Posts Tagged ‘CFR’

Starting the Racing Season using the Championship Formula Racing Game

Sunday, September 10th, 2017

After several months of running demo races in various locations to try to attract as many potential drivers as possible, the Championship Formula Racing-Detroit group started off their 2017-2018 series of races with the Italian Grand Prix on Friday, September 9, 2017. Ten drivers competed in the race, and when all was said and done, Jack Beckman won the race, followed by other podium finishers Richard White and Jim Landis. The race was at the Guild of Blades game store in Clawson, Michigan.

Drivers set up their cars preparatory to racing on the Monza, Italy track with 1:64 scale race cars.

Drivers set up their cars preparatory to racing on the Monza, Italy track with 1:64 scale race cars. Pictured are (left-to-right): Richard White; Brian Robinson; Mike Cook; Jim Robinson; Jim Landis; Russ Herschler; and Garry Kaluzny.

In our former racing game campaign using Advanced Speed Circuit rules, we used to actually run our cars on qualifying laps; however, in the new CFR rules, starting positions are determined by “bidding” some of your car’s Wear and/or Skill markers. Mike Cook took the pole position with a bid of 8 Skill, which is equal to 4 Wear (for a bid total of 4). Jim Landis started in the other front row position with a bid of 3. The 2nd row starters were Garry Kaluzny and Brian Robinson with bids of 2.5 and 2, respectively. Gary Sturgeon bid 1 to start 5th, and Jack Beckman bid 0.5 to start 6th. The final four starters each bid nothing, so they rolled dice for their starting positions, with the highest dice rolls starting in front of the lower dice rolls. Greg Lim started 7th; Russ Herschler started 8th; Richard White started 9th; and Jim Robinson started 10th.

The starting grid with their car specs:

 # Driver                        Start/Accel/Decel/Top/Wear/Skill
11 Mike Cook (Lotus)               20    60   60  180  4x   3x
20 Jim Landis (Benetton)          100    40   40  160  5x   2x
 9 Garry Kaluzny (McLaren)         20    60   60  180  3x   3x
 5 Brian Robinson (Walker Racing)  20    60   40  180  3x   3x
12 Gary Sturgeon (John Player)     60    60   60  160  4x   2x
 3 Jack Beckman (Ferrari)          20    80   60  180  4x   2x
 7 Greg Lim (Motorola)             20    80   60  160  4x   2x
23 Russ Herschler (Minardi)        60    60   40  160  4x   3x
 1 Richard White (Brabham)         60    40   40  160  4x   4x
 2 Jim Robinson (Williams)         60    40   40  180  4x   3x

Start = Start Speed (in miles/hour); Accel = Acceleration (in mph); Decel = Deceleration (in mph); Top = Top Speed (in mph); Wear = # of Wear markers; Skill = # of Skill markers.

We raced using the CFR rules for pit stops and different tire compounds. That meant that cars started with less Wear than if we were not using the pit stop rules. Since we raced three laps around the Monza track, cars with 3x Wear started with 3 x 3 = 9 Wear; cars with 4x Wear started with 4 x 3 = 12 Wear, and cars with 5x Wear started with 5 x 3 = 15 Wear. Cars would also have to make at least one pit stop during the race, as each car had to use both the hard and the soft tires. The CFR rules handle the different tires pretty eloquently; if your car is on hard tires, if you pass the finish line without stopping in the pits, you regain some Wear. This simulates that the hard tires don’t wear out as fast as the soft tires. A car on hard tires with 3x Wear would regain 4 Wear when crossing the finish line (except at the start or the finish of the race); a car with 4x Wear would regain 3 Wear when crossing the line, and a car with 5x Wear would regain 2 Wear when crossing the line.

Soft tires don’t allow cars to regain Wear, but they do allow drivers to spend Wear in extra ways. For example, drivers could spend 3 Wear if they were going 60 mph over the Speed Limit in a corner. Cars on hard tires (or using the basic rules without pit stops) would have to use 2 Wear and roll dice to take a chance of spinning out or crashing when 60 mph over the speed limit in a corner. Soft tires also allow a drivers to increase their starting speed without chancing a stall, and they also allow using a Wear to increase Acceleration by 20 mph in a turn.

Diagram of the real Monza track.

Diagram of the real Monza track.

Drivers starting on soft tires were Jim Landis, Garry Kaluzny, and Brian Robinson. Everyone else started on hard tires. All of the soft tire cars increased their start speed by 20 mph, so that allowed Jim Landis to start at 120 mph, and he quickly jumped in front of the field at the start.

