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Subject: Track Cycling rss

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Søren Andersen
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Hi guys,

I have been fiddling around with some ideas for a track racing variant of this brilliant game and I would love to hear your feedback on it. Just to clarify the terminology here in the beginning, each square consists of two lanes. I am only clarifying this, because this seems to be a matter of confusion in some explanations of the game. But it is quite important here, because the lanes are going to play a much more important role in this Track variant.

The Velodrome
If you put together the pieces of c j I b p o, then you should have a Velodrome shaped track. Note here that the double lines, indicating which rider is in front, is on the inside of the track. However, as players will move counter-clockwise, it will, unlike the base game, always be the rider on the left who is in front. The finishline/startline is simply the middle line of b or c.

Changes to the base rules
As I mentioned above, the lanes will play a much bigger role in this track variant, than in the base game. In fact all 5 rule changess are concerned with the lanes.

Rule Change 1: Slipstreaming is lane dependent. This means that rider only ride the slipstream of other riders if there is 1 empty lane in front of them. So in the illustration below, the green rider rides the slipstream of the black rider in front. Similarly, if the blue rider had not been there, the red rider would still not receive the slipstream of the black rider.


Rule Change 2: Exhaustion is also lane dependent. So in the example above, after slipstreaming, both the blue and the black rider receive an exhaustion card.

Rule Change 3: Movement from the inner lane to the outer lane 'costs' 2 movement points. So if a rider plays a 3 and wants to move from the inner to the outer lane, then he moves 1 square ahead and 1 square diagonally. So if the green rider in the image below plays a 3, then he moves along the red arrow.


Rule Change 4: Movement from the outer lane to the inner lane adds 1 movement point to the total movement of the rider. So if a rider plays a 3 and wants to move from the outer to the inner lane, then he makes one free movement diagonally and then moves the 3 squares ahead. So if the green rider in the image below plays a 3, then he moves along the green arrow.


Rule Change 5: The final rule will show the benefits of moving to the outer lanes, because if a rider starts his turn in the outer lane of one of the 4 corner squares (see illustration below), then he adds the momentum of the track to his movement this turn. A rider with momentum adds 2 movement points to his total movement value. However, a rider with momentum must end his turn in the inner lane.
(Clarification I: The momentum and the bonus for moving from an outer lane to an inner lane do stack, so a rider with momentum effectively adds 3 to their movement, because they must move to the inner lane.)
(Clarification II: If the rider with momentum's path is blocked in the inner lane, then he must finish behind the rider who is blocking him (i.e. he is not allowed to use any excess movement to move back up to the outer lane)).
(Clarification III: In a four player game, the rider who starts the game in a momentum lane does not receive the momentum bonus on the first played card.)


Different Track Disciplines

I apologize if the explanations of these discipline rules are a little brief, but I am making the assumption here that is someone is reading a variant for Track racing, then they at least know a little bit about the rules of the various real life track racing disciplines. But I will do my best to be as inclusive as I can.

Scratch:
The rules for a scratch race are fairly simple. The race consist of 3 laps around the track and the first rider across the finish line wins. (Clarification: If a breakaway rider gains a lap on the bunch (i.e. makes contact with the rider in last place) he can ride the slipstream of the rider is front).

Elimination Race:
In the elimination race, the last two riders to cross the finishline each lap are eliminated from the race and removed from the board. When there are only 2 riders left, the first of these to cross the finishline wins.

Point Race:
The point race is very hectic, so you may need to keep track of the riders' individual positions and points on a piece of paper or with other clear markers.
The point race is like the scratch race, except that there is a sprint each lap. In the sprint there is 5, 3, 2, and 1 point for the first four riders to cross the finish line. Additionally, if a rider manages to gain a lap on the other riders, then he receives 5 points. (Clarification: A breakaway rider still participates in the sprints. However, if a rider manages to gain a lap on the bunch, then he is no longer considered to be in front of the bunch. I will mention here again that a lap is gained once the rider makes contact with the rider in last place.)
The winner of the point race is the rider with the most points after 3 laps. In case of ties, the rider who placed highest in the final sprint wins.

Disciplines with only two players

The following three disciplines are only for 2 players, or could potentially work in a bracket tournament with 4 players.

Sprint:
In the sprint, each player picks only one of their riders, who will go head to head in a 2 lap race against the other player's rider. The riders start next to each other by the startline. The first rider to cross the finishline after 2 laps wins.

Individual Pursuit:
Just like with the sprint, in the individual pursuit each player picks only one of their riders, who will go head to head in a 3 lap race against the other player's rider. However, in the pursuit, the players start on opposite sides of the track, as illustrated below. The first rider to cross their respective finishline after 3 laps wins.


