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This information is to help you get started on understanding a fairly simple and fun multi-player game. The boardgame was last published by Avalon Hill in the late 1970's. It is being re-published under the name of Championship Formula Racing (CFR). The CFR rules are used here.
The object of the game is to win a race in an F1 style race car. Doing that requires the following:
1) Build a car. You are allotted points (typically 2) that can be put towards categories that include top speed, start speed, acceleration, deceleration, wear, and skill.
2) Race. Every turn you will determine your speed & plot a course on the track. This is done simultaneously with the other racers. The car in front (with some tiebreakers if necessary) will move first, followed by the rest. In the PBEM game, all players will send their plots to the RM (race marshall) for adjudication, a slightly different process than the live version. There are special rules for slipstreaming, passing, and blocking. And of course there is always the potential for spinouts and crashes!
3) Win. Cross the finish line in first and you win!
Redscape Formula Racing Rules: These are the rules for PBEM play. A special thanks to Doug Schulz from which most of the PBEM rules were borrowed.
Order Template: This is a guide that can be followed when submitting orders. It is not required that drivers use it but it can serve as a good reminder on what elements to consider in your plot.
Doug's amazing repertoire of track maps.
Doug also runs a PBEM series. You can get some info at his site: http://lucidphoenix.com/sc/race.asp
Here is Doug's summary to new drivers on how the game operates.
Championship Formula Racing basics:
Every turn you will pick what speed you want your car to go this turn. (Everyone does it simultaneously, in secret. In person, everyone reveals at the same time and then move their cars in order. For the PBE you will send me your speed and how you'd like to move and I'll execute that then send everyone a report on what happened.).
For every 20 mph your car is going this turn you will move 1 space. So going 100 means moving 5 spaces on the track. All movement is directly forward or forward on a diagonal. Note that there are spaces on track where the lanes do not line-up. Most often this happens in corners. You can only move on a diagonal if the front edge of the space you are in lines up with the front edge of the lane you are moving toward...
The range of speeds you can pick on any given turn is based on your speed from last turn and the first three characteristics of your car. Acceleration is the maximum increase in speed from one turn to the next. Deceleration is the maximum decrease. And Top Speed is the maximum speed allowed.
So, if you went 100 last turn, have a 60 acceleration, a 40 deceleration, and a 140 top speed then the fastest you can go is 140 (even though your accel could get you to 160 your top speed is 140) and the slowest is 60. You can also freely pick any speed in between as well.
Note that all of these limits can be exceeded at a cost. Acceleration and Top Speed can be exceeded by 20 mph if you roll on a table (relatively easy to do, see the end of the rules for all of these tables). So in the above example you actually could plot 160 and then roll on the table to see if you make it or damage your top speed. However, you could not try for 180 because that's 40 mph above your top speed.
Deceleration can be exceeded by almost any amount. The penalties for exceeding deceleration are outlined in a chart at the end of the rules. Basically, you have two options when you do this. You can spend 1 wear (we'll talk about wear soon) for 20 mph excessive decel or 2 wear for 40 mph. You can also roll on a table that is similar to the one for exceeding top and acceleration in addition to or instead of spending wear. In combination this can allow you to exceed deceleration by 60 mph (2 wear plus a die roll). But this is rarely done... because its racing!
Start Speed is usually only a factor at the start of the race. It defines your maximum speed for turn 1 of the race. It can also be exceeded by 20 mph with a slightly harder die roll. It can also come into play if you spin.
I'm skipping wear for a second.
Skill is a point pool that can be used to modify all of these die rolls we are talking about. If you use a skill BEFORE a die roll you modify that die roll by -1 (lower is always better). You can have two kinds of skill. For instance if you have 9 1s and 1 3s you effectively have 12 skill but that 1 3s is special. Normally you can only spend 2 skill and thus get -2 on any one die roll. But if you use your 3s chit then you can use -3 for this roll. -3 tends to be very effective. On some tables it means you will automatically succeed. On the chance table it means you will not crash.
Wear is a point pool that you use to go faster in corners. All corner spaces have speeds written on them. That is the safe speed for that space. If you run through a bunch of corner spaces with a 60 mph limit you could go 60 for no cost or 80 for 1 wear or 100 for 2 wear. You can never spend more than 2 wear in any single corner. If you wanted to go 120 you would spend 2 wear and roll on the chance table mentioned above with a chance to crash or spin. Note that you only have to pay wear once for each time you go through an entire corner. Even if you pass through multiple spaces in that one corner or even if you end your turn in a corner. Also note that you only have to worry about speed limits in spaces you move into not the spaces you are sitting on at the beginning of a turn. There are also times when you will move through spaces in the same corner that have different speeds. The short answer is that you will pay according to the lowest speed limit you run over. I will point out other interesting effects as the race progresses.
The other thing you will use wear and skill for is to determine where on the grid you will start. After everyone has sent me a car set-up, everyone will blind bid any amount of wear/skill. Skill counts as half or a wear for this. The driver who bids the most gets pole. 2nd most gets outside, row one, etc... I will randomly break ties.
To some degree the tactics of the game revolve around getting through corners quickly and efficiently and trying to figure out what the other cars around you are going to do. Because you can only have one car on any one space on the track, it can get crowded. You can only go through a space with a car in it if you roll on a forced passing table where the other car can make it harder by trying to block you. And you can never land on a space with a car already in it. Sometimes this will force you to slow down after you start moving (spending wear and/or rolling dice as if we had exceeded our deceleration.
Overall strategies tend to end up somewhere between two extreme ideas. 1) start up front and go as fast as you can until your wear runs out and hope no one can catch you at the end. People who run from the front will often have less than half of the wear they started the race with after lap 1 is over. 2) start in the back and spend the first lap spend as close to zero wear as possible and then spend the next two laps passing everyone who spent their wear earlier in the race. Remember that we run 3 lap races.