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Subject: Auto Racing Game Idea-Looking for input and critique rss

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Doug Palmer
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I am an auto racing enthusiast. NASCAR, F1, CART, Sprint Cars, SCCA, you name it, and I like it and follow it. When it comes to board games, I’ve played most of them and own many. I think that the board game genre has done the actual RACING aspect of the sport proud. And I think that there are very few more ways to skin that proverbial cat. What I think is lacking is the team management end of the gaming genre. So, an idea has been bouncing in my head for the past month or so. Gestating you might say. I’ve been getting ideas down on paper, hashing them down in my head, and now, I think I’m ready to have the masses (that means you all) start to rip them to shreds. Oh you lucky (or unlucky) bastards.

F1 Team Manager

Concept: You have decided to enter the upcoming F1 season. You have at your disposal nothing more than a previous seasons chassis (outdated) and not much more. Not content to being merely a backmarker, you will use your cunning, your talent, and your money, to turn this fledgling team into a winner (or at least respectable) by the end of the season.

Game setup: (let me just flesh things out here)

1) Game starts with each player getting a playmat, which symbolizes their chassis and team facilities and a colored gamepiece(s). All cards and upgrades will go on this playmat. The playmat would have slots for cards (i.e. driver cards, building cards, event cards, finishing cards and sponsorship cards).

2) The central gameboard, which holds the shared information, is set in the middle of the table. On this central gameboard, there are locations for the race schedule, available drivers for recruitment, available buildings for purchase, as well as a mechanism for keeping track of a cars stats for the upcoming race.

3) Each player gets X million dollars. Right now, I’m working with 3 million dollars per player.

4) A race schedule is dealt out from a deck of tracks. I’m thinking that the schedule can vary in length, depending on how long the players want the game to be. At the moment, I’m working with a 6-race schedule.

a. Each track card will have the same information on it:

i. The track name and a silhouette of the track

ii. Keyword(s) that can correspond to drivers/buildings, providing advantages.

iii. A travel amount, which is the amount of money required to travel to the event per employee point your team currently has. The larger your teams infrastructure, the more costly it is to travel.

iv. Symbols which correspond to the car which provide bonuses. i.e. picture of a shock would represent a course where suspension research is held in high regard and would give you an additional bonus. A picture of a wing would be a high speed (think Spa) course and a car with a lot of aerodynamics research would get the bonuses.

5) Next, a set of drivers from the drivers deck would be dealt out. A number of drivers equal to 2+ the number of players is dealt out. There would be a space on the central gameboard for the drivers to be clearly seen by all.

a. Each driver card would have the same information

i. The name of the driver and a picture

ii. A rating for the driver from 1 to 3. 3 being the highest

iii. A salary to employ the driver. When you choose the driver, you pay the salary to the bank.

iv. Keyword(s) associated to the driver. The better drivers would have more valuable keywords, etc.

6) Next, six buildings are dealt out from the buildings deck.

a. Each building card would have the same information

i. The name of the building and a generic silhouette.

ii. The initial cost of the building along with the upgrade information. There is a cost to buy the building, and costs/steps to finish the building. The idea is that buildings are long term investments, cost more, but provide greater bonuses. Greater cost/greater reward.

iii. Keyword(s) on the bonus(s) that the building offer
Gameplay (more fleshing out here…rip away!!!)

1) Before the first race, every player gets 4 turns. ONE of those turns must be used to hire a driver. The other three turns can be used to:

a. Build a building. Once it has been chosen, the card is taken from the central gameboard and it is no longer available to be purchased by any other player.

b. Purchase a car upgrade. Upgrade any one car attribute. Those attributes are:

i. Suspension
ii. Electronics
iii. Aerondynamics
iv. Engine
v. Chassis


c. Hire a PR Firm. For a set amount of money (let’s say 200K), you can purchase a PR firm and receive a chit. This will provide
bonuses after the first race and between races when raising money.

2) After 4 turns are finished, it’s time to go to the first race.

a. Each player pays the travel fee (travel fee x employee point).

b. Each player calculates their car value (I’m working on the nomenclature here). And places their game piece on the central game board next to the corresponding number. I’m thinking a scale on the side of the board, from 1 to 30, running vertically. The 1-30 numbers running on the left of the scale with different ranges in different color bands. For example, 1-10 would be red, 11 to 20 would be yellow, 21 to 30 would be blue. Each player would set their gamepiece on the number that corresponds to the value of their car for that particular race. On the righthand side of this vertical scale, the finishing positions which we’ll get to in a minute.

c. Once everyone has placed their gamepieces, it’s time to determine the finishing results for the race. And in all honesty, this is where I hit a bit of a snag. I have an idea. Here it is. Not thrilled, but it’s a working concept.

i. Based on the car value, the player draws a card from the appropriate colored “Finish Deck”. There will be three, appropriately colored “finish decks” (red, yellow, blue). If your car is in the “red band”, then you draw from the red deck. Real simple.

ii. The card drawn will provide you with your result and whether or not you need to draw from the event deck (a deck of random stuff like…”you crashed, your driver will suffer a -1 ability for the next two races” or “due to F1 rules, your aerodynamics research has been deemed illegal and you lose 1 research point”. Fun stuff like that).

iii. Once the player has drawn a result, they move their game piece to the appropriate finishing spot on the right hand side of the scale. In the event that two drivers get the same result, first one there gets the result and the next guy moves down to the next available position.