At the first turn of the first lap, Jim Landis leads the pack in the Benetton.

At the first turn of the first lap, Jim Landis leads the pack in the Benetton.

At the first turn (the Variante del Rettifilo), Jim Landis led, followed by Garry Kaluzny, Richard White (rocketing from 9th on the grid to 3rd on the start), Russ Herschler, Brian Robinson, Mike Cook (the pole-sitter), Gary Sturgeon, Jack Beckman, Jim Robinson, and Greg Lim. Going through the del Rettifilo turn, Brian Robinson managed to get by Russ Herschler. At the Variante Ascari (the series of corners leading onto the back straightaway), Jim Landis was leading Garry Kaluzny by 4 spaces on the track, followed by Jack Beckman and Brian Robinson (each 5 spaces behind Landis), then came White and Herschler (each 7 spaces behind Landis), then Cook (8 spaces back), Sturgeon (12 spaces back), Jim Robinson (16 spaces back), and Lim (22 spaces back). But then going through Ascari, both Herschler and Jim Robinson spun, so they dropped back in the field.

As the cars came around the final turn of the first lap, the Curva Parabolica, the three cars on soft tires, Landis, Kaluzny, and B. Robinson, all pitted as they had all burned through all of their starting wear. A bit of a surprise was when Sturgeon also pitted to switch from hard to soft tires. Herschler also pitted to switch from hard to soft tires.

The official order after the 1st lap was complete was: Beckman (+5); White (+7); Cook (-2); Sturgeon (+1, pitted); Landis (-3, pitted); Herschler (+2, pitted); Lim (0); Kaluzny (-5, pitted); B. Robinson (-5, pitted); and J. Robinson (0). The + or – symbols tell how many spaces the driver improved (+) their lap 1 position from their starting position, or how many spaces they lost (-) from their starting position.

On the 2nd lap, just past the del Rettifilo corner, Gary Sturgeon in the John Player car forced a pass on Garry Kaluzny’s McLaren in the Curva Grande, although Sturgeon had to burn a Wear when the cars bumped together. Jim Robinson spun a second time, this time at del Rettifilo, the sharp right-hand corner at the end of the main straightaway. He also had failed his deceleration dice roll just before spinning, so his brakes were just not up to snuff on this day. Russ Herschler, who had just come out of the pits, was able to pass J. Robinson before Robinson’s car got up to speed again.

As the cars passed through the Ascari corners on the 2nd lap, it was Beckman, White and Cook with quite a lead over the other drivers. Landis was in 4th place, 12 spaces behind the top three cars. Although, Landis had pitted on the 1st lap, and the three leaders had not yet ventured into the pits.

As the leaders passed through the final turn, the Curva Parabolica, on lap 2, the cars which had not stopped in the pits on after 1st lap did now pull into the pits. Cars that pitted on this lap were Beckman, White, Cook, Lim, and Jim Robinson, and they all switched from hard to soft tires. The other cars stayed out on the track.

The official order after lap 2 was: Landis (+4), Beckman (-1, pitted), White (-1, pitted), Lim (+3, pitted), Cook (-2, pitted), Kaluzny (+2), Sturgeon (-3), B. Robinson (+1), Herschler (-3), J. Robinson (0, pitted). The + or – symbols indicate how many positions the driver gained or lost from their position at the end of lap 1.

Early in the 3rd lap, three drivers, Beckman, Landis, and White, were side-by-side going into the Variante del Rettifilo. Landis and White blinked first, and Beckman’s Ferrari surged into the lead and got through that corner first. Beckman continued to lead through the first of the two Lesmo corners, building a 4-space lead.

Last lap through the Lesmo curves.

Beckman’s Ferrari leads the last lap through the Lesmo curves, followed by Landis, White, Cook, Kaluzny, and Sturgeon.

Richard White made a valiant effort to catch Beckman, but the engine in White’s Brabham started going sour as he approached the Ascari corners for the last time, and so could not catch up. Soon after that, Herschler’s Minardi spun in the 2nd Lesmo corner, although that didn’t affect his 9th place at the time.

Beckman's Ferrari about to cross the finish line. White and Landis trail, and Cook (yellow car) and Kaluzny (orange car) are side-by-side going into the Parabolica.

Beckman’s Ferrari about to cross the finish line. White and Landis trail, and Cook (yellow car) and Kaluzny (orange car) are side-by-side going into the Parabolica.