Team Pursuit:
The team pursuit is exactly like the individual pursuit, except that the players use both of their riders. The teams start opposite each other just like above, but the teammates start next to each other. The first team to cross the line after 3 laps on their respective finishline wins. (Clarification: The entire team must cross the line in order to win the race)

If you want to try something fun, you can even try to play with 4 riders on each team.

"Omnium"-style rules

If you are the type who really enjoyed the Grand Tour "expansion" to this game, then you might be looking for some omnium rules for this variant as well. Of course there are disciplines in the real omnium race that simply do not convert well onto the tabletop, but you can still combine the various disciplines mentioned above to create an omnium like variant. If you play the the two player disciplines as tournament brackets, then you should get a fairly clear ranking of the players, which allows for a simple point system to be introduced here. The winner of each discipline gets 20 points, 2nd place gets 18 points, 3rd place gets 16 points etc. After however many disciplines you wish to play, the rider with the most points overall wins. Very simple.

Those were the rules for my track variant. I hope some of you will enjoy the possibility of playing this great game on the velodrome as well.

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Vincent Joly
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Great job ! I like your velodrome, disign and rules (track with a very differant experience).

I go to rename my modest oval modest
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Miguel (working on TENNISmind...)
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I sold Breaking Away when buying Flamme Rouge, this variant may be useful!
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Søren Andersen
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Thank you very much both of you! I am happy to see that there is an interest for this type of variant.
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black dog
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Thanks to you for posting it.

I have 2 questions :

1/ Is the momentum mandatory ? Or may the rider stay on the outer lane ?

2/ If 2 riders cross the finish line in the same round, is the one who gets the furthest still winning ? Or the first to cross ?
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Asger Harding Granerud
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I'm definitely going to try it

Happy racing
Asger Granerud
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Søren Andersen
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Very good observations!

yves_bgg wrote:

1/ Is the momentum mandatory ? Or may the rider stay on the outer lane ?


Yes, the momentum is mandatory. Or at least that is the way I intended it.

yves_bgg wrote:
Thanks to you for posting it.
2/ If 2 riders cross the finish line in the same round, is the one who gets the furthest still winning ? Or the first to cross ?


All the normal rules of the game still apply, with the exception of the five mentioned rule changes. So yes, the rider who gets the furthest is the winner.

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Karl Twort
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This variant looks fantastic. Looking forward to giving it a shot!
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Ryan Keane
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Really cool variant. Just played 2 games of Scratch, using 2 bot teams (6 cyclists total). First game, one of the bot sprinter's drew all three 9's pretty early and just smoked us, lapping the rear cyclist. Second game, I sprinted out in front off the outside of the first turn and was able to work my 2 cyclists together to stay away (I think 1 bot caught me for a bit but then got dropped again), finishing with both cyclists almost half a lap ahead.

You do want to avoid exhaustion during the first lap, but they are not a huge factor. Since you can try to get the momentum boost at least every other turn (I was usually entering the next turn off of the previous turn, so you have to stay inside on the second turn), you need max 54-58 energy to finish without slipstreaming. I really felt like I was sprinting down the inside straight, going up the banked turn and then trying to come back down fast.

For rules for bots changing lanes, I played they would go as far as possible in their lane but shift outside if their last inside space was blocked, and they would shift outside if their last space was on the 2nd-5th space of the inside lane of a turn (by 5th space, I mean the inside space after the turn - shifting would put them instead on the 4th outside space). And obviously they would shift inside with +2 when they started on the outside of a turn.
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Søren Andersen
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Ryan Keane wrote:
Just played 2 games of Scratch, using 2 bot teams (6 cyclists total).


Thank you so much for the report! Great feedback. I actually had a game with 3 bot teams that went quite similar to your first game, except that it was a rouleur that consistently drew his 6's and 7's until he completed the lap. After that he was just riding at the back of the bunch, for the rest of the race, but he always managed to catch the slipstream of the rider in front, and was basically dragged the rest of the way until the finishline. Even though I ended up losing (I actually think I came 6th and 7th), it was one of the most fun games I have played, because I was really trying hard to gain gain a lap as well, but I just couldn't catch the end of the bunch.

Ryan Keane wrote:

For rules for bots changing lanes, I played they would go as far as possible in their lane but shift outside if their last inside space was blocked, and they would shift outside if their last space was on the 2nd-5th space of the inside lane of a turn (by 5th space, I mean the inside space after the turn - shifting would put them instead on the 4th outside space). And obviously they would shift inside with +2 when they started on the outside of a turn.


That is exacly how I played with them as well.
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Asger Harding Granerud
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Could you put the rules into a pdf and upload them as a file here on BGG?

Regards
Asger
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Søren Andersen
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AsgerSG wrote:
Could you put the rules into a pdf and upload them as a file here on BGG?