iv. Once all players have drawn their positions, it’s time to move on to handing out points and money

d. Prize money is distributed for each position. Each position gets a certain amount of money. Higher the result, the higher the money.

e. Points are given out to the top 10 finishers of the race. This is the game winning condition. Most points wins.

f. TV money. A random money event. Roll 1d6. A chart on the gameboard. All teams get money based on the roll.

g. Sponsorship. Each team can go for sponsorship after each race. This is where they will make their bread and butter. Three sponsorship decks (red, yellow and blue). Better sponsorship deals the better you finish. Some cards are blanks.

i. At the end of each race, you can spend $X to go after sponsorship deals. Hey, sponsorship isn’t cheap. You have to wine and dine those sponsors. I’m playing with $20K to go after sponsors. Each car has 3 sponsorship slots. There are only so many sponsorship spots on your car!

ii. If you have a PR firm, you get to draw 1 extra card. You only get to keep 1 after each race, but you get to draw an extra card with a PR firm.

iii. If your driver has “Charisma” as a keyword, your $20K is only $10K after each race.

iv. Some sponsorship deals last the entire season. Some last a couple races. Each pays a certain amount of money after each race. Sponsorship is very important to the survival of a team.

h. After sponsorship, it’s time to move onto the next race.

3) Between races, each team gets 1 turn. In this turn, they can do anything that they could do during the first 4 turns with the exception of hiring a driver. Then, it’s time to move to the next race.

4) After the last race, most points wins.


OK guys. Looking for insight. Looking for ideas. I’m fiddling with the actual “race” since the game isn’t really about the race but more about gearing up for the races. I’ve played the Williams Renault Championship game, but the team building aspect of that game is really lacking and the race portion kinda drags. Again, I don’t want to develop a race game that focuses on what happens on the track. There are so many that do that so well. I want to focus on getting the behind the scenes stuff and try to make it fun and intriguing (if possible).

Any help and criticism is appreciated.
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Benny Sperling
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This sounds really cool. The only problem you may run into is licensing. As you probably know, NASCAR, Formula 1, etc all expect big money for the use of their names. Plus drivers want money to use their names and likenesses. You could look at doing some sort of theme on it, maybe some kind of post-apocalyptic thing (something like Mad Max, only not Mad Max), you could do a medieval or fantasy theme, you could do dinosaurs (those are always popular with kids), maybe a Kart racer game (think Mario Kart, minus the nintendo license). Since you said the genre is well covered this will help you get around the license thing. Plus it will make the game see more like your invention. These were just some ideas I thought of reading your post. What about a tuner game (sort of like Need for Speed or Midnight Club) since you described modifying the cars and what not. You can also look at Battle Cattle or Car Wars. A guy at a game store suggested something like Twisted Metal only in board game form with miniatures to me a couple years ago. Just some ideas, but definitely watch out for licensing. You probably won't get real car names either, Ford, Chevy, Porsche, they will all want a cut of your game.
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Doug Palmer
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benny275 wrote:
This sounds really cool. The only problem you may run into is licensing. As you probably know, NASCAR, Formula 1, etc all expect big money for the use of their names. Plus drivers want money to use their names and likenesses. You could look at doing some sort of theme on it, maybe some kind of post-apocalyptic thing (something like Mad Max, only not Mad Max), you could do a medieval or fantasy theme, you could do dinosaurs (those are always popular with kids), maybe a Kart racer game (think Mario Kart, minus the nintendo license). Since you said the genre is well covered this will help you get around the license thing. Plus it will make the game see more like your invention. These were just some ideas I thought of reading your post. What about a tuner game (sort of like Need for Speed or Midnight Club) since you described modifying the cars and what not. You can also look at Battle Cattle or Car Wars. A guy at a game store suggested something like Twisted Metal only in board game form with miniatures to me a couple years ago. Just some ideas, but definitely watch out for licensing. You probably won't get real car names either, Ford, Chevy, Porsche, they will all want a cut of your game.


I know that the licensing is impossible. There's no way that the game would have McLaren's or Ferrari's and the like (unfortunately). So the chassis would be a generic PL-1 (no Dallara or Panoz) and the tracks might be generic (although those MIGHT be do-able). The drivers would be generic (no Prost, Senna, Mansell). As much as I like realism, I understand the real world limitations of licensing (alas).
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Dave VanderArk
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Jumbo Grand Prix has a few of the elements you are talking about. There are different value cards for different parts of the car, including the driver, and you score points for the car you assemble with a rummy-like card playing mechanism. It's very abstract, and there is no money management, much less detail, but there are some thematic similarities.
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Doug Palmer
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David Vander Ark wrote:
Jumbo Grand Prix has a few of the elements you are talking about. There are different value cards for different parts of the car, including the driver, and you score points for the car you assemble with a rummy-like card playing mechanism. It's very abstract, and there is no money management, much less detail, but there are some thematic similarities.


I've played that Kniza game once before at a con. I tell ya, there's not a race car game that I won't try at least once! I found it fun and simple and agree, it shares some of the concepts that I'm putting in this game of mine.

This game that I'm toying with actually is derived from an old computer game that I used to love called F1 Manager. Many of the same elements were there that I describe in this game. More graphics obviously, and they were also able to do more with the racing end of things. But the background/team structure element was the focus.
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