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CFR-Detroit 2019 Race #5: Michigan Grand Prix

Friday, August 9th, 2019

The Michigan Grand Prix took place on Saturday, July 13, 2019, at the Guild of Blades game store in Clawson, Michigan. Thirteen drivers participated, and at the end of the race it was found that Bill Worrel had won his third race of the season, edging out Mike Cook at the finish line. Completing the podium, in 3rd place, was Garry Kaluzny. There were three DNFs during the race, one crash and two brake failures.

The track was the downtown Detroit track that was raced by Formula 1 beginning in the early 1980s, and later raced by CART (IndyCars). We of the CFR-Detroit boardgame racing community have decided to annually alternate our races between the downtown Detroit and the Belle Isle tracks, so this year it was the turn to race on the downtown circuit.

Downtown Detroit track

Downtown Detroit track, used by F1 from 1983-1988. Used by CFR-Detroit in 2017 and 2019.

As a reminder, drivers bid for starting position by bidding some of their wear and/or skill chits, with each wear counting as 1.0 and each skill counting as 0.5 towards their qualifying bid.

Qualifying

Bill Worrel (1 wear + 24 skill) snatched the pole position with an astronomical bid of 13.0; however, he had to do it the hard way as Mike Cook (1 wear + 24 skill) also bid 13.0. In the resulting dice-off, Worrel prevailed with a roll of ’98’ to Cook’s ’58,’ hence Worrel was on the pole and Cook started 2nd. Jack Beckman (5 wear + 15 skill) bid 12.5; he started 3rd. Garry Kaluzny (4 wear + 10 skill) bid 9.0, earning him 4th spot on the starting grid. Kaluzny said that he thought a bid of 9.0 would have been enough for at least the front row, if not pole position! Mark Moellering (5 wear + 7 skill), after gaining the pole position in the last two races, had to settle for starting 5th at Detroit after bidding 8.5. Richard White (3 wear + 10 skill) bid 8.0 to start 6th. Greg Lim (0 wear + 12 skill) and Gary Sturgeon (0 wear + 12 skill) each bid 6.0. Lim won the dice-off by ’95’ to ’22’ and so Lim started 7th and Sturgeon started 8th.

Jim Robinson (2 wear + 6 skill) and Mike St. Peter (3 wear + 4 skill) each bid 5.0; Robinson won the dice toss ’44’ to ’22’ and so Robinson started 9th and St. Peter started 10th. Aric Parr (0 wear + 6 skill) started 11th after bidding 3.0. Mickey Akins (0 wear + 1 skill) and Jim Landis (0 wear + 1 skill) each bid only 0.5; Akins rolled ’85’ and Landis rolled ’81’ and so Akins started 12th and Landis was 13th on the grid.

Note: Jim Robinson won the pole at the downtown Detroit track in 2017 with a bid of 8.0 (2 wear + 12 skill). There were four other drivers who bid 6.0 that year. Bidding 8.0 in 2019 would have only been good enough to start 6th!

The starting grid for the 2019 Michigan Grand Prix with their car specs:

 # Driver (Car)                    Start/Accel/Decel/Top/Wear/Skill/Tires
 1 Bill Worrel (Ferrari)            100   20    20   140  5x   5x   soft
11 Mike Cook (Camel Lotus)          100   20    20   140  5x   5x   soft
 2 Jack Beckman (Ferrari)           100   20    20   140  5x   5x   soft
 8 Garry Kaluzny (Marlboro McLaren)  60   40    40   140  5x   4x   soft
 4 Mark Moellering (Tyrrell)         60   40    20   140  5x   5x   hard
 7 Richard White (Marlboro McLaren)  60   40    40   140  5x   4x   soft
 0 Greg Lim (Williams)               60   40    40   140  5x   4x   soft
12 Gary Sturgeon (Camel Lotus)       60   40    40   140  5x   4x   soft
 6 Jim Robinson (Williams)           60   40    40   140  5x   4x   hard
 9 Mike St. Peter (McLaren)          60   40    40   140  5x   4x   soft
10 Aric Parr (McLaren)               20   40    60   140  5x   4x   hard
27 Mickey Akins (Renault)            60   40    60   140  5x   3x   hard
20 Jim Landis (Benetton)             60   60    60   140  5x   2x   hard

Start = Start Speed (in miles/hour); Accel = Acceleration (in mph); Decel = Deceleration (in mph); Top = Top Speed (in mph); Wear = # of Wear markers (per lap); Skill = # of Skill markers (per lap); Tires = hard or soft tires to begin the race.

Starting grid at Detroit

Starting grid at Detroit: 1st row: Worrel (red) & Cook (yellow); 2nd row: Beckman (red) & Kaluzny (white/orange); 3rd row: Moellering (blue/white) & White (white/orange); 4th row: Lim (white/yellow/blue) & Sturgeon (yellow); 5th row: Robinson (white/yellow/blue) & St. Peter (orange); 6th row: Parr (orange) & Akins (black/yellow); 7th row: Landis (green/yellow). All drivers will ignore the chicane in the middle of the grid until after all drivers have cleared that chicane on the start.

It should be noted that Mickey Akins switched from driving a Fiat Ferrari to driving a Renault for this race. He did keep his same number 27 on his new car.

It should also be noted that the first three starters all had 100 mph start speeds. Since such a high start speed would have been wasted on a track with only a 2-wide starting area if they started behind cars with slower starting speeds, those cars all bid high to ensure starting up front. In fact, both Worrel and Cook had bid all of their skill markers, including all of their -3 chits! The problem then becomes for the other drivers, how to worry those leaders into having to roll some dice. Another item of interest is that the three top qualifiers only had acceleration and deceleration values of 20 mph.

1st Lap

As expected, at the start of the race, the top three qualifiers (with their 100 mph start speeds) shot out of the gate like scared jackrabbits. Worrel & Cook, on the front row and on soft tires, each used a wear to boost their starting speed to 120 mph, moving 6 spaces and with both cars making it into the first corner on the track. In the 2nd row, Beckman also used a wear to go 120 mph, and Kaluzny used a wear to get to 80 mph (Kaluzny only had the “normal” start speed of 60 mph). In the 3rd row, Moellering, the inside car, rolled dice to increase his start speed since he had already spent 5 wear in qualifying. He used a -3 skill chit and rolled an ‘8’ and so was on his merry way at 80 mph. Next to Moellering, White also rolled dice, using two -1 skill chits and rolling an ‘8’ to get to 80 mph. From the 4th row, Lim used a wear to get to 80 mph, and Sturgeon was content to just start at his normal 60 mph. Sturgeon probably figured that there wouldn’t have been any room on the narrow track if cars in front of him wouldn’t have boosted their speed.

But even from the 5th row, St. Peter used a wear to get to 80 mph, so he pulled up next to Sturgeon. Robinson, however, merely went 60 mph. From the 6th row, Akins started off gracefully at 60 mph. Next to Akins, Parr rolled for an increase, but only used a single -1 skill marker; his resultant roll was a partial failure, meaning he mis-shifted and so started at only 40 mph, 20 mph slower than his nominal start speed. Jim Landis, from row 7, was content to roll away from the line at 60 mph.

Jackrabbits jump at the start

The three jackrabbits of Worrel, Cook, and Beckman jump away from the pack at the start of the Michigan Grand Prix. The rest of the pack is in the order Kaluzny, Moellering, White, Lim, Sturgeon, St. Peter, Robinson, Akins, Landis, and Parr.

After the first 180-degree left-hander, Moellering dived inside Kaluzny for the 90-degree right-hand turn onto St. Antoine St, thereby taking 4th place. Landis passed Akins in the 180-degree left-hander, and so Landis had moved up to 11th (from 13th on the grid). After the right turn onto East Jefferson Ave., Cook passed Worrel for the lead as they turned left onto East Congress St.

Cook takes the lead

Cook takes the lead from Worrel at the left turn onto East Congress, followed by Beckman, Moellering, Kaluzny, White, Lim, St. Peter, Sturgeon, Robinson, Landis, Parr, and Akins.

The field snaked left onto Beaubien, then right onto Larned (going against the natural direction of traffic on Larned, as Larned is a one-way street that goes west to east, instead of the east to west direction of racing). Then the pack turned left onto Woodward, and then right onto West Jefferson. Cook continued to lead from Worrel. Moellering dived inside Beckman just before the left turn onto Woodward to briefly take over 3rd place. Beckman regained 3rd at the sharp left turn onto Washington Boulevard. And Parr passed his teammate St. Peter for 10th place just before the left turn onto Washington Blvd.

At the left-hand turn onto Atwater and into the Goodyear Tunnel under Hart Plaza, Cook had stretched his lead over Worrel to 3 spaces, with Beckman another 2 spaces back. Then the rest of the pack was all bunched up behind.

Cook leads through the Goodyear Tunnel

Cook leads through the Goodyear Tunnel, followed by Worrel, Beckman, Moellering, Kaluzny, Sturgeon, White, Lim, Robinson, Parr, Landis, St. Peter, and Akins.

Coming out of the Goodyear Tunnel, Cook passed through the sharp right-left combo turn and then the chicane, then pulled into the pits a turn before Worrel could reach the pits. A little farther back, Kaluzny passed Moellering for 4th going through the Goodyear Tunnel, then Kaluzny passed Beckman for 3rd place just before the right-left combo turn. White pulled to the inside of Moellering for 5th place at that same combo turn.

Worrel managed to reach the pits a turn after Cook, but a turn before anyone else could pit. Since Worrel pitted just past the start/finish line, he led the 1st lap.

Worrel leads after one lap

Worrel, in the pits, leads after one lap.

On the next game-turn, pulling into the pits were the cars of Kaluzny, Beckman, White, and Sturgeon; Moellering stayed on the track, and Cook rejoined the traffic on the track. On the next game-turn, Lim and St. Peter pitted, and Worrel got back on the track. The cars of Parr, Robinson, Akins, and Landis did not pit. All of the cars that eschewed a pit stop were on hard tires. Moellering took the lead on the track while the other cars were in the pits.

The official order at the end of the 1st lap: Worrel (0); Kaluzny (+2); Moellering (+2); Cook (-2); Parr (+6); Lim (+1); Robinson (+2); Akins (+4); Landis (+4); Sturgeon (-2); White (-5); Beckman (-9); and St. Peter (-3). The numbers in parentheses indicate how many positions a driver either gained (+) or lost (-) from their starting position.

2nd Lap

After the pit stops were resolved, the running order on the track early in lap 2 was: Moellering; Cook; Worrel; Robinson; Akins; Parr; Kaluzny; Landis; White; Beckman; Sturgeon; Lim; and St. Peter.

Bird's eye view of the race

Bird’s eye view of the race: Early in the 2nd lap, Moellering (blue and white car at top-right) still leads. Following cars are: Cook; Worrel; Robinson; Parr; Kaluzny; Akins; Landis; Beckman; White; Sturgeon; Lim; and St. Peter.

Cook, seeing his opportunity, passed Moellering for the lead on East Congress. Parr passed Kaluzny for 5th in the left-hand corner leading onto East Congress. Through the left and right turns onto Beaubien and then Larned Streets, Moellering stuck right behind Cook. Moellering was still 5 spaces ahead of Worrel and Robinson, the 3rd and 4th place cars. Just before the left-hand turn onto Washington Blvd, Moellering ducked to the inside of Cook in a bid for the lead, but as Moellering did not have the benefit of using the cornering arrow, he had to go the long away around the corner, so Cook retained his lead. Kaluzny managed to pass the wear-starved Parr and Robinson on West Jefferson and then into the left-hand turn onto Washington Blvd. That move moved Kaluzny up into 3rd place.

Cook holds his lead at the Kodak Camera Corner

Cook holds his lead at the Kodak Camera Corner, followed by Moellering, Kaluzny, Robinson, Parr, Worrel, Landis, Akins, White, Beckman, Lim, Sturgeon, and St. Peter.

Kaluzny caught and passed Moellering at the right-left combo turn after the Goodyear Tunnel. Cook ducked into the pits for his 2nd pit stop of the race, one game-turn before anyone else. White was moving up through the field. Where he had been in 8th position on West Jefferson before making the turn onto Washington Blvd in front of Cobo Hall, when he emerged from the Goodyear Tunnel under Hart Plaza, White was in 6th.

On the game-turn after Cook pitted, Kaluzny, Moellering, and Robinson also pitted. Kaluzny was making his 2nd pit stop of the race, whilst Moellering and Robinson were making their first, and mandatory, stops. On the following game-turn, Parr made his 1st pit stop, as did Landis and Akins. Just as Cook made it back on the track, Worrel swooped by into the lead, followed closely by White. Both Worrel and White had decided to ride the rapids with their remaining wear instead of pitting.

Worrel takes the lead at the end of Lap 2

With the white flag showing there is only one lap remaining, Worrel takes the lead. White is immediately behind Worrel, and Cook is beside White. The cars of Parr, Kaluzny, Moellering, Robinson, Landis, and Akins all rest in the pits. Still on the track were Lim, Beckman, St. Peter, and Sturgeon.

As they came around, Lim joined the others in the pits, while Beckman, St. Peter, and Sturgeon decided to stay on the track.

The official order at the end of the 2nd lap: Worrel (0); Parr (+9); White (+3); Cook (-2); Lim (+2); Beckman (-3); Kaluzny (-3); Moellering (-3); Robinson (0); St. Peter (0); Landis (+2); Sturgeon (-4); and Akins (-1).

3rd Lap

As they began their 3rd laps, the drivers each had this many wear for the last lap: Worrel (11); Parr (15); White (6); Cook (15); Lim (15); Beckman (9); Kaluzny (15); Moellering (15); Robinson (15); St. Peter (13); Landis (15); Sturgeon (7); and Akins (15). Worrel had managed to spend only 6 wear (saving 9) on the 2nd lap, and he got 2 wear back as his hard tire bonus when he reached the start/finish line to begin the final lap.

Despite having 5 less fewer wear than Worrel, White briefly challenged Worrel for the lead at the start of lap 3. White ducked to the inside at the first corner to briefly take the lead, but Worrel regained the lead at the right-hand turn onto St. Antoine. Moellering, coming up to that same turn onto St. Antoine, attempted a -1 deceleration roll to slow down for the turn. He failed that roll, which meant his deceleration dropped from 20 mph to 0 mph for the rest of the race! That is one of the perils of starting out with 20 mph in deceleration (or acceleration, for that matter), for if you fail a dice roll, you are well and truly hosed, because you will have to always spend wear or roll dice every time you need to slow down (or speed up, if accel is busted).

After the pit stops were completed, the running order on the track early in lap 3 was: Worrel; White; Cook; Beckman; Kaluzny; Moellering; Robinson; Parr; St. Peter; Landis; Sturgeon; Akins; and Lim.

Kaluzny had been having a dice with Moellering, Beckman, and Robinson for 4th place, then after turning left off the Chrysler service drive onto East Congress, Kaluzny was able to get clear of all three of his closest competitors and move into 4th place. Kaluzny then caught his teammate White at Beaubien Street. In the meanwhile, Worrel and Cook were 4 spaces in front of everyone else with about a half of a lap remaining to race.

Worrel leads with half a lap remaining

With half a lap remaining, Worrel (red Ferrari in upper left) leads from Cook, White, Kaluzny, Moellering, Beckman, Robinson, Parr, Landis, Sturgeon, Akins, and Lim.

Kaluzny was now drag-racing White, both coveting 3rd place. They went side-by-side down Larned St at 140 mph, then both cars needed to slow to 80 mph for their next move through the slow left-turn onto Woodward. White attempted and failed an unmodified deceleration roll, which reduced his decel rating to 20 mph for the last half of the last lap (White also had to spend a precious wear to avoid spinning out then and there). Kaluzny was more fortunate; he successfully rolled a -1 deceleration attempt. Shortly after that, at that same series of corners on Woodward that connected Larned and West Jefferson, Parr made a forced pass (using a total of 5 wear to pay for the cornering costs) past Moellering. Moellering attempted to block, but Parr did make the pass and got into 6th place (Parr was 8th when he began that move — he also passed Beckman). But the action wasn’t done at that corner — Landis followed Parr through to also pass Moellering and Beckman, although Landis only paid 3 wear total.

The race is heating up

The race is heating up. Worrel still leads Cook, the Marlboro McLarens of Kaluzny (inside) and White (cornering arrow) are right behind Cook, and Robinson is right behind the McLarens. Parr (orange car) and Landis (green/yellow car) have both just forced-passed Moellering (blue/white car) and Beckman (red car). Behind trail Sturgeon, Akins, St. Peter, and Lim.

At that Washington Blvd. left-turn, Worrel had 2 wear remaining; Cook had 3 wear; Kaluzny had 6 wear; White had 3 wear; and Robinson had 5 wear left. It was shaping up to be an exciting finish.

It was then Beckman’s gamble to attempt a forced-pass of Parr at the Washington Boulevard turn. Beckman succeeded in making the pass despite Parr’s blocking attempt, but then Beckman was going fast enough to have to use 2 wear and roll a -2 chance through the actual corner. Unfortunately for the Ferrari flag-waving tifosi in attendance at the race, Beckman rolled an ’11’ and so he crashed, becoming the first DNF of the race.

Beckman crashes at Washington Blvd

Beckman (upside down Ferrari at top center) crashes at Washington Blvd. The yellow caution flag waves. Robinson’s Williams has taken 4th place from White’s Mclaren.

Worrel got through the left-hand turn to head through the Goodyear Tunnel for the last time without undue cause for alarm. Cook make a brilliant blocking move by ending his turn in the middle of that corner, thereby preventing any easy passes of him. Kaluzny pulled up short of the corner, trying to preserve his last few wear. Then Robinson took the inside of the corner and briefly 3rd place, although he was off the cornering arrow. (Afterwards, Kaluzny remarked that he might have been able to nip Cook for 2nd if Kaluzny had used all of his wear to go around the outside of that corner. With Cook’s car only having a 20 mph acceleration, Kaluzny may have been able to out-drag Cook to the line.)

Worrel held a 3-space lead over Cook at the right-left turn after the Goodyear Tunnel. Kaluzny had gone through the left-corner into the tunnel faster than Robinson, so Kaluzny was right behind Cook (with Robinson right behind Kaluzny). Then came White, Landis, Moellering, St. Peter (who had almost unnoticed passed his teammate Parr), Parr, Sturgeon, Akins, and Lim.

Finally, through the chicane for the final time, and it was Worrel just holding off Cook to win by 1 space. Kaluzny finished 2 spaces behind Cook. Robinson had to slow just before the chicane, but was out of wear and skill; he threw an unmodifed deceleration roll, failed the roll, and so spun just before the chicane. White tried another -1 deceleration roll before the chicane, failed the roll, and so became the 2nd retirement of the race with brake failure.

Worrel wins at Detroit

Worrel wins at Detroit! It was his 3rd win in five races in 2019. Cook is 2nd, and Kaluzny is 3rd. Robinson (backwards-facing car at the barricades) spun in front of the chicane, and White has parked his brakeless McLaren to the side of the track.

But the carnage was not yet complete. Robinson only moved at 40 mph while recovering from his spin. That left him on the last space of the chicane, sitting right on top of the cornering arrow. (For those folks who don’t know the rules to Championship Formula Racing, the cornering arrows give a car a 20 mph bonus through the corners, so it is beneficial to use the arrows as much as you can.) St. Peter ended his move next to Robinson, and right behind were Landis, Parr, Akins, Sturgeon, and Lim. It was while trying to slow for the chicane that Moellering’s brakes gave out, making him the 3rd DNF of the race. He had failed an unmodified deceleration roll. (As Maxwell Smart would have said, “He came this close to finishing the race!”)

At the mad scramble to the line, Robinson was able to hold on to 4th place, and St. Peter was 5th. Landis finished 6th, and beside him Parr finished 7th. Sturgeon was able to out-drag Akins down the start/finish straight to finish 8th, relegating Akins to 9th. Lim came home in 10th.

The peloton finishes the race

The peloton finishes the race at Detroit.

The official finishing order at the 2019 Michigan Grand Prix: 1st-Bill Worrel (0); 2nd-Mike Cook (0); 3rd-Garry Kaluzny (+1); 4th-Jim Robinson (+5); 5th-Mike St. Peter (+5); 6th-Jim Landis (+7); 7th-Aric Parr (+4); 8th-Gary Sturgeon (0); 9th-Mickey Akins (+3); 10th-Greg Lim (-3). Three DNFs were classified: 11th-Mark Moellering, brakes (-6); 12th-Richard White, brakes (-6); and 13th-Jack Beckman, accident (-10).

Aftermath

Points awarded at the 2019 Michigan Grand Prix: Worrel 15; Cook 12; Kaluzny 10; Robinson 8; St. Peter 6; Landis 4; Parr 2; Sturgeon 1.

Team points awarded at the 2019 Michigan Grand Prix: Ferrari 15; Camel Lotus 13; Marlboro McLaren 10; Williams 8; McLaren 8; Benetton 4.

The points standings of the 2019 CFR-Detroit season (after 5 of 10 races):

Place Driver (Car)                    Points
  1   Mike Cook (Camel Lotus)           47
  2   Garry Kaluzny (Marlboro McLaren)  46
  3   Bill Worrel (Ferrari)             45
  4   Richard White (Marlboro McLaren)  36
  5T  Jim Robinson (Williams)           24
  5T  Aric Parr (McLaren)               24
  7   Mickey Akins (Fiat Ferrari)       15
  8   Mark Moellering (Tyrrell)         14
  9T  Greg Lim (Williams)                8
  9T  Mike St. Peter (McLaren)           8
  9T  Jim Landis (Benetton)              8
  9T  Gary Sturgeon (Camel Lotus)        8
 13   Joel Lauder (Tyrrell)              4
 14   Jack Beckman (Ferrari)             2
 15   Brian Robinson (Benetton)          1

Drivers can only count their 7 best finishes out of the 10 races.

The team championship standings of the 2019 CFR-Detroit season (after 5 of 10 races):

Place Team              Points
  1   Marlboro McLaren    82
  2   Camel Lotus         55
  3   Ferrari             47
  4T  McLaren             32
  4T  Williams            32
  6   Tyrrell             18
  7   Fiat Ferrari        15
  8   Benetton             5
  9   Renault              0

Teams can only count their 2 best finishing cars from each race.