Regards
Asger


Of course I'll get right on it.
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black dog
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I don't understand the purpose of rules #3 and #4. Don't you think they cancel each other ?

I played an elimination race against 3 bots : 4 Sprinters, 3 turns. No rider has been blocked during the whole race. So it seems always better to move on the right lane untill the next curve. Obvious choice all the time.
Did I miss something ?
 
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Asger Harding Granerud
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yves_bgg wrote:
I don't understand the purpose of rules #3 and #4. Don't you think they cancel each other ?

I played an elimination race against 3 bots : 4 Sprinters, 3 turns. No rider has been blocked during the whole race. So it seems always better to move on the right lane untill the next curve. Obvious choice all the time.
Did I miss something ?


A) When combined with rule no 5, they make a significant change.

B) When exhaustion and slipstreaming are lane dependant (rule #1 & #2) it doesn't cancel out at all, as the movement of the riders becomes a tactical challenge in itself.


In classic Flamme Rouge once you have picked your card, the rest is simply updating the game state. You have no choice in where you end up. In this variant there is a lot of choice once you move the rider.

And actually this makes me think another rules is needed to keep the pace of the game flowing as fast as possible. Should riders reveal their cards one at a time as they move, to avoid having an annoying player (like me) count all the possible variants before making my move? It could slow down the game either way.

Regards
Asger Granerud
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black dog
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AsgerSG wrote:

B) When exhaustion and slipstreaming are lane dependant (rule #1 & #2) it doesn't cancel out at all, as the movement of the riders becomes a tactical challenge in itself.

I don't see why. As I said, I never had a chance to block any rider. Maybe the problem comes from the bots. It would have been different with real players.


AsgerSG wrote:
In classic Flamme Rouge once you have picked your card, the rest is simply updating the game state. You have no choice in where you end up. In this variant there is a lot of choice once you move the rider.

Actually 2 choices. Or I don't understand the way it works...
To be sure :
- when you move from left to right, you reduce your card value by 1.
- when you move from right to left you add 1 and 2 more if you start on a curve.
Right ?
 
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Ryan Keane
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AsgerSG wrote:

And actually this makes me think another rules is needed to keep the pace of the game flowing as fast as possible. Should riders reveal their cards one at a time as they move, to avoid having an annoying player (like me) count all the possible variants before making my move? It could slow down the game either way.


Good point - yes, I would recommend players reveal and move in turn from the leader, so players aren't influenced by what other players selected. It still plays very quickly. Unlike players trying to negotiate the best way through a long turn in Formula D, the optimal lane changing in this FR variant is usually obvious.
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Ryan Keane
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yves_bgg wrote:
AsgerSG wrote:

B) When exhaustion and slipstreaming are lane dependant (rule #1 & #2) it doesn't cancel out at all, as the movement of the riders becomes a tactical challenge in itself.

I don't see why. As I said, I never had a chance to block any rider. Maybe the problem comes from the bots. It would have been different with real players.


AsgerSG wrote:
In classic Flamme Rouge once you have picked your card, the rest is simply updating the game state. You have no choice in where you end up. In this variant there is a lot of choice once you move the rider.

Actually 2 choices. Or I don't understand the way it works...


I had a lot of blocking, playing with bots. The 4 outside lane spaces on a curve are highly contested, and there were a lot of times where a cyclist didn't get to move their last space of movement (changing lanes would force an exhaustion).

Agreed - it's not a lot of choice. Change lane or not? And no choice when you're getting the momentum boost.
 
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Ryan Keane
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yves_bgg wrote:

To be sure :
- when you move from left to right, you reduce your card value by 1.
- when you move from right to left you add 1 and 2 more if you start on a curve.
Right ?


When you move diagonally left to right (inside to outside), it costs 2 moves, not 1.

When you move diagonally right to left (outside to inside), it costs 0 moves.

When you start your turn on the outside of a curve, add 2 to your total movement and you must end your turn on the inside lane (even if it means you get blocked and don't move your full movement).

So basically changing lanes back and forth results in no net increase in movement, but you do it gain free slipstreaming moves, avoid exhaustion, and get momentum boosts.
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Søren Andersen
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I can see that Asger beat me to the answer.

yves_bgg wrote:
I don't understand the purpose of rules #3 and #4. Don't you think they cancel each other ?


I can understand you doubt about these two rules, but they are made mainly to illustrate the slope of the velodrome. And they are actually supposed to "cancel each other out". I initially had rule 4 as "Add 2 movement points", but this would simply result in people ziq-zagging between lanes, because you would move further if kept switching lanes, which wouldn't make sense.

I can't see this variant making any sense without rule 3, but if you think it will improve your gaming experience, then perhaps try it out without rule 4.

