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Snow Tails» Forums » Sessions

Subject: Iditarod - 1st leg rss

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David G

Colorado
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I play Snow Tails fairly often with my 7 year old son. I initially bought it from Attactix in Denver for two reasons. Caleb’s right at the point in first grade where he’s working on simple addition and subtraction problems, and there is a lot of that in Snow Tails – a fun way to practice math. Also, he has trouble remembering left and right. After 7 or 8 games, there’s been marked improvement on both fronts. The other reason is theme. My wife is from Alaska, and my kids go mushing with their aunt.

The 2010 Iditarod just finished, and my son’s class did a big project on the race. I told him we would run our own Iditarod at home, and then had to figure out how we could do that using Snow Tails. I’m sure I could make some complicated rules to make it more realistic, but I went with simplicity.

We’re going to play a series of small races that represent the checkpoints. This breaks the 1112 mile race into 23 short races. If we both arrive at the checkpoint on the same turn, then we’ll start the next checkpoint as usual. However, in going from Anchorage to Willow, I finished 1 turn after Caleb. So he will get a 1 turn head start for the next checkpoint.

In the Iditarod, each racer needs to take a 12 hour layover, and a 24 hour layover. For us, the 12 hour layover represents an opportunity to fix 1 point of damage. The 24 fixes 2 points of sled damage. I’m not going to adjust start times to represent the layovers. Caleb is a very safe driver, though, so I’d be surprised if he ever even uses his layovers.

Our first race was from Anchorage to Willow.

There’s a big bend in the route, so the track is simply a straightaway with a u-turn, and then straight back (we’re going to try to design the tracks so that they somewhat resemble the Iditarod map we have.) It started with a Chasm, which is a great way to start a race.

I take the middle spot, which forces me to start slowly in one direction, then immediately drift the opposite direction. It’s just enough of a handicap to make the race even between me and my 7 year old son.



As usual, Caleb jumped out into the lead, but I had about as smooth a start as could be expected, and had some speed going into the straightaway.



Right after the Chasm, there were two straightaways with sparse trees. The middle lane had no trees, but neither of us was able to hit the sweet spot of the trail. I had to check my speed a little, having veered too far left. Caleb got out wide passing the Snow Drift, which put him on the outside lane going into the u-turn. He had to check his speed to drift enough on the turn, and I was within three spaces of him, on the inside track. But he absolutely shot out of the turn like a slingshot, on the outside lane, which put him in great position going past the Snow Drift and into the Leap of Death (thanks Attacktix for attaching it to my copy of Snow Tails for free.) It took him one move to jump the Leap of Death, go all the way across the last straightaway, and cross the finish line.

Even though I was going maximum speed, I still finished a turn behind him. So he’ll get a free turn on his start from Willow to Yentna.

Having covered the Iditarod as a reporter years ago when we lived in Alaska, I'm really excited about following the trail. I think it will be a really good learning experience for Caleb as well, although I'm guessing the 2011 Iditarod will have finished by the time we play 22 more times...
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Roberta Taylor
Canada
Edmonton
Alberta
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Brilliant idea- I bet you'll both look back on this race for a long time to come!
 
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Stefan Kaiser
Germany
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Awesome idea and nice session report ! I bet you guys have a lot of fun doing this. I wish i could play it more often but i only had the chance to play it once...

This report makes me want to play right now... :insertdroolsmileyhere:
 
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Andrew E
United States
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Very cool idea! I'm looking at the March 2010 date stamp on the report, though, and wondering how the race was going. Any further session reports? I usually look up expansions and custom variants before buying games to ensure replayability, so not only am I interested in the outcome, but I'd like to know how the "head start" mechanic works out over several legs.
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