The 6th race of the 2019 CFR-Detroit racing season is on Saturday, August 1o, at RIW Hobbies & Games in Livonia, Michigan. Qualifying begins promptly at 12:45 pm, so all drivers who wish to compete are asked to arrive no later than 12:15 pm so they may set up their car’s specifications. The race is the Italian Grand Prix, racing on the CFR design of the Monza track.

CFR-Detroit 2019 Race #4: British Grand Prix

Thursday, August 8th, 2019

In a (boardgame) race that was held on Friday, May 10, 2019, Mickey Akins came from 13th place on the starting grid to pass the other 12 drivers to win the British Grand Prix. Mark Moellering and Mike Cook were the other podium finishers, in 2nd and 3rd places, respectively. The race was contested at Pandemonium Games & Hobbies in Garden City, Michigan. Eleven of the 13 cars finished the race. This was the 4th (of 10) races of the 2019 CFR-Detroit racing season.

The race was on the Brands Hatch track. Our track was based on the old Avalon Hill Brands Hatch track design, except we modified the 2nd corner on the track to make it more logical than was its Avalon Hill design.

The modified Brands Hatch track

The modified Brands Hatch track.

We had not used the Brands Hatch track since our old Advanced Speed Circuit days in the late 1980s/early 1990s, so it needed a good going over. The lane and space dividing lines were originally painted red, and they had faded over the years to be now almost impossible to see. So those lane and space lines were re-painted in yellow. We added the red-and-yellow stripes to mark which side of the track is the inside at any particular point on the track. We also added the orange stripes alongside the track to denote the pit stop spaces. We also went over the numbers in the corners, and re-drew the red cornering arrows.

As a reminder, drivers bid for starting position by bidding some of their wear and/or skill chits, with each wear counting as 1.0 and each skill counting as 0.5 towards their qualifying bid.

Qualifying

Mark Moellering (4 wear + 18 skill) took his 2nd consecutive pole position with a bid of 13.0. Bill Worrel (6 wear + 12 skill) and Garry Kaluzny (3 wear + 18 skill) each bid 12.0. Kaluzny then rolled ’95’ on the ensuing percentage dice roll to break the tie, but Worrel rolled ’98’ and thus Worrel started 2nd and Kaluzny was relegated to 3rd. Richard White (5 wear + 13 skill) and Mike Cook (6 wear + 11 skill) each bid 11.5, with White rolling ’38’ to start 4th, while Cook rolled ’02’ to start 5th. Jack Beckman (5 wear + 7 skill) bid 8.5 to start 6th. Gary Sturgeon (0 wear + 15 skill) bid 7.5 and so he started in 7th position.

Greg Lim (5 wear + 2 skill) slotted into the 8th spot with a bid of 6.0. There were two bids of 5.0: Joel Lauder (1 wear + 8 skill) and Mike St. Peter (4 wear + 2 skill). Lauder rolled ’78’ to start 9th, and St. Peter rolled ’26’ to start 10th. Jim Robinson (0 wear + 7 skill) bid only 3.5, so he began 11th. Aric Parr (0 wear + 5 skill) started 12th with a bid of 2.5. Mickey Akins (0 wear + 3 skill) bid 1.5, so he began in the 13th and final position on the grid.

The starting grid for the 2019 British Grand Prix with their car specs:

 # Driver (Car)                    Start/Accel/Decel/Top/Wear/Skill/Tires
 4 Mark Moellering (Tyrrell)        100   20    40   140  5x   4x   soft
 1 Bill Worrel (Ferrari)            100   40    40   140  5x   3x   soft
 8 Garry Kaluzny (Marlboro McLaren)  60   40    20   140  5x   5x   soft
 7 Richard White (Marlboro McLaren)  60   40    40   140  5x   4x   soft
11 Mike Cook (Camel Lotus)          100   40    40   140  5x   3x   soft
 2 Jack Beckman (Ferrari)            60   60    40   140  5x   3x   soft
12 Gary Sturgeon (Camel Lotus)      100   40    20   140  5x   4x   soft
 0 Greg Lim (Williams)               60   60    40   140  5x   3x   soft
 3 Joel Lauder (Tyrrell)             60   40    40   160  5x   3x   hard
 9 Mike St. Peter (McLaren)          60   40    40   140  5x   4x   hard
 6 Jim Robinson (Williams)           60   40    40   140  5x   4x   hard
10 Aric Parr (McLaren)               60   40    60   140  5x   3x   hard
27 Mickey Akins (Fiat Ferrari)       60   40    40   160  5x   3x   hard

Start = Start Speed (in miles/hour); Accel = Acceleration (in mph); Decel = Deceleration (in mph); Top = Top Speed (in mph); Wear = # of Wear markers (per lap); Skill = # of Skill markers (per lap); Tires = hard or soft tires to begin the race.

The starting grid at Brands Hatch

The starting grid at Brands Hatch: 1st row: Mark Moellering (blue Tyrrell) and Bill Worrel (red Ferrari); 2nd row: Garry Kaluzny (inside, #8) and Richard White (outside, #7); 3rd row: Mike Cook (yellow Lotus) and Jack Beckman (red Ferrari); 4th row: Gary Sturgeon (yellow Lotus) and Greg Lim (white/yellow/blue Williams); 5th row: Joel lauder (blue/white Tyrrell) and Mike St. Peter (orange McLaren); 6th row: Jim Robinson (white/yellow/blue Williams) and Aric Parr (orange McLaren); 7th row: Mickey Akins (red/white Fiat Ferrari).

1st Lap

At the start, the front row cars of Moellering and Worrel both zoomed away at 120 mph (they both used a wear to increase their start speeds by 20 mph each as they were both on soft tires.)  The 2nd row Marlboro McLarens of Kaluzny and White also each used a wear to increase their start speeds to 80 mph. Mike Cook was then balked — he plotted 100 mph (his car’s normal start speed) but had to slow down to 80 mph due to the McLaren roadblock ahead of him. (Hey — it’s not like the McLarens were going slow — they both increased their start speeds!) Beckman used a wear to increase his Ferrari’s start speed to 80 mph, so he kept pace with Cook’s Lotus. From the outside of row 5, St. Peter made a successful dice roll to increase his starting speed to 80 mph. Lauder, on the inside of row 5, failed his -1 start speed roll, mis-shifting and so he started at only 40 mph, 20 mph below his basic starting speed. That allowed Parr to pass Lauder into 10th place when Parr successfully made his start speed dice roll. Jim Robinson rolled his start speed increase attempt using two -1 skill modifiers, but he rolled an ’11’ which became a ‘9’ and so he too mis-shifted and only started at 40 mph instead of the 80 mph he had hoped for. Akins, from the 7th row, was content to start at his normal start speed of 60 mph; that allowed him to come up on Robinson’s left side.

And away they go!

And away they go! At the start, Worrel and Moellering have opened up a 3-space lead, with Worrel taking the inside as Moellering chose to take the cornering arrow.

The cars roared around Paddock Hill Bend, Druids, and then Graham Hill Bend, with Moellering and Worrel racing wheel-to-wheel, each trying to wrest the lead from the other. When they got to the Surtees corner, Moellering had got in front of Worrel, and then two Marlboro McLarens of Kaluzny and White were right behind the leading duo. Then 3 spaces back came the rest of the pack.

Moellering leads at Surtees

Moellering leads at Surtees from Worrel, Kaluzny, and White; then came Beckman, Cook, St. Peter, Sturgeon, Parr, Lim, Akins, Robinson, and Lauder.

The cars raced down Pilgrim’s Drop, and then through Hawthorn’s. Halfway through the 1st lap, it was still Moellering leading from Worrel, then Kaluzny, White, Beckman, Cook, St. Peter, Sturgeon, Parr, Kim, Robinson, Akins, and Lauder.

Then at the Westfield corner, Worrel had to slow down. He had used all 9 of his -1 skill markers and also his only -3 skill marker in bidding for starting positions, so he had no skill chits remaining. He rolled an unmodifed deceleration roll to get down to 120 mph, and then he rolled an unmodifed chance roll for the corner. He crashed, becoming the first retirement from the race, and classified in 13th place.

Moellering leads at Westfield

Moellering leads at Westfield (blue car in upper-right corner; however, Worrel’s Ferrari crashed at that corner (upside-down car next to Moellering. White and Kaluzny and now 2nd and 3rd, Beckman 4th, Cook 5th, then came St. Peter, Parr, Sturgeon, Robinson, Lim, Akins, and Lauder.

When Parr got to the Dingle Dell corner, he failed a deceleration roll. Parr’s deceleration rating was reduced from 60 to 40 mph. Moellering pulled out a 5-space lead over Kaluzny just before Moellering went into the Clark corner. On his next move, Moellering pulled into the pits, but Kaluzny was able to move at 140 mph and was then able to pit on the same game-turn, although Kaluzny pitted 5 spaces behind Moellering. On the next game-turn, the cars of White, Sturgeon, Parr, Cook, and Beckman also pitted. Then on the next game-turn, the cars of St. Peter and Lim pitted just as Moellering and Kaluzny were leaving the pits. Not pitting were Robinson, Akins, and Lauder.

Pandemonium in the pits

Pandemonium in the pits (what did you expect at a place named Pandemonium Games?) Robinson has taken the lead on the track due to his not pitting, with Akins and Moellering right behind.

The official order at the end of the 1st lap was: Moellering (0); White (+2); Robinson (+8); Akins (+9); St. Peter (+5); Lauder (+3); Kaluzny (-4); Parr (+4); Sturgeon (-2); Cook (-5); Beckman (-5); and Lim (-4). Worrel (-11) was classified 13th due to his DNF because of the crash. The numbers in parentheses indicate how many positions a driver either gained (+) or lost (-) from their starting position.

When the pit stops were are resolved, the actual running order on the track was: Robinson; Akins; Moellering; Lauder; Kaluzny; White; Parr; Sturgeon; Cook; Beckman; St. Peter, and Lim.

2nd Lap

As the cars rounded the Surtees corner for the 2nd time, Robinson and Akins were sidepod-to-sidepod through Pilgrim’s Drop. Four spaces behind came Moellering, Kaluzny, Lauder, and White. Another 3 spaces back were Sturgeon, Cook, St. Peter, Beckman, and Parr, and Lim was another 2 spaces behind Parr.

At the halfway mark of the race

At the halfway mark of the race, Akins (red & white car at the upper left) has taken the lead from Robinson (white car on the red arrow over the 80 space). The rest of the pack is strung out behind.

Then at Pilgrim’s Drop, Parr forced an unblocked pass on his teammate St. Peter. Parr and Cook both successfully rolled unmodified to increase their top speed on that same straightaway. But then at Dingle Dell corner, Parr again failed an unmodified deceleration dice roll; his brakes had now failed and he retired from the race in 12th place. Then St. Peter spun at Stirling’s corner just as Akins and Robinson had pulled into the pits.

Akins leads the 2nd lap

Akins leads the 2nd lap as he pulls into the pits. Robinson has also pitted, and St. Peter (orange car) has spun (upper left of picture).

The only other cars that pitted at the end of the 2nd lap were those of Lauder and St. Peter; the other cars all stayed on the track.

The official order at the end of the 2nd lap was: Akins (+12); White (+2); Moellering (-2); Sturgeon (+3); Kaluzny (-2); Cook (-1); Beckman (-1); Lim (0); Robinson (+2); St. Peter (0); and Lauder (-2). Parr was classified 12th when his brakes failed.

When the 2nd round of pit stops was over, though, the running order on the track was: White; Moellering; Sturgeon; Kaluzny; Beckman; Cook; Akins; Lim; Robinson; Lauder, and St. Peter.

3rd Lap

As the pack reached Graham Hill Bend early in the 3rd lap, White spun his car. He had been leading at the time, but dropped to 4th after recovering from the spin.

Richard White spins at Graham Hill Bend

Richard White (backwards facing white & orange McLaren) spins at Graham Hill Bend. Note that Mickey Akins is currently 7th.

Moellering then found himself in the lead, and he pulled out a 3-space lead over the now 2nd-place Kaluzny coming out of the Surtees corner. As the pack passed through Hawthorn’s corner for the last time, there was but a half-lap left to race. Moellering still led by two spaces from the pack of Kaluzny, Sturgeon, Cook, White, Beckman, and Akins, then behind that pack came Robinson, Lim, and Lauder, and then another 13 spaces back came St. Peter.

Going into the Westfield corner, Akins was 7th; coming out of Westfield, he was in 4th place. The rest of the pack had now caught up with Moellering. While most of the leading cars were discovering they had very few remaining wear, Akins still had a comfortable amount of wear. At Dingle Dell, Akins moved into 3rd, alongside the 2nd-place Cook.

Akins moves into 3rd place

Akins moves into 3rd place. The running order is: Moellering, Cook, Akins, Kaluzny, Sturgeon, Beckman, White, Robinson, Lauder, Lim, and St. Peter (not in the picture).

At the next corner, Stirling’s, Akins pulled up next to the race leader Moellering, and then Akins passed Moellering for the lead whilst on Clearways. Coming through the final corner, the Clark Curve, Akins was 2-spaces clear from Moellering.

Akins takes the checkered flag

Akins (red & white Fiat Ferrari) takes the checkered flag to win the British Grand Prix.

At the checkered flag, it was Akins winning by 4 spaces from Moellering and Cook. The two team Marlboro McLarens of White and Kaluzny were drag-racing for 4th and 5th place. Kaluzny damaged his engine by over-revving it, and so White was 4th and Kaluzny had to settle for 5th. Jim Robinson came home in 6th, and Sturgeon was 7th. Greg Lim snagged 8th place, the final points paying position. Beckman was 9th, and Lauder was 10th. Lauder had tried a forced-pass on Robinson at the finish line, but was blocked. Lauder could not slow down, and so he spun right at the finish line. But Lauder kept his 10th place, because 11th place, St. Peter, was 8 spaces behind at that moment.

The official order at the finish of the British Grand Prix at Brands Hatch: 1st-Mickey Akins (+12); 2nd-Mark Moellering (-1); 3rd-Mike Cook (+2); 4th-Richard White (0); 5th-Garry Kaluzny (-2); 6th-Jim Robinson (+5); 7th-Gary Sturgeon (0); 8th-Greg Lim (0); 9th-Jack Beckman (-3); 10th-Joel Lauder (-1); 11th-Mike St. Peter (). Two DNFs were classified: Aric Parr (0) was 12th (brakes); and Bill Worrel (-11) was 13th (accident).

Aftermath

Points awarded at the 2019 British Grand Prix: Akins 15; Moellering 12; Cook 10; White 8; Kaluzny 6; Robinson 4; Sturgeon 2, and Lim 1.

Team points awarded at the 2019 British Grand Prix: Fiat Ferrari 15; Marlboro McLaren 14; Tyrrell 12; Camel Lotus 12; Williams 5.

The points standings of the 2019 CFR-Detroit season (after 4 of 10 races):

Place Driver (Car)                    Points
  1T  Richard White (Marlboro McLaren)  36
  1T  Garry Kaluzny (Marlboro McLaren)  36
  3   Mike Cook (Camel Lotus)           35
  4   Bill Worrel (Ferrari)             30
  5   Aric Parr (McLaren)               22
  6   Jim Robinson (Williams)           16
  7   Mickey Akins (Fiat Ferrari)       15
  8   Mark Moellering (Tyrrell)         14
  9   Greg Lim (Williams)                8
 10   Gary Sturgeon (Camel Lotus)        7
 11T  Joel Lauder (Tyrrell)              4
 11T  Jim Landis (Benetton)              4
 13T  Mike St. Peter (McLaren)           2
 13T  Jack Beckman (Ferrari)             2
 15   Brian Robinson (Benetton)          1

Drivers can only count their 7 best finishes out of the 10 races.

The team championship standings of the 2019 CFR-Detroit season (after 4 of 10 races):

Place Team              Points
  1   Marlboro McLaren    72
  2   Camel Lotus         42
  3   Ferrari             32
  4T  McLaren             24
  4T  Williams            24
  6   Tyrrell             18
  7   Fiat Ferrari        15
  8   Benetton             5

Teams can only count their 2 best finishing cars from each race.

Another Thought

It seems at most of our CFR-Detroit races, there is wild bidding to ensure starting up front. Most cars also start on soft tires to then can spend a wear to automatically increase their starting speed without having to roll dice (which could result in a stall!) Then it is a race on the first lap to get into the pits before anyone else, switch to hard tires, and try to eke out two laps on your remaining wear. It was refreshing to see Mickey Akins reverse that strategy. He bid only 3 skill, and started last on hard tires. He carefully nursed his wear through the first two laps, then pitted at the end of the 2nd lap. He emerged on soft tires, and while he had to pick his way through several cars that had got in front on him during his pit stop, has was able to use his extra wear on the final lap to guide his car to victory.

Akins set the CFR-Detroit record for winning from the lowest starting position (13th place). The previous record was winning from 7th place, by Jack Beckman at Abu Dhabi in 2018.

The next (5th) race of the 2019 CFR-Detroit racing season was on Saturday, July 13, at Guild of Blades in Clawson, Michigan. It was the Michigan Grand Prix, raced on the downtown Detroit track.

Traveller — the Adventure Begins

Thursday, August 8th, 2019

This is the first adventure of the metro Detroit Classic Traveller group. The players in this first adventure are (the UPP lists the players main six characteristics in order as: Strength, Dexterity, Endurance, Intelligence, Education, and Social Standing):

• Captain James T. Dunstal (played by Aric Parr), UPP: 777977, Age 22, Army, 1 term. Skills: Auto Pistol-1, Electronics-1, Mechanical-1, Rifle-1, SMG-1. Cr20,000.

• Dr. Adam Millerton (played by Mark Moellering), UPP: 766788, Age 30, Scientist, 3 terms. Skills: Carousing-1, Computer-2, Gravitics-1, Laser Carbine-1. Received a Type L Lab Ship as a mustering out benefit. Cr7,000.

• Gomer Pile (played by Mike St. Peter), UPP: 3572A9, Age 34, Army (Lt. Colonel), 4 terms. Skills: Brawling-1, Dagger-1, Gambling-1, Mechanical-2, Medical-1, Rifle-1, SMG-1, Tactics-1. Received a Middle Passage and a shotgun as mustering out benefits. Cr35,000.

• Dr. Simon Tamm (played by Bill Worrel), UPP: 2758A9, Age 46, Doctor, 7 terms. Skills: Computer-1, Electronics-1, Medical-2, Streetwise-3. Received a Low Passage as a mustering out benefit, and will receive an annual pension of Cr8,000. Mustered out with Cr80,000, total money after receiving pension: Cr88,000.

Before the characters began adventuring, they purchased some extra equipment:

• Capt. James T. Dunstal purchased: Reflec armor (Cr1,500, TL 10, 0kg); Auto Pistol (Cr200, TL 5, 0.75kg empty, 1kg loaded); 5 magazines 9mm SMG ammo for auto pistol (Cr50, TL 5, 1.25kg) (75 rounds); SMG (Cr500, TL 5, 2.5kg empty, 3kg loaded); 5 magazines 9mm SMG ammo for SMG (Cr100, TL 5, 2.5kg) (150 rounds); Holster, magazine carriers, cleaning kits for weapons (Cr20); Short range communicator (Cr100, TL 7, 0.3kg); Inertial locator (Cr1,200, TL 9, 1.5kg); Hand computer (Cr1,000, TL 11, 0.5kg); Light intensifier goggles (Cr500, TL 7, 1kg). Now has Cr14,780.

• Dr. Adam Millerton purchased: Hand computer (Cr1,000, TL 11, 0.5kg). Now has Cr6,000.

• Gomer Pile purchased: 3 magazines shotgun ammo (Cr30, TL 5, 2.25kg) (30 rounds); Dagger (Cr10, TL 1, 0.25kg (0kg when worn)); Binoculars (Cr75, TL 3, 1kg); IR goggles (Cr500, TL 6, 1kg). Now has Cr34,385.

• Dr. Simon Tamm purchased: Reflec armor (Cr1,500, TL 10, 0kg); Auto Pistol (Cr200, TL 5, 0.75kg empty, 1kg loaded); Silencer (Cr200, TL 6, 0.5kg); 10 magazines 9mm SMG ammo (for auto pistol) (Cr100, TL 5, 2.5kg) (150 rounds); Combination filter-respirator (Cr150, TL 5, 1kg); Artificial gill (Cr4,000, TL 8, 4kg); Swimming equipment (Cr200, TL 3, 1kg); Heavy protective suit (Cr1,400, TL 5, 7kg) (as cloth armor); Medium range communicator (Cr200, TL 7, 1.5kg); Inertial locator (Cr1,200, TL 9, 1.5kg); Radiation counter (Cr250, TL 5, 1kg); Hand computer (Cr1,000, TL 11, 0.5kg); IR goggles (Cr500, TL 6, 1kg); Medical kit (Cr1,000, TL 7, 10kg); Electronic tool set (Cr2,000, TL 7, 5kg); Lock pick set (Cr1,000, TL 4, 0.1kg, illegal on Regina!); Disguise set (Cr1,000, TL 7, 5kg); 5 days dehydrated food (Cr125, 1kg). Now has Cr71,975.

Day 002-1105 (Wonday)

The Quilted Giraffe cafe was busy on day 002 of the new year, the year being 1105 as reckoned by the Third Imperium. The cafe itself was on the planet Regina, the capital world of the Regina subsector, in the Spinward Marches, a part of the Third Imperium. Four rough-looking characters had each just mustered out or retired from their particular service or occupation, and had been forced to share a table for supper in the crowded cafe in Startown, just outside of the Downport starport on the planet’s surface. These characters were Simon Tamm, who referred to himself as “doctor,” in spite of the fact that he never finished his medical degree; Dr. Adam Millerton, a research scientist who had especially made a study of gravitics; and two ex-soldiers from the Army, Lt. Colonel Gomer Pile and Capt. James T. Dunstal. They were all recovering from the the day previous, which was New Year’s Day and an all-day party.

