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Subject: Street Racing rss

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Douglas Schulz
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Douglas Schulz's entry for the 2017 Two-Player Print and Play Design Contest



Players: 2
Game Time: 20 minutes

Current phase: Components Available

Overview
Manage your hand of cards and press your luck as you race through the streets.

Each player starts with an identical hand of 5 cards. Each turn you want to be faster than your opponent but at some point you will need to ease up in order to re-fill your hand. Timing that move and some luck when handling is the key to success.

Components
2 Car decks of 5 cards each
1 Road deck of 12 cards
12 Handling tokens
1 Gap Tracker
2 Speed tracks
2 Car tokens
3 Steering tokens
2 Skid tokens
2 Speedometer tokens

Categories
Best Game
Best Casual/Gateway Game

PnP files
Rules v2 (includes component assembly instructions)
Tokens v2
Road Deck v2
Car Deck

Note that version 2 is the final version and includes a couple optional rules that I highly recommend after your first play.

Designer
Douglas Schulz
 
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JK
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Hi Douglas and welcome to the contest!
 
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JK
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Hi Douglas. There hasn't been much activity here. I hope you are able to get your entry finished in time for us to try it out. Good luck, JK
 
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JK
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Hi Douglas,
Just a reminder of the 8 May deadline to get your components done, otherwise the game will be withdrawn from the contest on that date.
Cheers, JK
 
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Douglas Schulz
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Some Designer Notes
This game was inspired by two complaints about racing games I heard from different people in the industry. Jim Dietz of Jolly Roger games once told me that there were not enough two player racing games. Not long after that Tom Vasel wondered why racing games were never quick playing. I don't recall which review it was in. Both comments stuck with me and at the risk of pigeon holing myself, I started working on a quick-playing, two-player racing game.

Development
The initial version was an attempt to model real life production sports cars. Each deck of cards had different values for acceleration, braking, and handling. Each turn you would play any number of cards one value or another. When you hit a corner, you would draw tokens from a bag equal to your speed minus your handling hoping not to draw too many of the bad ones.

The initial problem was that card draw luck was too dominant. Each card could only do one thing. If you did not draw enough of what you needed, when you needed you would lose through no fault of your play.

So I gave each card two abilities at different levels. This helped, but the whole system was still too much based on card draw luck. Each player had an identical deck of 12 cards. Which 4 or 5 you drew to start and as the game progressed defined your play. There really were not enough good choices in the game.

As I continued to refine and play test I realized that I needed to simplify and focus on the two elements I had chosen for the game: hand management and push your luck.

Push Your Luck
In early versions of the game, you would draw a certain number of tokens from a bag based on your speed. In this version, each time a token is drawn the player can chose to stop and slow down or continue drawing tokens and possibly incurring a penalty. This ratcheted up the decisions. Instead of making 1 push-your-luck decision per turn, a player could end up making several different ones as their turn progresses.

Hand Management
I decided to thin the deck down to 5 cards and give all 5 to each driver to start the game. This focused the game on your choices of when to play each card and removed the luck of the draw. I also tried to create different decisions based on your opponent's play and your current hand size.

Each card is numbered 0 - 4. The value of the cards indicates how much to increase your speed this turn. Faster is pretty much always better. Some cards also give you a bonus to handling.

The Push (4) card is generally the best card you have with the highest value and the best handling bonus. But the only way to put cards you have played back into your hand is to play other cards with special abilities. So you will have to play other cards.

The Pass (3) and Block (2) cards can do different things base don your opponent. The Pass card is actually better than the Push if your are behind in the race. While the Block card counters the advantages of the Pass card.

The last two cards will have to be used to replenish your hand. The Cruise (1) allows you to put one of your previously played cards back in your hand while the Coast (0) allows you to put all of your cards in your hand. When to play each of these cards is crucial to a fast race.
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JK
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PLAYTESTER SPOT PRIZES

This game is eligible for a playtester spot prize for the next week!

