenly and be considered just a nuisance and not have any real affect on strategy.

I haven't made the investment in push as a strategy myself yet. I consider it an end-of-race strategy. But then I believe the first half of the race is like the first half of a basketball game--what you do then is not really all that important as long as you don't let yourself get lapped.

Which brings up an interesting point. Relate what happened with lapping. Did humans get lapped? Did all the robots get lapped? Did the blacks get lapped more than once ever?
 
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René Christensen
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Isn't the game about winning and not whining?
Play the darn strategy and let's race!

We don't choose Hazard because we don't understand how to use it fully and still the same players is in Top-3 no matter where he starts from during qualifying. He just deals with the cards on his hand, his skill and his strategy and race! I've seen him start last of 20 cars and still get into Top-3!

devil
 
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Ramalingam Raghavan
India
CHENNAI
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Any updates on your findings? If still unbalanced, then these are my suggestions. (Not realistic to push the car thru out the race)
1- If on hazard player has to change strategy after pits.
2- 4 damages gets one permanent damage.
3- 5 damages and more, pit 2 sections more and get only 3 turns of extra fuel.
4- If using hazard back to back, - Then you can't opt for Hazard, Push or Banging wheels anymore. Forced to go with a conservative strategy like balance, Save Tyres, save fuel or lucky.

For push-

1) When you push the car, take one additional tyre wear.
 
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