Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Formula D

Formula D is an old game, formerly called Formula De, and only recently republished. It is quite well-liked and I have been interested to try it for some time. I finally got to play this at Carcasean boardgame cafe on 28 Jun 2009 with Chong Sean and Michelle. We each played two cars, and we played the Formula 1 side of the board. The other street racing side of the board has some variant rules, which I wanted to leave out for the moment.

This is a race game, so whoever crosses the finishing line first wins. We only played 1 lap, so no pit stops. You car has gears 1 to 6, each corresponding to a different die. To move, you roll the appropriate die depending on which gear your car is in. Each die has a different number range and distribution.

The most important aspect of the game is the corners. At each corner, your car must "stop" a certain number of times. This forces you to slow down enough to ensure you car stops enough times. If you fail to stop enough times, your car takes damage. There can be many types of damage, and if your car hits bottom on any aspect, you crash and you are out of the game. So managing the damage that your car takes is another important part of the game.

Tyre damage comes from overspeeding around corners. Brake damage comes from braking too hard, usually when you are trying to slow down at corners, but sometimes also when you are trying not to hit the car in front. Gear box damage comes from when you shift gear down by more than 1 step. Body damage comes from accidentally knocking your car against other cars.

So the game is actually quite thematic. When I played I kept making engine sounds. The table next to ours was probably wondering whether I was nuts. Chong Sean has played before, and did well. He wasn't reluctant to take some damage occasionally, and tried to keep his cars at higher gears. I think that is indeed the right strategy. Afterall, the game is about speed. I had a number of very lucky rolls, allowing me to stop at exactly the right times at the right corners. However when it came to the last stretch, Chong Sean's car beat mine hands down, because he came out of the last corner at one gear higher than me. So, there is much strategy and much control in the game, despite the many die rolls.

I like this more than Um Reifenbriete. I'm generally not a fan of the racing theme though, so I probably won't buy it. I'm happy to play this again, and I wouldn't hesitate to make silly engine sounds again!

The start of the race. Michelle (red) used a street-racing car (the last one) so that it was easier to tell apart.

Character card on the left, and gear box + damage tracker on the right. Looks really good.

Chong Sean and Michelle. The board is huge, and the cars are tiny. The board is quite good looking.

One of the corners. The area boxed in by the bold red line is the corner area, in which you much stop a certain number of times. That red token means there had been a minor clash, and some car components had fallen off. If you go through that space, your car might get damaged.

Top view of the same corner.

Some of the dice in the game.

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