Posts Tagged ‘Detroit’

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.

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 —-

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).

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!

 

CFR-Detroit 2018 Championship race – South African Grand Prix

Tuesday, February 5th, 2019

The eighth and final race of the 2018 CFR-Detroit season was held at Pandemonium Games in Garden City, Michigan, on Friday, December 14, 2018. Fifteen drivers contested the race, with five of those drivers having a chance to win the points championship. When all was said and done, Bill Worrel finally drove to his first race win in CFR, and that earned him the championship over Mike Cook, Garry Kaluzny, Richard White, and Jack Beckman. Finishing 2nd at Kyalami was Richard White, and Gary Sturgeon finished on the podium in 3rd place after passing Kaluzny just before the finish line.

The race was held on the Kyalami track, from an old Avalon Hill design from Speed Circuit. This was the first time this track was used in the CFR-Detroit racing series, although it had been used in the old Advanced Speed Circuit races in the Detroit area back in the 1980s/1990s. Of course, we raced on a large-scale track that had been painted on a bedsheet so we could use our 1:64 scale cars.

Kyalami race track of the South African Grand Prix.

Kyalami race track of the South African Grand Prix. This was from the old Speed Circuit game and was available as an extra item from Avalon Hill.

After the drivers set up their car’s specs, the drivers secretly bid for starting positions. Each wear chit counted as 1.0, and each skill chit counted as 0.5. Higher bids started in front of lower bids. Ties were resolved by rolling percentage dice, high rolls favored over low rolls.

The four main contenders for the title, Cook, Worrel, Kaluzny, and White, all wanted to start near the front of the large pack of 15 cars. A “wild card” in this race was Louye Padol. Padol had raced in some old Advanced Speed Circuit races in the Detroit area near the end of that series in the early 1990s. Padol further stated that since he had never won a race in that old ASC series that he wanted to win a CFR race. Of course, he knew his work was cut out for him, what with the hungry drivers who really wanted to win the championship.

Qualifying

There were some high bids for pole position. Mike Cook snatched the pole with a bid of 9.5 (6 wear + 7 skill). It was Cook’s 8th pole in the 15 races he has participated in, the most of any driver. (Jim Robinson and Bill Worrel each have 2 CFR-Detroit career pole positions.) Louye Padol also started in the front row, in 2nd place, with a bid of 9.0 (8 wear + 2 skill). Garry Kaluzny started in 3rd with a bid of 8.5 (6 wear + 5 skill). Bill Worrel started 4th with his bid of 7.0 (5 wear + 4 skill). Greg Lim (3 wear + 6 skill) and Gary Sturgeon (3 wear + 6 skill) each bid 6.0. Lim started 5th after his percentile dice roll of “73” to Sturgeon’s dice roll of “06,” thus relegating Sturgeon to 6th place on the grid.

Richard White bid 5.5 (4 wear + 3 skill), so he started in the 4th row, in 7th place. Beside White, in 8th place, was Mike St. Peter with his bid of 4.5 (4 wear + 1 skill). Brian Robinson (1 wear + 5 skill) and Jack Beckman (2 wear + 3 skill) each bid 3.5 and so they had a “dice-off” for 9th and 10th place on the starting grid. Brian Robinson started 9th after rolling “63,” and Beckman started 10th after rolling “52.”

Jim Robinson was the 11th place starter with a bid of 2.5 (0 wear + 5 skill). Aric Parr (1 wear + 2 skill) and Jim Landis (1 wear + 2 skill) each bid 2.0. Parr won the dice-off by “45” to “26” and so Parr started 12th, and Landis started 13th on the grid. Joel Lauder bid only 1.0 (0 wear + 2 skill) to start 14th, and P.J. Norton (0 wear + 0 skill) bid nothing and was content to start 15th.

The starting grid for the 2018 South African Grand Prix with their car specs:

 # Driver (Car)                    Start/Accel/Decel/Top/Wear/Skill/Tires
11 Mike Cook (Camel Lotus)          100   40    40   140  5x   3x   soft
25 Louye Padol (Ligier)             100   40    40   160  5x   2x   soft
 8 Garry Kaluzny (Marlboro McLaren) 100   40    40   140  5x   3x   soft
 4 Bill Worrel (Tyrrell)             60   40    40   160  5x   3x   soft
13 Greg Lim (GoDaddy)                60   60    40   160  4x   3x   soft
22 Gary Sturgeon (McLaren)          100   40    40   160  5x   2x   soft
 1 Richard White (Brabham)           60   40    40   160  5x   3x   soft
44 Mike St. Peter (Mercedes)         60   40    40   160  5x   3x   hard
 5 Brian Robinson (Walker Racing)    20   60    60   140  5x   3x   soft
12 Jack Beckman (Ferrari)            60   40    40   160  5x   3x   soft
 2 Jim Robinson (Williams)           60   40    40   160  5x   3x   soft
14 Aric Parr (Motul BRM)             60   40    60   160  5x   3x   hard
20 Jim Landis (Benetton)             60   60    60   160  4x   2x   hard
 7 Joel Lauder (HSBC Jaguar)         60   60    60   180  3x   2x   hard
 3 P.J. Norton (Tyrrell)             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 Kyalami

The starting grid at Kyalami: 1st row: Cook (yellow car) & Padol (blue car); 2nd row: Kaluzny (orange/white) & Worrel (blue); 3rd row: Lim (green) & Sturgeon (black/silver); 4th row: White (white/blue) & St. Peter (silver); 5th row: B. Robinson (white/blue) & Beckman (red); 6th row: J. Robinson (white/yellow/blue) & Parr (gray); 7th row: Landis (green/red/blue) & Lauder (green); 8th row: Norton (blue/white). (Bill Worrel photo)

1st Lap

At the start, pole-sitter Cook surprised the field by using his -3 skill chit and rolling dice to boost his car’s start speed to 120 mph, giving up the opportunity to use a wear (since he was on soft tires) to get the automatic 20 mph increase to his start speed. Of course, the fact Cook had bid 6 of his available 15 wear to get the pole position might have influenced his choice, since he only started the race with 9 wear. Padol and Kaluzny, both on soft tires, each used a wear to start at 120 mph. Worrel, who was starting the race with 10 wear after bidding 5 wear for qualifying, rolled dice (using two -1 skill chits) to start at 80 mph. Sturgeon was content to just start at his car’s 100 mph start speed; that allowed him to pull alongside Worrel’s blue Tyrrell. Lim used a wear to get to 80 mph; he slotted himself right behind Worrel. White, starting on the inside of the 4th row, also rolled a -2 modified start speed roll, making the roll and thus starting at 80 mph and pulling right behind Lim. St. Peter, starting on hard tires, was content to just start at 60 mph. That allowed Beckman to pull alongside St. Peter after Beckman used a wear to start at 80 mph. J. Robinson used a wear to start at 80 mph, thus leap-frogging B. Robinson who had used a wear to increase his start speed to 40 mph. Parr, starting in 12th, decided to make an unmodified start speed dice roll. Parr rolled an ‘8’ and thus started at only 40 mph, 20 mph below his car’s normal 60 mph start speed. Landis and Lauder started at their normal 60 mph start speed, and they both pulled even with Parr. Norton, making his first official start in the CFR-Detroit races, was content to start at his normal 60 mph speed.

The pack roars away!