Twenty-two year old Finn Diaz was dining at a nearby table, and saw his old high school friend Captain Dunstal across the room. Diaz got up from his table and walked over to Dunstal. “Hey! Long time no see! What are you up to? Who are your friends?”

Dunstal replied, “I just got out of the Army. I don’t really know these gentlemen.” With that, the characters at the table all introduced themselves to each other and to Diaz, also mentioning that they were all out of work. Then Dunstal asked Diaz, “Hey, how’s that gal doing that you were dating?”

Diaz replied, “She ditched me years ago. I just got out of the Imperial Scout Service after four years. I just didn’t like the isolation all of the time. It was cool at first, but it got old really quickly.”

Dunstal commisserated with Diaz. “Too bad about that gal.”

“Nah. It was nothing. She just had a preference for jocks, that’s all.” Diaz then looked at everyone at the table and asked, “So, what are you guys doing for jobs these days?”

It seems none of the respondents had anything lined up. Millerton mentioned that he had inherited an old lab ship from his employer, but he also said he needed to hire a crew and find money to stock provisions and equipment.

Diaz said, “If you guys are looking to make a few credits, at least, I’d like to introduce Mr. Lee to you. I’ll be right back.” Diaz then walked back to his former table in the cafe. After conversing with a gentleman at his former table, Diaz returned with Mr. Lee. “Gentlemen, this is Mr. Barton Lee. He may have a business proposal for you.”

Mr. Lee was slim of build, but moved with the agility of a cat. He didn’t appear to be all that strong, but he looked like he might be good at martial arts. He was very neatly dressed. He remained standing, and bowed to the four men sitting at the table. “Good evening, gentlemen. Mr. Diaz says you gentlemen might be interested in making some money. It just so happens that I have a little business problem right now.” Lee then took a piece of paper out of his inside coat pocket, unfolded it, and placed it on the middle of the table. It was a flyer announcing a boxing match for the coming Sixday (no, that’s not a typo! The Imperial days of the week are Wonday, Tuday, Thirday, Forday, Fiday, Sixday, and Sonday).

Boxing flyer

The boxing flyer that Mr. Lee presented to the group.

There were three undercard bouts, but Mr. Lee pointed to the main bout. “Gentlemen, Rocco Bronkovic is fighting Arum ‘Kid’ King, but something is very strange. Nobody is betting money on Mr. Bronkovic. It is very strange as Mr. Bronkovic is the champion, and the Kid is merely an upstart. I believe that someone has bribed the champion to deliberately lose the fight. I would like for you four to try to find out why.”

“Gentlemen, I am what you would call an odds-maker. I do not take bets, but I provide odds for various events for those who do take bets. My clients are ready to stop taking all bets for the championship fight, as almost all of the money bet is going for the challenger. If the challenger were to win, which ordinarily does not seem possible, it would bankrupt the bookmakers. I must also alert you to the fact that wagering on things such as prize-fights is strictly illegal on this planet, but the authorities do not usually bother ordinary people who make wagers with bookmakers.”

The four characters discussed the situation a couple of minutes while Mr. Lee stood at attention by their table. Mr. Lee then continued, “Gentlemen, I suggest you spend some time tonight checking out my reputation, and I will do some checking on each of you. With that, Mr. Lee pulled a thick wad of cash from his side coat pocket, and peeled off some individual bills. He seemed totally at ease with flashing a great amount of cash in public. “Gentlemen, here are 100 credits for each of you, to perhaps interest you in assisting me in this matter.” Mr. Lee then also gave each of the characters a business card that just said “Barton Lee — Consultant” with his communicator number on the reverse side of the card. “I suggest we meet here again tomorrow at lunch time, if you are truly interested in this proposition.”

With that, Mr. Lee bowed again, then returned to his own table in the cafe. After saying a few more words with Dunstal, Finn Diaz also returned to Mr. Lee’s table. After several more minutes, Lee and Diaz left the cafe together.

Tamm, Millerton, Pile, and Dunstal all started talking at once. Eventually, they all took turns talking. “What should we do?” “Who should we talk to?” Etc, etc, etc. The four agreed to split up, talk to folks on the street to find out what might be up with the fight and the strange betting pattern, and also to check out facts about the mysterious Mr. Lee.

The four first spoke with their waiter at the cafe. The waiter admitted that Mr. Lee was a regular at the cafe, was always very neatly dressed, and was a good tipper. The waiter didn’t know anything of Mr. Lee’s business dealings, though. The matire’d gave the same information.

Out on the street, the four split up. They individually spoke with street people, and that gave a couple of the characters a way to meet up with a couple of bookies. But no matter who they spoke with, nobody knew anything about the fight being fixed even though they were aware of the strange betting pattern. But, everyone they spoke with not only knew of Mr. Lee, but also knew him personally. Everyone had a good word for Mr. Lee. The characters also got a sense that some of the random “street people” were always watching out for Mr. Lee’s welfare, which explained why Lee wasn’t afraid to flash a big wad of cash in the cafe.

Dr. Millerton dropped into a poker parlor, hoping to hear some juicy info about the fixed fight, but he dropped 200 credits before deciding to cut his losses, especially as he hadn’t found out anything of any use.

Eventually, it got late, and the characters all retired for the evening to their own lodging.

Day 003-1105 (Tuday)

Early the next morning, Captain Dunstal met Dr. Tamm, and they both went to the “Big Hits Gym” where Rocco Bronkovic trained for his fight. The information was gleaned from their conversations with the street people the previous evening. Dunstal and Tamm walked in separately.

First, Tamm walked into the gym. A very rough looking man came over to “greet” Tamm. “What d’ya want?”

Tamm asked politely, “I’m looking to get into the fight business as a doctor.”

“What makes you think yer qualified to be a ring doctor?” was the rude question in response.

“I’ve had medical training, and I’ve spent close to 30 years attending to people.”

The rough-looking man from the club (who needed a shave, by the way) said, “Now, that’s just great! I’ll tell ya what, pal, maybe you should come back next week. We’re sort of busy this week making preparations for the fight in a few days. That’s the champ training right over der!” And the man jerked his thumb towards one of the practice rings where the champ was sparring with another boxer.

The champ, hearing what was said, took a short break from his sparring to look at the newcomer in the gym. He had a pure poker face as he sized up Dr. Tamm. Then, when it became evident to Tamm that he wasn’t going to get anywhere with any more questions, he thanked the man for his time, nodded to the champ, then turned and left the gym.

That was Dunstal’s cue to enter the gym. He had a gym bag with some workout clothes with him. The same rough man approached Dunstal. “Whad’d’ya want?”

Dunstal said, “I just got out of the army. I’m looking for a place to work out, and maybe learn to be a boxer. I figure you guys must be the best gym in town, what with you’re being the home to the champion!”

The rough man actually grinned at what Dunstal said. But that still didn’t help Dunstal, as the man said, “Well, maybe you can come back next week. Ya see, we ain’t got no time for any newcomers right now, we’re getting ready for a big championship fight.” Once again the man pointed to the champ.

Dunstal nodded to the champ, and said “good luck, champ!” Then he left the gym.

During that same morning, Pile was out and about, speaking with more folks on the street. He thought it strange that he didn’t find a single person who admitted to betting on the champ. Pile did bet Cr100 on the champ Rocco Broncovic with one bookie, who told Pile that “you’re the first sap, er, customer, who bet on the champ in about a week!”

And meanwhile, Millerton used his hand computer to log into a larger computer system and find out more about the champion and challenger. It seems that Rocco Bronkovic was nicknamed “The Battling Belter” as he grew up in the Bowman planetoid system, and found he had a real talent for brawling. Then he found that if he got into boxing in the ring, he could make enough money where he didn’t have to perform any dangerous mining while wearing a vacuum suit on an asteroid. The computer also mentioned that Bronkovic was a heavyweight, had moved to Regina when he was 21 years old, and was now 30 years old, and was undefeated in his last 45 fights over the past nine years. But there wasn’t much info about Arum ‘Kid’ King. About the only info on the Kid was that he was 26 years old, and had a 6 and 3 record. Millerton thought that was strange, to say the least.

Millerton also found out that the fight would pay Cr250,000 to the winner, and Cr50,000 to the loser. He also found that Bronkovic made Cr625,000 in his last fight. Additionally, he saw that originally the odds to bet on the champ were even money, they were now offered at 9-1, but still nobody wanted any of that action. And bets for the Kid were now at 1-2 in an attempt to get people to stop betting on the Kid.

Lunchtime at the Quilted Giraffe

At noon, local time, Dunstal, Millerton, Pile, and Tamm met at the Quilted Giraffe cafe. They found Barton Lee and Finn Diaz were already there to meet them. They were all seated, then Mr. Lee asked, “Gentlemen, have you checked into my background, and have you found that I am who I say I am?” The other four did agree that they had met many people who had only good things to say about Mr. Lee. Barton Lee then continued, “Excellent, gentlemen. Have you found anything from anyone on the street about why no one will make a bet on Mr. Bronkovic?”

Gomer Pile then spoke up, “I bet 100 credits on the champ!”

Mr. Lee said, “Most excellent. But did you find anyone else who bet on the champ?” Pile answered that he had not found any other bets for the champ.

Dunstal and Tamm then told Lee about their separate visits to the Big Hits Gym, and how they were rebuffed in their attempts to gain any information there.

Mr. Lee continued, “Gentlemen, today is Tuday. If we do not uncover the reason the betting is so skewed by Forday, we will have to have all bookmakers return all bets on the championship fight. I suggest you try to contact Mr. Bronkovic outside of the gym, and mention these three things to him.” Lee then unfolded a small piece of paper and placed it on the table in front of the others. The paper had three items listed: “Giacomo DePeyster,” “Edam Neckties,” and “extradition.” Lee said, “I suggest you use these words with Mr. Bronkovic. Perhaps he will believe you know more than you really do about him, and perhaps he will come clean and tell you if he has been approached to throw the fight.” Lee then produced another piece of paper that had the addresses of: the rooming house where the champ lives; the gym where he trains (but the characters already had discovered that); a diner where the champ likes to eat his meals; and a cabaret that the champ frequents to amuse himself.

Finally, lunch was over, and Mr. Lee, after paying for everyone’s meals, said, “Good luck, gentlemen. I know you will all practice due diligence on this matter. And here are four tickets to Sixday’s fight. I am sorry, they are only in the second row, but they are directly behind the champ’s corner of the ring.” With that, Mr. Lee and Finn Diaz left after saying goodbye.

Dunstal, Millerton, Pile, and Tamm then all moseyed over to the vicinity of the Big Hits Gym, where they loitered in the area after about 2:00 pm. Dunstal briefly poked his head inside the gym, trying to be as inobtrusive as possible. He did verify that the champ was inside training, then came outside and told the others that the champ was present. They decided to keep watch and to approach the champ as he left the gym. Pile went around the back to the alley to keep an eye on the back door of the gym.

Finally, around 4:00 pm, the champ left the gym. Surprisingly, he was alone. He came out of the building and turned right and paced briskly along the sidewalk. The other four signaled to each other, then they started walking after the champ. Pile approached the champ first, about a block north of the gym. Pile jogged past the champ from behind, saying quickly, “Giacomo DePeyster” and “don’t throw the fight!” Bronkovic stopped walking for several seconds and just glared at the retreating Pile. Then when Bronkovic got about a block farther along, Tamm approached from behind. Tamm wanted to say “Don’t throw the fight!” and then keep walking, but before Tamm could utter every word of that phrase, Bronkovic lashed out, quick as a snake, and grabbed Tamm by the collar.

Bronkovic roared “Who the Hell are you!?” at the surprised Tamm. Then Dunstal hastened by and shouted “extradition!” Bronkovic just glared at Dunstal as he did not release his grip on Tamm. Bronkovic said to Tamm, “Are you hungry? I’m going to dinner, and you’re going to be my guest!” Then Bronkovic led Tamm along the sidewalk, with Rocco’s left hand holding a firm grip on Tamm’s right-side collar. Tamm tried to surreptitiously slip his right hand inside his jacket, but Bronkovic, spying the move, said, “I wouldn’t reach for that, pal! Just keep your hands at your sides!” Tamm had no option but to obey for fear of getting punched by the Champ’s massive hands.

After a walk of another couple of blocks, Bronkovic and Tamm arrived at a greasy-spoon diner. Bronkovic led Tamm inside, and was greeted by the staff leading him to a very familiar corner booth. Bronkovic shoved Tamm into the booth first, then sat himself down so that Tamm would have had to slide a long way around to try to exit the booth from the other side. Rocco shouted out to one of the waiters, “Hey! Bring a menu for my friend here!” The waiter answered, “Right away, Champ!”

Just about the time the menu arrived at the table, Tamm’s other three compatriots walked into the diner. Just as Dunstal, Middleton, and Pile were scanning the inside of the diner and saw Tamm seated with Bronkovic in the corner booth, two of the waitstaff came up behind them. One of the waitstaff, looking a bit surly, sarcastically said, “Can we be of any assistance to you fine gentlemen?” Dunstal answered, “No, we were just looking for a friend. We’ll be going now.” But just as the three were turning to leave, Bronkovic motioned to the waiters to bring the three to his booth. So the same waiter said, “Gentlemen, you all look hungry. I think you better join the champ and his friend in that corner booth.” As he said that, he gave them a shove towards that corner booth….

—- to be continued —-

CFR-Detroit 2019 Race #3: Hungarian Grand Prix

Wednesday, August 7th, 2019

The 2019 Hungarian Grand Prix was held on Saturday, April 13, 2019, at RIW Hobbies & Games in Livonia, Michigan. Fourteen drivers contested the race, and at the end it was Bill Worrel taking the victory at the checkered flag. It was Worrel’s 2nd victory of the three CFR-Detroit races so far in 2019. Other podium finishers were Garry Kaluzny in 2nd place, and Mike Cook in 3rd place. Twelve of the 14 cars that started the race crossed the finish line.

The race was held on the Hungaroring track of a Garry Kaluzny design from the mid-1980s. The old Detroit Advanced Speed Circuit group used to race on the Formula 1 tracks a year after the tracks were raced in real life, and as Avalon Hill had not yet published the Hungaroring track, it was designed locally.

Hungaroring track

The Hungaroring track as used by the Detroit Championship Formula Racing players. Note that Bill Worrel also won on this track in 1987. This track was originally designed as only “2-wide,” but a 3rd lance was recently added on the start/finish straight.

As a reminder, drivers bid for starting position by bidding some of their wear and/or skill chits, with each wear counting as 1.0 and each skill counting as 0.5 towards their qualifying bid.

Qualifying

Mark Moellering (7 wear + 8 skill) earned his 1st pole position of the 2019 season, with a high bid of 11.0. Bill Worrel (0 wear + 20 skill) started 2nd with a bid of 10.0. Garry Kaluzny (3 wear + 13 skill) started 3rd with a bid of 9.5. Richard White (4 wear + 10 skill) bid 9.0 to start 4th. Jim Robinson (2 wear + 12 skill) and Mike Cook (2 wear + 12 skill) each bid 8.0. Jim Robinson rolled a percentage dice roll of ‘100’ to Cook’s roll of ’84,’ and so J. Robinson started 5th, and Cook started 6th. Gary Sturgeon (3 wear + 8 skill) started 7th with a bid of 7.0.

Greg Lim (5 wear + 0 skill) bid 5.0 to start 8th. Ninth on the grid was Brian Robinson (0 wear + 5 skill) with a bid of 2.5. Aric Parr (2 wear + 0 skill) and Jack Beckman (0 wear + 4 skill) each bid 2.0, with Parr starting 10th after rolling ’86’ to Beckman’s roll of ’35,’ thus relegating Beckman to 11th on the grid. Jim Landis and Mike St. Peter each bid nothing. Landis started 12th with a roll of ’43,’ and St. Peter started 13th after rolling ’08.’ Mickey Akins arrived just as the bidding for qualifying was finishing, so he was added to the field in 14th position as a provisional starter. This was Akins’ return to boardgame racing competition. Although it was Akins’ first official race using the Championship Formula Racing rules, he is a past champion of the old Detroit area Advanced Speed Circuit races.

The starting grid for the 2019 Hungarian Grand Prix with their car specs:

 # Driver (Car)                    Start/Accel/Decel/Top/Wear/Skill/Tires
 3 Mark Moellering (Tyrrell)         60   40    40   140  5x   4x   soft
 1 Bill Worrel (Ferrari)            100   20    20   140  5x   5x   hard
 8 Garry Kaluzny (Marlboro McLaren)  60   40    40   140  5x   4x   soft
 7 Richard White (Marlboro McLaren)  60   40    40   140  5x   4x   soft
 6 Jim Robinson (Williams)           60   40    40   140  5x   4x   soft
11 Mike Cook (Camel Lotus)          100   40    40   140  5x   3x   soft
12 Gary Sturgeon (Camel Lotus)      100   40    40   140  5x   3x   soft
 0 Greg Lim (Williams)               60   60    40   160  5x   2x   soft
 5 Brian Robinson (Benetton)         20   60    60   140  5x   3x   soft
10 Aric Parr (McLaren)               60   60    60   140  5x   2x   hard
 2 Jack Beckman (Ferrari)            60   60    40   140  5x   3x   soft
20 Jim Landis (Benetton)             60   60    60   140  5x   2x   hard
 9 Mike St. Peter (McLaren)          20   40    40   140  5x   5x   hard
27 Mickey Akins (Fiat Ferrari)       60   40    40   140  5x   4x   soft

Start = Start Speed (in miles/hour); Accel = Acceleration (in mph); Decel = Deceleration (in mph); Top = Top Speed (in mph); Wear = # of Wear markers (per lap); Skill = # of Skill markers (per lap); Tires = hard or soft tires to begin the race.

Starting grid for the Hungarian Grand Prix

Starting grid for the Hungarian Grand Prix: 1st row: Mark Moellering (left) and Bill Worrel (right); 2nd row: Garry Kaluzny (#8) and Richard White (#7); 3rd row: Jim Robinson and Mike Cook; 4th row: Gary Sturgeon and Greg Lim; 5th row: Brian Robinson and Aric Parr; 6th row: Jack Beckman and Jim Landis; 7th row: Mike St. Peter and Mickey Akins. Note the temporary track section used to extend the straight for the start.

1st Lap

At the start, Worrel wasn’t content to move at his 100 mph start speed; he wanted to try to move faster. But since he was on hard tires, he couldn’t use a wear to increase his start speed; instead, he used two -1 skill modifiers and rolled the dice. He rolled an ’11’ which was modified to a ‘9,’ but that meant he mis-shifted and so he started at 80 mph, 20 mph slower than his normal start speed. Pole-sitter Mark Moellering, on soft tires, used a -3 skill marker and rolled a ‘7’ to increase his start speed to 80 mph. That meant that Moellering moved before Worrel (since both cars plotted the same speed and Moellering was to the inside), and both cars moved 4 spaces down the track. The two Marlboro McLarens of Kaluzny and White each paid a wear to start at 80 mph, keeping pace with the front-row cars with a move of 4 spaces each. Cook moved at his start speed of 100 mph, so he pulled up next to the McLarens of Kaluzny and White. Jim Robinson spent a wear to start at 80 mph, moving directly behind Kaluzny. Then Sturgeon, from the next row back, started at 100 mph to move up next to J. Robinson. Lim used a wear to start at 80 mph, moving behind his teammate J. Robinson.

Brian Robinson used a wear to increase his car’s start speed from 20 to 40 mph, but he was passed by the cars of Parr (started at 80 mph after making a -1 start speed dice roll) and Beckman (used a wear to start at 80 mph). Moving up alongside of B. Robinson were the cars of Landis (started at 60 mph) and Akins (started at 80 mph after making a -1 start speed dice roll). St. Peter was content to start at his car’s 20 mph start speed.

The start at the Hungarian GP

The start at the Hungarian GP: The running order is Moellering, Worrel, Kaluzny, White, Cook, J. Robinson, Sturgeon, Lim, Parr, Beckman, B. Robinson, Landis, Akins, and St. Peter (the orange blur in the background).

The pack charged toward the 1st corner, with the lead 10 cars all bunched up.

The pack bunches up at the first corner

The pack bunches up at the first corner; Moellering still leads, and the McLarens of Kaluzny and White have made a Ferrari sandwich with Worrel in the middle.

Moving through the 1st corner, Worrel used 2 wear and rolled a -1 chance. He made the roll, so he took the lead by pulling inside Moellering going into the 2nd corner. Going into the 4th corner, only Worrel and Moellering’s cars were able to accelerate out of that corner, so they were able to open a little lead on the following cars. But Moellering also took the lead back from Worrel, as Worrel’s car only had a 20 mph acceleration rating. At that 4th corner, White made a -3 chance roll, and that allowed him to pass his teammate Kaluzny to take over 3rd place. In that 4th corner, Beckman attempted a forced pass of Cook, but Cook slammed the door. Beckman had to use a wear and took a -2 deceleration roll to slow from 100 to 60 mph.

Half a lap into the race

Half a lap into the race, and Moellering and Worrel lead wheel-to-wheel. Then follow White, Kaluzny, J. Robinson, Cook, Sturgeon, Beckman, Parr, Lim, Akins, Landis, St. Peter, and B. Robinson.

Worrel then moved ahead of Moellering, whose car was very low on wear. Moving in the last half of the 1st lap, Kaluzny managed to re-pass his teammate White, and Sturgeon got around his teammate Cook. By the 2nd to last corner of the 1st lap, Worrel led over Moellering and Kaluzny by 5 spaces. Then when Worrel ducked into the pits he had a lead of 7 spaces.

Worrel pits at the end of Lap 1

Worrel pits at the end of Lap 1 with a 7-space lead over Kaluzny, Moellering, Parr, Cook (who had re-passed his teammate), White, Sturgeon, J. Robinson, Beckman, Lim, Landis, Akins, B. Robinson, and St. Peter.

As Kaluzny, Sturgeon, Cook, Moellering, Parr, and White all came into the pits, Worrel was returning to the track with a fresh set of soft tires. Then as Worrel sped away, the cars of J. Robinson and Beckman also pulled into the pits. Akins retired his car just before the 2nd to last corner of the 1st lap, thereby being classified in 14th place with a DNF.

