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Giro d'Italia: The Game» Forums » Sessions

Subject: Climbing Up Mont Ventoux rss

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John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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This past Saturday, after watching Stage 20 of the real Tour de France (which featured the climb up the legendary Mont Ventoux), I took my pink box Giro d'Italia game to a gaming session to see if there was any interest in re-enacting the climb through the game. To my pleasant surprise, there were some gamers there who had followed the Tour and were interested in giving the game a go. We used a course layout similar to that posted by Garf in his Leader 1 Tour of the Galaxy and Tour de France replays with a couple of modifications so all the tiles fit snugly on the table and none had to be flipped or used more than once. I used many of the advanced, optional rules posted as the "Leader 2" rules that you can find here at BGG under the listing for Leader 1.

I let everyone else choose what cyclists/teams/colors they preferred. To my surprise, no one asked for Lance Armstrong, Alberto Contador, or the Astana team. Rick liked Andy Schleck so I gave him SaxoBank, which had Andy as the climber, but Jens Voigt as team leader and Fabian Cancellara as rouleur (no brother Frank). Robbie asked for Jan Ullrich for whom I unfortunately did not have a card, so he wound up with the Cervelo team, featuring 2008 Tour Champ Carlos Sastre and Thor Hushovd, the "Norwegian God of Thunder." Jason, who didn't seem to care, wound up with the Astana team of Armstrong and Contador which, on paper, looked like the best bet to win the stage. I settled for the American Garmin team.

The four teams and their respective cyclists and special abilities looked like this (I have deleted stuff like Time Trials and Cobbles which didn't apply to this race):

Astana: Leader-Armstrong (Recovery, Explosive); Rouleur-Rast (Aggressive); Climber-Contador (Recovery, Aggressive)
Cervelo: Leader-Haussler (Aggresive); Rouleur-Hushovd (Sprint, Downhill); Climber-Sastre (Recovery, Explosive)
Garmin: Leader-Vandevelde (Explosive, Downhill); Rouleur-Farrar (Sprint); Climber-Wiggins (Recovery)
SaxoBank: Leader-Voigt (Aggressive); Rouleur-Cancellara (Aggressive); Climber-A. Schleck (Aggressive, Recovery)

Again, looking at the teams and the special abilities, with a long, tough Category 1 climb at the end, I thought Astana with Armstrong and Contador had the best shot at the win. Sastre and Schleck, if properly managed, were also possibilities. I figured to use Farrar up early and try to set up something for either Vandevelde or Wiggins, but I was not particularly optimistic about the likely outcome.

The race started and eventually all the rouleurs went out in front in the early sections of the course which were flat, downhill, or uphill (orange). We used the Pursuit Points rule which meant no more than six pushes per team, modified downward for each six. Turned out there were about three sixes, meaning just about everyone except me was out of Pursuit Points by the end. Robbie broke out with his team leader as well, holding Sastre back. I also sent Vandevelde ahead, while Jason and Rick were reluctant to send out a second rider until the latter part of the race.

The key decision for me was when to send Wiggins. I did so on the final downhill just before the approach to the climb up Ventoux. Entering the climb, I briefly had riders in the top three positions, enabling me to manipulate them a bit, sacrificing first Farrar and then Vandevelde to blaze a trail for Wiggins. I used up both Farrar and Vandevelde but, since the Peleton was still a ways behind, used them as blockers to clog up the course for the others. (Never was the course entirely clogged up, as for an extra energy you could move through a cyclist, it just made things more expensive.) The other three guys eventually caught on, doing the same thing, trying to get their cyclists in a group together so they could support each other.

Finally, with Wiggins out in front, Lance Armstrong surged forward and got into Wiggins' slipstream as the two of them battled their way up the Ventoux. I was only able to move Wiggins four squares (three free and one paying) without running a risk of crack, while Armstrong moved four (two free, one for the slipstream, one paying) to stay right on his wheel. However, Armstrong had the explosive ability so I was worried about him pulling alongside and taking the lead at a key portion of the course.

I thought about pushing Wiggins an extra space and rolling a risk but a quick energy count meant I would be down to next to nothing, so I kept on going. Jason, for some reason, did not see the move to pull alongside with Armstrong, content to save energy and sit on Wiggins' wheel. This might have been OK in the real-life Tour in a stage race where Wiggins needed to gain time on Armstrong, but here it was winner-take-all, so I managed to pull ahead to the key inside lane leading to the final run in to the finish. At this point, even using Armstrong's explosive ability, he would be behind. Then I had just enough energy to push Wiggins across the line. Sastre, I believe, placed third and Contador fourth. (Both of these could have been contenders had they moved away from the safety of the Peleton a bit sooner). We did not bother with all the other riders as the game had already been going on a bit too long.

Good game, everyone seemed to enjoy it. Can you imagine though ... Bradley Wiggins wins over Lance Armstrong on Mont Ventoux !! Never would happen in real life.
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Trent Hopkins
United States
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Haha I'm looking at this post almost a full year too late. The game sounds wildly exciting and I look to get this one immediately! Thank you.
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Garry Jackson
United Kingdom
Brighton
East Sussex
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I am reading this review 4 years later. Interesting to note the different views we have of Armstrong and Wiggins now!
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