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Subject: How is this better than Win, Place, or Show / Winner's Circle? rss

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Michael Ink
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This seems like a very similar game to Win, Place, or Show, which me and most others enjoy, especially, when WPoS comes with 8 races and 2 different lengths?. Why is this one also so much better than Winner's Circle? Is their really any room for two horsebetting games in one home?
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Michael Ink
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I see. A strategic racing game then, not a betting game. I would love that and own both but I'm not up for spending the money...
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David Briel
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If you're ever in the Indianapolis area, Michael, (Gen Con maybe?) let me know and we can play TurfMaster. I have the deluxe set with all the extra tracks as well. It's a great game!
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Michael Ink
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Thanks so much for the offer! I used to go to GenCon when it was in Milwaukee. It was sweet!
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Greg Clensy
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I own Turfmaster and W,P&S and I used to own Winner's Circle.

To give you some idea of where I come from I can tell you that I love race games and own quite a few, I got rid of Winner's Circle in favor of W,P & S as I liked the movement mechanics, betting and aesthetics better (I am almost certainly in the minority on prefering the mechanics and aesthetics) . I wanted a game that acted like a real horse race and I was not having success with getting my friends and family to like Winner's Circle. I have had less success getting friends to enjoy W,P&S, but I love it so much that I play it solo and will never get rid of it.

Now to Turfmaster. To answer your last question first - I think there is definitely room for more than one horsebetting game. However, Turfmaster is NOT a horsebetting game. It is a pure racing game that only uses horseracing as its theme.

Owning W,P&S and Turfmaster is not redundant. They are two different games that happen to share the same theme.

W,P&S is really a bidding and betting game. There are certainly decisions to be made on the racing side, especially in the corners, but they are usually simple decisions. I think the fun is seeing how the race plays out and seeing how everybody's bets came out.

Turfmaster is a race game and as such is better compared to other pure race games not a betting game like W,P&S.

Turfmaster is better than other race games because:
1. Once you know the game you have to plan a strategy based on the track, the race, your point standings and most importantly your hand.

"Do I have a lot of lower cards, well I won't take first, but if I get out quick and can take the inside lane the whole way (without getting boxed in) I just might get some 3rd place or 4th place points. Maybe I'll take my bonus cards now just to see if I have to attempt this risky strategy."

"I have a lot of high cards, but not a lot of Jokers. I am going to have to figure out how to keep toward the back and avoid the handicap until the last bit and make my push. If I get out front too soon I won't have a legal card to play and get passed by 4 or 5 horses at the finish. Timing is everything and I will have to hang on the outside so I don't get out front too soon and so I don't get boxed in. Low dice rolls will help."

2. Every turn provides a new decision on how to play your cards. "Did the dice roll cause you to get out too soon?" "I've got to get positioned to jump that hedge in two turns."

The decisions are all about how to play out your strategy but adjust to the new situation.

Compare this to Formula D. Your decision is how best to set up for the curve and to be exiting it at the highest speed possible. Sometimes the decision is more obvious, but sometimes you are in between and you have to decide to press your luck or play safe. I like Formula D and I do think there are fun decisions and rolling the die is fun, but it is entirely tactical and not every turn provides a real decision.

3. This lead us to the third reason Turfmaster is so good - interesting decisions/time ratio.

You can play 3 races in the time is takes you to play one lap of Formula D or one and a half laps of Bolide. The ratio of tough decisions per minute of play is much higher for Turmaster.

Now a game like Mississppi Queen (which I also love)plays even more quickly, but it is not very strategic. And the tactical decisions are not always that tough.

And because Turfmaster plays out over three races you can always start fresh if your race is going poorly or you can play riskier and try to pull off a high finish.

People say that Speed Circuit, Bolide and Formula D really shine when played over a season. That is because it can sometimes be hard to catch the leader in a typical game, but playing for other points still makes the race meaningful for those in the back. With Turfmaster you play a small series everytime. Points for 2nd-4th matter and even positioning beyond that matter for the next race setup.

4. Catching the leader. I mentioned above that catching the leader in other race games can be difficult, especially Bolide and Speed Circuit. Formula D makes it easier to do this and MQ has other mechanics that make it so this isn't a problem at all (river changes abruptly for leader, have to pick up passengers, Black Rose expansion).

In Turfmaster the pack is always tight and the handicap mechanic and dice round makes it extremely difficult to hold the lead for an entire race. In fact it is not generally desireable to be in the lead for much of the race. This keeps things interesting for everybody for the entire race, but it does not feel like an awkward or artificial method of keeping the races tight. It feels like a great horse race.

5. Turmaster is beautiful. Only Formula D can compare to Turfmaster in "wow" factor, but I would say the handpainted pewter ponies in Turfmaster edge out Formula D and the beautiful tracks.

MQ is very nice. Bolide and Speed Circuit are far from pretty.

I love all of the games I compared above and others, like Circus Maximus, Win, Place & Show and Warhamster Rally, but to me there is no game better race game and few better games period, than Turfmaster.

I am sure this is more than you wanted, but there you are.



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Michael Ink
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I am very much interested in getting Formula D for a Turfmaster substitute especially since the Chicago expansion makes finding players in my area easy.

I wonder, you obviously love this genre of games, did you ever try the Playstation 2 games Gallop Racer or Gallop Racer 2003? The only thing I did not love about these was the heavy emphasis on breeding which meant if you could not figure out how to match up horses great, you would never have a G1 class horse. Still, they are the best games I ever played for strategic running.
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Greg Clensy
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Formula D is not really a Turfmaster substitute. It is a good game and I do think it can be fun as a season. The problem with this one as a one-off type game is that it is essentially a two-hour long press-your-luck game. So while there are decisions to be made there is a lot of luck involved, so if you don't enjoy watching the race develop (which I love) and you want more decisions per minute of play then it can drag. This is the problem most people have with most race games.

There are ways to help with this, not allow counting, put a timer on each move, etc., but each solution has it's own pitfalls.

Turfmaster is runs for 90 minutes to 2 hours, but the gameplay is far more satisfying because of the amount of real decisions involved. I have never had a group, gamers or non-gamers, have a poor experience with Turfmaster.

Turmaster will probably cost around $90 to get. Formula D with the Chicago expansion will run around $60 new. So FD is certainly cheaper. FD also scales well from 2-10, where TM scales from 4-8.

I definitely think TM is a much better game, but FD is also good.

I would be interested to see which game you buy and how you are enjoying it.
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Greg Clensy
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BTW, I don't play video games so I never tried Gallop, but it sounds fun.
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René Christensen
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I have had Win, Place & Show and Winner's Circle but this one: Grand National is the one for me!

Grand National is only one race for 2-6 players, but with 24 horses with different strenghts this is just a game that noone is sure to win.
Buy the horses in an auction (most expensive horse isn't always the winner!), no dice are used in the race, you alone decide the length of movement for your horses (but don't run out of movement points!), clear the hedges, squeeze your opponents horses, so they can move, beware of the cards drawn and collect your prizes!


24 horses and riders at the start


And they are off!


Halfway through the race

You can read about three races I did with my brother and a collegue here: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/628456/3-games-yesterday

And yes, you can bet on the horses too!

You can buy the game here: http://www.sircollectalot.co.uk/Board-Games/Grand-National-F...

If you like, I can mail you the rules which is only a double sided A4.
Just sent me a PM with your mailadress.
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