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Subject: Toward a "More Realistic" Variant rss

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Doug Buel
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I love Formula De. I've collected every track. I think this is a great game. However, as a fan of real Formula 1, I've always thought about what it would take to make Formula De more realistic.

There are certain things about the game I would never want to change. I wouldn't want to change the dice, for example. I feel that the dice are fundamental to the nature of the game, and so even if removing the dice might make the game more realistic, I wouldn't want to do that.

What I wanted to do instead was think about what changes I could make that would represent real Formula 1 racing more and yet not compromise the game in terms of what it is right now.

If you watch real Formula 1 with any regularity, you'll note some tremendous differences between the game and the real thing.

-- The cars in real life change gears with tremendous ease as compared with the game. For example, get out your Monaco track and take a look at the straight between the Anthony Noghes turn and the Sainte Devote turn. A real Formula 1 car can go from 1st gear at Anthony Noghes and reach 7th gear before hitting the Sainte Devote turn. There's no way you're even reaching 6th that fast in the game. (The game has no 7th gear, but we'll forgive that.)

-- In real Formula 1, the primary purpose of pitting is fuel. Changing tires is entirely secondary. Cars might go an entire race and never change tires. Before a few years ago, you weren't even allowed to change tires during the race unless the tires were visibly damaged. (You're allowed to now, because F-1 woke up and realized that tire changes improve safety.) Cars pit to get more fuel. Conversely, in the game, you do not get more fuel when you pit. You only get new tires.

-- In real Formula 1, nearly any crash of any sort is catastrophic. Few cars ever withstand any sort of bump with another car. This is because the cars are open-wheel, and also because suspensions are not designed to withstand lateral impact force. Conversely, in the game, you have bodywork points that act like hit points.

-- In real Formula 1, drafting is almost nonexistent. On a track such as Monaco, for example, the cars' air effects are set for maximum ground force. You cannot draft. To get close behind another car at any substantial speed would be disastrous, because you would lose ground force. (There are some "fast" tracks, however, such as Indianapolis, where the air effects are set for minimum ground force, and drafting could occur.)

-- In real Formula 1, hard downshifting is not a problem for the car. Nearly every track is managed by hard downshifting. The cars can downshift very hard all day long. The actual stress issue in slowing down is braking. On some real Formula 1 tracks, true braking has to take place, because downshifting is not sufficient. This is more true on tracks with elevation changes, and is where both tires and cars feel the stress. Braking is much worse for the car than downshifting. Downshifting is the normal way to slow down in real Formula 1. Conversely, in the game, downshifting uses up both brake points and "engine points," as though downshifting were bad for the car.

-- In real Formula 1, gas is used up by going fast. In the game, gas is used up by slowing down abruptly.

As I said, I enjoy the game. When I've played it, I've played it as is without thinking about changing the rules. The game is just plain fun.

However, as a Formula 1 fan and with the above points in mind, I plan on having some fun by trying some rule variants. I thought I would give these a shot:

--------------------

1. The cars are now allowed to shift upward as many gears as they like. You may go straight from 1st to 6th if you wish.

(This represents the fact that a real F-1 car can go from 1st to 7th in the equivalent of what is less than 20 game spaces on the board.)

2. Over-revving uses brake points according to the chart in the rulebook, but it no longer uses fuel points or engine points. In other words, downshifting 3 or more gears in one instance uses 1 brake point and no other points. The car may downshift any number of gears.

(This represents the fact that hard downshifting is quite normal for an F-1 car. We're still using brake points because braking is stressful for a real F-1 car, and because on some tracks, real braking is required. We could make a rule to distinguish between true braking and simple hard downshifting, based on whether a given track has hills, but adding that sort of complexity might be no fun.)

3. All cars have 1 bodywork point. When this point is lost, the car is eliminated. In effect, this means that any crash is fatal.

(This represents the fact that in real races, the slightest car-to-car bumps have caused numerous eliminations.)

4. The Engine Damage rule is replaced with the Fuel Consumption rule. As before, when a driver rolls a 20 in 5th gear or a 30 in 6th gear, the driver must roll the black die. However, a 1-4 no longer uses an engine point. Instead, it uses a fuel point. Drivers with no fuel points cannot choose 5th or 6th gear.

(This represents the fact that fuel is the primary resource in real F-1 racing.)

5. Cars that make pit stops now replenish all fuel points as well as all tire points.

(This represents the fact that in real F-1, the purpose of pitting is to refuel. Changing tires is secondary.)

6. Do not use the slipstreaming optional rule.

(This represents the fact that in real F-1, the cars cannot draft on most tracks. Later, we could determine on which tracks the cars would be set so that drafting might be possible. For now, we'll simply disallow it.)

7. Note that engine points now serve no purpose. There is nothing that uses up your engine points, so you can disregard them.

I'm going to give this house variant a try before too long and see how it works out.

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Will Green
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I would be very interested in what you find out as far as playability and particularly the fun factor. Also, would your variants erode a sense of the game, or enhance it?