The pack roars away at the start! The order is Cook, Padol, Kaluzny, Worrel, Sturgeon, Lim, White, St. Peter, Beckman, J. Robinson, B. Robinson, Parr, Landis, Lauder, and Norton. (Bill Worrel photo)

On the 2nd move of the game, the leading trio of Cook, Padol, and Kaluzny all increased their speed to 140 mph through the Crowthorne Corner. Worrel spent a -1 skill marker and successfully rolled dice to increase his acceleration. J. Robinson rolled a -2 acceleration roll (and made it). Most of the following cars maintained their order, although Beckman got by St. Peter, and J. Robinson pulled to the inside of St. Peter. Landis got by Parr, and Lauder pulled alongside B. Robinson. As the leaders approached the Jukskei Sweep, Worrel and Sturgeon had caught up to the leading trio. Lauder moved to the inside of White.

Going into Clubhouse Bend, Kaluzny passed Padol for 2nd, and the pack was all bunched up again.

Cook still leads at Clubhouse Bend

Cook still leads at Clubhouse Bend, followed by Kaluzny, Padol, Worrel, Sturgeon, Lim, White, Beckman, J. Robinson, Lauder, St. Peter, B. Robinson, Landis, Parr, and Norton. (Bill Worrel photo)

St. Peter spent two wears and two -1 skill markers (making a chance roll) going through The Esses at 120 mph. Parr tried to force a pass by Landis through Clubhouse Bend, but was balked. Parr then had to scrub off 40 mph to reduce his speed to 60 mph.

Going through Leeukop Bend, Cook was able to get clear of the pack, opening a 3-space lead over Kaluzny. Cook was one space shy of The Kink, though, and so he was unable to enter the pits before his following competitors. Then on the next move of the race, Cook did pull into the pits just after crossing the start/finish line. It was the 17th lap Cook has led in his CFR-Detroit driving career, far and away the most of any driver. (Cook has led 38% of the laps he has raced.) Also pitting were Kaluzny, Worrel, Sturgeon, White, and Padol. Lim accelerated to 160 mph out of Leeukop, but then had to roll a -2 deceleration roll to reduce his speed to 140 mph as he didn’t have any wear remaining and so would not have been able to enter The Kink at 160 mph. That left Lim one space shy of getting into the pits on that move.

Cook leads the 1st lap

Cook (just past the start-finish line) leads the 1st lap, pulls into pits. (Bill Worrel photo)

During the immediately succeeding move, the cars of Lim, Beckman, and B. Robinson joined the other cars in the pits; they were eventually joined in the pits by Parr. B. Robinson made a -2 chance roll going through The Kink so he could get into the pits at a higher speed. Not pitting were Lauder, J. Robinson, St. Peter, Norton, and Landis. Lauder was then the leader on the track due to his staying out of the pits.

The official order at the end of the 1st lap: Cook (0); Lim (+3); Lauder (+11); J. Robinson (+7); St. Peter (+3); Norton (+9); Worrel (-3); Kaluzny (-5); Sturgeon (-3); White (-3); Padol (-9); Landis (+1); Beckman (-3); B. Robinson (-5); and Parr (-3). The numbers in parentheses indicate how many places a driver either gained (+) or lost (-) from their starting position. After the pit stops were resolved, the running order on the track was Lauder, J. Robinson, St. Peter, Norton, Cook, Worrel, Kaluzny, Sturgeon, White, Padol, Landis, Lim, Beckman, B. Robinson, and Parr.

2nd Lap

Coming out of the pits, Worrel made a -1 modified dice roll to boost his top speed to 180 mph. Kaluzny also used a -1 modifier to increase his top speed to 160 mph. Since the top four contenders basically needed to win the race to also win the championship, they knew going in to this race that they would need to roll some dice! Going into Sunset Bend, Cook made a -1 deceleration roll, and St. Peter used 2 wear and made a -2 chance roll. Then going through Clubhouse Bend, J. Robinson took the lead from Lauder. White then made a forced pass of Worrel coming out of Clubhouse Bend.

Jim Robinson takes the lead

Jim Robinson takes the lead. Following are Norton, Lauder, St. Peter, Cook, Kaluzny, White, Padol, Worrel, Sturgeon, Landis, Lim, Beckman, B. Robinson, and Parr. (Bill Worrel photo)

Jim Robinson managed to gain a 2-space lead over Norton and Lauder coming out of Leeukop, but J. Robinson had to make a -3 chance roll to gain that advantage. Cook had to make a -1 deceleration roll going into Leeukop (dropping to 80 mph from 100 mph), as the road ahead was blocked by Norton’s Tyrrell. In the process, Cook used his last skill modifier, leaving him with no more skill markers, and there was still a little more than a lap left to race.

Now the dice started really flying. Jim Robinson needed to pit, and he wanted to pit on his current move, so he rolled a -2 chance at The Kink, but he spun. He had to roll as he was out of wear. Then Lauder tried to get into The Kink at 160 mph, so he used a wear and also rolled a -2 chance. Lauder also spun. Although spun, both J. Robinson and Lauder’s cars were placed into the pits, as The Kink corner was the first space where cars could pit. Norton made a -2 acceleration roll coming out of Leeukop so he could go 140 mph. That left him once space short of The Kink, meaning he couldn’t get into the pits on this move.

J. Robinson and Lauder both spin going into the pits

J. Robinson and Lauder both spin going into the pits (so their cars are both facing backwards to indicate they have spun). Other cars on the track are Norton, St. Peter, Cook, Kaluzny, Padol, Sturgeon, White, Worrel, Lim, Beckman, Landis, B. Robinson, and Parr. (Bill Worrel photo)

During the next move, Norton and St. Peter made it through The Kink, then they both pulled into the pits. Cook, Padol, Kaluzny, and Worrel all made it through The Kink, and Sturgeon and White were in The Kink. That meant all six of those cars could accelerate down the long straight. Cook made an unmodified top speed roll to move at 160 mph. Worrel made an unmodified top speed roll to move at 180 mph. Kaluzny wanted to move at 160 mph, and had to roll for his top speed. In spite of using a -1 skill modifier, Kaluzny failed the roll. He moved this turn at 140 mph, and his future top speed was now only 120 mph. So he knew his shot at the championship was doomed. Landis pulled his car into the pits, as he was the last of the cars that had not yet pitted.

Cook, Padol, and Worrel vie for the lead

Cook, Padol, and Worrel vie for the lead to begin the 3rd lap. (Their cars are near the Monty Python-esq hand of Kaluzny.) Kaluzny and White are right behind the leaders, and Sturgeon is also right behind. Lim is just crossing the start/finish line. B. Robinson is just in front of Beckman who is just in front of Parr. The cars of J. Robinson and Lauder have come out of the pits to be placed back in the track in The Kink, but are facing backwards to show they have spun. In the pits are Norton, St. Peter, and Landis. (Bill Worrel photo)

P.J. Norton (+14) was the official leader of the 2nd lap, although he was in the pits when he achieved that honor. The rest of the official order for the 2nd lap: Cook (-1); Padol (-1); Worrel (0); Kaluzny (-2); White (+1); Sturgeon (-1); Lim (-3); B. Robinson (0); Beckman (0); Parr (+1); St. Peter (-4); Lauder (+1); J. Robinson (-3);  and Landis (-2).