Going through the Curva Parabolica for the last time, Jack Beckman had no trouble motoring across the finish line first, thusly winning the inaugural race of the CFR-Detroit race series. Richard White was able to hold off Jim Landis for 2nd. The duel for 4th place was decided with Garry Kaluzny barely holding off Mike Cook. Exiting the Parabolica, Cook was right behind Kaluzny, ready to use two bonus spaces for drafting Kaluzny, which would have allowed Cook to pass Kaluzny for 4th. However, Kaluzny’s engine didn’t like being pushed to 200 mph, and spurted some oil onto the track. Cook had to swerve to avoid the oil, thus missing the slingshot move, and so finished 5th. Brian Robinson grabbed the last points-paying position in 6th place, and then 7th through 10th places went to Gary Sturgeon, Greg Lim, Russ Herschler, and Jim Robinson.

The finishing order at Monza.

The finishing order at Monza.

 Place Driver                                Points
    1  Jack Beckman (Ferrari) (+5)         - 10 points
    2  Richard White (Brabham) (+7)        -  6 points
    3  Jim Landis (Benetton) (-1)          -  4 points
    4  Garry Kaluzny (McLaren) (-1)        -  3 points
    5  Mike Cook (Lotus) (-4)              -  2 points
    6  Brian Robinson (Walker Racing) (-2) -  1 point
    7  Gary Sturgeon (John Player) (-2)
    8  Greg Lim (Motorola) (-1)
    9  Russ Herschler (Minardi) (-1)
   10  Jim Robinson (Williams) (0)

The + and – indicates how many places the driver gained or lost from their qualifying position. Jack Beckman gained 5 places from his starting position, although Richard White gained 7 places. Both drivers drove very fine races. They were the only two drivers who improved upon their starting position.

Very surprisingly, all 10 drivers who started the race also finished the race. This may be the only time this has occurred in the history of the Detroit area Speed Circuit/CFR races! Richard White stated that he thought that this was the only time when every starter also finished the race.

The next race will be on the 2010/2011 version of the Silverstone, England track. Race day is Friday, October 13, starting at 7:00 pm. The race venue has yet to be determined.

Making a 1:64 Scale Track — Part 3 — Painting the Track

Tuesday, July 25th, 2017

Welcome to the final installment of how to make a large scale race track on a bed sheet. Of course, by “large scale” I am not writing about a “real life” size race track, but a track that can be used to play auto racing board games on something larger than a small board game sized board. Previous blog posts in this series were:

Part 1 — Laying out the track

Part 2 — Marking the track on the sheet

At the end of part 2, we used masking tape to mask off the inside and outside edges of the track. We then mentioned masking off the parts of the sheet that you don’t want to paint, and then start spraying the track. After I finished masking the sheet with newspapers, I then sprayed the first coat of flat black paint on the sheet. It looked like this:

First coat of paint has been sprayed.

First coat of paint has been sprayed.

As you can see, although I tried to spray the paint fairly heavily, it soaked into the sheet and almost looks like it wasn’t sprayed very well. While I found that I usually only had to spray two coats of paint to fully cover a track in the past (allowing about 30 minutes between spraying each coat), this time I went cheap. Instead of buying a “name brand” of flat black spray paint, I opted for the “house brand” paint from a local hardware store. Big mistake. With the house brand paint, I had to apply about five coats of paint to get good coverage, and one can of spray paint wasn’t enough to do the entire job! I had to start using a second can of spray paint. When I previously used the higher quality paint on other tracks, it would usually only take 3/4 to an entire can of paint to cover the track satisfactorily.

The track after several coats of paint.

The track after several coats of paint.

Let the coats of paint dry enough to where you are satisfied with the results, then remove all of the masking. I suggest letting the paint dry at least a full day before applying any other markings to the track.

Masking has been removed.

Masking has been removed.

There was a little bit of spray paint that “bled” onto the sheet, but it’s not too bad. C’est la vie, as they would say in France.

Next, retrieve the track templates you saved, and place them on the track where they belong (i.e., put the turn 1 template where turn 1 should go, etc).

Track templates are back on the track.

Track templates are back on the track.

When you are satisfied with the track template placement, use your templates to mark where the horizontal lane lines will go to divide the track spaces. You should use a pencil to make “tick marks” on the sheet, just inside and outside the track. Then make tick marks with your yellow paint marker on the edges of the track. Note: You should only mark the spaces on straight sections at this time. Leave the corners and “curvy” straights for a little later.

Tick-marking for the horizontal lines.

Tick marking the horizontal lines.