See this post for more details.
 
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David Sals
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Hi Douglas,

I haven't had a chance to play this game with anyone yet, but I've gone through the rules and the components. I have some thoughts and some questions.

There are a lot of dynamics here that I like:

I really like the way you use the car cards - there's enough choice to make it interesting without being overwhelming. I like that the lower-value cards help you re-claim your other spent cards, and that there's no clear strategy in terms of how best to play them just from looking at them. It definitely seems like a game where you'd have to play a few rounds to start to glean tactics.

The press-your-luck mechanic is well used here as well. The faster you're going, the more risks you're going to have to take to maintain your speed - just like in a real race.

All in all this feels like a game I'd like to take for a spin (sorry couldn't help myself).

Some initial impressions about the rules:

I had to read them over 4 times to figure out what was going on. A big part of it is that you launch into the mechanics without giving any overview of what the basic goals are. Things like:
- Two cars race each other in the streets of ______. Will your strategy and luck win out, or will you crash and burn?
- Use your car cards carefully to pace, block or pass your opponent.
- Get your speed up, then press your luck to keep it there.

The Handling Cube Distribution is reversed from the actual tokens included in the components.

Why are there no penalties beyond 9 for 1 skid token? If you have 2 steering wheels in play it's definitely possible for you to push your luck at 10 or 11.

I like the rain tokens. They make pressing your luck safer before the first one is drawn, and more dangerous after. I have a feeling that once people played with those tokens they would never not include them. If you just call it "water" you can keep it in the game all the time. Another option is to have it start raining on the nth road (maybe you roll a 6-sided die to determine and then add the rain tokens when that turn comes up).

Not as fond of the police car. Just making the game one turn longer or shorter doesn't seem like much of a challenge. How about if the police car gets shuffled into the deck with the bottom 2 face-down cards, like you say. Then whenever the police car flips up, if either player is going faster than X (6? 8?) they get pulled over. Either way the police car gets discarded after. It would throw another interesting press-your luck element into the game -- when you're down to the last 3, do you want to go faster and risk being pulled over, or slow down and risk being passed?

That's what I've got for now. I hope something in there is useful to you. Good luck with your game!
 
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Douglas Schulz
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First of all, many thanks for looking at this and taking the time to provide your thoughts. I would love to hear more feedback if you get a chance to play it.

dsals wrote:

I really like the way you use the car cards - there's enough choice to make it interesting without being overwhelming. I like that the lower-value cards help you re-claim your other spent cards, and that there's no clear strategy in terms of how best to play them just from looking at them.


Thanks. I am actually working on a revision of the cards that may add a few more but removes the pick-up mechanic with a cool-down mechanic where each card remains out of play for a couple turns but then moves back to your hand without specific card play being required. When I get that finalized, it will be interesting to see if its an improvement or a design dead-end.

dsals wrote:
Why are there no penalties beyond 9 for 1 skid token? If you have 2 steering wheels in play it's definitely possible for you to push your luck at 10 or 11.


In theory, that is because if you trigger a penalty that high up with 1 skid token in place (due to water) the penalty will drop you down out of that range.

dsals wrote:
I like the rain tokens. They make pressing your luck safer before the first one is drawn, and more dangerous after. I have a feeling that once people played with those tokens they would never not include them.


Agreed. I never play without them. Perhaps future versions of this will not include the initial play without them?

dsals wrote:
Not as fond of the police car. Just making the game one turn longer or shorter doesn't seem like much of a challenge. How about if the police car gets shuffled into the deck with the bottom 2 face-down cards, like you say. Then whenever the police car flips up, if either player is going faster than X (6? 8?) they get pulled over. Either way the police car gets discarded after. It would throw another interesting press-your luck element into the game -- when you're down to the last 3, do you want to go faster and risk being pulled over, or slow down and risk being passed?


That's interesting...

Thanks for all the feedback. I'll defiantly get another version of this out eventually.
 
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