3rd Lap

Worrel made a daring move to take the lead going into Crowthorne Corner at the end of the long straight. Since he was on the outside of the track, and would have moved after other cars that plotted the same speed, Worrel plotted 180 mph, made his top speed dice roll, but then slowed to 160 mph before actually entering the corner. That let Worrel move before Cook and Padol. Cook did move alongside Worrel in Crowthorne, with Padol right behind them in 3rd. Kaluzny and White were side-by-side behind Padol, and Sturgeon was behind White.

Worrel and Cook were side-by-side racing through Barbeque Bend and the Jukskei Sweep. Kaluzny, with his damaged top speed, moved to the outside in Barbeque Bend, letting White pass on the inside. Kaluzny did not want to hold up a competitor who had a chance for the championship.

Then came the stunning event of the race. Cook made an unmodified top speed roll to move at 160 mph (so he could move before Worrel) headed into Sunset Bend, and then Cook made an unmodified deceleration roll to get down to 140 mph for the corner. Cook then used 2 wear and rolled an unmodified chance (Cook was on hard tires and so couldn’t use 3 wear, and he was out of skill markers). Unfortunately for Cook, he crashed and was suddenly out of the race, just when he was going for the lead! (Note that if Cook had made the roll successfully, it would have been a piece of “brilliant driving” and might have won the game for him.) Worrel’s car pulled up just short of Sunset, and he took the inside lane, eschewing the cornering arrow that was in the outside lane. Padol then pulled alongside Worrel and took the arrow. White pulled ahead of Kaluzny, and Sturgeon pulled alongside Kaluzny.

Cook has crashed in Senset Bend

Cook has crashed in Sunset Bend (upside down yellow car next to the flat-bed truck). Worrel and Padol are side-by-side just before Sunset Bend, followed by White, Kaluzny, Sturgeon, Lim, Beckman, B. Robinson, Norton, Parr, St. Peter, Lauder, J. Robinson, and Landis. (Bill Worrel photo)

Now Worrel and Padol had a spirited battle on the track. Worrel spent 3 wear through Sunset and Clubhouse, leaving him with only 3 wear remaining for the rest of the race (and with three more corners to go). Worrel then pulled ahead of Padol at The Esses, as Worrel used a wear and made an unmodified chance roll. (It goes without saying that White, Padol, and Kaluzny were hoping for a spin or crash!) As Padol had taken the line behind Worrel, White had to go off-line at The Esses, using 2 wear and making a -2 chance roll so he could be at 100 mph.

Worrel moves in front at The Esses

Worrel moves in front at The Esses. Padol and White are right behind, then are Kaluzny, Sturgeon, Lim, Beckman, B. Robinson, Norton, St. Peter, Lauder, Parr, J. Robinson, and Landis. Cook’s crashed Camel Lotus has been loaded on the flat-bed truck, and the flagman is waving the yellow caution flag just before Sunset Bend. (Bill Worrel photo)

Worrel then pretty much wrapped up the race victory and the championship at Leeukop, as he was the only car that made it to the end of the corner where he would be able to accelerate out of that corner in the next move.

Worrel continues to lead at the exit of Leeukop

Worrel continues to lead at the exit of Leeukop. White is 2nd, Kaluzny has taken the inside and 3rd place from Padol (who is 4th). Sturgeon is 5th, and Beckman (red Ferrari) has just passed Lim for 6th place in The Esses. (Bill Worrel photo)

From that point on, the race to the finish line was an anti-climax, as Worrel crossed the line 3 spaces ahead of White and Kaluzny to win the race and the 2018 CFR-Detroit championship! Kaluzny had used a slip to pull alongside White, especially as Kaluzny didn’t dare roll for his top speed again.

Worrel wins the race and the title!

Worrel takes the checkered flag to win the 2018 South African Grand Prix and also winning the 2018 CFR-Detroit points championship. (Bill Worrel photo)

There was still a race on for other positions. Beckman made a -3 chance roll at Leeukop, and Brian Robinson used 2 wear and made a -3 chance roll, also at Leeukop. At some point late in the 3rd lap, Padol failed a top speed or acceleration roll, although it wasn’t recorded when it happened. Failing that roll cost Padol a couple of positions at the finish, at least. Also, Sturgeon was able to pass Kaluzny as they crossed the finish line, thereby earning a podium finish in 3rd for Sturgeon.

The official finishing order at the 2018 South African Grand Prix: 1st-Bill Worrel (+3); 2nd-Richard White (+5); 3rd-Gary Sturgeon (+3); 4th-Garry Kaluzny (-1); 5th-Louye Padol (-3); 6th-Jack Beckman (+4); 7th-Greg Lim (-2); 8th-P.J. Norton (+7); 9th-Brian Robinson (0); 10th-Mike St. Peter (-2); 11th-Joel Lauder (+3); 12th-Jim Robinson (-1); 13th-Aric Parr (-1); 14th-Jim Landis (-1). Classified in 15th with a DNF was Mike Cook (-14).

Aftermath

Louye Padol had a nice drive for his first race using the CFR rules. He was in contention, but he seemed to not want to interfere with the four-way battle for the lead amongst the main contenders for the title. And P.J. Norton, although he had previously raced in a few demo races, performed well in his first official CFR race, moving up 7 places from his starting position to finish in 8th place.

Points awarded at the 2018 South African Grand Prix: Worrel 10; White 6; Sturgeon 4; Kaluzny 3; Padol 2; Beckman 1.

The final points standings of the 2018 CFR-Detroit season (after eight of eight races):

Place Driver (Car)                    Points
  1   Bill Worrel (Tyrrell)             37*
  2   Richard White (Brabham)           32
  3   Garry Kaluzny (Marlboro McLaren)  30
  4   Mike Cook (Camel Lotus)           29
  5   Jack Beckman (Ferrari)            20
  6   Jim Robinson (Williams)           18
  7   Gary Sturgeon (McLaren)           14
  8   Mike St. Peter (Mercedes)          9
  9T  Brian Robinson (Walker Racing)     4
  9T  Aric Parr (Motul BRM)              4
  9T  Jim Landis (Benetton)              4
 12T  Joel Lauder (HSBC Jaguar)          2
 12T  Greg Lim (GoDaddy)                 2
 12T  Louye Padol (Ligier)               2
 15T  Mark Moellering (McLaren)          0
 15T  Gary Kempen (Williams)             0
 15T  Chuck Modzinski (Arrows)           0
 15T  Jim Lauder (Shadow)                0
 15T  P.J. Norton (Tyrrell)              0

* Drivers could only count their 6 best finishes out of the 8 races. Bill Worrel had to forfeit 1 point (from a 6th place at Monaco) due to his having earned points in 7 races. (Worrel did earn 38 points, but could only count 37 of them.)

After the race, Bill Worrel was awarded the 2018 CFR-Detroit Individual Points Championship trophy from outgoing race steward Garry Kaluzny. Kaluzny was then surprised when the rest of the drivers gave Kaluzny a trophy for the appreciation the drivers had for his organizing and running the race series for 2017 and 2018.

Worrel and Kaluzny receive trophies

Bill Worrel with his 2018 CFR-Detroit championship trophy (left), and Garry Kaluzny with his appreciation trophy (right).

