I love the game, but I found the stock setup and rules can result in lengthy turns. Some ideas that might alleviate this:
-when moving your horse, do not pick it up and then count the squares, then place it. Oftentimes, the player will change their mind or forget how many movement squares they are allotted for that turn, and then they have lost their spot. Instead, leave your token where it is and count the number of spots forward with your finger. Then, after you have decided on your spot, move the token directly there. This way, you can more easily change your mind about where you want the token to go and you won't forget where you started.
-auctioning horses is slow if you use the stable cards because you have to navigate: stable name on card -> stable name on program -> odds of stable/horse.
Instead, I recommend this method: one player places the horse tokens in their closed, cupped hands, gently mixes them, and then another player blindly picks the horses and announces the numbers. It does affect the atmosphere by not referencing the stables at all, I admit, but it also speeds things up.
I think it's even faster if you color the number section of the programs with a crayon/marker to match the horse token! That way, it simply becomes: see token color -> match color on program. (I couldn't bring myself to deface the original programs like that; I printed out replacement copies to color, instead.)
Also, if the horse is not bid on, it gets placed on the table and the next horse is picked from the player's hands. This way, you can continue picking without mixing the unpurchased horses immediately back into the pool.
-the players might forget what horse/stable/color they are
You can make colored tokens for the players and hand them out. I see that someone has already done this with some excellent home-made tokens!
I have also thought of color-coding the programs. For example, on the program the horse numbers would have the designated color shading over the number so you can instinctively pick out which color is yours.
In addition, I was fortunate enough to be in possession of some miniature meeples from a travel Carcassonne set. I placed the meeples on the respective running strength numbers on each program. That way, you simply keep track of your meeple and move it each turn. Simple, effective and cute. Sadly, I didn't have the correct color meeples for each horse token.
-the players might forget what turn it is and the running strength number. See above fix, but I also created a custom dice receptacle and turn indicator here:
I drew 8 rows on a piece of white printing paper, labeled them 1 to 8 upwards from the bottom row, then wrote "running strength" and "bonus number" across the top. I then taped it onto the board next to the bidding information. Then, I added a 12-sided die to keep track of what the bonus number was (that way, I can remove the green die from the board which simplifies things even further). Now, when the players roll the (green and white) dice, they place the white die in the appropriate running strength/turn row, turn the 12-sided die to reflect what the bonus number is, and place it next to the white die. Now at a glance every player can see all the important information.
-remove the money. Just keep track of your account checkbook-style.
-remove the bidding for the horses and the purses. You will then assign the horses randomly. I like making money off the purses, but the bidding process interrupts and slows the game for me.
-have the players calculate their movement total at the same time immediately after the running strength number and the bonus number are called. This prevents them from having to calculate it during the turn, which slows the game down.
-make color-coded slips of paper with the horses numbers and colors, give them to the players, and have them put them next to the horse they are racing. This allows for quicker scanning and identification during the turn.
Feel free to add ideas you have that help speed up the game. :)
- Last edited Mon Feb 28, 2011 6:31 am (Total Number of Edits: 3)
- Posted Fri Feb 25, 2011 5:31 am
Having played Homestretch, which was 3 races, I thought you could do a 'Triple Crown' set of 3 races with Win, Place, and Show. Like the true Triple Crown races, you would start with a short race, then have a medium length race, then a long race.
I do like the idea of randomly picking horses and eliminating the bidding. Especially for those that haven't played, they don't really know how much each horse is worth.
I like to roll the dice to see who picks the horses. I usually play heads-up so player 1 will pick 1st, 4th and 5th. Player 2 will pick 2nd, 3rd and 6th. High roll picks 1st. You pay the 4th place prize money per horse.
I also write down the colors in order on a piece of paper:
and fill in the turn #s after each roll of the dice. (so my friend will say out loud the movement numbers for the turn and I will write them down) I'll underline the number of what horse goes 1st that turn. This cuts down on time figuring out how many spaces to move. I will do this 6 times per game. It really speeds things up.
I also use a turn counter that I printed off from here to keep track of the turns with the dice.