The pits are very busy

At the end of the 1st lap, the pits are very busy indeed. Worrel speeds away while the cars of Kaluzny, J. Robinson, Beckman, Sturgeon, Cook, Moellering, Parr, and White all renew their rubber.

Lim and B. Robinson did pit as they came through the final corner, but Landis and St. Peter stayed on the track on their hard tires. But B. Robinson retired from the race while his car was in the pits, so he was classified 13th with a DNF.

The official order at the end of the 1st lap was: Worrel (+1) (with a huge lead of 10 spaces); Landis (+10); Kaluzny (0); Sturgeon (+3); Cook (+1); Parr (+4); White (-3); St. Peter (+5); Moellering (-8); Beckman (+1); J. Robinson (-6); and Lim (-4). Brian Robinson (-4) was classified 13th, and Akins (0) was classified 14th. The numbers in parentheses indicate how many positions a driver either gained (+) or lost (-) from their starting position.

2nd Lap

In the early part of the 2nd lap, Kaluzny (on fresh hard tires) was having a battle with Landis (on worn hard tires) for 2nd place. Then Kaluzny moved at 100 mph through turns 3 and 4, using 2 wears at the turn 3, and then using another 2 wears and making a -3 chance at turn 4. That allowed Kaluzny to get ahead of the pack into a clear 2nd place. Moellering made a forced pass of Sturgeon at turn 3, but their cars bumped and each car had to lose a wear. Parr then failed a deceleration roll (rolling a ’12’) and so had to use a wear to avoid spinning out, and his deceleration was now down to 40 mph for the balance of the race. Halfway through the 2nd lap, and Worrel was one full move ahead of Kaluzny, and Kaluzny was one full move ahead of Landis and everyone else.

Halfway through the race

Halfway through the race, and Mike Cook (baseball cap) and Mike St. Peter (hatless) look on. The running order is: Worrel (red car near the #11 sign); Kaluzny (approaching the corner at the upper left of the picture); Landis; Cook; Moellering; Parr; Sturgeon; White; St. Peter; J. Robinson; Beckman; and Lim.

 

Jim Landis and Jim Robinson

Jim Landis (cap) and Jim Robinson (no cap) plot their next moves near the end of the 2nd lap.

Between the 2nd & 3rd final corners of the 2nd lap, Beckman made a successful uncontested forced pass of J. Robinson. As at the end of the 1st lap, Worrel pulled into the pits, this time with a lead of 8 spaces over Kaluzny. Kaluzny led Parr and Cook by 6 spaces, then came the bunch of Landis, White, Moellering, Sturgeon, St. Peter, J. Robinson, Beckman, and Lim.

Other cars making pit stops at the end of the 2nd lap were Cook, Parr, Landis, White, Moellering, Beckman, J. Robinson, St. Peter, and Lim. Kaluzny stayed on the track, calculating that was his best chance of hanging on to 2nd place. Sturgeon also did not pit the 2nd time around. When Worrel came back onto the track, he was wheel-to-wheel with Kaluzny, but Worrel had a full complement of 15 wear (a fresh set of soft tires) while Kaluzny had only 5 wear remaining (although he would regain 2 wear when he crossed the start/finish line).

The official order at the end of Lap 2: Kaluzny (+2); Worrel (+1); Beckman (+8); Cook (+2); Sturgeon (+2); Parr (+4); Landis (+5); White (-4); Moellering (-8); Lim (-2); J. Robinson (-6); St. Peter (+1).

3rd Lap

Beginning the 3rd lap, Kaluzny briefly battled Worrel for the lead, but then tried to just conserve his wear to try to stay in 2nd place. Halfway through the last lap, 2nd-place Kaluzny had a 7 space lead over 3rd-place Cook. Then came Sturgeon, Parr, Landis, White, Moellering, Beckman, J. Robinson, Lim, and St. Peter. Coming out of turn 4, J. Robinson unsuccessfully tried to force pass his way past Moellering. Moellering made the block, but had to lose a precious wear in the process. Jim Robinson had to spend 2 wear to slow down from 100 to 60 mph. Then St. Peter spun in turn 4.

St. Peter spins in turn 4

St. Peter spins in turn 4; Jim Robinson (white and yellow car) has just been blocked by Moellering (blue car). Worrel leads Kaluzny by 9 spaces, who now leads Cook by only 5 spaces.

At the end of the final lap, Bill Worrel (+1) easily took the checkered flag, winning by a whopping 14 spaces over Kaluzny. At the time Worrel crossed the finish line, Cook had been gaining on Kaluzny in 2nd place, and Cook was only 3 spaces behind Kaluzny.

Worrel wins at Hungary

Worrel wins at Hungary.

Going into the final corner, Kaluzny’s lead over Cook was down to 2 spaces, but Cook didn’t have enough wear left to floor it through that final corner, so Kaluzny (+1) held on to 2nd (by two spaces), and Cook (+3) was 3rd. White (0) took 4th place, 6 spaces behind Cook, and then Parr (+5) was 5th, three spaces behind White. Now came a dogfight for the final points-paying positions. Two spaces behind Parr, Landis (+6) finished in 6th, and he was closely followed in 7th by Beckman (+4) and 8th by Sturgeon (-1). Beckman had stressed his Ferrari’s engine just as he was crossing the finish line. Moellering (-8) was 9th, Lim (-2) was 10th, St. Peter (-2) was 11th, and Jim Robinson (-7) was 12th after spinning in the final corner after rolling an unmodified chance roll of ‘8.’ As noted earlier, Brian Robinson (-4)  and Mickey Akins (0) were 13th and 14th, respectively (both DNFs).

Aftermath

Points awarded at the 2019 Hungarian Grand Prix: Worrel 15; Kaluzny 12; Cook 10; White 8; Parr 6; Landis 4; Beckman 2; and Sturgeon 1.

Team points awarded at the 2019 Hungarian Grand Prix: Marlboro McLaren 20; Ferrari 17; Camel Lotus 11; McLaren 6; Benetton 4.

The points standings of the 2019 CFR-Detroit season (after 3 of 10 races):

Place Driver (Car)                    Points
  1T  Bill Worrel (Ferrari)             30
  1T  Garry Kaluzny (Marlboro McLaren)  30
  3   Richard White (Marlboro McLaren)  28 
  4   Mike Cook (Camel Lotus)           25
  5   Aric Parr (McLaren)               22
  6   Jim Robinson (Williams)           12
  7   Greg Lim (Williams)                7
  8   Gary Sturgeon (Camel Lotus)        5
  9T  Joel Lauder (Tyrrell)              4
  9T  Jim Landis (Benetton)              4
 11T  Mark Moellering (Tyrrell)          2
 11T  Mike St. Peter (McLaren)           2
 11T  Jack Beckman (Ferrari)             2
 14   Brian Robinson (Benetton)          1
 15   Mickey Akins (Fiat Ferrari)        0

Drivers can only count their 7 best finishes out of the 10 races.

The team championship standings of the 2019 CFR-Detroit season (after 3 of 10 races):

Place Team              Points
  1   Marlboro McLaren    58
  2   Ferrari             32
  3   Camel Lotus         30
  4   McLaren             24
  5   Williams            19
  6   Tyrrell              6
  7   Benetton             5
  8   Fiat Ferrari         0

Teams can only count their 2 best finishing cars from each race.

The 4th race of the 2019 CFR-Detroit racing season was the British Grand Prix, racing on the Brands Hatch track. That race was on Friday, May 10, at Pandemonium Games & Hobbies in Garden City, Michigan.

CFR-Detroit 2019 Race #2 Portuguese Grand Prix

Saturday, July 13th, 2019

Saturday, March 16, 2019, saw 13 drivers compete in the Portuguese Grand Prix on the Estoril track. The race was held at the Guild of Blades game store in Clawson, Michigan. Mike Cook emerged victorious, with Jim Robinson and Richard White joinging Cook on the podium. The Ferraris of Jack Beckman and Bill Worrel and the Benetton of Jim Landis were DNFs. This was the second race of the 2019 CFR-Detroit racing season.

We raced on the Estoril track that was designed by Garry Kaluzny in the mid-1980s. Here is that track diagram:

Estoril, Portugal track

Estoril, Portugal track.

As a reminder, drivers bid for starting position by bidding some of their wear and/or skill chits, with each wear counting as 1.0 and each skill counting as 0.5.

Qualifying

Gary Sturgeon (5 wear + 6 skill) took the pole position with a bid of 8.0. Starting next to him on the front row was his teammate Mike Cook (1 wear + 13 skill) in the other Camel Lotus with his bid of 7.5. Starting 3rd was Jim Robinson (4 wear + 6 skill) with his bid of 7.0; Mark Moellering (0 wear + 14 skill) started 4th after also bidding 7.0. J. Robinson rolled ’61’ on percentage dice to Moellering’s roll of ’42’, thus J. Robinson got the inside spot of row 2.

Three drivers bid 6.5: Jack Beckman (6 wear + 1 skill); Richard White (4 wear + 5 skill); and Garry Kaluzny (4 wear + 5 skill). Beckman grabbed the 5th starting spot with a roll of ’78’; White was 6th with a roll of ’24’; and Kaluzny started 7th with a roll of ’02’. Greg Lim (5 wear + 0 skill) qualified 8th with his bid of 5.0. Bill Worrel (2 wear + 5 skill), winner of the previous race, only bid 4.5 and thus started in 9th position. Brian Robinson (0 wear + 5 skill) started 10th with his bid of 2.5.

Aric Parr (0 wear + 4 skill) bid 2.0 and started 11th. Mike St. Peter and Jim Landis each bid nothing; St. Peter started 12th after rolling ’51’ and Landis started 13th after rolling ’36’.

The starting grid for the 2019 Portuguese Grand Prix with their car specs:

 # Driver (Car)                    Start/Accel/Decel/Top/Wear/Skill/Tires
12 Gary Sturgeon (Camel Lotus)      100   40    40   160  5x   2x   soft
11 Mike Cook (Camel Lotus)           60   40    40   140  5x   4x   soft
 6 Jim Robinson (Williams)           60   40    40   160  5x   3x   soft
 4 Mark Moellering (Tyrrell)         60   60    40   160  3x   4x   hard
 2 Jack Beckman (Ferrari)            60   40    40   180  5x   2x   soft
 7 Richard White (Marlboro McLaren)  60   40    40   160  5x   3x   soft
 8 Garry Kaluzny (Marlboro McLaren)  60   40    40   160  5x   3x   soft
 0 Greg Lim (Williams)               60   60    40   160  5x   2x   soft
 1 Bill Worrel (Ferrari)             60   40    40   160  5x   3x   soft
 5 Brian Robinson (Benetton)         20   60    60   160  4x   3x   soft
10 Aric Parr (McLaren)               20   40    60   160  5x   3x   hard
 9 Mike St. Peter (McLaren)          20   40    40   140  5x   5x   hard
20 Jim Landis (Benetton)             20   60    60   160  5x   2x   hard

Start = Start Speed (in miles/hour); Accel = Acceleration (in mph); Decel = Deceleration (in mph); Top = Top Speed (in mph); Wear = # of Wear markers (per lap); Skill = # of Skill markers (per lap); Tires = hard or soft tires to begin the race.

Starting grid at Portugal

Starting grid at Portugal: 1st row: Gary Sturgeon & Mike Cook; 2nd row: Jim Robinson & Mark Moellering; 3rd row: Jack Beckman & Richard White; 4th row: Garry Kaluzny & Greg Lim; 5th row: Bill Worrel & Brian Robinson; 6th row: Aric Parr & Mike St. Peter; 7th row: Jim Landis.

1st Lap

When the green flag dropped to start the race, Sturgeon used his 100 mph start speed to move 5 spaces. Cook spent one of his -3 skill chits and rolled the dice to boost his start speed to 80mph, pulling right behind his teammate. The 2nd row cars of J. Robinson and Moellering both rolled dice to increase their start speed to 80 mph, Robinson using -1 skill and Moellering using -2 skill; they both made their rolls. The 3rd row cars of Beckman and White both used -2 skill and made their start speed dice rolls to move at 80mph. The 4th row cars of Kaluzny and Lim both used wear to increase to 80 mph, not wanting to risk stalling on the grid. Worrel, on the inside of the 5th row, made an unmodified start speed roll to start at 80 mph. Next to Worrel, B. Robinson used a wear to increase his start speed to 40 mph. Then Aric Parr made a -2 roll, and his teammate St. Peter made a -1 start speed roll, so both started at 40 mph. Landis rolled away at his normal start speed of 20 mph.

Start of the Portuguese G.P.

The initial move at the 2019 Portuguese Grand Prix: Sturgeon; Cook; J. Robinson; Moellering; Beckman; White; Kaluzny; Lim; Worrel; B. Robinson; Parr; St. Peter; and Landis.

Moving into Curva 1, most cars kept their same running order, although Moellering briefly pulled up alongside Cook before falling back at Curva 2, and the first nine cars had opened a 4-space gap to the last four cars. Jim Robinson then took 2nd from Cook by pulling inside at Curva 3. But then Cook managed to pass both J. Robinson and Sturgeon to take the lead. Jim Landis was the race’s first DNF, crashing his car at Curva 3. He only used a -1 skill chit for the chance roll, and he rolled an ’11’. Aric Parr then had to roll dice to avoid the crashing Landis. Parr was to get an automatic -2 to his dice roll, but he added another -1 skill to make his roll at -3, and he made it through the corner unscathed.

Landis crashes in Curva 3

Landis (upside down Benetton) crashes in Curva 3. The running order: Cook; J. Robinson; Sturgeon; White; Moellering; Beckman; Kaluzny; Worrel; Lim; St. Peter; B. Robinson; and Parr.

Cook started to pull away, opening a 4-space gap over J. Robinson by the time Cook reached the Orelha corner. Meanwhile, back in the pack, Parr over-stressed his McLaren’s engine, reducing his acceleration by 20 mph for the rest of the race (his acceleration was now only 20 mph). Cook had a 6-space lead when he was the first car to make a pit stop near the end of the first lap.

Cook pits near the end of lap 1

Cook pits near the end of lap 1. Running order: Cook; J. Robinson; White; Sturgeon; Worrel; Kaluzny; Beckman; Lim; B. Robinson; Moellering; St. Peter; and Parr.

Cook was quickly joined in the pits by the cars of J. Robinson, White, and Sturgeon. Eventually, Worrel, Kaluzny, Beckman, Lim, and B. Robinson would also pit, while Moellering, St. Peter, and Parr stayed on the track without pitting. The latter trio were all on hard tires, whilst the pittees all changed from soft to hard tires.

At the end of the 1st lap, the official order was: Cook (+1); Moellering (+2); J. Robinson (0); St. Peter (+8); Parr (+6); Sturgeon (-5); White (-1); Worrel (+1); Kaluzny (-2); Beckman (-5); Lim (-3); and B. Robinson (-2). Landis (0) was a DNF, classified in 13th. The numbers in parentheses indicate how many places a driver either gained (+) or lost (-) from their starting position.

2nd Lap

Early in the 2nd lap, Cook enjoyed a 4-space lead over 6 cars. Those 6 cars were in a tight bunch heading into Curva 1.

Cook leads the 2nd lap at Curva 1

Cook leads the 2nd lap at Curva 1, following by Moellering, J. Robinson, St. Peter, Parr, Sturgeon, and White; then a gap to Worrel and Kaluzny, then another gap to Beckman and Lim, then B. Robinson.

Coming out of the pits and down the long start/finish straightaway, both Ferraris had engine problems. Worrel rolled an ’11’ on a -1 top speed roll, so his top speed was reduced to 140 mph. Beckman failed an acceleration roll, so his car’s acceleration was now only 20 mph.

Through Curva VIP, J. Robinson had caught up with Cook. Parr forced an unblocked pass on his teammate St. Peter between Curva 1 and Curva 2, and so Parr was right behind J. Robinson at Curva VIP. Then more problems struck the Ferrari team when Beckman flipped his Ferrari at Curva VIP to become the race’s 2nd DNF. Beckman only used a single -1 skill marker to modify the chance dice roll, but even so, he rolled a ’12’. Lim had moved only 60 mph through Curva VIP, ending his move on the cornering arrow. Beckman did not want to slow, and since he was now on hard tires he couldn’t use a 3rd wear for the corner, but had to roll the dice.

Beckman crashes at Curva VIP

Beckman crashes at Curva VIP. The running order: Cook; J. Robinson; Parr; Moellering; Sturgeon; White; St. Peter; Worrel; Kaluzny; Lim; and B. Robinson.

Slightly later in the lap, Worrel’s Ferrari developed brake problems when he failed an unmodified deceleration roll before the Orelha corner, making Worrel’s decel only 20 mph. At the corner after Orelha, Moellering’s Tyrrell failed an unmodified deceleration, so his car was down to 40 mph deceleration. Moellering had no more skill chits, and only 1 wear remaining until he made it to the pits.

Near the end of the 2nd lap, Cook had opened up another 4-space lead over J. Robinson. Most observers thought Cook would stay on the track, but he surprised most everyone by making a 2nd pit stop.

Cook makes a 2nd pit stop

Cook makes a 2nd pit stop near the end of the 2nd lap. The running order: Cook; J. Robinson; Parr; White; Worrel; Sturgeon; St. Peter; Moellering; Kaluzny; Lim; and B. Robinson.

Other cars that pitted at the end of the 2nd lap were those of J. Robinson, Parr, Sturgeon, St. Peter, and Moellering. Those cars all exited the pits on soft tires. Staying on the track (and staying on hard tires) were the cars of White, Worrel, Kaluzny, Lim, and B. Robinson.

The official order at the end of the 2nd lap was: White (+5); Cook (0); Worrel (+6); J. Robinson (-1); Parr (+6); Kaluzny (+1); Lim (+1); Sturgeon (-7); B. Robinson (+1); St. Peter (-2); and Moellering (-7). Beckman (-7) was a DNF due to his crash, and was classified 12th.

3rd Lap

White now led from Cook by 4 spaces through Curva 1, although Cook had much more wear remaining than did White.

White leads from Cook to begin the final lap

White leads from Cook to begin the final lap. Positions 3 through 11: Worrel; J. Robinson; Parr; Kaluzny; Lim; Sturgeon; B. Robinson; St. Peter, and Moellering.

White was driving his utmost to try to stay in the lead, including making an unmodifed acceleration roll coming out of Curva VIP to get up to 140 mph as quickly as possible. White held his 4-space lead over Cook down the middle straight, but coming out of the Parabolica Interior the lead was down to 2 spaces. Then Cook pulled even with White coming out of the Orelha corner. While Cook caught White, Worrel’s Ferrari finally totally lost its brakes heading into the Parabolica Interior, putting driver and car out of the race in 11th place.

Cook catches White just after the Orelha corner

Cook catches White just after the Orelha corner, J. Robinson is close behind in 3rd. Then are Kaluzny, Parr, Sturgeon, St. Peter, Lim, and Moellering. Worrel’s Ferrari is just off the track near the flat-bed truck.

Cook then took the lead from White with J. Robinson only 2 spaces behind White. Kaluzny was trying to hold onto 4th place, but Parr and Sturgeon were breathing right down his tailpipe just past Orelha. Lim and St. Peter were dicing for 7th, and Moellering was battling B. Robinson for 9th. Finally, the leaders made it through the final corner and onto the start/finish line. Jim Robinson made an unmodified top speed roll to get to 180 mph, and that allowed him to pass White for 2nd. Aric Parr rolled a -3 chance at the Parabolica and so was able to snatch 4th place from Kaluzny. Lim spun in the Esses, and Moellering managed to fail an unmodified top speed roll to lower his car’s top speed to 140 mph.

At the checkered flag, it was Mike Cook (+1) winning just ahead of Jim Robinson (+1) in 2nd and Richard White (+3) in 3rd. Aric Parr (+7) was 4th, a remarkable drive especially as his car had only a 20 mph acceleration for most of the race. Garry Kaluzny (+2) was 5th. Pole-sitter Gary Sturgeon was 6th (-5). Mike St. Peter (+5) was 7th. Greg Lim (0) was 8th. Brian Robinson (+1) was 9th, and Mark Moellering (-6) was 10th. DNFs were: Bill Worrel (-2) in 11th; Jack Beckman (-7) in 12th; and Jim Landis (0) in 13th.

Cook wins from J. Robinson and White

Cook wins from J. Robinson and White. Lim has spun in the Esses.

Aftermath

Points awarded at the 2019 Portuguese Grand Prix: Cook 15; J. Robinson 12; White 10; Parr 8; Kaluzny 6; Sturgeon 4; St. Peter 2; and Lim 1.

Team Points awarded at the 2019 Portuguese Grand Prix: Camel Lotus 19; Marlboro McLaren 16; Williams 13; McLaren 10.

The points standings of the 2019 CFR-Detroit season (after 2 of 10 races):

Place Driver (Car)                    Points
  1   Richard White (Marlboro McLaren)  20 
  2   Garry Kaluzny (Marlboro McLaren)  18
  3   Aric Parr (McLaren)               16
  4T  Bill Worrel (Ferrari)             15
  4T  Mike Cook (Camel Lotus)           15
  6   Jim Robinson (Williams)           12
  7   Greg Lim (Williams)                7
  8T  Joel Lauder (Tyrrell)              4
  8T  Gary Sturgeon (Camel Lotus)        4
 10T  Mark Moellering (Tyrrell)          2
 10T  Mike St. Peter (McLaren)           2
 12   Brian Robinson (Benetton)          1
 13T  Jack Beckman (Ferrari)             0
 13T  Jim Landis (Benetton)              0

Drivers can only count their 7 best finishes out of the 10 races.

The team championship standings of the 2019 CFR-Detroit season (after 2 of 10 races):

Place Team              Points
  1   Marlboro McLaren    38
  2T  Camel Lotus         19
  2T  Williams            19
  4   Ferrari             15
  5   McLaren             18
  6   Tyrrell              6
  7   Benetton             1

Teams can only count their 2 best finishing cars from each race.

The 3rd race of the 2019 CFR-Detroit racing season, the Hungarian Grand Prix, was at RIW Hobbies & Games in Livonia, Michigan, on Saturday, April 13.

