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Subject: Session Report rss

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Michael Van Biesbrouck
United States
Mountain View
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As usual, I attempted to avoid playing Formula De (too few interesting decisions per game plus downtime linear in the number of players). There wasn't enough interest in Formula De to reduce the remaining players to four for Industria and seven looked possible so Fist of Dragonstones was eliminated despite strong interest. Instead, I finally managed to get Ben Hvrt to the table. Mark, Martin, Brian, Julie, Keith and I played this enjoyable racing game opposite Formula De.

The plan was to run the standard 1/2/4 lap race sequence, but Julie and Keith needed to go so we stopped after the second race. (There was some desire to continue because we were having a lot of fun, but the second Formula De game was ending so it seemed like a good time to join the other group of players.)

For the first race we experimented a bit in the auction and Brain paid dearly for a card that I thought that I was going to get. None of the cards in play were particularly interesting. Then we were off to the races and rushed around the track. Due to good rolls and cards Brian finished first. I'm not sure about the other placings, unfortunately.

The second race gave us two cards each to auction but many people happily paid the quick sale price to keep some treasures to themselves. Brian was using his new-found wealth to buy up a huge handful of cards. He also got a driver that would give him two cards at the start of a race. Julie got a driver who could reroll once per lap for 4D, Keith got a ramming prow (which was used frequently despite the stopping behind another player limitation) and Mark got a hook which could be used to accelerate when players passed him. Martin had a spiky whip that guaranteed a total movement of 5 no matter what. I just had movement cards and insurance (used once before a die roll I would move 8 no matter what). We postured about selling our cards but I don't think that any changed hands.

I believe that Brian was in pole position and he made a good start due to cards. There was quite a stack of them as I recall. He set his movement die to 5 and called for people to modify it. When they didn't he played a +1 card (bought for 1 or 2D) to make it a 6, which was too much for Martin to allow -- he played a Move 3 card on it, I believe, which Brian then modified back to a 5. (Brian kept moving his piece around with each die change, which we decided was a really bad idea.) I didn't want Brian in the lead when I could be so I played insurance to put me ahead. I traced a route that went beside Brian at one point (even though it didn't need to) and he attempted to play a plow handle to stop me in my tracks. After some debate it was agreed that I might have only gone beside him on step 7 (1 less than my total), which was still ahead of Brian, so he returned the card to his hand. Care in plotting all moves and playing cards as people hit each square was judged essential. Another player managed to get ahead of me. Julie started a series of really bad rolls.

During the second half of the first lap I managed to pull ahead while maintaing good momentum (possibly aided by cards -- I ran out really quickluy), to the frustration of my competitors. The other players started to mix it up with hooks, ramming prows and plow handles in this area. As a footnote, we had decided that passing occurs as you move into an adjacent square rather than as you leave the square, which seemed to work for the hook, although in retrospect the opposite interpretation would make more sense as far as physics goes. (This wouldn't matter for the plow handle.) I may look at some of the other cards to determine which way this should be handled. Julie stayed quite behind.

One full lap later my speed flagged as I rolled a 1. This made it possible (albeit unlikely) that I would not make first place. I negotiated a +2 card for 20D from the well-known extortionist Martin and concluded my race on the following turn. Martin used some of this money (10D, I believe) to convince Keith to move a bit less than his full distance and ram Mark. Julie got a bunch of good rolls and passed everyone, coming in second. Brian managed third with a much-thinned hand of cards.

After totalling our winnings I had 124D and was deemed the winner, although much could have changed with another race. By the end we were really getting into things and having a lot of fun, with the possible exception of Julie (she seemed a bit tired).

I think that we made good progress towards a consistent understanding of the rules, but the booklet's warning about playing for real money (that differences of opinion on the rules could easily arise and become ugly if money was an issue) seem well-advised.
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