Then remove the template and use a ruler/straight-edge to make straight horizontal lines across the track with your yellow paint marker.

Marking the horizontal lines.

Marking the horizontal lines.

There are usually a few special cases for marking the horizontal lines. On the Belle Isle track, the southeast “straightaway” actually has a gentle curve to its right when it starts outside of turn 6, and then it kinks a bit to its left just before turn 7. See the track diagram:

The Belle Isle track layout from Wikipedia.

The Belle Isle track layout from Wikipedia.

It was difficult to layout the horizontal spaces using a ruler or tape measure, so finally I just placed three rows of 1:64 scale cars on the track (with 12 cars in each row).

Using scale cars to determine track spaces on a curvy section of the track.

Using scale cars to determine track spaces on a curvy section of the track.

There needed to be 12 spaces in this curvy section, so lining up the cars on the track template helped with initial alignment, but then I moved the cars a little until the spacing looked right. I then made tick marks with the yellow paint marker on both sides of the track, then removed the cars and the track template, then used a straight-edge to paint the horizontal lines in this section of the track.

Horizontal lines are painted on the curvy section of the track.

Horizontal lines are painted on the curvy section of the track.

Note that a yellow line is missing in the left side of the above picture. I still wasn’t satisfied with where I had painted the yellow line, so then later I went over it with the black paint marker, effectively erasing that yellow line. Later, when the black paint dried, I re-painted the yellow line in a slightly different location.

Horizontal lines are painted on the track.

Horizontal lines are painted on the track.

Give the just painted yellow horizontal lines a little time to dry (so you don’t smear them by rubbing your hand across them in the next step), perhaps 15 to 30 minutes, then paint the lane divider lines. For straight sections, I usually use the straight section templates, and make tick marks where the lanes should be.

Placing tick marks where the lane lines will go.

Placing tick marks where the lane lines will go.

Move the template down the track, making more tick marks every two or three spaces along the track. When you have marked that entire straight section of track, then use a straight-edge and mark the yellow lane lines. When you have finished a straight section, it should look something like this:

Lane lines have been added to a straight section.

Lane lines have been added to a straight section.

After marking the lane lines on all of the straight sections of the track, we have to add lane lines to corners and other curvy parts of the track. I use the ruler to make tick marks along the curves, then draw the actual lane lines “freehand.” It’s not that difficult to draw an arc. Just place the side of your hand on the table, and slowly “connect the dots.” To make the tick marks on this “3-wide” section of track, I marked ticks at 1.75″ and at 3.5″ from one side of the track.

Drawing lane lines on curvy parts of the track.

Drawing lane lines on curvy parts of the track.

In the above picture you can see me drawing a slightly curved lane line. If you are not sure about this step, you could always practice on some scrap material before you draw on your track. But don’t worry about mistakes, because you can always use your black paint marker to “erase” mistakes you drew with the yellow marker!

Now, some of the corners have one space in their inside lane, and two spaces in the outside lane. This means we need to draw a horizontal line to divide the spaces, but only in that outside lane. Which is why we had to mark all of the lane divider lines before we could divide the outside corner lanes into spaces. For this step, I once again like to use the actual cars I will use for races. Place the cars on the corner, and you can the best place to make that horizontal line. Make tick marks at either side of that outside lane, then remove the cars, and use a straight-edge to draw the line.

When all of the spaces have been marked on the track, it should look something like this:

All track spaces have been marked.

All track spaces have been marked.

Start/Finish Line

Although I could have performed this next step earlier, I will now make a special start/finish line, to make it easily recognizable.

Most track spaces are marked with yellow lines, but to differentiate the start/finish line, I will use a white paint marker to create a sort of “checkered” line. Use a straight-edge, and draw “dots” across the width of the track where the start/finish line will go.

The start/finish line and starting spaces.

The start/finish line and starting spaces.

I also painted an arrow off the extended start/finish line as an aid as to which way the direction of travel goes on that track. Of course, there are also the other cornering arrows, and I also draw the corner speeds so they are readable in the direction you approach them from. Note I also marked six “starting” spaces, like a real F1 race track would have (the real tracks will have more than 6 spaces marked as above, but three rows are sufficient for our game needs).

———-

Once all of the spaces have been marked with the yellow paint marker, use that same yellow marker to apply the speeds in the corner spaces. Make sure you refer to your track diagram to get the speeds and arrows in the proper spaces.

Corner speeds and arrows have been added to the track.

Corner speeds and arrows have been added to the track.