Let us know what you discover.

 
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Simon Lundström
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Very interesting post. I made up a system like yours, because I wasn't satisfied with how much the game broke what's sensible for a real Formula 1. My main issues were
* It's the tyres that get damage when you break, not the brakes themselves.
* Fuel should be consumed during the race, and should be the main motivation for a pit-stop.

My main adjustments were that
* Take away brake points - more tyre points. Tyres points are now consumed in order to brake when going too fast in a curve. I.e. the tyre points now work as brake points in the original game.
(This, however, might be very wrong when reading the above post. Maybe the car itself takes a huge strain when braking.)
* Fuel is now consumed 1) the reverse use of brakes = i.e. to "accelerate" one space. Fuel is also consumed at random - a top roll on any die consumes 1 point of fuel.
* Engine is damages when jumping gears downwards. 1 engine point per jumped gear
* Body points are as normal.
* Fuel and tires are replaced totally when pitting. Engine and bodywork can "heal" 1 point (choose which).

This system worked very good. We had a number of really good races. The bends tend to be very clogged up (especially the entry points), but I saw that as a feature and a natural result.

However, all experiments died when I tried to adjust for the very very illogical corelation between 1) speed and 2) movement in bends as there is in Formula Dé. Normally, when you go fast in an S-bend, in reality you take the shortest route possible, turning as little as possible. But in Formula Dé, if you're rolling too high, what you do to use up as many move points as possible is bending through the S-curve, going the longest way possible. This wasn't possible to adjust without serious and massive changes of the tracks, so I gave up. Trying to really "reality-fy" Formula Dé felt stupid when you took into account this extremely strange behaviour in bends.

However, you can still play with the above rule changes. They did much for the game, the most fun part being the fuel management. If it's true the cars take a huge strain when braking, you could keep the brake points and use the tyre points as normal. After all, it's perfectly normal that you can go faster in a curve when your tires are healthy. (Then again, they need to be warmed up first… but I guess they do burnout before the race starts, so…)
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dbuel wrote:

-- In real Formula 1, the primary purpose of pitting is fuel. Changing tires is entirely secondary. Cars might go an entire race and never change tires. Before a few years ago, you weren't even allowed to change tires during the race unless the tires were visibly damaged. (You're allowed to now, because F-1 woke up and realized that tire changes improve safety.) Cars pit to get more fuel. Conversely, in the game, you do not get more fuel when you pit. You only get new tires


Actually 2004 was the only year since probably the early 1980s in which tire changes were essentially disallowed (except if damaged). Mandatory fuel changes only came into F1 in 1994.
 
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Amerikai Guy
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You've come up with some great variants to help make Formula De pretend to be something like real F1 racing. I like the game, but there's too much to fix. That why I'm currently working on my own open-wheel racing game that is all about fuel strategy, hard driving, multiple laps, and staying on the ideal line.
 
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Simon Lundström
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One word:

Bolide.

The perfect racing game if you want all tactics, best line driving and no randomness.
 
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Tony La Morte
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Last I remember, Formula 1 requires at least one tire change these days.
 
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Tony La Morte
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I am not familiar with Bolide rules so can't add much.
However, I have played Formula De, and it can be a fun game, but.

The issue I have is in the dice used not so much as the using of dice. Gears 5 & 6 vary greatly in possible speeds and there is the major problem.

Depending on length of race, (Laps) it is very difficult to make up for the space diffence if you roll low and another rolls high in the same gear.

I really haven't played in a while abut do remember we did come up with some house rules. I will look them up and see if I can't add more here.

Other then the 5 - 6 gear dice, the other fixes are very easy.

Best Regards, Tony

P.S. Speed Circuit is superior, IMHO
 
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Alexander Eppelein
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dbuel wrote:

1. The cars are now allowed to shift upward as many gears as they like. You may go straight from 1st to 6th if you wish.

After -summing up all the (playing)time- playing days and probably weeks of Formula De, I think this would destroy one of the main points of the game:

Taking the risk and using the higher gear into the bend or to the second (or third) stop is a crucial point. Being the one one gear higher on the next straight gives you the advantage you are looking for. Or do you stay on the safe side one gear less and hope that you will not lose too much on the next straight but spare some car-points.

This decision -in my opinion- is one of the main things in Formula De. It would be gone, if you are allowed to shift wherever you want.

(Moreover its the same, the other way round, concerning downshifting: Do i risk the 6th gear to reach the bend? But if i fail for one or two spaces i certainly will have to spend the rest of my car-points or will crash. This situation would be no problem, if i would be allowed to downshift even to 2nd or 1st gear)
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emiel van marwijk

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With only 1 body point races could and very quickly.
One bad roll and you're out.
If there are more cars with a bad roll you could find yourself racing on the track all alone.
But if that rule works for your group then that's allright, most importantly is the fun to race.
Most of us try out hr and mostly they work fine.

-Emilio
MAFZ

 
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