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Subject: the essence: random in two dimensions rss

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Tomello Visello
United States
Reston
Virginia
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Gameplay: Five cars take to the track, regardless of the number of players.

Each player rolls five dice and picks three to execute. An individual die indicates both which car color to move and how many spaces. Sometimes a die indicates drawing a card rather than a move.

Actions on the cards include moving one or two cars 2 to 5 spaces (mostly 2), moving the last-place car 7 spaces (“no car left behind”), and spinning out one or more cars (effectively “lose a turn”).

A special “Sponsorship” card is handed to every player once the first car enters the backstretch. Each card relates to a particular car color and these are kept secret from the other players. More Sponsorship cards are part of the action deck so some players will get additional Sponsorship cards.

Sponsorship cards conditionally pay prize money to the holder whenever the car color indicated finishes in a Top Three position. A player might draw a card matching his car color, but most often it serves as incentive to boost the movement of a car other than his own.

Normal prize money is paid out based on the finish order for a one-lap race. A complete game consists of two such races.

The combined Sponsorship payout related to all of the Top Three finishers in a race is comparatively at least half of the combined Finish-Order payout for the Top Three. It can be as much as 75% depending upon whether all the extra cards have been drawn from the deck.

All sponsorship cards are returned after the first race for new distribution in the second. Starting order for the second race inverts the finish order from the first.

Total prize money after the second race determines the game winner.



The Essence: For a dice game, players imagine they have some level of control because they get to choose which three of the five rolled will be exercised. Overlooked is the distribution of Sponsorship cards, which randomizes game results in a second dimension that is unrelated to a player’s own (dice driven) race finish.



Distinctive Feature: An imaginative difference for gamer attention is the five dice. Each individual die repeats the same digit on five of its faces (the sixth face contains a “draw a card” symbol), such as all 1s or all 2s, and so on up to all 5s. Each FACE, however, is a different color, and in this manner tells which car will move the indicated number of spaces.

Since each die indicates a different number from 1 to 5, at most only one car will ever move (for instance) 2 spaces for a roll. A particular COLOR, however, might appear on more than die and thus be eligible for moving additional spaces, provided both are among the three selected by the player.

It just wouldn’t work the same to have standard numbering on five different colored dice,



Assessment: No skill required. Virtually none permitted. Yet somehow it produces entertainment…or at least so I witness in others.

Sponsorship cards are a way to assure that no car gets left behind. The secret status of Sponsorship is a way to assure that no player gets completely picked on. The Sponsorship value itself can randomly keep the last-place race finisher from being the game (money) loser. This helps direct, but does not assure, that all final scores are close… and thus to me meaningless.

I never encourage my nieces and nephew to play this game when I visit their house, because I just don’t like it. But I do go along when they initiate the request and keep my thoughts (if not my facial expression) to myself because I am not actually harmed by it.

I have much higher respect for both Daytona 500 and Formula Motor Racing, which cover the same territory in a manner still accessible to elementary level players. Both are every bit as simple to learn yet provide more direct engagement in the action. Thankfully, my relatives will gladly join me in those two, also.

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