Earlier this week, I had the chance to break out Championship Formula Racing again. We had 6 players this time with four newbies and two veterans. As is typical when I play the game with new players, we ran a “practice turn” where we start the race and get through the first turn so that players can understand the rules and have a better idea on building their car.
After the practice turn, we set up our cars and started out.
I started in 2nd position (in the ’57 red Ferrari-Lancia 801) but quickly took the lead in turn one. Wyeth was in the orange March 761, Louis was in the Yellow Penske PC4, Jonas in the Black Lotus 77, Sean in the white/red McLaren M23, and Colton bringing up the rear in the blue Tyrrell P34.
I held the lead after that and with everyone battling behind me, I gained a pretty healthy spread on the competition.
I grew too complacent and thought that I should conserve after things tightened back up in that last turn before the finish of the first lap. After completing the turn, I had a choice, push hard and maintain a good lead but set myself up for a very wear-grinding turn one after the straight of conserve and time it out to use no wear. I chose to conserve and my opponents blew past me after they completed the straight.
Things went from bad to worse as I got completely jammed up in the turn and had to not only burn two of my last four wear just to stay in the line and late brake but the late braking also forced a deceleration test, which I luckily passed.
Wyeth (orange) and Louis (yellow) were running on almost nothing. Louis had one wear left and Wyeth had none but both had a few skill tokens. Wyeth was spending his red skill tokens with abandon to take the turns and guarantee to not crash out. My only hope was that their recklessness would become their ruin.
As luck would have it, it finally ran out for Wyeth and he crashed out at the end of the second turn. Louis was forced to run through Wyeth’s wreckage and I thought the heavens just opened when he rolled box cars to try to get through the wreck but his green skill token and the fact that he would have run one space beyond the wreck meant that his “12” became a “9” and he just spun out instead.
The spinout wasn’t too terrible for Louis as he was just about to leave the turn and with a start speed/acceleration of 60 mph, he was able to maintain his lead with me stuck going 60 mph as well. Louis was able to further open up and I was forced to spend my last wear just to try to stay within reach. Another wreck (Jonas in black) and a misjudged lead-in to a turn got myself into the hairiest situation I’d ever been in.
Colton had been battling all game to fight for fifth place but decided to really push and blow through his wear to catch up to me. He took the inside of a turn knowing I’d stay on the line and pushed his speed through inside and blocking my line. He burned through his wear to do it and knew I had none so I’d be forced to either abandon the line and swing outside or have some hard choices.
Knowing if I abandoned the line, I’d be battling for 3rd place for the rest of the game against Sean who was still sitting on a ton of wear and skill tokens so I decided to go for broke. I would stay on my line and push through Colton. With neither of us having any wear, Colton decided to block me anyway. This was pretty risky as I would need to roll 6 or less (I had no skill tokens) and if any die came up with a “4”, I’d clip Colton and lose a wear token I didn’t have (and crash out). If any die shows a “3”, Colton would lose a wear and crash out (since he also didn’t have any). If I don’t make the roll, I’d be forced to late brake (with no wear) and crash out.
I roll “5” and “1”! I expertly weave through Colton’s block and stay in second place.
I was never able to threaten Louis and he expertly timed the last turn to guarantee the win and take the chequered flag. I held Colton off and he and Sean battled a little before Colton eventually won out and landed 3rd place.
Championship Formula Racing is easily the best racing game I’ve played and I love the way fortune can swing with even the slightest miscalculation. This game had some pretty epic moments and it always seems like that is the case with CFR.