After the championship trophy presentation, the drivers continued to uphold an old tradition dating back to the Advanced Speed Circuit days in Detroit–they voted to award the “Tom Kane Memorial Award” to the most sportsmanlike driver of 2018. Each driver got to vote for one driver, via secret ballot. The voting tallies were:

Jim Landis – 7
Jim Robinson – 3
Jack Beckman – 2
Greg Lim – 2

Thus, Jim Landis was voted the Most Sportsmanlike driver of 2018 and was awarded the Tom Kane Memorial Award trophy.

Jim Landis receives the Sportmanship trophy

Jim Landis (right) receives the Tom Kane Memorial Award trophy as the CFR-Detroit Most Sportsmanlike driver of 2018. Presenting the award is the 2017 Most Sportsmanlike driver, Greg Lim (left). (Bill Worrel photo)

In the 2018 CFR-Detroit racing season, a total of 20 different drivers took part in the eight races. The most drivers at any race was 15, at both the Belgian and South African Grand Prix. The fewest drivers in any race was 11, at both the Italian and German Grand Prix. The average number of drivers for the season was 12.8 drivers per race. This was an increase from the average of 10.3 drivers per race in 2017.

For the 2019 CFR-Detroit racing season, Jack Beckman will be the race steward. There will also be a “team championship” award added, and already the drivers have mostly formed teams for 2019.

As always, keep up to date for the CFR-Detroit schedule at the CFR-Detroit home page at http://michigumbo.com/cfr/.

A demo race will take place at Flintcon (in Flint, Michigan) on Saturday, February 9, 2019, using the Indianapolis road course. The actual 2019 CFR-Detroit schedule begins on Friday, February 15, 2019, at Pandemonium Games in Garden City, Michigan. We will race the Australian Grand Prix using the Adelaide track. Qualifying begins at 6:45pm. No experience is necessary; you are welcome to join us!

CFR Race #7: Japanese Grand Prix at Imperium Games

Wednesday, April 11th, 2018

Ten drivers raced in the Japanese Grand Prix on March 9, 2018. The race was on the Suzuka track, and the game was held at Imperium Games in Wixom, Michigan. In an extremely exciting race, Richard White bested the competition to win his first race of the CFR season. Gary Sturgeon and Gary Kempen took the other podium spots in 2nd and 3rd places, respectively. This means that Sturgeon now has clinched at least a tie for the 2017 CFR-Detroit championship. With one race remaining, Sturgeon has 41 points to Mike Cook’s 31 points. Cook could achieve a tie for the championship if he were to win the final race while at the same time Sturgeon earns zero points in that final race.

 

Suzuka 2017 track diagram

Suzuka 2017 track diagram.

The bidding for pole position returned to saner levels as compared to recent races. Garry Kaluzny got his first pole position of the season by bidding 6.0 (3 wear + 6 skill). Richard White (3 wear + 1 skill) and Jim Robinson (2 wear + 3 skill) each bid 3.5, but White got the other front row spot with a better dice roll (74 to 06), so J. Robinson started 3rd. Points-leader Gary Sturgeon started 4th with a bid of 3.0 (0 wear + 6 skill). Brian Robinson bid 2.5 (0 wear + 5 skill) to start 5th. New driver Mike St. Peter (0 wear + 4 skill) and Jack Beckman (1 wear + 2 skill) each bid 2.0, with St. Peter starting 6th and Beckman 7th due to St. Peter’s better percentage dice roll (78 to 40). Mike Cook (0 wear + 2 skill) and Greg Lim (0 wear + 2 skill) each bid 1.0, with Cook starting 8th and Lim 9th due to a dice roll (98 to 85). Gary Kempen bid 0.0, so started in 10th place on the grid.

The starting grid and their car specs:

# Driver (Car)                     Start/Accel/Decel/Top/Wear/Skill/Tires
 9 Garry Kaluzny (McLaren)            60   40    40   160  5x   3x   hard
 1 Richard White (Brabham)            60   60    40   160  4x   3x   soft
 2 Jim Robinson (Williams)            60   40    40   160  5x   3x   hard
12 Gary Sturgeon (John Player Lotus)  60   60    40   180  4x   2x   hard
 5 Brian Robinson (Williams)          20   60    40   160  5x   3x   soft
44 Mike St. Peter (Mercedes)          60   40    40   160  4x   4x   hard
 3 Jack Beckman (Ferrari)             60   60    60   160  4x   2x   hard
11 Mike Cook (Camel Lotus)            60   60    60   160  4x   2x   hard 
 7 Greg Lim (Motorola)                20   60    40   160  4x   4x   hard
  4 Gary Kempen (Ferrari)             60   60    60   160  4x   2x   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 raced; Skill = # of Skill markers per lap raced; Tires = hard or soft tires to begin the race. (Since the race was 3 laps, a car with 5x of Wear would receive 15 Wear markers to start the race (as an example).)

Starting grid at Suzuka

The starting grid at Suzuka: Kaluzny (orange McLaren); White (blue & white Brabham); J. Robinson (blue, yellow & white Williams); Gary Sturgeon (black Lotus); B. Robinson (blue, yellow & white Williams); St. Peter (silver Mercedes); Beckman (red Ferrari); Cook (yellow Lotus); Lim (black & blue Motorola); Kempen (red Ferrari).

At the start, White boosted his start speed to 80 mph, using a wear since he was on soft tires, thus taking the lead. Pole-sitter Kaluzny merely started at 60 mph since he was on hard tires and did not want to roll dice at the start of the race. Cook also boosted his start speed to 80 mph to jump from 8th to 6th, while B. Robinson dropped from 5th to 7th, even though he boosted his 20 mph start speed to 40 mph.

The pack roars away

The pack roars away! White takes the lead, then came Kaluzny, J. Robinson, Sturgeon, St. Peter, Cook, B. Robinson, Beckman, Kempen, and Lim.

At the end of the starting straightaway and into the first two corners, White had pulled out a two-space lead, while J. Robinson ducked inside Kaluzny to take 2nd place.

Into the first corners

Into the first corners, and White’s leading Brabham is almost hidden behind the “4” sign. Lim’s Motorola car is already lagging behind Kempen’s Ferrari.

Through the “snake” curves on the Suzuka track, Kaluzny reclaimed 2nd place from J. Robinson, and Cook pulled alongside J. Robinson. Cook then passed J. Robinson and pulled alongside Kaluzny at the Degner 1 curve. Then coming up to the hairpin curve for the first time, the pack was back together.

Through the hairpin the first time

Through the hairpin the first time, and the pack has bunched up.

Richard White then zoomed away from the pack when he exited the hairpin curve. Jim Robinson made a daring forced pass of Mike Cook at the hairpin, also getting by Gary Sturgeon, thereby putting J. Robinson into 3rd place, behind Kaluzny’s 2nd place. Brian Robinson, meanwhile, had to burn a wear to slow from 80 mph to 60 mph, and got stuck behind Cook and Sturgeon in the hairpin.

White zooms into the lead

White (white and blue car just below the blue dice cup) takes a 4-space lead over Kaluzny; Kaluzny leads by 4 spaces over J. Robinson.

White, Kaluzny, and J. Robinson maintained their running order over the bridge, while Sturgeon and Cook battled each other for 4th and 5th place.

White leads over the bridge

White leads over the bridge for the 1st time while Gary Sturgeon (left) and Jim Robinson (right) look on. Garry Kaluzny had made a nice overlay for where the track crosses over itself, but he forgot that overlay at home; hence, the crude ad-hoc bridge overlay that appears in this picture was used instead.