I will make two passes for this step. First, I will go around the track and mark all of the cornering speeds, then I will make a second pass and add the arrows. I will let the paint dry in between each step, so I don’t smear any previously applied paint will adding more speeds or arrows. I also go backwards around the track, so I don’t smear any speeds that I just marked in a corner when I add speeds to other spaces in that same corner. And after the corner speeds and arrows have thoroughly dried, you probably should go over them again, to make them brighter and easier to read from the other end of the track.

When we originally made the tracks in the 1980s, we used red paint markers to mark off the track spaces, etc, but we found that the red lines are too hard to see from some angles. We now use either yellow or white for all of the lines and speeds and arrows. The higher contrast between the black track and the yellow or white lines makes it much easier to see the spaces, no matter where one sits around the track.

We next add the red-and-white stripes to denote the side of the track that is inside to the next corner. Although we never worried about this when we played Speed Circuit (we just designated the infield side of the track as the inside lane), with Championship Formula Racing (CFR) it is more important to know which side of the track is the inside lane to the next corner, so we need to add the red and white stripes. You could make a simpler marking, but the red and white stripe is easy to see at a glance. You will have to go over this striped line at least twice, as the first time you paint the unpainted sheet, the paint will soak in when it dries so that it will almost look like you didn’t paint it in those areas. The 2nd coat should look much better. Go around the entire track in this order: Mark the white dashes, then go around again and mark the red dashes in between the white dashes. Then make a second pass with white, and finally a second pass with red. After you add those stripes, it will look like this:

Red and white stripes have been added to the sides of the track.

Red and white stripes have been added to the sides of the track.

Either use a black permanent marker or a black paint marker to add the name of the track, its location, miles per lap, and years it was raced on. Add this somewhere in the infield of the track, if you can, although it could be anywhere.

Name of the track has been added.

Name of the track has been added.

Notice that I also added the actual name of the road, “The Strand” that the track is on at that part of the Belle Isle track. In other pictures you can also see a “5” or a “10” in a box outside the track. Those numbers are a play-aid so drivers can more easily count the number of straight spaces remaining until the next corner space.

Here’s a little trick to line up the letters nice and even. Mark some pencil lines along where the top and bottom of the letters will go.

Pencil lines were used to line up the lettering.

Pencil lines were used to line up the lettering.

Although the pencil lines may be hard to see in this picture, they are there. I used my tape measure to make tick marks at several places, measuring from one side of the table’s edge. I made the tick marks for the top row (the “Detroit Grand Prix” row) 2″ apart, then the other rows are each 1.5″ high. There is a 1″ space between each row. You can use whatever spacing looks good to you. If you haven’t done this kind of lettering before, mark all of the letters in pencil before using a permanent marker. If you absolutely can’t print neatly, and don’t have time to take drafting classes so you can print neatly, you could always use some lettering stencils or get a friend who can print well to mark the name on your track.

I also add the track name to a corner of the sheet, to make it easier to tell which track it is when it is all folded up for storage. Recently, I’ve also been adding its years of use if you might have different versions of a track.

Track name on the corner of the sheet.

Track name on the corner of the sheet.

I wrote the track name on both sides of one corner of the track, so it doesn’t matter which side is folded to the inside when the track is folded. It is probably better to fold the track with the painted side to the inside, just to better protect it. We used to just apply a piece of masking tape to the folded track with the track’s name, but tape will fall off after a number of years, so using a permanent marker is a much better way to go. And since some tracks have had revisions over the years, (see the many changes of the real life Silverstone, England, track as an example), the years for a particular track configuration have been added. I’ve also been adding what minimum table size is needed to use that track, so you’ll know what size or how many tables you’ll need to set it up. In the case of this Belle Isle track, the minimum table size is 3’9″ wide by 7’1″ long. In practical purposes, this will probably be used on a 4′ x 8′ table top.

The finished track.

The finished track.

At last, the track is finished. It’s time to race!

Making a 1:64 Scale track — Part 1 — Laying out the track

Friday, July 14th, 2017

I have posted recently about playing Speed Circuit (past) and Championship Formula Racing (present) on large-scale tracks that were painted on bed sheets. Some folks on the CFR forums at BoardGameGeek  (BGG) have asked me to show the process, so here goes. Disclaimer: Since I am in the United States of America, I use inches, feet, etc, and also relate car speeds as miles per hour. If you are in a metric system country, you will of course want to adjust the measurements for your system.

