CFR on Kickstarter
HomeThe GameFinding a RaceCommunity
Quick Start Rules
Complete Rules
Summary Sheet
Die Roll Chart
WBC Rules
PBeM Etiquette
Historical Sheet
Rule Change Log

Quick Start Rules

print page

Championship Formula Racing is simulation of the highest levels of international open-wheel racing from the driver's perspective.

If you are new to the game or need a refresher, these are the rules to read. After reading these rules you will be ready to play. While playing refer to the Cheat Sheets for quick reminders. When you need a clarification or something comes up that is not covered in the rules below you can look it up in the Complete Rules.

The Track

Each track in Championship Formula Racing is different lending themselves to different strategies and car designs.


Your car's speed determines how many spaces it will move this turn: 1 space per 20 mph. Don't worry about remembering that, it is written on your speed cards.

Cars can only move forwards straight ahead or diagonally. In the examples below, green arrows point towards spaces that the blue car can move to. Red circles mark spaces that the blue car cannot move to.

A car cannot end its move in a space that another car occupies.

A car can move through a space that another car occupies, but only after successfully making a forced pass roll. See page 12 of the complete rules.


Rolls are ways for drivers to attempt difficult things (like the forced pass mentioned here) or allow their car to exceed his basic attributes.

All rolls require you to roll 2 dice and compare that result to a column on the die-roll reference to determine the result.


At the end of each turn you will have a speed card face down in front of you. This was your speed at the end of last turn.

From turn to turn you can change your speed based on 3 of your car's attributes: Acceleration, Deceleration, and Top Speed.

Remember that you can always got the same speed as last turn.

Increasing Your Speed: Acceleration and Top Speed

You can increase your speed by any amount up to your Acceleration. If your car went 100 mph last turn and you have an acceleration of 60, you can go as fast as 160 next turn. You can also go 120 or 140 as well.

You may not go faster than your top speed, even if your acceleration would otherwise allow it.

You can exceed your acceleration by 20 mph once per turn by rolling a test. If your acceleration is 40 and you pass the test roll you can increase your speed by up to 60 mph this turn. However you can damage your car if you fail the test. You can increase your top speed in the same way.

More about tests and die-rolls later.

Decreasing Your Speed: Deceleration

You can decrease your speed by any amount up to your Deceleration. If your car went 100 mph last turn and you have a deceleration of 40 you can slow to 60 or 80 next turn.

It is possible to slow down more than your deceleration by spending wear and/or testing your deceleration. Testing deceleration works in the same way that testing acceleration or top speed does. Using 1 wear allows you to slow down an additional 20 mph. Using 2 wear allows you to slow down an additional 40 mph. Testing and spending wear can be combined:

Exceed Deceleration by
20 mphSpend 1 Wear or Test Deceleration
40 mphSpend 1 Wear and Test Deceleration, or Spend 2 Wear
60 mphSpend 2 Wear and Test Deceleration
80+ mphSpend 2 Wear and Test Deceleration and Spin

You may never choose to decelerate 80+ mph but sometimes you are forced to.

It is also possible to slow down after you start to move using late braking. You must move at least one space before late braking. The cost to late brake is the same as exceeding deceleration. See page 10 of the complete rules for more information.


When cars are going fast enough a trailing car can sometimes gain extra spaces from a slipstream. You may gain a slip if:

  • the car directly in front of you did not start the turn on a corner space
  • the car directly in front of you started this turn with a speed greater than or equal to your speed at the start of this turn
  • you were NOT going 0 mph at the end of last turn, and
  • no one else slipped the car directly in front of you earlier this turn

The number of spaces you can gain is based on the speed of the car directly in front of you at the beginning of their move. All spaces are optional.

  • 120 to 160 mph: 1 extra space
  • 180+ mph: 1 or 2 extra spaces


Corners are what keep you from going your top speed around the entire track. Corners are typically why you sometimes need to slow down and sometimes need to speed up.

A corner is defined as a group of contiguous spaces with yellow backgrounds and speeds printed on them.

Usually, the spaces in a corner will not line up. Consequently once you pick a lane for a corner you are usually stuck in that lane until you exit the corner. But that is not always the case.

Two Corners

One Corner

Not a Corner

Corner Speed Limits


When a driver is uncertain what their options are, especially in corners, experienced drivers should lay out choices and the potential results (e.g., wear used, dice to be rolled, resulting track position).

The speeds in each corner space are limits that apply to any car that enters that space. You can exceed speed limits by spending wear and/or rolling a chance.

This payment occurs once per corner. For example: if I enter a corner through a 60 space at 80 mph, I can pay 1 wear to cover that cost. I am now free to continue moving through the corner without paying any more as long as my speed does not exceed 20 mph more than the speed limit of any space I enter.

If I enter a space inside the same corner that has a lower speed limit, I must supplement my payment for this corner to cover the difference. For example: if I enter a corner through a 60 space at 80 mph, I can pay 1 wear to cover that cost. If I then move into a different space in the same corner that has a speed limit of 40 I will now have to pay an additional wear or roll a chance. After paying that cost, I can now continue through the corner without paying any more as long as my speed does not exceed 40 mph more than the speed limit of any space I enter.