As White approached the chicane for the first time, he attempted to negotiate it at 120 mph, using 2 wears and rolling a chance dice roll. Although he used a -3 skill chit, he rolled a 10 and thus spun in the first space of the corner! This would allow the pack to close up on him.

White spins at the chicane

The yellow flag waves as White spins at the chicane. Gary Sturgeon and Jim Robinson look on.

As White recovered from his spin, he was able to restart at 60 mph and then pulled into the pits. Kaluzny, running in 2nd, managed to make it through the chicane at 100 mph and then also pulled into the pits.

White and Kaluzny have pulled into the pits

White and Kaluzny have pulled into the pits; still on the track are Sturgeon, J. Robinson, Cook, B. Robinson, Beckman, St. Peter, Lim, and Kempen.

Gary Sturgeon got through the chicane safely to take the lead on the track, but then Jim Robinson spun in the chicane, and that caused Cook, B. Robinson, and Beckman to have to take evasive maneuvers to avoid the spinning Williams.

Jim Robinson spins in the chicane

Jim Robinson spins in the chicane, causing chaos on the track! Sturgeon (black Lotus) takes the lead on the track as White and Kaluzny are in the pits.

As Cook exited the chicane, he pulled alongside Sturgeon as they crossed over the start/finish line to complete the 1st lap. Brian Robinson and Mike St. Peter pulled into the pits, and White and Kaluzny came back onto the track alongside Jim Robinson as Robinson exited the chicane after starting at 40 mph after his spin. White switched from soft to hard tires while Kaluzny changed from hard to soft tires. As Lim entered the chicane, he became the 3rd car to spin in that same spot. Kempen then successfully made a forced pass to get by Lim’s spinning car and thus got to the last numbered space in the chicane and so Kempen could accelerate on his next move.

Sturgeon and Cook complete the 1st lap

Sturgeon and Cook complete the 1st lap; B. Robinson and St. Peter have entered the pits; White and Kaluzny have exited the pits. Lim has just spun in the chicane.

As Brian Robinson exited the pits, he had changed from soft to hard tires, while St. Peter and Lim had switched from hard to soft tires. The official running order after the completion of the 1st lap was: Sturgeon (+3); Cook (+6); Beckman (+4); Kaluzny (-3); White (-3); Kempen (+4); J. Robinson (-4); B. Robinson (-3); St. Peter (-3); and Lim (-1). The numbers in parentheses indicate how many positions a driver either gained (+) or lost (-) from their starting position.

Cook takes the lead through the "snake" corners

Cook (yellow Lotus) takes the lead from Sturgeon through the “snake” corners. Following behind are Beckman, Kaluzny, Kempen, White, J. Robinson, B. Robinson, St. Peter, and Lim.

Through the “snake” curves the 2nd time around, Kempen passed Kaluzny.

Brian Robinson, Jack Beckman, and Mike Cook watch the race

Brian Robinson (blue shirt), Jack Beckman (red Ferrari shirt), and Mike Cook (green shirt) watch the race. Cook’s yellow Lotus leads Sturgeon’s black Lotus (near the “3” sign).

Cook held the lead through the hairpin turn, but then Sturgeon out-dragged Cook to take the lead at the 200R curve.

Sturgeon retakes the lead through the 200R curve

Sturgeon retakes the lead from Cook through the 200R curve. Beckman is 3rd, Kaluzny has retaken 4th, White is 5th, Kempen 6th, J. Robinson 7th, St. Peter and B. Robinson are 8th and 9th, and Lim is in 10th, 11 spaces behind.

Kempen then put on another burst of speed to pass both White and then Kaluzny, pulling up alongside Beckman through the Spoon Curve.

Kempen retakes 4th at the Spoon Curve

Kempen (#4 Ferrari) retakes 4th at the Spoon Curve. Sturgeon and Cook are side by side in 1st and 2nd (near the “2” sign).

Kempen then rolled dice to increase his top speed to 180 mph coming out of the Spoon Curve, and proceeded to pass his Ferrari teammate Beckman along the Backstretch.

Kempen takes 3rd place from Beckman

Kempen takes 3rd place from Beckman; St. Peter has spun in the Spoon Curve while Jim Robinson goes around St. Peter.

But Kempen pushed his luck too far. While again attempting to push his top speed to 180 mph while going over the bridge, he rolled a “10” on an unmodified top speed roll, and that damaged his car’s top speed. He only got to move 160 mph on this turn, and his future top speed was only 140 mph (and with another entire lap yet to race).

As the leaders Sturgeon and Cook pulled into the pits to change from hard to soft tires for their last lap, Kempen, Kaluzny, Beckman, and White were all bunched up at the chicane. The two Williams cars of J. Robinson and B. Robinson were a ways behind, then farther back was St. Peter, and finally came Lim who was about 1/4 lap behind.

Sturgeon and Cook make their pit stops

Sturgeon and Cook make their pit stops as the rest of pack closes up on them.

As the other cars came through the chicane, the Ferraris of both Kempen and Beckman made their pit stops, both switching from hard to soft tires for their final lap. Kaluzny and White stayed on the track. After crossing the start/finish line, White gained 3 wear as he was on hard tires; Kaluzny was on soft tires and so gained no extra wear. Jim Robinson had to make an unmodified deceleration roll to get down to 60 mph to get through the chicane as he was out of wear; he then pulled into the pits.

Kaluzny and White take over the lead

Kaluzny and White take over the lead as most of the other cars have either just pulled into the pits, or have just been placed back on the track after exiting the pits. Beckman, Kempen, and J. Robinson are the cars off the track in the pits, while the Loti of Sturgeon and Cook are on the track. B. Robinson’s Williams is in the chicane, St. Peter is approaching the chicane, while Lim’s car is in the upper right corner of the picture.

The cars of Mike St. Peter and Greg Lim made pit stops, while Brian Robinson stayed on the track. After all cars had cycled through the pits at the end of the 2nd lap, the official running order was Kaluzny (0), White (0), Sturgeon (+1), Cook (+4), B. Robinson (0), Kempen (+4), Beckman (0), J. Robinson (-5), St. Peter (-3), and Lim (-1).

Kaluzny held off White until the Degner 1 and Degner 2 corners, and then White passed Kaluzny to take the lead. Going into the hairpin, Sturgeon and Cook had caught up to the two front-runners.

White leads into the hairpin for the last time

White leads into the hairpin for the last time.

Going through the hairpin for the last time, White, Kaluzny, and Sturgeon were running nose-to-tail while Cook was balked in the hairpin and got stuck in the hairpin for an extra turn. Kempen then passed Cook for 4th place upon exiting the hairpin.

White holds the lead

White holds the lead heading into the Spoon Curve. Kaluzny, Sturgeon, Kempen, Cook, Beckman, B. Robinson, J. Robinson, and St. Peter trail behind.

Coming out of the Spoon Curve for the last time, Kaluzny tried to over-rev his engine to 180 mph. He successfully made an unmodified over-acceleration roll (to accelerate by 60 mph), but then failed the top speed roll. He moved 160 mph, and had his top speed reduced to 140 mph thereafter. Kaluzny then made an unmodified top speed roll to go 160 mph through the 130R corner just past the bridge, all in an attempt to stay ahead of Sturgeon and thus keep a mathematical chance of winning the championship alive. Kaluzny knew if he finished behind Sturgeon that he would be eliminated from any chance of the points championship.

