I got in another game of Championship Formula Racing, this time the human drivers outnumbered the Historical AI ones. While it was likely too “artsy” for a good session report, I really liked my “simulator” session. This time, however, I opted for a more traditional approach. We also messed around with recording the game in a time-lapsed format, which is linking after the main report.
Since this game was the first for a few players, we started with a warm-up test of a few rounds to get us through a couple of the track turns so that everyone could get a feel for how they wanted to set up their cars.
After the test, we made up our cars and decided to add in an AI driver to tighten the board a little more. I put out an easier Historical driver, Jochen Rindt, and just like my last report, he was using the Front A strategy. We opt for a nice 2 lap race on Monte Carlo.
Jochen ended up out bidding all of us for poll position and soon the race was on. By the time we got to the first turn, Jochen (black Lotus 77) had the lead and we stacked in line behind.
We continued to give chase while Jochen kept aggressively spending wear to push ahead.
At this point, I’m in second (red Ferrari 312T) and I feel like I can keep pace with Rindt even with him spending wear tokens like he has an unlimited supply. My friends (orange March 761 and blue Tyrell P34) had other plans.
Colton in the Orange March 761 pushes past me on the tight no.3 curve even though I try to block him out. It eats up wear on both cars but he is able to make it.
Reese in the blue Tyrell P34 uses the opportunity to push his car a bit and not follow the line while I end up playing conservative. Jochen breaks away from us.
I’m out maneuvered again and take up the sad rear in just a few of the opening curves while Jochen wastes no time pushing well past us.
I end up out of that last curve way too slow and watch as everyone else shows me how to race this game. Niki Lauda would not be pleased.
Jochen clears the first lap of two laps and I’m able to make up a little lost ground but mainly on my friends. Jochen’s car isn’t really built for the straights though so the game tightens up a little as we get into the first curve again.
We still don’t quite have the hang of it and Jochen is off again leaving us behind. I am finally able to do some good by pushing both my acceleration and topspeed beyond their max and end up one behind Colton’s orange March 761.
Jochen, however, has really overspent his resources maintaining this lead and is forced to play very conservative. This allows us to close the gap on the tighter 2, 3, and 4 curves.
Colton is low on wear as well and tries to push through curve 5 but ends in a spin.
Colton is still able to maintain his footing and Jochen’s conservative demeanor doesn’t allow him to capitalize on the misfortune. I still can figure out this damned curve and end up way in the back again and can only watch as my friends charge a waning Jochen.
As they battle, Reese takes a spin trying push through the next curve.
This allows me to catch up while Colton tries to take on the unstoppable Rindt. The two lead cars battle the final curve…
…only to see Rindt push too hard on inside line and spin out. I don’t think I played that AI strategy correctly but had Jochen played conservative, he would surely lose against Colton’s faster car. We have our first lead change of the race!
Colton clears the line while Reese and Jochen leave me the slightest sliver of a chance to take that center line and possibly take second play overall. It was a long shot as I’d need to push through that final curve, then push my acceleration and topspeed to outpace Reese. I ended up spinning out in the curve instead. Had I played conservative, I likely could have beat Jochen but definitely wouldn’t have beaten Reese.
As it was, Reese easily takes second and Rindt limps into third place. The game worked out very well and was a lot of fun. We debated later about how much time the Historical driver takes and whether we could have a 6 car race with 3 AI and 3 humans. I initially thought the AI drivers would be faster but I think they turn out to be slower than humans since the player has to make their turn then consult all the AI rules that govern its current turn.
I think the AI system is fantastic, especially for solo games but I wonder if they are too complex to use as filler cars in a timely fashion. I might experiment a little on “dumbed down” Historical racers to see if they can be run without a strategy card (or if anything, an overly simple one) just to expedite their turn and focus back to the actual players. I wouldn’t use that for solo play but I think there is merit to this simplification when using them to only fill out a few extra roster spots.
Also, as promised, here was the full time-lapse of our 2 lap Monte Carlo race.
Last but not least, I ordered another set of cars from Shapeways, this time from the 1957 era. I had a chance to prime them:
…and work on some base colors.