Select a Track Diagram

First, you will need a diagram of the track you want to make. I recently designed the Belle Isle (Detroit) track that is used by IndyCars. I did find that track had already been designed by someone else (I downloaded it from the Files section at BGG), but I didn’t like the design. Some of the straightaway sections were too long in that other design, so cars could use a high top speed in the game to go 200 mph or so. Watching the video of actual IndyCars racing on the Belle Isle track, I never saw any car get much above 160 mph at any time. That other track design also ignored some of the corners in the corners 7 through 11 sequence, and also treated corner 14 as just another straightaway space.

I first obtained the real Belle Isle track outline diagram from online. I used Wikipedia as a source, but there are alternate sources for tracks that you could use if you were designing your own track.

The Belle Isle track layout from Wikipedia.

The Belle Isle track layout from Wikipedia. Unfortunately, the diagram incorrectly calls one of the streets “Lotter Way” when it should properly be “Loiter Way.”

I then imported that track diagram into image editing software (I use Acorn from Flying Meat Software). I then erased everything except the actual track outline, scaled it to fit a poster board size space of 22″ x 28″ (in case I want to print out a board-game size map of that track). Then I changed the track color to red so it wouldn’t interfere with other colored spaces I would create. I created spaces that were 1″ long for a board-game size track, then placed them around the track for the straight parts of the track. I then “fudged” in the corner spaces. I then assigned corner speeds based on watching race video, and added cornering arrows. Here is the track with the original red outline, and gray spaces added:

Belle Isle original track in red, with gray spaces for the board game track.

Belle Isle original track in red, with gray spaces for the board game track.

Acorn is a layer-based program like Photoshop, so you can make layers visible or invisible, change which layer is on top, etc, so that made the above process relatively easy.

Next was to print the track the size of a poster board, and then I ran some solo races on it using the CFR rules and cars of different configuration. I did make a few changes to the initial playtest track, so the “playtest 2” track above is how I finalized the spaces and corners. Except, I’m not sure about the speed of the final slight right-hand bend at the upper left of the track, just after the entrance to the pits. I have 140 mph marked on it for now, but may change it to 160 mph after I get some other folks to playtest it.

Poster board size Belle Isle track.

Poster board size Belle Isle track.

You may already have a track diagram, so you won’t need to perform the above steps. In that case, you will start here:

Gather Items Needed to Build Your Track

Gather items you will need to build a large track.

Track building items laid out on the table.

Track building items laid out on the table.

  • A large table ( I use a ping-pong table that is 5′ x 9′ in size — you will probably need something larger than a 4′ x 8′ piece of plywood, as some tracks are larger than 4′ x 8′). You could also use a large area of the floor, if you are younger than me, and have good knees!
  • Track template pieces. I used to use poster board to create various sizes of straightaways (either two-lane or three-lane wide), but now I find it’s easier and cheaper to just print paper on my laser printer. I create spaces for straights that are 3″ long by 1.75″ wide, as that size space fits my 1:64 scale race cars well. If you make the spaces much smaller than that, cars will be too tightly spaced together if they are crowded into the same area of the track. If the spaces are too large, you might not be able to fit the finished track onto a reasonable table size. I also used to just “fudge” in the corners after laying out the straight pieces, but now I also print out some generic corner pieces. I found some generic track sections online, and printed them at different scales until I got the right size. I also tested the printed corner pieces to ensure my 1:64 scale cars would fit in the spaces on those corner pieces.
Older green poster-board track template pieces in the foreground.

Older green poster-board track template pieces in the foreground.

  • A pair of scissors for cutting the track templates.
  • Carpenter’s style tape measure.
  • A straight edge of some sort to help with marking straight lines. I use an old steel ruler from an old combination square.
  • A pencil to mark the basic outline of the track once you have completed the layout.
  • A black marker (like a Sharpie), used to go over the penciled outline of the track.
  • Clear cellophane tape. Use the tape to tack small track sections together to build assemblies, so there are not as many loose pieces to move around when you make track adjustments.
  • Masking tape. Used to mask the track so you only paint the track.
  • Miscellaneous newspapers, pieces of cardboard, etc. Use these to actually mask areas of the sheet that you don’t want to paint.
  • A can of flat black spray paint. You could also brush flat black paint onto the sheet, but I find spraying is easier, and doesn’t bleed-through the sheet as much as brush painting.
  • Different colored paint markers. I use black (preferably flat black), red, white, and yellow paint markers. Get oil based paint markers, as they won’t wash out if you ever have to wash your track. These markers are used to paint the lines for the spaces on the track, cornering speeds & arrows, and the red-and-white lines along the edge of the track to denote which side of the track is the inside to the next corner.
  • A flat bed sheet. Wait to buy the sheet until after you determine how big the track will be.