Exceed speed limits by:
20 mphSpend 1 Wear or Roll a Chance
40 mphSpend 2 wear, or Spend 1 Wear and Roll a Chance
60 mph Spend 2 Wear and Roll a Chance
80+ mphAutomatically Crash

If you do not have enough wear to pay for a corner even if you roll a Chance, you automatically crash.

Red Lines

Many corners have red lines running through them (you can see red lines in the example corners above). Some corner have more than one red line. These lines represent the idea path through the corner. If your car follows the entire red line through a corner then the speed limit of space you enter are considered to be 20 mph faster then what is written on the track.

For example: if I follow a red line into a corner at 100 mph and enter that corner through a 60 space I would only need to pay 1 wear to cover that cost. By following the red line, I consider the speed limit of that space to be 80 mph instead.

If a car leaves the line before its end, it must retroactively adjust its payment for the corner as if it had not used the line.

Green Lines

Green lines work exactly like red lines except that spaces you enter while following a green line are considered to be 40 mph faster then what is written on the track.


Wear is a point pool that represents your tires. You start the race with an amount of wear based on your car's wear attribute times the number of laps that this race will run.

The main use for wear is to allow you to go faster in corners. It can also be used to slow down more than your deceleration or with late braking.

Accelerating in a Corner

If you end your turn inside a corner you cannot increase your speed next turn. Unless increasing your speed would not require you to pay more for the corner.

In contrast you can always slow down inside a corner.

Corner Exit

Because speed limits only limit a car when the car enters a corner space, a car that ends its turn on the last space of a corner is no longer limited by the speed limits of that corner.

Overview of a Game Turn

Every turn in CFR has two phases. In the Planning phase everyone will secretly select a speed for their car. After everyone simultaneously reveals their speeds, the second phase begins.

In the Movement phase everyone moves their car. This is done in order starting with the current leader of the race.

Planning Phase

Every driver in CFR gets a deck of speed cards numbered 20 through 220 representing every possible speed that a car can go.

One of those cards will be face up on the table in front of you representing the speed your car went last turn. If you went 0 mph last turn or this is the first turn of the race there will not be a speed card face up in front of you.

During the planning phase, you will place a different speed card face down in front of you. If you want to go the same speed as last turn, you will play the "MPS" card which stands for maintain present speed.

If you plan to test an attribute this turn, the speed card you play face down should represent the speed that you hope to go if your test succeeds.

First Turn

Without testing, your first turn speed may not exceed your start speed. For you first turn, your acceleration does not limit your speed.

Your start speed can be tested in the same way as your acceleration, deceleration, and top speed.

On the first turn of the race, a car with a 100 start speed could not go faster than 100 mph without testing. Although you rarely want to you can go slower than your start speed on your first turn.


Spaces are considered to be in the same row when the front edge of the spaces line up.

In the example above, the spaces with the same color are in the same row as each other.

Move Phase

Cars in front move first. Among tied cars, the fastest car moves first. Among tied cars with the same new speed, the car closest to the grey bar on the side of the track moves first.


After a pre-determined number of laps, a car that ends their turn on the last space before the finish line (nose across the line) or any space after the finish line has finished the race. The car that travels the farthest past the line that turn wins the race.

Rolling Dice: Tests and Chances

There are a number of times when you can roll dice to push the limits of your car during the course of a race.


When you test you can exceed attribute (acceleration, deceleration, top speed, or start speed) by 20 mph for this turn if you succeed but you can damage your car for the rest of the race if you fail.

You can test multiple attributes on the same turn, rolling a separate test for each. If you are testing both acceleration and top speed on the same turn, roll first to test your acceleration then to test your top speed if your first test succeeds.

The result of a test is determined by the roll of two dice. Compare the total to the Die Roll Reference.

A green result means that the tested attribute gains 20 mph for this turn.

A red result means that the test was a failure and the tested attribute is reduced by 20 mph for the rest of the race (place a -20 damage marker on top of the attribute card).

If this is the second time acceleration or top speed has been damaged this race, the car's engine blows up and the car is removed from the race. If this is the second time that the car's deceleration was damaged, the brakes fail and the car is removed from the race.

Testing Start Speed

A yellow result when testing start speed is a partial failure: reset speed to 20 mph less than your start speed. A start speed red result is a failure: reset speed to 0 and damage your acceleration not your start speed. See page 8 of the complete rules.

Testing Deceleration

A red result means that you must pay 1 wear and your deceleration is reduced by 20 mph for the rest of the race (place a -20 damage marker on top of the attribute card).


A Chance is usually used to help pay for exceeding the speed limits in a corner. A Chance is one of the most dangerous rolls.

A yellow result means that the car spins. A spun car stops in the first space that required them to roll the chance and picks up their speed card as they are now going 0 mph.

A red result means that the car crashes and is out of the race. Take note of the row where the crash occurs. Cars that subsequently enter that row this turn can become involved in the crash. See page 17 of the complete rules.


BEFORE you roll a test you can use skill to improve your chances. Actually, you can use skill before any die roll during the race.

