Posts Tagged ‘Detroit’

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 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.

Creole du Nord at Bayou Detroit, September 21

Friday, September 20th, 2013

Creole du Nord is playing for the 1st “Bayou Detroit” celebration at the Majestic Theatre in Detroit on Saturday, September 21. The event starts with an open Cajun jam session at 6:00 pm (musicians, bring your instruments!), then there are zydeco (and Cajun two-step) dance lessons at 7:00 pm, then Creole du Nord plays from 8:00 to 11:00 pm. Tickets are $12 in advance (can be ordered online at the Bayou Detroit link above), or $15 at the door. The party is actually on the Majestic’s rooftop “Alley Deck” which is on the roof, overlooking the alley below. The Majestic Theatre complex is at 4120 Woodward Ave. in Detroit, MI. There is limited parking right behind the Majestic; get there early to grab a spot. You may be able to find a spot on the street, but most of the street parking has meters that are only good for two hours, although I believe the city stops enforcing the meters after 8:00 pm. Don’t take my word for that, though, as parking may have changed around there.

The Bayou Detroit web site also mentions “Cajun food on the outdoor grill” and then lists a Crawfish Boil 1/2 lb for $7.50 and Chicken Gumbo served with Fried Okra for $5.95 so I believe those are additional charges to the admission fee.

It sounds like y’all could pass a good time at this event. I’m hoping to make it there in time for the jam session, although I have been fighting off a cold.

–Bayou Joe

Mardi Gras! live music in the Detroit area, March 8

Monday, March 7th, 2011

Mardi Gras is upon us! March 8 in 2011. If you’re looking for some LIVE Cajun/zydeco/New Orleans/swamp pop music in Michigan, you’re in luck!

Maison Bleue plays for a Mardi Gras party in Dearborn at the Dearborn Hills Golf Course banquet hall at 1300 S. Telegraph Rd. The party is from 3:30 to 9:00 pm, Maison Bleue plays from 6:00 to 9:00 pm. There is also a student band playing from 3:30 to 4:45 pm. This party is a fundraiser for the Dearborn Education Foundation. Tix are $25 at the door. Info at 313-827-8790. Also included with your admission ticket is a very tasty Cajun buffet. It’s all I can do to get the band back playing instead of going back for more chow!

If you’re on the east side of Detroit (or even if you aren’t), you may want to check out Monsieur Guillaume & His Zydeco Hepcats as they play at the Cadieux Cafe at 4300 Cadieux Road in Detroit. That party starts at 8:00 pm or thereabouts. No cover charge, and no reservations needed, although the Cafe does say that if you have a party of 8 or more folks, please do call and make a reservation. Call 313-882-8560 for reservations or more info. Presumably, one could make it to both the Dearborn and Detroit Mardi Gras gigs if one were so inclined! If you do make it to the Cadieux Cafe, remind them that it’s spelled “Zydeco Hepcats” instead of “Zydaco Hepcats” as they have on their online schedule!

Also, although it’s not near Detroit but up in Elk Rapids (north of Traverse City) in Michigan’s lower peninsula, one could catch the Saucecats at a Mardi Gras party at Pearl’s New Orleans Kitchen. It’s at 617 Ames St. in Elk Rapids. No cover charge, no reservations needed. Call 231-264-0530 for more info.

Alan previously posted info about the MG party with Nathan & the Zydeco Cha Chas and Creolization at The B.O.B. in Grand Rapids, so scroll down for that info.

Posted by Garry