Laying Out the Track

Cut out the various straight and curved template pieces.

Cutting out paper straight-section templates.

Cutting out paper straight-section templates.

Then, tape together straight sections to make longer pieces. Do this so you won’t have as many pieces of paper to move around. For the Belle Isle track, I needed straight sections of various spaces long, such as 12 spaces long, 5 spaces long, etc.

Taping straight templates to make longer straightaways.

Taping straight templates to make longer straightaways.

After you have cut out and taped your various templates, place the various lengths of straight sections about where they should go. Use the track diagram as a guide. I also wrote the number of straight spaces in each area directly on that track diagram, so I wasn’t always re-counting the straightaways.

Placing the straight sections of the track.

The straight sections of track have been placed in their approximate positions.

In the above picture, the straight pieces are roughly where they should go. Don’t worry about exactness, as you will have to make adjustments. Then add the corner pieces, and try to “close the loop” of the track by making adjustments as needed.

Curves have been added to the track.

Curves have been added to the track.

In my example above, you can see that the track will actually fit on the table. Yay!

A view of the other side of the track.

A view of the other side of the track.

The next step is to measure the longest distance of the track’s length and width, and write down the numbers.

Measuring the track dimensions.

Measuring the track dimensions.

For my Belle Isle track, I found the rough layout was about 4′ wide and 7’6″ long, so the finished track should be able to be played on a 4′ x 8′ table size. This is now the time to purchase the flat bed sheet. I was able to purchase a flat sheet that is 66″ x 96″, or 5’6″ x 8’0″, for about $5 (US). For you metric folk, that sheet is 168cm x 244cm. Of course, before you can use the sheet, you will need to wash it, as the sheets are usually packed very densely, and the wrinkles will make it difficult to paint the track later. Also throw the sheet in the dryer (if you have one) after washing to “pre-shrink” it.

Continued in Part 2 – Marking the track on the sheet.

Also see Part 3 – Painting the track.

Championship Formula Racing at Imperium Games, July 7, 2017

Sunday, July 9th, 2017

We had our most recent demo race of Championship Formula Racing at Imperium Games in Wixom, Michigan, on Friday, July 7.  (Imperium Games was up until recently known as Flat Land Games. It had a recent change of ownership.) We once again used one of the magnificent large-scale tracks made by Richard White many years ago.

Spa-Francorchamps track (1981-2003 configuration)

Spa-Francorchamps track (1981-2003 configuration)

I lined up my available 1:64 scale IndyCars for drivers to use as Jack Beckman had not yet shown up with his many Formula One cars. Traffic was exceptionally bad on I-96 west of I-275. I tried to get to Imperium Games by 5:00 pm, but I didn’t arrive until around 5:45 pm. The Imperium Games staff were very helpful in converting one of the lower miniatures tables by removing the edge rail from one side of the table, and providing a plywood extension under the part of the track in the upper right of the above picture. In other words, the Spa track is wider than a 4 foot x 8 foot table — it needs about a 5 foot by 8 foot table.

Not too long after I set up the track, Jim Landis arrived, followed by Jim Robinson and Greg Lim. Jack Beckman got to the track around 6:45 pm. We got rolling a little past 7:00 pm.

Starting positions in Championship Formula Racing are handled on a “bid” basis. Each driver bids some of his starting Wear or Skill chits, with each Wear counting as one and each Skill counts as 1/2. Jim Robinson and I each bid 1.5 (1 Wear and 1 Skill each), Jack Beckman bid only 0.5 (a single Skill chit), and Jim Landis and Greg Lim each bid nothing. So then Jim Robinson and me had to roll dice for starting position, with Jim getting the pole, and I started on the front row next to him. Jack was 3rd, and Jim Landis and Greg diced for starting 4th and 5th.

The Spa race is on. Cars are just past the first turn.

The Spa race is on. Cars are just past the first turn. L-to-R: Jack Beckman, Garry Kaluzny, Jim Landis, Jim Robinson (Greg Lim Photo).

We got about a half-lap into our 3 lap race, when a sixth driver, Chris Mogle,  showed up. We paused the race so he could build his car’s specifications, then we placed him on the track just behind the 5th place car. We also deducted 3 Wear from Chris, as that is how much Wear the 5th place car had used up to that point in the race.