While White went 100 mph into the chicane, thus ending on the final space of the chicane and so would be able to accelerate on his next move, both Kaluzny and Sturgeon plotted 120 mph. They were both immediately behind White, and Kaluzny got to move first by virtue of being closer to the inside of the track relative to the next corner. (The red-and-white striped lines around the track indicate which side of the track is the inside at that part of the track.) Kaluzny had to roll an unmodified deceleration roll, though, and failed the roll. He then had to use 1 of his last 2 wears to slow down to 100 mph. Kaluzny then used his last wear and rolled an unmodified chance. He rolled a “9” and spun in the chicane. Sturgeon went around the outside of the chicane at 120 mph, using 3 wears as he was on soft tires.

Kaluzny spins in the chicane

Kaluzny spins in the chicane, while White and Sturgeon make it through safely. Mike Cook (left) and Gary Sturgeon (right) look on.

Richard White (+1) then motored across the finish line to take the checkered flag by 4 spaces over Sturgeon’s (+2) 2nd place. It was White’s first victory of the CFR-Detroit 2017 season. (White had previously won 16 races in the old Advanced Speed Circuit series in the late 1980s through the early 1990s.) Meanwhile, Kaluzny recovered from his spin by going 40 mph, just exiting the chicane. Kempen was barreling through the chicane at 80 mph and was running up Kaluzny’s tailpipe. Cook was also going 80 mph, but got stuck in the chicane.

Richard White takes the checkered flag!

Richard White takes the checkered flag!

But the excitement wasn’t yet over. Although Kaluzny made an unmodified acceleration roll to go to 100 mph and reach the finish line on his move, Kempen (+7) used his 60 mph acceleration to get to 140 mph, thus sling-shotting around Kaluzny to take 3rd place, relegating Kaluzny (-3) to 4th. Cook (+3) continued on to finish in 5th place. Beckman then made an unmodified roll to slow for the chicane, but spun when he rolled an unmodified chance. Brian Robinson had to go around the outside of the chicane to avoid Beckman’s spinning Ferrari. B. Robinson rolled a chance, using a -3 skill marker. But he too spun.

Sturgeon takes 2nd

Sturgeon takes 2nd, Kempen nips Kaluzny for 3rd, Cook is 4th, and Beckman and B. Robinson have spun in the chicane. The road marshal with the yellow flag has passed out with fatigue, what with having to wave that yellow flag for multiple spinning cars at that chicane during the race!

This is where Brian Robinson’s low 20 mph start speed bit him, as he could only start at 20 mph while trying to recover from spinning in the chicane, and that left him in the chicane for another turn. (Cars that re-start after a spin can only move the slower of their start speed or acceleration.) Beckman (+1) recovered from his spin to take 6th place and get the last point available. Positions 7 through 10 were: J. Robinson (-4); St. Peter (-2); B. Robinson (-4); and Lim (-1). The last four drivers did not receive any points for their efforts in this race.

Podium finishers: White; Sturgeon; and Kempen

Podium finishers: White; Sturgeon; and Kempen.

The points awarded at the Japanese Grand Prix: White 10; Sturgeon 6; Kempen 4; Kaluzny 3; Cook 2; and Beckman 1.

The updated points standings after seven (of eight) races:

Place Driver (Car)                     Points
  1   Gary Sturgeon (John Player Lotus)  41
  2   Mike Cook (Camel Lotus)            31
  3   Richard White (Brabham)            28
  4   Garry Kaluzny (McLaren)            27
  5   Jack Beckman (Ferrari)             25
  6   Gary Kempen (Ferrari)               8
  7T  Jim Landis (Benetton)               6
  7T  Greg Lim (Motorola)                 6
  9   Brian Robinson (Walker Racing)      4
 10   Jim Robinson (Williams)             3
 11   Mike Manderachia (Ligier)           2
 12T  Russ Herschler (Minardi)            0
 12T  Chad Marlett (Red Bull)             0
 12T  Tim Gould (McLaren)                 0
 12T  Mike St. Peter (Mercedes)           0

The 8th and final race of the 2017 CFR-Detroit racing series will be on Friday, April 13 (“Yikes! Friday the 13th done come on a Friday this month!” — so says Churchy LaFemme). The race will be at Pandemonium Games & Hobbies at 6033 Middlebelt Rd. in Garden City, Michigan. It is on the west side of Middlebelt Rd., just a few blocks north of Ford Rd. The race will begin at 7:00 pm, so once again we ask all drivers to try to arrive around 6:30 pm in order to have enough time to get your car set up for the race. We will begin bidding for starting positions at 6:55 pm.

Report from FlintCon 2018

Wednesday, March 7th, 2018

On Saturday, February 3, FlintCon 2018 was held at St. Paul Lutheran Church on S. Ballenger Highway in Flint, Michigan. It was mostly miniatures gaming, with some role-playing activities taking place in a different room. I ran a race of Championship Formula Racing, followed by a game of Gutshot.

But for the early session, I didn’t run a game, but instead played in a “pirate” game where there were two large scale pirate ships fighting each other. That game was run by “Captain Curtis,” and it was a lot of fun.

Captain Curtis' large-scale pirate ships

Captain Curtis’ large-scale pirate ships.

Each ship had 30 pirates on deck, divided into the foredeck, midships, and the afterdeck areas, with 10 pirates in each section. Each ship also had three sets of reinforcements below decks, with 10 more pirates in each section. The pirates were 54mm plastic minis, like the size of the plastic “army men” that many of us used to play with when we were kids. The object of the game was to either sink the enemy ship by cannon fire (each ship had six cannon that could fire at the other, and each cannon had to be manned by at least two crew in order to fire), or to board and capture the enemy ship. You could also win by boarding the enemy ship and bringing back two of its treasure chests to your own ship.

Pirate ship close-up

Pirate ship close-up.

As it was, my ship was able to call up its reserves before the other ship, then we boarded the opponent’s ship, and in hand-to-hand combat, my ship’s pirates were able to overwhelm the enemy pirates and capture their ship. It was a lot of fun. Not a lot of strategy, mostly just rolling dice, but the visuals made it a lot of fun.

Some of the "dead" pirates

Some of the “dead” pirates during the battle for the enemy ship.

When a pirate was “killed” it was simply removed from the ship, else there would have been a pile of dead plastic pirate bodies three or four deep across the entire deck of the ship.

Meanwhile, my buddy Greg was playing in a minis game from the age of Napoleon.

Napoleonic miniatures

Napoleonic miniatures.

Napoleonic minis—the Redcoats advance across the bridge

Napoleonic minis—the Redcoats advance across the bridge.

There were also some other minis games going on.

Battle in the desert

Battle in the desert, I believe it was from the Crusades.

So then after the first session games were finished, I ran Championship Formula Racing (CFR) starting at 1:00 pm. We raced on the Detroit Belle Isle track. We had nine drivers, and a rookie,  “young” Jack, won the race.

Belle Isle track at FlintCon

Belle Isle track at FlintCon.

Then for the final session of the day, I ran Gutshot starting at 7:00 pm.

Whitewash City at FlintCon

Whitewash City at FlintCon. This is the pre-game setup where players could choose from the minis at the front of the table.