Playing Classic Traveller in the Detroit area

Friday, May 3rd, 2019

We finally got a campaign of “Classic” Traveller rolling in the metropolitan Detroit, Michigan, area. What, you may ask, is Classic Traveller? You may have heard of Dungeons & Dragons? Well, Traveller was the role-playing science-fiction game equivalent of D&D, except that Traveller was set in outer space, in the far future. The Traveller game was originally the brainchild of Marc W. Miller (with help from a number of other folks) and was originally published by Game Designers’ Workshop (GDW) in 1977 AD (earth years, not to be confused with dates of the Imperium in the Traveller game). Traveller was originally published as “Little Black Books” (LBBs) as they were all pamphlet sized and the covers were basically black with some different color trim, depending on the book. Traveller also went through a number of different publishers and versions over the years, but since I already had a lot of the original (i.e., “classic”) Traveller books, that’s the version I decided to run.

While speaking with some of the other boardgamers in our Championship Formula Racing group, I found out that Jack Beckman used to play Traveller in the past (as I did). I was trying to get him to start up a campaign of Traveller, but he is still has to work for  living (unlike us retired folks) and so didn’t have time to set anything up. So, I reckoned it was time I got a campaign together.

Traveller Books 1, 2, and 3

Traveller Books 1, 2, and 3

While I owned a goodly number of the LBBs, I didn’t own them all. Not that you need to own them all — you just really need Books 1 (Characters & Combat), 2 (Starships), and 3 (Worlds & Adventures). But I decided to order the entire set of LBBs from Far Future Enterprises, just so I would have all of the books. FFE has made all of the original material available on CD-ROMs, for a reasonable price ($35 for a CD of all of the original GDW books). After buying the Classic Traveller CD, I bought two more, one with a number of third-party products for Traveller by Judges Guild (and others), and one CD with all of the original “Journals of the Travellers’ Aid Society” which had great articles that expanded the Traveller game. Marc Miller, though Far Future Enterprises, is the official home for Traveller, now that GDW is no longer in business.

Of course, one of the things that will make running a game of Traveller difficult, is that the players also have those same resources available. That means that that if I run any published adventures that I will have to make a number of changes to keep the players guessing!

Edit (August 8, 2019): I have since purchased the other “Classic” Traveller CDs from Far Future Enterprises, so now have the entire treasure trove of stuff that was published for Traveller in the late 1970s and early 1980s (and some later stuff, too).

CFR-Detroit 2019 Race #1 – Australian Grand Prix

Tuesday, March 19th, 2019

Bill Worrel, the 2018 champion of the Championship Formula Racing-Detroit racing series, picked up right where he left off at the end of the 2018 season. After winning the season’s final race in 2018, he won the opening race of 2019, the Australian Grand Prix, beating 10 other drivers to the finish line. Garry Kaluzny and Richard White were the other podium finishers in 2nd and 3rd place, respectively. The race was on the Adelaide track, and the game-store venue this time was Pandemonium Games in Garden City, Michigan. The race date was February 9, 2019.

While the Adelaide track diagram was published by the old Avalon Hill game company in the late 1980s, I had designed that same track (for board-game use) around 1985, shortly after the first real Formula 1 race took place at the real Adelaide track. And, since my track design is more accurate than the AH version, we used my track design (not to mention that my track design had already been transferred to a bedsheet way back in 1985!).

Adelaide track diagram

Adelaide track diagram, a design by Garry Kaluzny from 1985.

This season, the CFR-Detroit racing series instituted a “team” championship to go along with the individual points championship. The new teams going into the 2019 season: Benetton: #5 Brian Robinson (and #20 Jim Landis, not racing in this race); Camel Lotus: #12 Gary Sturgeon (and #11 Mike Cook, absent from this race); Ferrari: #1 Bill Worrel and #2 Jack Beckman; Marlboro McLaren: #7 Richard White and #8 Garry Kaluzny; McLaren: #9 Mike St. Peter and #10 Aric Parr; Tyrrell: #3 Joel Lauder and #4 Mark Moellering; Williams: #0 Greg Lim (and #6 Jim Robinson, not present).

There were two other changes in store for the 2019 CFR-Detroit season. Points would now be awarded to the top eight finishers in each race on a 15-12-10-8-6-4-2-1 basis, instead of the first six finishers getting points on a 10-6-4-3-2-1 basis that was used for the first two seasons of CFR-Detroit racing. And, the Chance Table was changed to what it was in the old Advanced Speed Circuit days, with a 2d6 dice roll of 2 through 7 being success, instead of the CFR 2 through 6 being success.

After the teams were settled, it was time to bid for starting positions on the grid, with each driver secretly bidding a number of his wear and/or skill chits, with each wear chit counted as 1.0, and each skill chit counted as 0.5. Naturally, higher bids start in front of lower bids, with any ties resolved by rolling percentage dice (high rolls are better than low rolls).

Qualifying

Joel Lauder (3 wear + 8 skill) and Greg Lim (1 wear + 12 skill) each bid 7.0. Lauder won the percentage dice roll by “33” to “11” and so Lauder was on the pole position and Lim started next to him in the front row, in 2nd position. Bill Worrel (4 wear + 5 skill) bid 6.5 and started 3rd. Garry Kaluzny (4 wear + 4 skill) started 4th with a bid of 6.0. Richard White (4 wear + 3 skill) started 5th with a bid of 5.5.

Starting 6th was Gary Sturgeon (1 wear + 6 skill) with a bid of 4.0. Mark Moellering (2 wear + 2 skill) bid 3.0 to start 7th. McLaren teammates Aric Parr (0 wear + 4 skill) and Mike St. Peter (2 wear + 0 skill) each bid 2.0. Parr started 8th with a percentage dice roll of “84” and so St. Peter started 9th after rolling “43”. Brian Robinson (0 wear + 3 skill) bid 1.5 to start 10th, and Jack Beckman (0 wear + 1 skill) started 11th after only bidding 0.5.

The starting grid for the 2019 Australian Grand Prix with their car specs:

 # Driver (Car)                    Start/Accel/Decel/Top/Wear/Skill/Tires
 3 Joel Lauder (Tyrrell)             60   40    40   140  5x   4x   hard
 0 Greg Lim (Williams)               60   60    40   140  4x   4x   hard
 1 Bill Worrel (Ferrari)             60   40    40   140  5x   4x   soft
 8 Garry Kaluzny (Marlboro McLaren)  60   40    40   160  5x   3x   soft
 7 Richard White (Marlboro McLaren)  60   40    40   160  5x   3x   soft
12 Gary Sturgeon (Camel Lotus)       60   60    40   160  5x   2x   soft
 4 Mark Moellering (Tyrrell)         60   40    40   160  5x   3x   soft
10 Aric Parr (McLaren)               20   40    60   160  4x   4x   hard
 9 Mike St. Peter (McLaren)          60   40    40   140  5x   4x   soft
 5 Brian Robinson (Benetton)         20   60    60   160  4x   3x   hard
 2 Jack Beckman (Ferrari)            60   60    60   140  4x   3x   hard

Start = Start Speed (in miles/hour); Accel = Acceleration (in mph); Decel = Deceleration (in mph); Top = Top Speed (in mph); Wear = # of Wear markers (per lap); Skill = # of Skill markers (per lap); Tires = hard or soft tires to begin the race.

Starting grid for the 2019 Australian GP

Starting grid at 2019 Adelaide: Front row: Joel Lauder (blue/white Tyrrell) & Greg Lim (white/blue/yellow Williams); 2nd row: Bill Worrel (red Ferrari) & Garry Kaluzny (white/orange McLaren); 3rd row: Richard White (white/orange McLaren) & Gary Sturgeon (yellow Lotus); 4th row: Mark Moellering (blue Tyrrell) & Aric Parr (orange McLaren); 5th row: Mike St. Peter (orange McLaren) & Brian Robinson (blue/green Benetton); 6th row: Jack Beckman (red Ferrari). Note the temporary straight section used only for the start of the race.

1st Lap

The start of the 2019 Austrailan Grand Prix was a rather sane start, what with the track only being 2 lanes wide at the start/finish line. Most cars had a 60 mph start speed, although Aric Parr (starting in 8th place) and Brian Robinson (starting in 10th) had 20 mph start speeds. Most notably, the two cars on the front row, Joel Lauder and Greg Lim, were both shod with hard tires, so most drivers judged it unlikely that the front-row cars would try to boost their start speeds.

In the actual start, however, Joel Lauder did boost his speed to 80 mph with a dice roll, with Greg Lim moving his normal 60 mph and slotting in behind Lauder. From the 2nd row, Worrel increased to 80 mph and pulled alongside Lim. Kaluzny wisely moved just 60 mph, and pulled behind Lim, but White, from row 3, boosted his speed to 80 mph and pulled up next to his teammate Kaluzny. Sturgeon went 60 mph to pull up behind Kaluzny, and Moellering, from the inside of the 4th row, went 80 mph to pull alongside Sturgeon. Parr boosted his start speed to 40 mph, and his teammate St. Peter, from the row behind, went his normal 60 mph to pull alongside Parr. Brian Robinson increased his car to 40 mph, and Beckman moved his normal 60 mph to pull alongside B. Robinson.

Lauder leads away at the start

Lauder leads away at the start, followed by Lim, Worrel, Kaluzny, White, Sturgeon, Moellering, Parr, St. Peter, B. Robinson, and Beckman.

Worrel then passed Lim for 2nd at The Esses, while White managed to take the inside from his teammate Kaluzny, and Beckman got past Parr. Lauder continued to lead through the three slow corners around Wakefield, East Terrace, and Flinders Street. Racing down Hutt Street, the order was Lauder, Worrel, Kaluzny, White, Moellering, Beckman, Lim (having dropped to 7th after starting 2nd), Sturgeon, St. Peter, Parr, and B. Robinson. As the pack raced down Jones Straight and took the gentle right-hand bend onto the long Brabham Straight, the order was Lauder, Worrel, Kaluzny, White, Moellering, Lim, Sturgeon, Beckman, St. Peter, Parr, and B. Robinson.

Lauder leads down Brabham Straight on the 1st lap

Lauder leads down Brabham Straight on the 1st lap. The Ferrari of Worrel is racing three-abreast with the McLarens of Kaluzny and White, then is the other 6-wheeled Tyrrell of Moellering, and Sturgeon and Lim, then the plain-orange McLarens of St. Peter and Parr making a sandwich of Beckman’s red Ferrari, and then B. Robinson.

At the Foster’s Corner at the end of Brabham Straight, Worrel and Kaluzny caught Lauder, with their three cars playing “chicken” to see who would get through the corner first.

Worrel, Lauder, Kaluzny, and White all bunch up at the Foster's Corner

Worrel, Lauder, Kaluzny, and White all bunch up at the Foster’s Corner.

In the event, Kaluzny managed to take the lead after Foster’s Corner, with Worrel also passing Lauder.

Kaluzny and Worrel have passed Lauder

Kaluzny and Worrel have passed Lauder after Foster’s Corner; White and Moellering have joined the leading group. The next bunch of cars of Lim, Sturgeon, Parr, Beckman, St. Peter, and B. Robinson now have their turn to play “chicken” at Foster’s Corner!

Kaluzny led through the next couple of corners, and then Worrel ducked inside of Kaluzny at the Mistral Hairpin just before the start/finish straightaway. The two Tyrrells of Lauder and Moellering also got past White’s McLaren.

Worrel ducks to the inside of Kaluzny at the Mistral Hairpin

Worrel ducks to the inside of Kaluzny at the Mistral Hairpin.

As the five leading cars of Kaluzny, Worrel, Lauder, Moellering, and White traversed through the Mistral Hairpin, they all ducked into the pits for new tires. Lauder would switch from hard tires to soft, while the other four exchanged their soft tires for hard tires. (Note: The CFR-Detroit racing series has a rule that all cars must use both hard and soft tires in a race, which means all cars must make at least one pit stop during a race.) Shortly after, the cars of St. Peter and Sturgeon also headed into the pits for new tires (both exchanging soft for hard tires).

Most cars pitted at the end of the 1st lap

Most cars pitted at the end of the 1st lap, with Kaluzny, Worrel, Lauder, Moellering, St. Peter, White, and Sturgeon in the pits. Eschewing pit stops are Lim, B. Robinson, Parr, and Beckman.

The official order at the end of the 1st lap: Kaluzny (+3); Lim (0); B. Robinson (+7); Parr (+4); Beckman (+6); Worrel (-3); Lauder (-6); Moellering (0); White (-4); St. Peter (-1); and Sturgeon (-5). The numbers in parentheses indicate how many places a driver either gained (+) or lost (-) from their starting position. Kaluzny led the lap by virtue of pitting in the space directly at the start/finish line. After the pit stops were resolved, the running order on the track was: Lim; B. Robinson; Parr; Beckman; Kaluzny; Worrel; Lauder; Moellering; White; St. Peter; and Sturgeon.

The 1st round of pit stops are over

The 1st round of pit stops are over, and Lim and B. Robinson lead the field through The Esses.

2nd Lap

Lim continued to lead through the three slow corners, and managed to stretch out a lead of two spaces over B. Robinson as Lim made the right-hand turn onto Jones Straight. By the time Lim had made the turn onto the long Brabham Straight, he led by four spaces over B. Robinson and Parr.

Lim leads down Brabham Straight

Lim leads down Brabham Straight over B. Robinson and Parr, then came Kaluzny, Lauder, Worrel, Beckman, Moellering, White, St. Peter, and Sturgeon.

Lim led into and through Foster’s Corner, but B. Robinson and Parr had closed the gap, and Kaluzny and Lauder were right on the tailpipes of B. Robinson and Parr. Through Paddock Turn, Lim held his lead, with Parr now in 2nd, and Kaluzny managing to squeeze to the inside of B. Robinson to take 3rd place. As he entered the Mistral Hairpin turn, Lim pulled off the track to make his mandatory pit stop.

Lim pits at the end of Lap 2

Lim pits at the end of Lap 2. The other cars on the track are running in the order: Kaluzny; Parr; B. Robinson; Lauder; Worrel; Beckman; Moellering; White; St. Peter; and Sturgeon.

Shortly after Lim pulled into the pits, he was joined by the cars of Lauder (pitting for the 2nd time), Parr, B. Robinson, and Beckman. The remaining cars, having already pitted once earlier in the race, stayed on the track.

Lauder, Parr, B. Robinson, and Beckman join Lim in the pits

Lauder, Parr, B. Robinson, and Beckman join Lim in the pits. Kaluzny is the new leader on the track, followed closely through the Mistral Hairpin by Worrel, Moellering, and White. St. Peter and Sturgeon trail behind.

The official order at the end of the 2nd lap: Kaluzny (+3); Worrel (+1); Moellering (+4); White (+1); Lim (-3); St. Peter (+3); Sturgeon (-1); Lauder (-7); Parr (-1); B. Robinson (0); and Beckman (0). After the pit stops shook out, the order on the track was Worrel, Kaluzny (both vying fiercely for the lead), Moellering, White, Lim, St. Peter, Sturgeon, Lauder, Parr, B. Robinson, and Beckman.

3rd Lap

Early in the 3rd lap, Kaluzny figured he had no chance to hang onto the lead, as Worrel had several more wear chits remaining than Kaluzny, but Kaluzny resolved to try to make it tough for Worrel to get past. It should be noted that during the 2nd lap, Kaluzny had been racing with the cars that would need to make a 2nd pit stop, with the idea being that if he could have got by them he would have made a 2nd stop. He thus used more wear than Worrel, who was driving more conservatively. But when it became evident to Kaluzny that he would not be able to get by the soon-to-pit cars, he belatedly backed off a bit to attempt to save some wear for the final lap. Kaluzny then did take the inside and the lead from Worrel at the Wakefield corner.

Kaluzny leads down Hutt Street

Kaluzny leads down Hutt Street from Worrel. The rest of the pack is bunched tight in the order: Moellering; White; Lauder; Lim; St. Peter; Beckman; Parr; Sturgeon; and B. Robinson.

Down Hutt Street, White passed Moellering for 3rd place, and Parr passed his teammate St. Peter (and Beckman) for 7th place. Kaluzny continued leading Worrel down the Jones Straight and onto the Brabham Straight, then Worrel pulled alongside Kaluzny half-way down the Brabham Straight, with Worrel trying to pass on the inside just before the Foster’s Corner.

Worrel tries to pass on the inside at Foster's Corner

Worrel tries to pass Kaluzny on the inside at Foster’s Corner. The other cars are running in the order White, Lauder, Moellering, Parr, Lim, Beckman, St. Peter, B. Robinson, and Sturgeon.

But not to be denied, Kaluzny held the lead out of Foster’s Corner. But then Kaluzny had to pull up short at the final Mistral Corner (moving at only 80 mph) due to lack of wear, while Worrel passed Kaluzny at that corner, traveling 120 mph and using a wear and successfully making a -3 chance dice roll around the outside lane.

Worrel takes the lead at Mistral

Worrel takes the lead at Mistral Corner from Kaluzny. White is 3rd, then Lauder, Parr, Moellering, and Lim are battling for 4th, followed by Beckman, B. Robinson, St. Peter, and Sturgeon in a fight for 8th (the last points-paying position).

Worrel then continued moving at 120 mph in his next move, thus reaching the start/finish line and winning the race. Kaluzny could only move at 80 mph, thus being relegated to 2nd place.

Worrel takes the checked flag

Worrel takes the checked flag to win at Adelaide, making it two consecutive race wins (going back to the final race of 2018).

The official finishing order at the 2019 Australian Grand Prix: 1st-Bill Worrel (+2); 2nd-Garry Kaluzny (+2); 3rd-Richard White (+2); 4th-Aric Parr (+4); 5th-Greg Lim (-3); 6th-Joel Lauder (-5); 7th-Mark Moellering (0); 8th-Brian Robinson (+2); 9th-Jack Beckman (+2); 10th-Gary Sturgeon (-4); 11th-Mike St. Peter (-2). Several cars made chance rolls in the Mistral Hairpin corner, using their -3 skill modifier chits. All of the cars made their rolls except for St. Peter, who spun. It didn’t affect St. Peter’s placing, though, as he was running last when he spun.

Aftermath

Points awarded at the 2019 Australian Grand Prix: Worrel 15; Kaluzny 12; White 10; Parr 8; Lim 6; Lauder 4; Moellering 2; and B. Robinson 1.

Team points awarded at the 2019 Australian Grand Prix: Marlboro McLaren 22; Ferrari 15; McLaren 8; Williams 6; Tyrrell 6; Benetton 1.

The Marlboro McLaren team was satisfied with the outcome of the race, finishing in 2nd and 3rd place, and taking the lead in the team championship standings. Aric Parr had a nice drive, finishing 4th after starting 8th.

The points standings of the 2019 CFR-Detroit season (after 1 of 10 races):

Place Driver (Car)                    Points
  1   Bill Worrel (Ferrari)             15
  2   Garry Kaluzny (Marlboro McLaren)  12
  3   Richard White (Marlboro McLaren)  10
  4   Aric Parr (McLaren)                8
  5   Greg Lim (Williams)                6
  6   Joel Lauder (Tyrrell)              4
  7   Mark Moellering (Tyrrell)          2
  8   Brian Robinson (Benetton)          1
  9T  Jack Beckman (Ferrari)             0
  9T  Gary Sturgeon (Camel Lotus)        0
  9T  Mike St. Peter (McLaren)           0

Drivers can only count their 7 best finishes out of the 10 races.

The team championship standings of the 2019 CFR-Detroit season (after 1 of 10 races):

Place Team              Points
  1   Marlboro McLaren    22
  2   Ferrari             15
  3   McLaren              8
  4T  Williams             6
  4T  Tyrrell              6
  6   Benetton             1
  7   Camel Lotus          0

Teams can only count their 2 best finishing cars from each race.

The next race of the 2019 CFR-Detroit racing series was at the Guild of Blades game store in Clawson, Michigan, on Saturday, March 16, 2019. As always, keep up to date with the CFR-Detroit racing series at the home page at http://michigumbo.com/cfr/.

Close Action at Flintcon 2019: scenario CA17 – Santo Domingo

Monday, February 18th, 2019

Saturday, February 9, 2019, saw another game of Close Action played in southeastern Michigan, this time at Flintcon 2019 in Flint, Michigan. We played Close Action scenario 17, “Santo Domingo.” In that scenario, five French ships, an 80-gun (Alexandre), a 120-gun (Impérial), and three 74-gun (Diomède, Jupiter, Brave) ships were trying to escape the map, and initially only three British 74-gun ships (Superb, Northumberland, Spencer) were on-board to try to stop the French. The British would also receive reinforcements: Canopus (80-gun) on game-turn 3; Donegal (74) on g-t 4; Atlas (74) on g-t 5; and Agamemnon (64) on g-t 10, although the French could be far away before the reinforcements could even think of catching up.

Starting Positions

British
Superb (74) – A1640:2
Northumberland (74) – A1544:2
Spencer (74) – A1450:2

French
Alexandre (80) – A3435:1
Impérial (120) – A3439:1
Diomède – A3443:1
Jupiter – A3448:1
Brave (74) – A3452:1

Santo Domingo starting positions:

Santo Domingo starting positions: The French line is at the top of the picture, headed right-to-left. The British are at the bottom-right, headed at an angle towards the French. The wind is blowing right-to-left.

Jim Robinson, an experienced Close Action player, commanded the French ships from Impérial. Bill Worrel, who has played CA only once before, commanded the British aboard Superb. On the face of it, this scenario looked to be a tough one for the British to win. The French could escape not only from the far left map edge (there is another map board in that direction that is not pictured, and it’s a long way to that map edge), but could also escape off the long edge at the bottom of the above picture. Any French ship that escaped off the map would give 90% of its Victory Points (VPs) to the French, so the British somehow or another needed to stop three of the five French ships from exiting the map. The British would eventually receive four more ships as reinforcements: Canopus (80-gun) on game-turn 3; Donegal (74-gun) on g-t 4; Atlas (74-gun) on g-t 5; and Agamemnon (64-gun) on g-t 10. Of course, by the time Agamemnon got on the map, the French ships could be far away! So the first item of business for the British was to close the range to the French and to start shooting.