I had finally convinced the other drivers to use the Tire and Pit Stop rules for CFR. We also specified that each car would have to use both hard and soft tires at some point during the race. I started on hard tires, but switched to soft tires at the end of the first lap when I pulled into the pits. To my surprise, all five other cars also pulled into the pits.

Basically, if you use the pit stop rules in CFR, your car starts with less wear than it would have available if you weren’t using the pit rules. For example, I put +1 build point into my Wear when I set up my car. Without using the pit stop rules, I would have received 7 Wear per lap. Since we were racing 3 laps, that means I would have started with 21 Wear for the race, and once it was used up it could not be replenished. However, with the pit rules, I only received 4 Wear per lap, meaning I only started with 12 Wear. However, when you pit, you come out of the pits with your full complement of Wear. I was planning on pitting twice in the 3 laps, so I would theoretically have 12 + 12 + 12 = 36 Wear to use, instead of just the 21 Wear I would have had if we had not used the pit rules. Now, to balance all that, when you pit your car is stationary for two turns, so you would lose track position to other cars that stayed out on the track.

So, after burning through 10 Wear on my first lap (also having used one Wear in bidding for starting position), I pitted, but so did everyone else. Some drivers had not burned all of their starting Wear, so when they “topped off” their Wear, they effectively lost a couple/few Wear.

After pit stops, the cars are back on the track, starting their 2nd lap (of 3) on the Spa track.

After pit stops, the cars are back on the track, starting their 2nd lap (of 3) on the Spa track.

So, shortly after starting the 2nd lap, I failed a Deceleration dice roll, which reduced my car’s Deceleration from 40 mph to 20 mph. This wasn’t a huge handicap on the Spa track, as there are only a couple of places where you really need to decelerate by more than 20 mph, and when I needed to decelerate by 40 mph I could spend a Wear to slow down.

A close up of cars at the La Source hairpin turn at Spa-Francorchamps.

A close up of cars at the La Source hairpin turn at Spa-Francorchamps.

At the end of the 2nd lap, five of the six cars pitted again, and surprisingly, I was still in the lead. I held the lead all the way until the end. Then, on the next to last turn, I finished my move one space short of the finish line, but moving at 120 mph. For my next turn, I need to reduce my speed to 60 mph to avoid entering the slow hairpin turn which was only three spaces past the finish line. However, since I was out of Wear, I couldn’t use any Wear to slow down more than my damaged 20 mph Deceleration. I could only add a single dice roll to try to decelerate by a total of 40 mph. That would have left my car traveling at 80 mph, which would put me into the corner after the finish line. Since I didn’t have any Wear, I could only have entered that corner at 60 mph without crashing, and I would have had to take a Chance dice roll if I entered the corner at 60 mph. So, my car crashed, and according to the rules, if your car crashes after crossing the finish line, it is considered to have NOT finished the race!

That meant that Jack Beckman took the win, as he had been in 2nd place, very close behind my car. I believe Jim Robinson was 2nd, and Jim Landis was 3rd (or was it the other way around?), and Chris Mogle was 4th, and Greg Lim was 5th. I (Garry Kaluzny) was 6th, although I would not have received any points if we had been racing for points.

However, after we had all packed up the game components, and I was headed home, I realized that I totally forgot about “late braking”! I could have used a Deceleration dice roll to get down to 80 mph (from 120 mph), and then after I moved at least one space on the track, I could have used late braking to scrub off another 20 mph by taking another Deceleration roll. I also had a -1 and a -3 Skill markers, which I could have exchanged the -3 Skill marker for three -1 Skill markers, meaning I could have made both Deceleration rolls with -2 Skill applied, meaning I would have only failed either roll if I rolled a 12 on 2d6. Of course, if I had failed either of those Deceleration rolls, my car would also have been out of the race, but each roll had a 35 in 36 chance of succeeding.

It just goes to show that even us “experienced” Speed Circuit/CFR drivers can fail an internal “brain” roll and forget about applying a rule when it is vitally needed!

Jack and I were hoping to run a demo race of CFR at the Metro Detroit Gamers’ MichiCon at Oakland University in August, but that game con, tentatively scheduled for August 4-5, is not happening for certain. So, if MichiCon does not take place on August 4-5, I will probably have more CFR demo races in Canton and Wayne on August 5. And then we will probably have our final demo race at Guild of Blades on Friday, August 11. We then hope to start racing for points on Friday, September 8.

Check out our CFR-Detroit web page.

Posted by Garry Kaluzny