AsgerSG wrote:
[q="yves_bgg"]And actually this makes me think another rules is needed to keep the pace of the game flowing as fast as possible. Should riders reveal their cards one at a time as they move, to avoid having an annoying player (like me) count all the possible variants before making my move? It could slow down the game either way.

Regards
Asger Granerud


Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't think to add this rule, because this is how I always play, even in the base game. I feel it adds some suspense to the game if the players reveal their cards one at a time. But definitely, in this variant, the "turnbased" reveal of cards is a must. This is just an oversight on my part. Thank you for picking up on it Asger!
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Ryan Keane
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Another variant would be that you don't even select the card for your cyclist until all the other cyclists in front of you have revealed their card and move. Cyclists next to each other in the same space would reveal and move at the same time and neither can change lanes if they move the exact same number of spaces. This simulates you being able to see how fast the cyclists in front of you are going and responding by accelerating or decelerating (within your limited 4-card draw).

You could apply this rule to normal Flamme Rouge, but it seems more fitting for track cycling.
 
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Asger Harding Granerud
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Ryan Keane wrote:
So basically changing lanes back and forth results in no net increase in movement, but you do it gain free slipstreaming moves, avoid exhaustion, and get momentum boosts.


It also matters for timing of who moves first, which seems more important here than in regular Flamme Rouge.

I assume you HAVE to move as far as you can in a lane as possible. Are you forced to change lanes at any points?

Happy racing
Asger Granerud
 
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Ryan Keane
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AsgerSG wrote:
Ryan Keane wrote:
So basically changing lanes back and forth results in no net increase in movement, but you do it gain free slipstreaming moves, avoid exhaustion, and get momentum boosts.


It also matters for timing of who moves first, which seems more important here than in regular Flamme Rouge.

I assume you HAVE to move as far as you can in a lane as possible. Are you forced to change lanes at any points?

Happy racing
Asger Granerud


Good point - I usually always moved to the inside lane on the straights.

I assumed you have to move your full movement if you can (last space is not already occupied). Changing from the inside to outside means you move 1 less space. I played that you were NOT forced to change lanes to use your full movement or as much of your movement, if you were blocked. With the exception of being forced to move inside off a momentum boost.
 
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black dog
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SchackTAG wrote:

Rule Change 3: Movement from the inner lane to the outer lane 'costs' 2 movement points. So if a rider plays a 3 and wants to move from the inner to the outer lane, then he moves 1 square ahead and 1 square diagonally.


Rule Change 4: Movement from the outer lane to the inner lane adds 1 movement point to the total movement of the rider. So if a rider plays a 3 and wants to move from the outer to the inner lane, then he makes one free movement diagonally and then moves the 3 squares ahead.


Sorry guys, You've lost me.
In your examples above, where exactly are the riders after their move if they play a 3 ?
 
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Søren Andersen
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AsgerSG wrote:
I assume you HAVE to move as far as you can in a lane as possible. Are you forced to change lanes at any points?


I have played with the rules that, if you CAN move, then you MUST move. Meaning that, if you are moving in the outer lane and get blocked by another rider in front, then you must use the excess movement by switching to the inner lane, if possible, and vice versa. So if you play a 6, but after moving 5 in the outer lane, your path gets blocked on the 6th square, then you must complete your movement in the inner lane if you can. If both lanes are blocked (Note here that the movement from the outer lane to the inner lane adds 1 free movement, which means that the 6th AND 7th square must be blocked. If either of the 2 is free, then the rider moves to that square) then rider stays in the lane he is in. This is to stay true to the base game and to avoid the possibility of players deliberately ignoring movement.
 
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Ryan Keane
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SchackTAG wrote:
AsgerSG wrote:
I assume you HAVE to move as far as you can in a lane as possible. Are you forced to change lanes at any points?


I have played with the rules that, if you CAN move, then you MUST move. Meaning that, if you are moving in the outer lane and get blocked by another rider in front, then you must use the excess movement by switching to the inner lane, if possible, and vice versa. So if you play a 6, but after moving 5 in the outer lane, your path gets blocked on the 6th square, then you must complete your movement in the inner lane if you can. If both lanes are blocked (Note here that the movement from the outer lane to the inner lane adds 1 free movement, which means that the 6th AND 7th square must be blocked. If either of the 2 is free, then the rider moves to that square) then rider stays in the lane he is in. This is to stay true to the base game and to avoid the possibility of players deliberately ignoring movement.


I don't like that interpretation because of this example:
I'm in the outside lane and my movement would end me on the 2nd outside space of a curve, but it's occupied. I want to waste 1 movement and just stop behind that cyclist in the 1st outside curve space, avoiding an exhaustion and getting a +3 to my move on the inside lane next turn. But now I am forced to move to the 3rd inside space, take an exhaustion, and lose my momentum boost next turn, so the net result over 2 turns is -1 movement and an exhaustion.
 
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