The Wind Speed and Sea State were both “2” at the start of the scenario, so that wouldn’t affect any ships adversely.

Game-Turn 1

The movement for the game-turn 1 was simple. All French ships were at plain sail status, and they all moved ahead 6 spaces, maintaining their line-ahead formation. The British were also at plain sail, and they moved ahead 8 spaces towards the French, due to the fact they were in a better attitude to the wind (the Brits were “broad-reaching,” while the French were “running” with the wind). Only one ship, the British Northumberland, announced “men-in-rigging” as it started changing from plain sail to medium sail status. That sail change would take two game-turns to complete.

Only one ship opened fire at the long range, and that was Brave firing at Spencer. The range was 12 hexes, too far for an initial broadside bonus, and Brave’s Basic Gunnery Number (BGN) was “12” at 12 hexes. Brave had a Crew Quality (CQ) of “D” and so it had a Gunnery Modifier of “0” (zero) for this shot due to being at plain sail. Greg Lim, the skipper of Brave, rolled a d6 and rolled a “2” while firing high (Brave had to fire high at ranges more than 9 hexes from the target). Spencer then received only a single hit on her rigging, due to being at plain sail herself. (It was later determined that the -1 mod for firing when at plain sail was missed, so Brave’s fire should have had a total of -1 in modifiers. C’est la vie!)

End of game-turn 1

At the end of game-turn 1, the British have closed the range towards the French.

Ship positions at the end of game-turn 1:

British
Superb (74) – A2436:2
Northumberland (74) – A2340:2
Spencer (74) – A2246:2

French
Alexandre (80) – A3429:1
Impérial (120) – A3433:1
Diomède – A3437:1
Jupiter – A3442:1
Brave (74) – A3446:1

Although messages were written at the beginning of the game-turn, they were not received until the end of the g-t. The British admiral, Bill Worrel, in Superb, sent the message “STOP REAR THREE SHIPS”. The French commander, Jim Robinson, sent a rather frivolous message: “SET PHASERS DEEP FAT FRY”! Um, we’ll just ignore that message, eh?

Game-Turn 2

On game-turn 2, the French continued sailing in line-ahead formation, all ships moving 6 hexes ahead. The British Superb moved ahead 6, and the Northumberland and Spencer each moved “7P” to turn and head in the same direction as the French ships. All three British ships showed “men-in-rigging.”

Superb (5 hexes) and Northumberland (4 hexes) both fired their initial starboard broadsides at Jupiter, and Spencer (5 hexes) fired her initial starboard broadside at Brave. Diomède (4 hexes) shot at Superb, an initial port broadside and a bow rake; Jupiter (4 hexes) fired her intial port boardside at Northumberland; and Brave (5 hexes) fired at Spencer again.

Superb had a BGN of 22, with +4 for CQ and +1 for initial broadside, but one of the sailor crew sections was busy making changes to the sails, so that gave a -3, for a total Gunnery Modifier of +2. The dr was “3” so the damage inflicted on Jupiter was 2 rigging (one of the rigging lost was due to the target being at plain sail), 1 hull, and 1 sailor. Northumberland then had a BGN of 25 versus Jupiter, with a total of +3 in modifiers. A 1d6 dr of 6 gave a Final Gunnery Number (FGN) of 34, which yielded 3 rigging, 2 hull, and 2 sailors (although it was recorded as only 1 sailor lost). Northumberland also caused a critical (hull) hit on Jupiter, and that caused the “Wheel Shot Away” result. That meant that Jupiter could only make one 60° turn in a game-turn (instead of two turns), and had to roll on the “Poor Maneuvering” table any time she did try to pivot. Spencer then fired at Brave with a BGN of 23 and +2 in mods, with a dr of “5”, to inflict 2 rigging, 1 hull, and 1 sailor in losses.

The French return fire saw Diomède was a BGN of 26, +4 in mods (+2 each for initial broadside and rake), but as she was firing high and using dismantling shot, another +1 would apply (although it should have also had a -1 for shooting while at plain sail). In any event, the damage dished out was recorded as 5 rigging. A hull hit was ignored, as dismantling shot could not affect the hull. Jupiter fired high with dismantling shot at Northumberland, inflicting 3 rigging boxes of damage. Brave then fired at Spencer, firing high with dismantling shot inflicting 5 rigging and 1 marine boxes of damage, plus the “Braces Cut” critical hit. That meant that Spencer would not be able to accelerate or decelerate during game-turn 3.

In all, the British dished out 16 boxes of damage in g-t 2, while receiving 14 boxes of damage in return. Each side inflicted a critical hit on the other side. Both sides also forgot to apply the -1 modifier for firing when at plain sail. It should also be said that it is the GM’s fault for not remembering to apply the plain sail modifier, as most of the players either had zero or very little experience playing Close Action.

Ship positions at the end of game-turn 2:

British
Superb (74) – A3033:2
Northumberland (74) – A3037:1
Spencer (74) – A2942:1

French
Alexandre (80) – A3423:1
Impérial (120) – A3427:1
Diomède – A3431:1
Jupiter – A3436:1
Brave (74) – A3440:1

At the end of g-t 2, the French message from Jim Robinson (aboard Impérial) was revealed to the other French ships as “CHANGE SAIL STATE”. The British sent the message “CONCENTRATE FIREPOWER ON DIOMEDE”.

Game-Turn 3

At the beginning of the game-turn, the Wind Direction Change dice roll revealed that the wind would indeed change 60° counter-clockwise, to blow toward direction 6. But that change wouldn’t take effect until the beginning of g-t 4.

During game-turn 3, the French continued sailing straight-ahead, with all ships showing men-in-rigging. Alexandre moved 7 hexes; the other four ships moved 6 hexes ahead. Superb moved “3P2” which moved her right alongside Jupiter. Northumberland moved ahead 5, and Spencer plotted “2S4”. Spencer had to try to move 8 MPs in this game-turn as she had used 8 MPs in the previous g-t and suffered the “braces cut” critical hit in g-t 2, but as she started g-t 3 as “running” with the wind, her maximum movement was 7. So, Spencer moved as many MPs as she could. Superb and Spencer had men-in-rigging, and Northumberland was now at medium sail. Spencer was 1 hex short of raking the stern of Brave. The Brits got their first reinforcement; Canopus came on the board (in the lower right of the pictures) and moved 6 hexes ahead).

Only two pairs of ships fired at each other in g-t 3. Superb and Jupiter were right next to each other at range 1. Northumberland and Brave were on parallel courses, at range 4. Superb’s shot caused a loss of 3 rigging, 2 hull, 1 sailor, and 1 marine to Jupiter, and Jupiter’s shot caused a loss of 3 rigging, 1 hull, and 1 marine to Superb. Each ship lost its 1st section of rigging and had to make a rigging check 1d6 die roll. Jupiter rolled “Lines Jammed,” and that canceled her attempt at changing sail state from plain sail to medium sail. Jupiter also received a critical hit, but only lost -1 Guns Dismounted to her port side. Superb rolled “Braces Cut” and also would not be able to accelerate or decelerate in game-turn 4.

Northumberland had a very good shoot at Brave, causing a loss of 4 rigging, 3 hull, and 1 sailor, and inflicting a critical hit of “Leadership Casualties on the Quarterdeck” and so Brave also lost a marine box. Brave’s return fire at Northumberland only dinged 2 rigging boxes. Later, during the maintenance phase, Brave rolled a Morale Check (MC), and passed it. And Superb repaired her cut braces.

The ship positions at the end of game-turn 3

The ship positions at the end of game-turn 3. Superb is right next to Jupiter.

Ship positions at the end of game-turn 3:

British
Superb (74) – A3329:1
Northumberland (74) – A3032:1
Spencer (74) – A3338:2
Canopus (80) – A1146:1 (reinforcement that just entered the map)

French
Alexandre (80) – A3416:1
Impérial (120) – A3421:1
Diomède – A3425:1
Jupiter – A3430:1
Brave (74) – A3434:1

French message to all of their ships at the end of game-turn 3: “GOOD SHOOTING KEEP IT UP”. British message to all of their ships: “STOP DIOMEDE FROM ESCAPING”.

It should be stated that in the present position, the leading French ships should be able to escape from the British. That would have won the scenario for the French due to the special victory conditions. However, it would not look good if the French admiral simply abandoned his last two ships to the tender mercies of His Majesty’s Royal Navy!

Game-Turn 4

The wind had now changed; it was now blowing toward “direction 6,” which is to say it was blowing towards the starboard quarter of the French ships, so the French was now all “broad-reaching.” Three of the French ships turned to port and started making way for the nearest map edge where they could escape. The leading Alexandre moved “P6,” Impérial moved “5,” Diomède moved “6,” Jupiter moved “1P1,” and Brave moved “P5.” For the British, Superb moved 5 hexes straight ahead, Northumberland moved 6 hexes ahead, and Spencer moved “P2,” which left her a bit behind the French ship Brave. Donegal came onto the map to join Canopus as a reinforcement; both ships moved 7 hexes forward in direction 1.

All of the French ships were now at medium sail, except for the damaged Jupiter. Jupiter had her sail change canceled due to receiving battle damage in the last game-turn. Superb, Northumberland, and Spencer were all at medium sail, but Spencer had men in the rigging to get back to plain sail to close the distance back to the French ships. Canopus and Donegal were both flying plain sails so they could make all speed towards the enemy.

After movement, only three ships elected to fire at each other: Brave fired a 5-hex range stern rake on Northumberland; Jupiter fired a 3-hex range stern rake on Superb, but could only fire her forward starboard guns; and Northumberland had a 3-hex range bow rake on Jupiter, but could only fire her rear starboard guns. No other ships had a target with the arc of their broadsides.

Jupiter had a BGN of 26 for her shoot at Superb, but had a total of -2 in modifiers, and fired high. Jupiter did roll a 6, and that also caused a critical hit against Superb. Superb lost 3 rigging, and 1 sailor. The critical hit caused leadership casualties on the quarterdeck, which caused Superb to cross out a marine box. Superb then had to take a morale check during the maintenance phase, which she passed with her Morale Rating of “3”. Northumberland’s bow rake versus Jupiter started with a BGN of 25, but had a total of -4 in modifiers. Rolling a “4” caused a loss of 2 rigging and 1 sailor to Jupiter. Brave fired on Northumberland with a BGN of 23, -1 in mods, a dr of “5,” causing a loss of 2 rigging, 1 hull, and 1 sailor. Northumberland then lost her 1st rigging section. The resulting Rigging Check was for a “Mast May Fall” possibility, but fortunately for Northumberland the mast stayed upright.

End of game-turn 4

End of game-turn 4: Three of the French ships have turned to port, but the two rear French ships have been separated from their three other friendly ships.

Ship positions at the end of game-turn 4:

British
Superb (74) – A3324:1
Northumberland (74) – A3026:1
Spencer (74) – A3336:1
Canopus (80) – A1139:1
Donegal (74) – A1145:1 (reinforcement that just entered the map)

French
Alexandre (80) – A2813:6
Impérial (120) – A3416:1
Diomède – A3419:1
Jupiter – A3328:6
Brave (74) – A2931:6

The French message to their fleet that was revealed at the end of g-t 4 said “REAR TWO SHIPS TURN PORT”, although those ships had already executed that turn. The British showed a somewhat spurious message of “DAMN TORPEDOES FULL SPEED AHEAD”. The receiving ships were wondering what the heck was a torpedo?

Game-Turn 5

To begin g-t 5, all of the French ships were now at medium sail, except for Jupiter, which was still at plain sail status, although Jupiter could only move as fast as medium sail status due to having lost her 1st rigging section. Northumberland and Superb were at medium sail, as was Spencer, but Spencer still had men in the rigging to get back to plain sail. The British got a 3rd ship to add to their reinforcements, the Atlas, to join with Canopus and Donegal. All three of the reinforcement ships were at plain sail. Canopus and Donegal moved 7 hexes, and Atlas moved 8 hexes.

Spencer moved 6 hexes directly toward where the French line had been sailing. Superb turned to port to move “P3,” and Northumberland moved “P3P” to sort of head in the wrong direction from where the French were headed, although Northumberland did get a bow rake shot against Jupiter by turning in that direction. For the French, Alexandre moved ahead 5, Brave moved ahead 5, and Jupiter could only manage to move 3 hexes. Those three ships were headed diagonally toward the closest escape edge of the map. Impérial and Diomède both turned to port, both moving “3P”.

Auditing the ship’s logs after the game, there were some move “discrepancies” on this game-turn. Brave moved “5” but only had 4 MPs while running with the wind while at medium sail. So Brave moved one too many hexes forward. Spencer accelerated too much, using only 3 MPs on game-turn 4, and then using 6 MPs on this g-t. Also, while Spencer only used 3 MPs on g-t 4, she should have used at least 5 MPs on g-t 4, since she used 7 MPs on g-t 3! Impérial plotted “2P”, when the photographs were checked after the game, she had actually moved “3P” on the map. And, Canopus, in her first three g-t’s on the map, plotted “6,” “6,” and “7,” but her position on the map at the end of g-t 5 was two hexes to the rear of where she should have been on the map.

The British ships Northumberland and Superb both targeted Jupiter, and Spencer shot at Brave. The French returned fire with Diomède and Jupiter both shooting high at Superb, and Brave fired (low) at Northumberland.

Northumberland inflicted damage to the tune of 5 rigging, 2 hull, and 2 sailor boxes on Jupiter, and Superb dished out another 4 rigging, 2 hull, and 1 sailor to Jupiter, making a total of 9 rigging, 4 hull, and 3 sailor boxes lost. Jupiter lost her 1st hull section, taking a hull check and that directed her to take a rigging critical hit roll, which turned out to be “Shrouds Severed” which caused the loss of another rigging box. The hull check also meant a morale check later in the game-turn. Then, since the Jupiter had also lost her 2nd rigging section, she had to take a rigging check dice roll. Unfortunately for Jupiter, the rigging check was that a mast fell, and that caused the loss of the rest of rigging section 3 and another morale check. Also, Jupiter lost her 1st sailor section, meaning she had a permanent -3 modifier to gunfire, and she would have to take a 3rd morale check during the maintenance phase later in the game-turn.

Spencer’s shot at Brave yielded only 1 rigging and 1 sailor box checked off. Brave lost her 1st rigging section, and got “Braces Cut” for her rigging check, so her acceleration and deceleration would be zero for the next game-turn, and she had “-2 guns dismounted” on her starboard side. Jupiter’s simultaneous return shot at Superb caused the loss of 3 rigging and 1 sailor box, and Diomède’s shot at Superb only added 1 hull to the damage to Superb. Superb did lose her 2nd rigging section, and got “-2 broadside obscured” (from falling rigging) on her port side. Brave’s gunfire at Northumberland caused the loss of 1 rigging and 1 hull box.

Then, during the maintenance phase, Jupiter failed two of the three morale checks she had to make. That dropped her Crew Quality to “F”, which gave her another -5 modifier to all of her gunfire. Add in her -3 for missing sailor section 1, and her gunfire had to apply -8. She also had a “-2 broadside obstructed” to her starboard side due to the mast falling. At this time, Jupiter only had 6 boxes remaining unchecked in rigging section 4, and she could only move at fighting sail MP rate, although she would still take damage at the plain sail rate as she still hadn’t changed her sail state.

End of game-turn 5

End of game-turn 5. Three British ships are rushing to help along the bottom edge of the map.

Ship positions at the end of game-turn 5:

British
Superb (74) – A3023:6
Northumberland (74) – A2724:5
Spencer (74) – A3330:1
Canopus (80) – A1132:1
Donegal (74) – A1138:1
Atlas (74) – A1144:1 (reinforcement that just entered the map)

French
Alexandre (80) – A2310:6
Impérial (120) – A3413:6
Diomède – A3416:6
Jupiter – A3027:6
Brave (74) – A2429:6

The French signaled ” FRONT THREE SHIPS TURN PORT” which they already did, and the British signaled “FREE FOR ALL”.

Game-Turn 6

For game-turn 6, four of the French ships were at medium sail, with only the battered Jupiter still being at plain sail status (although Jupiter could only move at fighting sail MPs, due to having already lost 3 of her 4 rigging sections). For the Brits, Northumberland and Superb were at medium sail; the rest of their ships were at plain sail. Superb had men in the rigging to change sail state.

Northumberland moved “1S3” which put her course on the same heading as Brave, although 5 hexes distant. Spencer moved 6 hexes straight ahead, which put her in position to fire at the stern of Jupiter (although it was not a rake). Superb plotted and moved “1” although she should have spent 2 MPs since she used 4 MPs in g-t 5 and her deceleration was “2”. The British reinforcements Canopus and Donegal moved ahead 7 hexes, and Atlas moved ahead 8 hexes.

Most of the French ships moved straight ahead. Alexandre moved 5, Diomède moved 3, Brave also moved 3 hexes. Jupiter plotted and moved 2, although with only 1 rigging section remaining she only had 1 MP available! Impérial moved “3P”, with her turn to port putting her aiming for a collision with Diomède.

Northumberland shot at Brave, and Spencer and Superb shot at Jupiter. The French Brave fired back at Northumberland, and Diomède and Jupiter both fired at Superb. Brave lost 3 rigging, 1 hull, and 1 marine box. Jupiter lost 4 rigging, 4 hull, 1 sailor, and 1 marine box, although they were not all checked off her ship’s log (in particular, 2 boxes in rigging section 4 were not checked off, nor was the marine box). The French return fire was rather light as to damage. Northumberland lost 2 rigging and 1 marine box, and Superb lost only 1 rigging and 1 sailor box.

End of game-turn 6

End of game-turn 6. Jupiter is being battered to pieces, and Brave is about to be surrounded by the British reinforcement ships at the bottom of the map.

Ship positions at the end of game-turn 6:

British
Superb (74) – A2922:6
Northumberland (74) – A2323:6
Spencer (74) – A3324:1
Canopus (80) – A1125:1
Donegal (74) – A1131:1
Atlas (74) – A1136:1

French
Alexandre (80) – A1808:6
Impérial (120) – A3111:5
Diomède – A3114:6
Jupiter – A2826:6
Brave (74) – A2127:6

Only the French admiral sent a message on g-t 6: “FRONT THREE SLOW TO ENGAGE”, meaning, of course, for Alexandre, Impérial, and Diomède to engage the British with the thought of trying to extricate Jupiter and Brave from the clutches of the enemy.

Three of the French ship commanders

Three of the French ship commanders (left-to-right): Jack Beckman (Alexandre); Jim Robinson (Impérial); and Larry O (Jupiter).

Game-Turn 7

During game-turn 7, the mapboard began to look like giant melee. Spencer raced ahead 8 hexes and could loose a broadside against Diomède. Northumberland moved “S3,” and Superb just plotted “S”, a turn to starboard. Canopus moved “2S4” to try to cut off Brave; Donegal moved 7 and Atlas moved 8 ahead. For the French, Alexandre moved “P2” to start to head towards the British preparatory to doing battle. Impérial moved 3, and Diomède wisely turned to port, moving “P3”. Brave turned to starboard and moved “S2”, and Jupiter merely moved “1”, as fast as she could sail.

Fortunately for the French, only Spencer threw iron at Diomède. Canopus decided to hold her initial starboard broadside instead of firing a mere half-broadside at Brave. Donegal and Atlas decided to also hold their fire against Brave, and Superb and Northumberland didn’t have any enemy ship in their sights. Diomède and Jupiter both fired upon Superb, Jupiter getting a 3-hex stern rake, although she had -9 in modifiers to add to the +3 rake modifier. Brave fired upon Canopus at a 6-hex range, and Impérial fired her 60-gun initial port broadside at Spencer.

Diomède received damage to the tune of 2 rigging, 2 hull, and 1 sailor box. Canopus lost 2 rigging boxes, Superb lost 3 rigging and 1 hull box, and Spencer lost 4 rigging and a sailor box. Spencer lost her 1st rigging section, and the rigging check caused “braces cut” so her acceleration and deceleration for the next game-turn would be zero. Superb suffered a critical hit, also of “braces cut.”

Superb was subject to drifting, but did not drift, during the maintenance phase.

End of game-turn 7

End of game-turn 7. The battle is about to turn into a free-for-all.

Ship positions at the end of game-turn 7:

British
Superb (74) – A2922:1
Northumberland (74) – A2320:1
Spencer (74) – A3316:1
Canopus (80) – A1521:2
Donegal (74) – A1124:1
Atlas (74) – A1128:1

French
Alexandre (80) – A1609:5
Impérial (120) – A2813:5
Diomède – A2816:5
Jupiter – A2725:6
Brave (74) – A2125:1

Once again, only the French admiral signaled to his ships, continuing the same message as before: “FRONT THREE SLOW TO ENGAGE”.

Game-Turn 8

All of the ships continued getting intermingled during game-turn 8. For the Brits, Superb moved “P1”; Northumberland moved “1P”; Spencer moved “2P2”; Canopus moved “4”; Donegal moved “7”; and Atlas moved “4S3”. For the French, Alexandre moved “4”; Impérial moved “2S”; Diomède moved “P3”; Jupiter continued moving “1”; and Brave moved “3”.

There was a lot of gunfire in this game-turn, as every ship on the map fired at some enemy ship. Atlas took a long-shot at Alexandre, inflicting a loss of 1 rigging box. Canopus and Northumberland shot at Brave, causing a loss of 7 rigging, 5 hull, 2 sailors, and 1 marine boxes. Brave also lost her 2nd rigging section, and suffered “sheets cut” during the resultant rigging check, and so she would lose 1 MP from her available MPs for next turn, as well as a -1 to her acceleration (for next turn only). Donegal fired at Impérial, nicking only a single sailor box. And Superb shot at Jupiter, causing losses of 1 rigging, 2 hull, and 1 sailor boxes. That shot reduced Jupiter to only having a single rigging box left in rigging section 4. One more hit to her rigging and she would be dead in the water.