Nine hombres played the Gutshot adventure “Love & Bullets.” In that adventure, Missy Picket has fallen in love with Billy Barnes, except Billy is the leader of a small cattle-rustling outfit, and Missy’s father, the stern Colonel Beauregard Jackson Picket III forbids his daughter to have anything to do with Billy. Well, so Billy’s gang is in town, and they are going to help Billy get Missy out of town. The Colonel also has some hired guns in town, and they mean to prevent Missy leaving with Billy. There is a major complication, of course, in that none of the Colonel’s men can cause any harm to come to Missy!

So Billy and Missy and the rest of Billy’s gang made it from the Grand Hotel to the livery stable before the Colonel’s men showed up. But then bullets started flying. Just as Missy was about to mount her horse in the corral, it spooked from the gunfire and bucked her off. Then Missy mounted Billy’s horse, and Billy got on the horse behind Missy. Then they rode off, with none of the Colonel’s men daring to shoot at Billy for fear of shooting Missy by accident.

Everyone at FlintCon seemed to have a good time, no matter what game they played. I reckon I’ll have to run some more games there next year.

CFR Race #3: Monaco Grand Prix at Imperium Games

Sunday, November 12th, 2017

Eight drivers raced in the Monaco Grand Prix on Friday, November 10, 2017, at Imperium Games in Wixom, Michigan, using the board game rules for Championship Formula Racing (CFR). When the race was over, Mike Cook won the race, after he started in pole position. Gary Sturgeon finished 2nd, and Garry Kaluzny managed to hold onto 3rd place from Greg Lim.

The real track diagram of the Monte Carlo track.

The real track diagram of the Monte Carlo track.

Although the new CFR game comes with a game track of the Monte Carlo course, it is not accurate at all, so we used (as a basis) the version of that track that was published with one of the old Avalon Hill Accessory Pack tracks, although we modified the Avalon Hill track by adding the nouvelle chicane.

The Monte Carlo track we used to race on.

The Monte Carlo track we used to race on.

Surprisingly, the bidding for pole position was fairly sane, with the winning bid by Mike Cook being of 3 Wear and 1 Skill markers, for a total bid of 3.5. Two drivers (Jack Beckman and Gary Sturgeon) bid 3.0, three drivers (Jim Robinson, Brian Robinson, and Garry Kaluzny) bid 2.5, Then Greg Lim bid 2.0, and Richard White bid only 0.5. The starting grid and their car stats:

The starting grid and car specs:
 # Driver (Car)                    Start/Accel/Decel/Top/Wear/Skill/Tires
11 Mike Cook (Camel Lotus)          100   40    60   140  5x   2x   hard
 3 Jack Beckman (Ferrari)            60   60    60   160  4x   2x   hard
12 Gary Sturgeon (John Player Lotus) 20   60    60   160  5x   2x   soft
 2 Jim Robinson (Williams)           60   60    60   160  4x   2x   hard
 5 Brian Robinson (Walker Racing)    60   60    40   140  5x   3x   soft
 9 Garry Kaluzny (McLaren)           60   60    40   140  5x   3x   soft
 7 Greg Lim (Motorola)               20   40    60   140  5x   4x   hard
 1 Richard White (Brabham)           60   40    40   140  5x   4x   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 raced; Skill = # of Skill markers per lap raced; Tires = hard or soft tires to begin the race. (Since the race was 3 laps, a car with 4x of Wear would receive 12 Wear markers to start the race (as an example).)

The starting grid for the Monaco Grand Prix.

The starting grid for the Monaco Grand Prix. Mike Cook is on the pole (yellow car); Jack Beckman is next to him (red car). 2nd row is Garry Sturgeon (black car) and Jim Robinson (white/blue/yellow car). Brian Robinson is the 3rd row, Garry Kaluzny is the 4th row, Greg Lim is the 5th row, and Richard White is the 6th row.

From the start, Mike Cook zoomed into the lead with his 100 mph start speed, followed closely by Jack Beckman’s Ferrari after Jack rolled dice to boost his start speed to 80 mph. Jim Robinson held 3rd, Brian Robinson pulled alongside Gary Sturgeon, then Garry Kaluzny had to slow down to 60 mph after boosting his start speed to 80 mph. Kaluzny rolled an unmodified start speed roll instead of using a wear (since he was on soft tires at the start, Kaluzny could have used a wear to boost his start speed), but rolled that unmodified start speed roll in hopes that he wouldn’t get the increased start speed. But, Kaluzny did get the increased start speed, then had to spend a wear to slow to 60 mph. Richard White passed Greg Lim at the start, due to Lim starting at only 20 mph, plus White boosted his start speed to 80 mph.

After the first move of the game.

After the first move of the game, Cook and Beckman jump into the lead.

After everyone got through the first corner at Ste. Devote, Jim Robinson passed Beckman for 2nd place going into the Massenet corner. Kaluzny also passed Brian Robinson for 5th place.

Heading into Massenet for the 1st time.

Heading into Massenet for the 1st time, Jim Robinson passes Beckman’s Ferrari to take 2nd place. Jim Robinson and Richard White look at the action on the track.

Then, heading into the sharp right-hand Mirabeau Haute corner, Sturgeon passed Beckman and took over 3rd place. Then Beckman fought back and passed both Sturgeon and J. Robinson to reclaim 2nd place going into the “Hairpin” (I still call it the Loews Hairpin, even though it has had many names over the years).

Into the "Hairpin" for the 1st time.

Into the “Hairpin” for the 1st time, Beckman reclaims 2nd place.

But then again, J. Robinson, Sturgeon, Kaluzny, and White all passed Beckman by the time the pack got through the Portier corner which led into the tunnel straightaway. J. Robinson pulled along Cook just before the Nouvelle Chicane, but then had to back off. Then Kaluzny made a pass of J. Robinson coming out of that chicane, and pulled alongside Cook as they were headed into the Tabac corner.

Through the Nouvelle Chicane.

Through the Nouvelle Chicane for the first time. Kaluzny (orange car) is alongside Cook (yellow car), then are Sturgeon (black car) and J. Robinson (white car), then the pack of Beckman (red), White (white/blue), B. Robinson (white/blue) and Lim (black/blue).

Through Tabac and the swimming pool series of corners, the pack pretty much stayed in the same order, except that White spun at Tabac.

Richard White spins at Tabac.

Richard White spins at Tabac.

White’s spin at Tabac didn’t hurt him too much, as only B. Robinson got past him there, but then Beckman’s Ferrari was able to force a pass on both B. Robinson and White just after exiting Tabac. Lim tried to force a pass on White after Tabac, but White slammed the door on Lim. Then at Rascasse, Cook and Kaluzny, got through a wee bit before J. Robinson and Sturgeon, and Cook and Kaluzny pulled into the pits for fresh tires. Meanwhile, White spun again, this time at Rascasse.

White spins at Rascasse

As the 1st lap is almost complete, White spins a 2nd time, this time at Rascasse, while Cook and Kaluzny pull off the track into the pits.

While Cook and Kaluzny were in the pits, the other six cars on the track all also pulled into the pits, making the first time in the CFR-Detroit racing series when all cars were in the pits at the same time.

All eight cars are in the pits

At the end of the 1st lap, all eight cars are in the pits at the same time.

While in the pits at the end of the 1st lap, Cook, J. Robinson, Beckman, Lim,  and White all switched from hard to soft tires, while Kaluzny, Sturgeon, and B. Robinson all changed from soft to hard tires. This meant that all drivers had fulfilled their obligation to drive on both different tire compounds during the race. After the pit stops, the official order after the 1st lap was Cook, Kaluzny, Sturgeon, J. Robinson, B. Robinson, Lim, Beckman, and White.

Coming out of Ste. Devote on the 2nd lap, Beckman tried to force a pass on Lim, but was balked and had to slow by 40 mph. Beckman had just had to spend three wear chits in going through the Ste. Devote corner, and then spent 2 more wear to slow, meaning he used up 5 wear in failing that forced-pass manuever, of which he only came out of the pits with 12 wear, so he used 42% of his wear allotment on that one corner. That huge wear expenditure was to haunt the Ferrari driver for the balance of the race. Beckman was able to get by Lim and before they reached the Massenet corner, though.

Kaluzny plots how to catch Cook

Garry Kaluzny (orange shirt and car) plots how to catch Cook’s yellow Lotus heading into the Mirabeau Haute corner. Jack Beckman looks on in his red Ferrari shirt.

 

The drivers at the Monaco Grand Prix

The drivers at the Monaco Grand Prix (clockwise, from left): Mike Cook, Jim Robinson, Richard White, Greg Lim, Gary Sturgeon, Brian Robinson, Jack Beckman.

As the lead cars of Cook and Kaluzny rolled through Portier and into the tunnel straight, Kaluzny tried to over-rev his engine, losing top gear and thus limiting his top speed to 120 mph for the rest of the race (about 1.5 laps remaining of the 3-lap race). Kaluzny opted to only use a single -1 Skill chit, then rolled an 11. If he had used two -1 Skill markers, he would have passed that dice roll. However, you must declare your use of Skill markers before you roll the dice. (Also, in hindsight, when you roll dice in CFR, if you pass the roll, you are driving brilliantly, but if you fail the roll, you simply screwed up!)

Heading towards the chicane on the 2nd lap

Heading towards the chicane on the 2nd lap, Kaluzny’s orange McLaren-Honda fails a top speed dice roll, thus limiting his top speed to 120 mph for the rest of the race. At the moment, Kaluzny leads J. Robinson by 4 spaces and Sturgeon by 6 spaces. (Gary Sturgeon photo)

Farther back in the pack, Beckman passed an unmodified Chance roll through Portier to take 7th place from B. Robinson, but then when Beckman took another unmodified Chance roll at the Nouvelle Chicane, he spun, thus allowing B. Robinson to regain 7th place.

Past the swimming pool corners the 2nd time, Cook stretched out his lead over Kaluzny to 5 spaces after Rascasse. Sturgeon, J. Robinson, and Lim were closing in on Kaluzny, and White, Beckman, and B. Robinson had fallen further behind.

Through Rascasse on the 2nd lap

Through Rascasse on the 2nd lap, Cook’s yellow Lotus leads by an increasing margin.

As the 2nd lap was nearly complete, most of the cars pitted again, all of the pittees switching back to or else installing a new set of soft tires. The sole exception was Brian Robinson, who opted to stay out on the track on his hard tires (thus regaining two wear). The official order after two complete laps was Cook, Kaluzny, Sturgeon, Lim (driving his best race so far), J. Robinson, B. Robinson, White, and Beckman.

Early in the 3rd lap, Cook stretches his lead

Early in the 3rd lap, Cook stretches his lead to 8 spaces over Kaluzny. Sturgeon is right behind Kaluzny’s tailpipe, then other cars are strung out behind.

After the 2nd lap pit stops got sorted out, Cook was enjoying a comfortable lead, and looked to have an easy victory ahead of him. Kaluzny was trying to keep Sturgeon’s John Player Lotus behind him, and Lim and J. Robinson were battling for 4th place. Sturgeon finally got his Lotus past Kaluzny’s McLaren at Massenet, although Kaluzny stayed right with Sturgeon until they got around Portier, when Sturgeon’s superior top speed enabled him to motor away towards a sure 2nd place. Also, Lim had got by J. Robinson at Massenet, thus taking 4th place.

Cook leads through the chicane on the last lap

Cook leads through the chicane on the last lap as Sturgeon, Kaluzny, and Lim battle just before the chicane.

Through the last few corners, Cook (0) won the race going away, enjoying an 11-space margin over 2nd-place Sturgeon (+1) at the finish line. Kaluzny (+3) managed to just nip Lim at the line for 3rd place, as Lim (+3) finished in the points, in 4th place, for the first time in his young driving career. Then Richard White (+3) came in 5th, having passed J. Robinson at the Rascasse corner. J. Robinson (-2) got the final points-paying position in 6th place. B. Robinson (-2) crossed the line in 7th, but Beckman (-6) crashed at the Anthony Noghes corner, the last corner on the track. Beckman’s crash was the first time a car failed to complete a race in the CFR-Detroit 2017-2018 season. The + or – numbers indicate how many positions that driver gained (+) or lost (-) from where their car qualified for the race.

Cook's Lotus crosses the finish line in victory

Cook’s yellow Lotus crosses the finish line in victory with a healthy margin over Sturgeon’s black Lotus.

The points awarded at the Monaco Grand Prix: Cook 10; Sturgeon 6; Kaluzny 4; Lim 3; White 2, J. Robinson 1.

Top finishers lined up in the pits

Top finishers lined up in the pits: Cook, Sturgeon, Kaluzny, Lim, White, and J. Robinson. B. Robinson’s car is still on the track, and the wrecker and ambulance attend to Beckman and his wrecked Ferrari. (Greg Lim photo)

The updated points standings after three (of eight) races:

Place Driver (Car)                     Points
  1   Garry Kaluzny (McLaren)            17
  2   Mike Cook (Camel Lotus)            16
  3T  Jack Beckman (Ferrari)             12
  3T  Gary Sturgeon (John Player Lotus)  12
  5   Richard White (Brabham)             8
  6   Jim Landis (Benetton)               5
  7   Brian Robinson (Walker Racing)      4
  8   Greg Lim (Motorola)                 3
  9   Jim Robinson (Williams)             1
 10   Russ Herschler (Minardi)            0

The next race, The Belgian Grand Prix (at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit) of the 2017-2018 CFR-Detroit racing season will be on Friday, December 8th, at Pandemonium Games & Hobbies at 6033 Middlebelt Road in Garden City, Michigan. Race time is 7:00 pm.

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/Tires
11 Mike Cook (Lotus)               20    60   60   180  3x   3x    hard
20 Jim Landis (Benetton)          100    40   40   160  5x   2x    soft
 9 Garry Kaluzny (McLaren)         20    60   60   180  3x   3x    soft
 5 Brian Robinson (Walker Racing)  20    60   60   180  3x   3x    soft
12 Gary Sturgeon (John Player)     60    60   60   160  4x   2x    hard
 3 Jack Beckman (Ferrari)          20    80   60   160  4x   2x    hard
 7 Greg Lim (Motorola)             20    80   60   160  4x   2x    hard
23 Russ Herschler (Minardi)        60    60   40   160  4x   3x    hard
 1 Richard White (Brabham)         60    40   40   160  4x   4x    hard
 2 Jim Robinson (Williams)         60    40   40   180  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; 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 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.