For the French return fire at the British, Alexandre caused the loss of 1 rigging to Atlas. Brave fired away at Canopus, getting Canopus to check off 3 rigging, 1 hull, and 1 sailor. Diomède and Impérial blasted away at Northumberland, causing a loss of 4 rigging, 2 hull, and 2 sailor boxes. Northumberland also lost her 2nd rigging section and suffered “sheets cut.” And Jupiter shot at Superb, but only caused a loss of 1 sailor box.

End of g-t 8

End of g-t 8: Jupiter is one rigging box away from being dismasted, and all ships fired their cannon during this game-turn.

Ship positions at the end of game-turn 8:

British
Superb (74) – A2822:6
Northumberland (74) – A2319:6
Spencer (74) – A3113:6
Canopus (80) – A1919:2
Donegal (74) – A1117:1
Atlas (74) – A1423:2

French
Alexandre (80) – A1211:5
Impérial (120) – A2614:6
Diomède – A2819:4
Jupiter – A2625:6
Brave (74) – A2122:1

No messages were sent during game-turn 8.

Victory Determination

At the end of game-turn 8, the time limit (four hours) for the scenario expired. Victory Points were tallied for each side. The French did not exit three ships off the map (Alexandre was the only ship close enough to escape), which they needed to do to earn enough VPs, so Victory would be determined by who inflicted more damage to the other side.

Damage to the British:

Atlas, Canopus, and Donegal (the reinforcement ships) did not lose any rigging, hull, or crew sections, and so yielded 0 VP.

Northumberland (worth 94 VP) lost 2 rigging sections. Each rigging section is worth 5% of her VP, so 10% x 94 = 9.4 VP.

Spencer (worth 95 VP) lost 1 rigging section, which was worth 5% x 95 = 4.75 VP.

Superb (worth 87 VP) lost 2 rigging sections, worth 10% x 87 = 8.7 VP.

Total VP awarded to the French: 9.4 + 4.75 + 8.7 = 22.85 VP.

Damage to the French:

Alexandre, Diomède, and Impérial did not lose any sections, for 0 VP.

Brave (worth 70 VP) lost 2 rigging sections, worth 70 x 10% = 7.0 VP.

Jupiter (worth 66 VP) lost 3 rigging sections, 1 hull section, and 1 sailor section, worth (3 x 5%) + 10% + 10% = 35% x 66 = 23.1 VP.

Total VP awarded to the British: 7.0 + 23.1 = 30.1 VP.

So the British led in VP, 30.1 to 22.85, making the damage (so far) fairly equal, with the British ahead.

In another game-turn or so, Jupiter would have lost her last rigging section, making her dead in the water. She would then have been pounded until she would have struck, giving all of her 66 VP to the British. But the leading French ships, the Alexandre, Impérial, and Diomède, were coming back to do battle, and they could have dished out some punishment to the British.

Aftermath

Now, the French could have easily sailed their leading three ships away and off the map, but that would have meant abandoning their trailing two ships to capture by the British. Although that could have earned the French enough VP to easily win the scenario, one would think there would have been repercussions to the French admiral when he got back to port, after abandoning 40% of his force!

For this scenario, I made up a form so the GM (myself) could keep track of things such as each ship’s plotted movement, their target, how may gunnery factors and modifiers, how much damage they dished out, and any special results like critical hits. But in spite of that, several times ships were moved a differing number of hexes than what was plotted, and there were other discrepancies, such as ships not keeping within their acceleration or deceleration limits, or sometimes using too many MPs for their sail state and attitude to the wind. Part of that was probably due to new players to the game who didn’t perfectly understand the rules, but I must also take some of the blame for not educating the players better. So, I will work on a handout to give out that will explain how the log sheets should be filled out properly, among other things.

In any event, I will run another Close Action scenario at the Metro Detroit Gamers’ Wintercon 2019 at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan, on Saturday, March 9, 2019.

Close Action at Spartacon 2019: scenario RS13 — Winter Interception

Thursday, February 7th, 2019

Spartacon 2019 was held in Lansing, Michigan, on Saturday, January 12, 2019. I ran a scenario of Close Action (from Clash of Arms games) there, using the Rebel Seas scenario 13, entitled “Winter Interception.” This scenario was from January 21, 1781, during the American Revolutionary War vs. England, and had a total of seven ships, three British and four French. Basically, the French have two 32-gun frigates, the Gentille and Surveillante, plus two 64-gun ships-of-the-line (SOL), the Eveillé and Ardent (the Ardent being an ex-British ship). The French can win by exiting all four of their ships off the far end of Map A, but a complication is that none of their ships can lose more than one of their rigging sections (each ship has four rigging sections). Else, the scenario would be won by which side caused more damage to the other. In opposition, the British have the 50-gun Adamant, the 64-gun America, and the 74-gun Bedford to try to stop the French. Jim Robinson was the French commander aboard Eveillé, and Joel Lauder commanded the British side from the deck of the Bedford.

The situation at the start:

The At-Start situation for Winter Interception

The At-Start situation for Winter Interception. The French ships are in line, with two scattered British ships in opposition. (Click the picture to enlarge it.)

In the above picture, the French ships are in the order Gentille, Surveillante, Eveillé, and Ardent. They are indicated by the blue text, and are heading towards the left narrow side of the map. The British Adamant is near the edge that the French are heading towards, and the America is almost in the exact center of the mapboard, heading towards the French on an angle. The British ship Bedford is off the map, and won’t appear on the map until game-turn 5 (aka g-t 5) of the scenario. All of the ships on the board at start are flying medium sails.

Starting positions

British
America (64) – A2445:3
Adamant (50) – A2004:4
Bedford (74) – (off map, near hex A1126, won’t enter until game-turn 5)

French
Gentille (32) – B4405:1
Surveillante (32) – B4411:1
Eveillé (64) – B4423:1
Ardent (64) – B4429:1

In the above hex locations, “A” or “B” gives the map board the ship started on. In the above picture, Map A is the near map, and Map B is the map that is farther away. Then the hex number is given for that map (example: “2445”) which tells which hex that ship’s bow is placed in. And then, since each ship’s counter covers two hexes, we need to know which way the ship is pointing. The number after the colon (example: “:3”) tells us which way the ship is pointing. The maps have a compass “rose” printed on them. Direction “1” is pointing directly towards the near narrow map edge (off the near side of the table). Direction “2” is one hex clockwise from Direction 1, etc. The wind is blowing toward direction 5, sort of from the near-left corner toward the far-right corner of Map A.

There are a couple of complications with this situation. Although the Wind Speed = 4 (high winds), the America is sailing “close-hauled” into the wind. But the America is flying “medium sails” and so can move four hexes in that wind attitude. But the danger is if that one British ship tries to intercept the French by itself — the four French ships could gang up on the solo Brit and cripple her before the other British ships come up to do battle. Also, with the high winds come high seas (Sea State = 4). This means that all of the ships other than the two frigates will lose some gunnery factors when they are firing their guns downwind, due to having to close the lowest deck’s gun ports to keep the high waves from flooding into the ships. Also, the French are also sailing close-hauled into the wind, and that will slow their progress. Their two 64-gun SOLs can only move 4 hexes per game-turn in that heading, although their two 32-gun frigates can move 5 hexes at medium sail in that heading.

Game-Turn 1

During game-turn 1, Gentille moved ahead 2 hexes, Surveillante moved ahead 3 hexes, Eveillé moved ahead 4 hexes, and Ardent also moved ahead 4 hexes. Adament turned 60-degrees to port (due to the limitations of the hex-grid) and then moved ahead 4 hexes. America moved ahead 4 hexes to close the range towards the enemy. Ardent and Eveillé placed “men in rigging” markers to show they were changing from medium sail to some other sail state. A casual observer would probably think they were going to put up more sails, to go to “plain sail” status, to increase their movement allowance. On the British side, both Adamant and America also placed “men in rigging” counters. No ships fired on g-t 1.

Ship positions at the end of game-turn 1:

British
America (64) – A2847:3
Adamant (50) – A2406:3
Bedford (74) – (off map, near hex A1126, won’t enter until game-turn 5)

French
Gentille (32) – B4403:1
Surveillante (32) – B4408:1
Eveillé (64) – B4419:1
Ardent (64) – B4425:1

The French flagship, Eveillé, signalled to the French fleet: “CLOSE UP THEN COMBINE”.

Game-Turn 2

During game-turn 2, Gentille and Surveillante each moved 2 and 3 hexes straight ahead, respectively, the same as in game-turn 1. Eveillé and Ardent each moved 4 hexes ahead, to try to close the gap between them and their leading frigates. The British Adamant moved four hexes ahead. as did America. Eveillé and Ardent still had men in their rigging, as did Adamant and America. On this turn, the two French frigates also showed men-in-rigging. So all of the ships on the map were changing the status of the sails. Once again, there was no gunfire. At the end of the game-turn, during the maintenance phase, the ships announced their new sail status. Gentille and Surveillante had gone to “fighting sail,” meaning they were flying the minimum amount of sails so as to minimize any damage they might receive from enemy fire. Eveillé and Ardent had gone the other way, to “plain sail” and were now flying as many sails as they could get aloft, so to increase their movement allowance. On the British side, both Adamant and America were now flying plain sail.

It should be noted that changing sails requires either one or two crew sections to be plotted to accomplish that task, depending on what sail-state the ship is changing to. Also, the amount of time is slightly variable per ship, depending on the quality of a ship’s crew. Better quality crews can change sails faster than lower quality crews. Quelle surprise, n’est-ce pas?

The map after game-turn 2

The map after game-turn 2. The America has closed the range towards the French, and the Adamant (in the foreground) has turned to port to try to get in front of the French.

Positions of ships at the end of game-turn 2:

British
America (64) – A3249:3
Adamant (50) – A2808:3
Bedford (74) – (off map, near hex A1126, won’t enter until game-turn 5)

French
Gentille (32) – A4453:1
Surveillante (32) – B4405:1
Eveillé (64) – B4415:1
Ardent (64) – B4421:1

The French flagship, Eveillé, signalled to the French fleet: “FIRE WHEN YOU CAN”.

Game-Turn 3

During g-t 3, both British ships could now move faster while close-hauled toward the wind due to their increased amount of sails, and Adamant and America both moved 6 hexes ahead. Gentille, the leading French frigate, plotted and moved “P3” which means she turned to port, then moved ahead 3 spaces. While the turn to port put Gentille into a more favorable wind attitude of a “broad-reach,” ships are limited by acceleration and deceleration factors from one turn to another. A large sailing warship just can’t accelerate like a race horse! This turn put Gentille on a near-collision course with America. Surveillante was content to just move ahead 3 hexes. Eveillé moved ahead 6 hexes, and Ardent moved ahead 5 hexes. Adamant declared “men in rigging” again, as did Eveillé and Ardent. America also had men in her rigging.

The situation on the map after movement in game-turn 3:

Gentille and America head towards each other

Gentille and America head towards each other. Neither of those ships can bring their guns to bear on each other in this game-turn.

While Gentille and America were near each other, neither ship could fire at the other; however, Surveillante could bring her guns to bear on America, and so Surveillante, commanded by Bill Worrel (playing in his first game of Close Action), opened fire at a range of 6 hexes. At a 6-hex range, Surveillante had a “7” as its Basic Gunnery Number (BGN). It got to add a “+2” for its Crew Quality (CQ) Gunnery Modifier, to give her a Modified Gunnery Number (MGN) of “9”, but was just out of range to get a “rake” or an initial broadside bonus to her gunfire. The result of the gunfire was that America lost 2 rigging boxes (out of 6) in her first rigging section, and also lost a crew box from her marines. So Surveillante had the honor of drawing “first blood” even though the wound was only a “dice wound.” All ships were too far away for any shipboard marines to fire at each other.

Positions of ships at the end of game-turn 3:

British
America (64) – A3852:3
Adamant (50) – A3411:3
Bedford (74) – (off map, near hex A1126, won’t enter until game-turn 5)

French
Gentille (32) – A4151:6
Surveillante (32) – B4402:1
Eveillé (64) – B4409:1
Ardent (64) – B4416:1

The French flagship, Eveillé, signalled to the Surveillante: “GOOD START”.

Game-Turn 4

America (with men still in the rigging) now decided to try to turn to port, to head in the same direction as were the French SOLs. That meant she would have to tack through the facing wind. So America turned to port, and then had to stop, as she was now “luffing” straight into the wind. America had used 6 Movement Points (MPs) in her previous turn, which meant she ordinarily would have had to use at least 4 MPs in this turn due to her deceleration rating of 2. But when a ship turns directly into the wind, it immediately stops. America moved another 6 hexes straight ahead, still angling to get in front of the French ships. The French ship Gentille, commanded by Mike St. Peter, moved “2P1” which meant it moved 2 hexes ahead, then turned 60-degrees to port, then moved 1 more space ahead. This put Gentille’s port bow adjacent to America’s port bow. Surveillante now also peeled out of the French line, plotting and moving “1P2”. Eveillé and Ardent, both still with men in rigging, moved 6 and 5 hexes ahead, respectively. This was opening a bit of a gap between the two 64-gunned vessels.

A note about combat in Close Action (of course, anyone who knows how to play Close Action will know this, but this blog post is mostly written for novices to follow along with play). Like, movement, ships simultaneously plot which ship they will fire at, if any. Then all ships will reveal their targets. Ships also calculate their MGN (Modified Gunnery Factor) and should also write that down. All gunfire (and marine fire) is considered to be simultaneous, and so each ship needs to know what its MGN was at the beginning of combat, as damage received can cause a ship’s gunnery to be lessened.

America could now fire a half-(initial) broadside from its port bow battery at Gentille; Gentille suffered a rigging and a hull hit. Gentille’s initial (half) broadside from its port bow battery returned fire, but did no damage to America. Marine fire between the two ships was ineffective.

During the maintenance phase to end the game turn, America drifted 1 hex to leeward (that’s downwind for you land-lubbers). Although America pivoted (turned), she did not move ahead, so that was considered that she did not move during the turn. Ships that don’t move during a game-turn are subject to drifting, and with high winds in a scenario like this one, they will drift more often than not.

Situation at the end of game-turn 4

Situation at the end of game-turn 4. America was one hex further forward, but has drifted backwards one hex after exchanging gunfire with Gentille.

Positions of ships at the end of game-turn 4:

British
America (64) – A3852:2 (for combat, then drifted to hex A3752:2)
Adamant (50) – A4014:3
Bedford (74) – (off map, near hex A1126, won’t enter until game-turn 5)

French
Gentille (32) – A3851:5
Surveillante (32) – A4252:6
Eveillé (64) – B4403:1
Ardent (64) – B4411:1

Also, at the end of g-t 4, America announced it was now back at medium sail; Eveillé and Ardent also announced they were back at medium sail. HMS Bedford, the British flagship, sent a message to Adamant, saying “COME HERE FASTEST”. This message was sent, even though the flagship was still off the board (but would enter the game map the next turn). The French flagship, Eveillé, signalled to the French fleet: “ROUND SHOT AT SAILS”.

Game-Turn 5

America now rolled to see if she could successfully complete the tack to port this turn. After taking the required two d10 dice rolls on the tacking table, it was found that she did complete the tack, so her move for g-t 5 was plotted as “P”. She did have 3 crew sections plotted to help with the tacking maneuver, so her gunfire for this game-turn would have a -9 modifier applied (-3 per each missing crew section—they’re “missing” from manning the guns because they’re playing with the sails). Adamant plotted “3S2” and was now headed directly at the French, from dead-ahead of their SOLs. And the Bedford, a 74-gun SOL, was finally able to enter the board (in plain sail), moving 5 hexes towards the French.

For the French moves, Gentille moved ahead 2 spaces, Surveillante moved ahead 3 spaces, Eveillé moved ahead 4 hexes, and Ardent moved “P2S,” to sort of side-slip a bit to the left of Eveillé.

America fired at Eveillé, while the Eveillé, Gentille, and Surveillante all fired at America. America did no damage to Eveillé, but America suffered a combined loss of 1 rigging, 1 hull, and 1 sailor boxes. In addition, America suffered a critical hit of waterline damage, and had to send another 3 boxes of sailors to “man the pumps” to keep out the water below. This meant that America lost its first crew section, which gave it a permanent -3 modifier to all gunfire (from the main guns, not from marine fire). America also had to take a morale check (MC) at the end of the game-turn, but with a morale rating of “3”  was able to pass the MC.

Positions of ships at the end of game-turn 5:

British
America (64) – A3752:1 (for combat, then drifted to A3653:1)
Adamant (50) – A4317:4
Bedford (74) – A1629:3

French
Gentille (32) – A3652:5
Surveillante (32) – A3950:6
Eveillé (64) – A4451:1
Ardent (64) – B4210:1

Bedford (the British flag) signaled to Adamant: “MOVE TO JOIN AMERICA”. The French flagship, Eveillé, signalled to the French fleet: “FIRE EVERY TIME”.

Game-Turn 6

America having completed her tack during game-turn 5, was facing toward board edge “1,” and was facing directly toward Gentille. Not wanting to risk colliding with Gentille, America wisely plotted “0” and so did not move. Adamant, under plain sail, in a broad-reach attitude to the wind, raced along at 9 hexes toward the French. Adamant also had men in the rigging. (Upon examination of the ships’ log for Adamant after the game, Adamant should have only moved 8 hexes, due to its acceleration of “2” and the fact it used only 6 MPs in the previous g-t.) Bedford, being close-hauled, moved 5 hexes towards the French. Gentille moved “1P2” which brought her port side up against the port side of America. Surveillante moved “P2S1” to gain a bow-rake on America. Eveillé moved 2 spaces ahead. Ardent moved 4 spaces ahead.

America plotted to fire at Gentille; the other two British ships were still well out of range of the French. But America was in a sort of vise, drawing the fire of Gentille (1-hex range), Surveillante (2-hex bow rake), and Eveillé (9-hex range). After all gunfire was resolved, amazingly, America had only sustained damage to the amount of 2 rigging boxes and 2 hull boxes and 1 sailor box. Gentille sustained damage of 1 rigging and 1 hull box.

The situation at the end of game-turn 6

The situation at the end of game-turn 6: British ship America is trapped between the ships of the French squadron.

Positions of ships at the end of game-turn 6:

British
America (64) – A3653:1
Adamant (50) – A4326:4
Bedford (74) – A2131:3

French
Gentille (32) – B3502:4
Surveillante (32) – A3651:6
Eveillé (64) – A4449:1
Ardent (64) – B4206:1

The French flagship, Eveillé, signalled to the French fleet: “FIRE AT RIGGING”.

Game-Turn 7

For game-turn 7, Adamant, still with men in the rigging, continued to make haste, moving 9 more hexes closer to the French. Bedford moved 5 hexes closer to the French, coming in from an angle. America, effectively not moving at all last turn while completing her tack, could only accelerate to 2 MPs, so she moved 2 hexes straight ahead. Gentille had been passing by America, so plotted “P1” to turn to port behind America and so gained a stern rake shot. Surveillante plotted “1S1” and so turned to starboard and was now on a parallel course with America, although slightly ahead, so Surveillante could still shoot her starboard stern guns at America. Although, in the end, Surveillante passed on the low-odds shot in order to not fatigue her gun crews for no result. Eveillé continued to move 2 hexes forward, and Ardent moved 4 hexes forward.

Once again, America was the only British ship that could fire at the French, so America fired at Adamant, who was 6 hexes away on her starboard side, rather than take a 1-hex range half-broadside at Surveillante. Gentille, Eveillé, and Ardent all fired at America. America managed to inflict damage on 1 rigging and 1 hull and 1 sailor on Ardent. In return, America suffered damage of 1 rigging (losing her 1st rigging section and having to take a rigging check die roll, which resulted in “sheets cut”), and 1 sailor. So, in spite of having 3 ships firing at her, America dished out 3 boxes of damage while only receiving 2 boxes of damage in return. Perhaps more importantly, America was holding the French in combat, instead of them sailing toward the board edge they needed to exit from.

At the end of the turn, Adamant announced she had changed to medium sail (from plain sail).

Situation at the end of game-turn 7

Situation at the end of game-turn 7. Will America be able to escape the French trap?

Positions of ships at the end of game-turn 7:

British
America (64) – A3651:1
Adamant (50) – A4335:4
Bedford (74) – A2634:3

French
Gentille (32) – B3603:3
Surveillante (32) – A3549:1
Eveillé (64) – A4447:1
Ardent (64) – B4202:1

The French flagship, Eveillé, signalled to the Gentille: “TURN AROUND”.

Game-Turn 8

America now appeared to get entirely out of the French trap, as she only plotted “2” to move ahead 2 hexes. Bedford continued to close with the enemy by moving forward 5 hexes, and with men in the rigging. And Adamant, now at medium sail, moved forward 7 hexes.  Gentille moved ahead 4 hexes. Gentille also had men in the rigging (sailor crew section 4), wanting to put up more sails to try to get back into the fight, as her sailing had now taken her a bit in the wrong direction. Gentille also had her marines working at repairing rigging. Surveillante moved ahead 2 hexes, keeping America on her starboard quarter. Eveillé moved ahead 2 hexes, and Ardent moved ahead 4 hexes. America set her marines to work at repairing her rigging.

America once again chose to fire a full broadside at Ardent, rather than a half-broadside at the closer Surveillante. Neither of the other British ships fired. Ardent and Eveillé returned fire at America. America received only a “canvas wound,” i.e., a hit to a single rigging box, while America dished out 2 boxes of damage to Ardent, to a rigging and to a marine box.

During the maintenance phase, Gentille switched from fighting sail to medium sail. America, having fired her guns 5 times, now added a -1 “fatigue” factor to all future gunnery.

Positions of ships at the end of game-turn 8:

British
America (64) – A3649:1
Adamant (50) – A4342:4
Bedford (74) – A3136:3

French
Gentille (32) – B4005:3
Surveillante (32) – A3547:1
Eveillé (64) – A4445:1
Ardent (64) – B4250:1

The French flagship, Eveillé, signalled to the French fleet:”CLOSE UP WHEN POSSIBLE”.

Game-Turn 9

America slowed to only 1 hex forward movement, while her marines were still working at repairing the rigging. (After the game, while perusing the ship’s log from America, she was repairing rigging while at medium sail. That is a big no-no! Ships must be at fighting sail or have their sails furled, or even dismasted, to be able to repair rigging! As a GM, I must check their logs more closely during the game.) Bedford got another 5 hexes closer to the enemy French, still with men in the rigging. And Adamant plotted “1S1P1” to sort of side-saddle move to starboard.

Eveillé moved 4 hexes forward. Surveillante moved 2 hexes forward, which put America behind her starboard quarter so now neither of those ships would be able to fire at each other. Gentille moved ahead 4 hexes, then turned to port, directly into the wind, preparing to tack to a new course. Gentille had effectively sailed completely around America (the ship, not the country!). Ardent continued moving ahead, 4 more hexes worth. This put Ardent on a direct collision course with Adamant! They were facing each other in adjacent hexes.

America again targeted Ardent, and now the HMS Adamant opened fire on Surveillante. Ardent returned fire at America, and Eveillé fired at Bedford. Ardent received a hull hit, while Surveillante was unscathed. America sustained a hull hit, and Bedford dodged any damage.

End of game-turn 9

End of game-turn 9: HMS Adamant and the French SOL Ardent are on a collision course!

Positions of ships at the end of game-turn 9:

British
America (64) – A3648:1
Adamant (50) – A4245:4
Bedford (74) – A3639:3

French
Gentille (32) – B4407:2
Surveillante (32) – A3545:1
Eveillé (64) – A4441:1
Ardent (64) – B4246:1

Bedford dropped from plain sail to medium sail during the maintenance phase. The French ship Surveillante signalled to the French fleet:”FIRE AT HULL”.

Game-Turn 10

The first order of business for game-turn 10 was to resolve the possible collision between Adamant and Ardent. Ardent made a turn to port, which was prudent, as if she had turned to starboard she would have turned into the wind and would have lost all headway. So, one would have thought that the captain of Adamant would have realized this and so would have turned to port, but instead the Adamant turned to starboard, and that put the two ships on a collision course, only in a different hex! Besides gnashing of teeth, there was dice-rolling to see which ship got to move first and take possession of hex A4145, and it was the French ship Ardent that got to move first into A4145. Now, sometimes, a ship can attempt to “bear off” by making an emergency turn in a game of Close Action in order to try to avoid a collision. But in this case, since Adamant had just made a turn, and had plotted to move “S1P1S” (which was also an illegal plot, as ships cannot pivot more than twice in a game-turn), she could not turn again immediately. Instead, she rammed into the starboard bow of Ardent. In Close Action, the ramming ship takes damage to its sails, depending on how many sails are flying, when it rams another ship, but the ship that is rammed into does not get any damage. So, in this collision, Adamant lost 5 rigging boxes. That wiped out Adamant’s entire first rigging section (of 5 boxes), necessitating a rigging check, which took out two more rigging boxes in rigging section 2. And, to top things off, the two ships became fouled together, so neither would be able to move away from the other.

For the other ships’ moves, America moved 2 ahead then turned to port. As Surveillante only moved 1 hex ahead, that put Surveillante in position for a bow rake on America. Bedford moved “S2P” and had a bow rake shot on Surveillante from 4 hexes distant. Gentille rolled dice to attempt to continue tacking to port, but the tack’s completion would be delayed for a turn, so Gentille stayed facing into the wind. Eveillé turned to port and then moved 3 hexes ahead, which put her in position for a 9-hex ranged shot versus America, although in the event Eveillé instead fired a half-broadside at range 5 versus Adamant.

During combat, America fired at Ardent, and Bedford fired its initial starboard broadside with a bow rake at Surveillante. The French returned fire with Surveillante firing its half-broadside bow rake at America, and Eveillé and Ardent both shot at Adamant. America suffered only 1 hull hit, but Adamant took a pounding, losing 3 hull and 4 sailor boxes, to go with the 7 rigging boxes Adamant lost during movement. Losing the crew section triggered a morale check for Adamant, which she failed, dropping her crew quality to  “E” which also yielded a “-2” to future gunfire. Surveillante lost only 1 sailor box, and Eveillé lost 2 rigging boxes.

Situation after game-turn 10

Situation after game-turn 10. Adamant has rammed and fouled with Ardent.

Positions of ships at the end of game-turn 10:

British
America (64) – A3646:6
Adamant (50) – A4245:5 (fouled with Ardent)
Bedford (74) – A3641:3

French
Gentille (32) – B4407:2
Surveillante (32) – A3544:1
Eveillé (64) – A4139:6
Ardent (64) – B4145:6 (fouled with Adamant)

The French ship Surveillante signalled to the French fleet:”GO DOWNWIND ENEMY”.

Game-Turn 11

Gentille completed its tack, and simply pivoted to port. It drifted later (1 hex downwind), during the maintenance phase. Surveillante moved 3 hexes forward. Eveillé moved 6 hexes forward. Ardent was still fouled with Adamant, so neither of those ships moved. America merely moved 1 hex forward, which put her in position for a 3-hex range stern rake of Surveillante. Bedford moved “1S1P” which put her stern in position to be raked by Surveillante. Bedford would return fire at Surveillante, but could only use her starboard stern battery. Eveillé fired at Bedford, but could only use her port stern guns. Ardent delivered another bow rake on Adamant, but this time, Adamant returned fire with her port bow guns.

Adamant lost 2 rigging, 2 hull, a sailor, and a marine box. Bedford lost a hull and a sailor box. Surveillante lost 1 rigging, 1 hull, 1 sailor, and 1 marine. Losing the sailor meant that Surveillante lost her entire first crew section, so future gunfire would have a -3 modifier, and she also had to take a morale check later in the turn (which she passed, having a morale rating of “4”). Ardent lost a rigging, a hull, a sailor, and a marine, although no full sections were lost (yet).

During the maintenance phase, Gentille drifted, as did the fouled duo of Adamant and Ardent.

Positions of ships at the end of game-turn 11:

British
America (64) – A3545:6
Adamant (50) – A4245:5 (fouled with Ardent) (drifted to A4145:5)
Bedford (74) – A3742:3

French
Gentille (32) – B4407:1 (then drifted to B4307:1)
Surveillante (32) – A3541:1
Eveillé (64) – A3536:6
Ardent (64) – B4145:6 (fouled with Adamant) (drifted to A4046:6)

The French ship Surveillante signalled to the French fleet:”RUN OR FIGHT”, evidently wanting to know what the admiral wanted the French to do. At the same time, the French flagship, Eveillé, sent aloft the signal flags that stated “SHOOT AT AMERICA”.

Game-Turn 12

Now the French 64-gun Ardent began to worry. It was still fouled to Adamant, and now Bedford was closing in for a bow rake on Ardent. Bedford moved “1S2” but was only in position to rake the Ardent with her port bow guns. America moved 3 spaces ahead, moving once again in uncrowded water. Gentille accelerated at her maximum rate of “2” and so moved two spaces ahead after finally completing her port tack. Surveillante moved 5 spaces ahead to move away from the nearest British ships, and Eveillé moved 6 spaces ahead.

America fired at the retreating Surveillante at 8-hex range, too far for a rake of the Serveillante’s stern. Adamant, still fouled to Ardent, fired her port bow battery at Ardent. Bedford also fired her port bow guns at Ardent, a half-broadside bow rake. Ardent was the only French ship to return the British fire, firing a 1-hex range bow rake at Adamant.

Surveillante took only 1 hull hit, but Ardent got pummeled to the tune of 3 rigging and 3 hull. Adamant lost 2 rigging (causing the loss of her 2nd rigging section), 1 hull (causing the loss of her 1st hull section), and 1 sailor (losing the 2nd sailor section). So, Adamant had to take another rigging check, a hull check, and two morale checks. In addition, she added a -1 modifier for “guns dismounted” from both the port and starboard broadsides, and all gunnery also got a second -3 modifier for the extra missing crew section (making the “missing crew” gunnery modifier -6 in total). Damage was really beginning to add up against the Adamant.

During the maintenance phase, the Adamant kept trying to grapple the Ardent, to keep her from being able to sail away, especially now that the Bedford was coming up to aid the Adamant. Although the grappling attempts kept failing, the Ardent was also unable to unfoul the ships, and so couldn’t get away.

Positions of ships at the end of game-turn 12:

British
America (64) – A3244:6
Adamant (50) – A4145:5 (fouled with Ardent) (drifted to A4046:5)
Bedford (74) – A3845:4

French
Gentille (32) – B4305:1
Surveillante (32) – A3536:1
Eveillé (64) – A2933:6
Ardent (64) – B4046:6 (fouled with Adamant) (drifted to A3946:6)

The French flagship, Eveillé, signaled “CLOSE UP UNTIL GENTILLE” to her squadron. The British flagship, Bedford, signaled to the ship America “TARGET FRIGATE IF POSSIBLE”, but did she mean the retreating Surveillante or the approaching Gentille?

Game-Turn 13

The British Adamant and the French Ardent were still fouled together and so couldn’t move, and now Bedford moved 2 spaces ahead to have a better bow rake on Ardent. America moved 3 spaces ahead, not sure whether to go and help finish off Ardent or to pursue the Surveillante and Eveillé. Eveillé turned to starboard and then moved 3 spaces directly toward the board edge where she could escape from the British. Surveillante turned to port and moved 2 spaces ahead, so she would be able to shoot at America. Gentille accelerated to 4 MPs, and moved straight ahead.

For the combat phase, America and Surveillante traded broadsides, although Surveillante, being only a 32-gun frigate with a missing crew section and whose remaining crew was slightly fatigued, could only manage a MGN of “0” (zero), to  which of course a 1d6 would be added. Ardent continued to bow rake Adamant, and while Adamant returned fire at Ardent as best she could, Bedford now had a full 1-hex range bow rake on Ardent.

America managed to hit a single sailor box on Surveillante; the return broadside did no damage. Ardent’s bow rake at Adamant caused damage to 3 rigging, 1 hull, and 1 sailor. The return fire from Adamant and Bedford to Ardent caused damage to 1 rigging (taking out rigging section 1 and causing a rigging check), 2 hull (wiping out hull section 1 and causing a hull check and a morale check), and 2 sailor boxes.

The end of game-turn 13

The end of game-turn 13. The French ship Ardent is now caught in a vise between Adamant and Bedford. Eveillé has moved to the left, out of the picture, and Surveillante also has a clear path to escape to the left. Gentille, at the top-right of the picture, should be able to cruise past Adamant and Bedford to escape.

Positions of ships at the end of game-turn 13:

British
America (64) – A3143:6
Adamant (50) – A4046:5 (fouled with Ardent)
Bedford (74) – A3847:4

French
Gentille (32) – B4301:1
Surveillante (32) – A3335:6
Eveillé (64) – A2930:1
Ardent (64) – B3946:6 (fouled with Adamant)

During maintenance, Ardent still was unable to unfoul from Adamant, meaning Ardent was in a very precarious position. The British flag in Bedford sent the message to all British ships, “FOCUS ON ARDENT KILL”. I guess you can’t make it any plainer than that, that you want to wipe out an enemy ship!

Game-Turn 14

During game-turn 14, the French ships Eveillé and Surveillante continued to move toward the escape map edge. Eveillé moved 4 hexes straight toward that map edge, and Surveillante moved 7 hexes while on a broad-reach, in the general direction of that map edge. Gentille accelerated to “5”, the most speed she could go while close-hauled with medium sails. She also had men in the rigging, trying to raise more sails, although that would take two turns to accomplish. For the Brits, America merely moved 2 spaces ahead. Adamant was still fouled with Ardent and so couldn’t move, and Bedford did not move at all, so to keep the perfect bow rake position on Ardent.

Only two ships fired during combat: Ardent had a bow rake on Adamant, and Bedford had a bow rake on Ardent. But, it seems, the game was ended just at this moment, as no damage was recorded for game-turn 14.

Victory Determination

The French did not fulfill their special victory condition of exiting all four of their ships off a particular map edge, so the scenario would be decided by damage inflicted upon the enemy.

Damage to the British:

America (worth 72 Victory Points) lost 7 rigging boxes (1 was then repaired), 5 hull boxes, 6 sailor boxes, and 1 marine box. She only lost one rigging section, though. That rigging section was worth 5% of her total VPs, so the French earned 3.6 VP for America.

Adamant (worth 45 VP) lost 14 rigging boxes, 7 hull boxes, 7 sailor and 1 marine boxes, which was a loss of 2 rigging sections (2 x 5% of VPs), 1 hull section (10% of VPs), and 2 sailor sections (2 x 10%). So Adamant was worth 40% of her 45 VPs, or 18 VP.

Bedford (worth 70 VP) lost only 1 hull and 1 sailor box, and no sections, so she yielded 0 VP to the French.

So the French amassed a total of 18 + 3.6 = 21.6 VP.

Damage to the French:

Gentille (worth 28 VP) lost 2 rigging boxes, 2 hull boxes, and no sections, so she yielded 0 VP to the British.

Surveillante (worth 27 VP) lost 2 rigging boxes, 2 hull boxes, 3 sailor boxes (1 crew section), and 1 marine box. So her 1 crew section was worth 10% of her VP, or 2.7 VP.

Eveillé (worth 62 VP) lost 2 rigging boxes only (no sections were lost), so she yielded 0 VP.

Ardent (worth 62 VP) lost 6 rigging boxes (1 rigging section), 8 hull boxes (1 hull section), 4 sailor boxes, and 2 marine boxes, so her 1 rigging section is worth 5%, and the hull section is worth 10%. So 15% of 62 = 9.3 VP.

So the British earned 12.0 VP from the French.

The French had a VP lead of 21.6 to 12.0, so on the face of it, the French earned a slight victory. However, if the scenario had continued, I believe that Ardent would have eventually surrendered, or would have been battered to pieces, so I would say that the British won this scenario as it seemed the other three French ships were mostly concerned with getting away. The other French ships could have come back to help Ardent, but by the time Eveillé could have turned around and come to Ardent’s aid, Ardent would have not been in very good fighting condition.

British ship Bedford still had all of its gunnery factors; if it continued to pour in bow rakes at Ardent, it would usually have a BGN of close to 30 from 1-hex range. Even at 5-hexes, Bedford’s BGN would be just more than 20. Firing 30 (plus the d6 die roll) gunnery factors should inflict 4 to 7 points of damage per turn. Firing 20 (+ d6) factors should inflict 1 to 3 factors of damage per turn (not counting any critical hits, of course). However, the other British ships were not in great shape. The Adamant would have to apply -10 or -11 to all of her shots, and maybe more negatives. America had a total of -6 or -8 in modifiers, but she still had a Crew Quality of B, so that added +4, making the total gunnery modifier only -2 to -4. So America would have been able to make some effective gun attacks versus Ardent.

But Ardent wasn’t in any immediate danger of being boarded and captured. At the time the scenario was suspended, Ardent still had 17 sailor boxes and 3 marine boxes, more than enough bodies to repel boarders. But she would probably lose those bodies at the rate of 1 or 2 boxes per turn of gunnery fire against her.

Of course, Ardent may have been able to unfoul from Adamant, and if Bedford drifted away, then Ardent could try to make a run for it. But Ardent had lost one rigging section, so she then couldn’t raise sails any more than medium sails, meaning that if was sailing close-hauled toward the exit map edge, she could only move 3 hexes per turn. If Bedford stayed with medium sails, she could move 4 hexes close-hauled, and so could catch Ardent. Although, America had lost one rigging section, and so her fastest speed while close-hauled with medium sails was also only 3 hexes. And Adamant had lost 2 rigging sections, so could only make 1 hex per turn while close-hauled, as she could only fly fighting sails.

So, perhaps Ardent could have escaped? I have all of the logs, maybe some day we can get some folks together and play out the rest of the scenario?

Aftermath

This was a sort of hectic scenario, in that we only got 14 game-turns played (well, we got 13.5 game-turns completed). We would have liked to have played 30 game-turns or so, but we had three players who were new to Close Action. And one of them arrived to play after we had started the scenario, and so Joel and myself (mostly) were trying to explain the game to him. As the GM, I was also trying to take lots of notes and pictures to help with this write-up, although I forgot to take pictures after some of the game-turns. And that record-keeping slightly slowed up play, also.

Some of the logs were not filled in correctly, but that is to be expected, especially with novices playing. One of my goals of running Close Action scenarios is to educate folks how to play the game, so we will have a larger pool of experienced players available so we can try to (eventually) play some of the larger scenarios. There were also two times where captains had crew working at repairing rigging damage, but the ships were at medium sail. I will have to remember to check the status of ships’ sails during rigging repairs in the future.

But there are bound to be mistakes, especially playing at a game-con where you have a limited amount of time. We had four hours available for this scenario, but probably 30 minutes of that was used in explaining things to new players at the beginning, and the “command conferences” where each admiral explained their plan to their subordinate captains of course took some time.

Future Close Action games

I am running another scenario of Close Action at Flintcon in Flint, Michigan, on Saturday, February 9, 2019. The Close Action game will begin at 0900 (9:00 am for land-lubbers) and will run until 1300 (1:00 pm). The game con is at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church and School, 402 S. Ballenger Highway. The scenario is “Santo Domingo,” Close Action scenario 17. Five French ships are trying to escape from seven British ships, although only three British ships are on the map at the beginning of the scenario (the other five Brits enter later as reinforcements). So up to 12 players can play! Come and check it out!

Close Action in the Detroit, Michigan, area

Tuesday, February 5th, 2019

A number of years ago, I was introduced to the game “Close Action,” which is a board game about naval combat in the “Age of Fighting Sail,” circa the year 1800. It is basically an improvement of the old Avalon Hill game of “Wooden Ships & Iron Men.” Close Action was designed by Mark Campbell, although he has had a lot of folks play various scenarios and offer suggestions for improvements along the way. The game was published by Clash of Arms games in 1997. But then I didn’t get to play the game for more than a decade (probably closer to two decades).

Close Action box cover

Close Action box cover, from Clash of Arms games.

So, probably around the middle of 2017, I was checking out the latest sales flyer from Noble Knight Games, and I saw they had a brand new copy of Close Action for sale. I immediately bought the game, because Close Action has been out of print. Noble Knight also had the two add-on scenario packs of Rebel Seas and Monsoon Seas for sale, so I bought those, too. (Rebel Seas is the only product from the Close Action series available for sale at the Clash of Arms web site, as of February 2019.) So now I owned the basic components of Close Action, but didn’t have any miniature ships to play the game with. Although CA was designed as a board game, it does seem more fun to play when using miniature ships.

I was still in contact with Jim Robinson, as he races in our CFR-Detroit racing games. He’s the guy that introduced me to Close Action in the early 1990s. We were playing then with “pre-publication” rules for the game (version 4.30). Dennis Daughetee was another player, and between Dennis and Jim we had a good sized fleet of miniature ships to use. Anyway, in March 2018, we got several folks together to play a scenario of Close Action at the Canton (Michigan) public library during the first Saturday meetup boardgame day. We used (I believe) 1:900 scale ships on Jim’s large hex mat (with 2-inch hexes). It was pretty cool.

Close Action with 1:900 scale ships

Close Action with 1:900 scale ships at the Canton, Michigan, library.

Now, the large 1:900 scale ships are really neat, but later, while playing another scenario at Imperium Games, with about a dozen ships on each side, it became apparent that it would be very difficult to get all of the ships on the same playing mat at the same time. This made me want to use smaller scale ships. I began to look into the various ships available. It seems that 1:1200 scale is a very popular scale for naval minis from the Age of Sail, and it seems the two main sources for ships are GHQ’s “Micronauts” and Langton Miniatures. GHQ’s ships are about $17 each, though, and the Langton ships are about the same price, once you buy the hulls and sails. Sort of a steep price if you want to purchase enough ships for a 40-ship battle!

So then I discovered the 1:2000 scale ships available from Valiant Enterprises. While Valiant’s ships are not nearly as detailed as the larger 1:1200 scale ships, they are much more affordable, and they are “good enough” for minis gaming. You can buy a 3-pack of 74-gun ships-of-the-line from Valiant for less than $15, or $5 per ship. Now we’re talking affordable! Not to mention that the ships won’t take up as much space, so one can use a smaller hex grid to play on. What made it even better, just about the time I mentioned to some of our Championship Formula Racing group that I was going to start buying the Valiant 1:2000 scale ships, two of the CFR racers, Jim Robinson and Mike St. Peter, gave me a bunch of already built and painted ships! Jim gave me close to 40 ships, mostly 74-gunners but also a few larger and smaller ships. Mike donated around a dozen serviceable ships to me, and some other parts that can be salvaged to repair some other ships.

So, now I had a fleet of ships to use, so the next thing to do was to obtain a playing mat. Now, most folks I have seen online who play naval minis just buy a large hex-grid mat from folks such as Hotz Mats. While the mats from Eric Hotz are beautiful, they are also somewhat expensive, with a 45-inch by 72-inch “Mediterrean Sea Blue” mat costing $67 (with shipping). And you would need more than one mat. But there are two problems with using a plain-colored mat.  For one, the generic blue-hex-grid mats don’t have numbered hexes, making it difficult to correctly place the ships for the scenarios. Also, some of the scenarios in Close Action have land or shallow water. The original maps that come with Close Action have different colored hexes that can be used to depict shallow water or land, while the generic hex-grid mats are all the same color, making it difficult to designate areas as land or shallow water. Not to mention that I don’t want to limit my playing to only deep-water scenarios. So then I decided to use my flat-bed scanner to scan the CA maps, then enlarged them 160% so the hexes were 1-inch across. I then printed them out as tiles, and then glued them to a folding cardboard display board. The final result looks  like this:

Close Action enlarged maps A & B

Close Action enlarged maps A & B.

For basing the ships, I made some 1.75-inch by 0.75-inch rectangles, and added the number of guns, each ship’s name, and the country flag of that ship along both sides of the rectangle. Then I printed out the artwork and glued it to foam-core board, then used an X-Acto knife to cut apart all of the bases. The ships on their bases look like this:

1:2000 scale ships on foam-core bases

1:2000 scale British 50-gun Adamant and French 64-gun Ardent, mounted on foam-core bases.

So, now we’re ready to start playing some semi-regular games of Close Action in the Detroit, Michigan, area!