A car's skill attribute provides that driver with some number of skill chips that they can use during the race. Before a die roll, you can use 1 green skill chip to reduce the result by 1 or 2 green skill chips to reduce the roll by 2. You may not use more than 2.

Cars with more skill will also receive a fixed number of special red -3 chips as stated in the smaller note on their skill attribute card. In this case, the driver starts the race with none. Before a die roll you can use a red skill chip to reduce a die roll by 3. You may not use more than 1 red skill chip and you may not use a red skill chip in addition to any number of green skill chips.

Race Set-Up

Your First Race

Monaco is a good track for your first race because it is short, straight forward, and can reward a number of different strategies. A one lap race is recommended for your first race.

Car Setup

Before setting up any cars, the drivers should agree on which track they will be using and how many laps the race will be.

Each player chooses a car and takes the matching car setup deck. Then each player privately picks one of each of the 6 types of setup card (acceleration, deceleration, top speed, start speed, wear, and skill). Adding up the points shown on each selected cards should total 2.

When all players are ready, reveal the setup cards for each car arranged so that everyone can easily see like the example below, place an unused setup card face down next to each car's setup to show that car's color, and return unused cards to the box.

Every car then receives wear chips equal to their standard wear rating times the number of laps; green skill chips equal to their skill rating times the number of laps; and red skill equal to the note on their skill setup card. Remember to ignore the pitting wear numbers if you are not using the optional pitting rules.

Pole Bid

Bidding Rule of Thumb

For most tracks and situations my rule of thumb for rookies is to bid around twice the number of laps if they want to start in the front and to bid nothing if they want to start in the back.

With 6 or fewer drivers those numbers should be lowered a little.

Cars are assigned to the starting grid based on a secret and simultaneously bid using wear and/or skill. Each driver takes any amount of wear and skill chips into a hand and holds it out in front of them. When everyone is ready, all bids are revealed.

One skill equals 1/2 wear. Break ties with the roll of two dice. Skill cannot be used to modify a tie-breaker. (This is the only time that skill cannot be used to modify a die roll.)

Cars are placed on the start grid in order of pole bid: highest bid in the 1st spot, right behind the start line on the grey side of the track. See examples below for the position of all cars on the grid depending on the number of cars in the field.


Splitting a Race into Thirds

The strategy hints below mention splitting races into thirds. For a 3 lap race, that's easy: 1 lap is 1/3 of a race. For other numbers of laps, note that the stop watch symbols [ .... ] next to the track split each lap into thirds. For a 4 lap race, passing your 4th stop watch will signal the beginning of the second third of your race.

Broad strategic choices in CFR revolve around when you spend your wear. Do you spend wear evenly and efficiently though out the race, do you spend more wear early to gain a lead (race from the front), or do you save wear for a charge later in the race (race from the back)?

For your first race, I would pick a strategy that sounds fun to you. As you become more familiar with the game you will notice that some tracks seem to lend themselves more to one strategy or another. You will also notice that every strategy tends to work better when lots of other drivers aren't trying to do exactly the same thing you are.

Your pole bid and where you end up on the starting grid is also an important factor in your success. If your strategy is to spend wear early and race from the front, you probably want to bid enough to be on or near the front of the starting grid. But if you bid too much it may be too easy for the drivers behind you to catch up. If you bid too little you could end up with too many people ahead of you on the grid for your planned strategy to work.

Your First Car Set-Up and Sample Strategies

Below are some pre-built cars tailored to each of three generic strategies and some thoughts on driving them.

Strategy Acceleration Deceleration Top Speed Start Speed Wear Skill
Race from the Front 40 40 140 100 8 3
+1, -3 skill

You will want to bid roughly twice the number of laps you are racing or a little more. Ideally you want to win pole. Look around at the other car set-ups: other cars with 100 start speeds are also likely to try to win the pole bid. Primarily use skill for the bid, but save 2, -1 chips to push your start speed on your first turn. You may have to use some wear for your pole bid in addition to skill.

Mentally split the race up into thirds. During the first third of the race, you want to spend wear to go as fast as possible. Try not to spend wear in two corners on the same turn, but do spend extra if it gets you through a corner before a straight. Budget half of your total wear for this first part of the race. If all went well, you will spend the rest of the race trying to stay in the lead you have built.

Race from the Middle 60 60 160 60 7 2
0, -3 skill

You will want to bid roughly the number of laps you are racing. Your goal is to be in the middle of the starting grid. Primarily use skill for the bid. Maybe just use skill, saving all your wear for the race.

Mentally split your race into thirds and then split up your wear into three even piles. Try to spend 1 pile of wear in each third of the race. You want to be very efficient. If you know you will be stuck in the same corner two turns in a row, it might be a good time to spend 2 wear for maximum effect.

Race from the Back 80 80 180 20 5 2
0, -3 skill

Go ahead and bid nothing for pole. You don't really care. If you think lots of people are going to bid nothing (they probably also have a 20 start speed) and you don't want to start dead last, bid some of your skill but do not bid any wear.

Mentally split your race into thirds. Spend the first third of the race trying hard not to spend any wear at all. Use your 80 acceleration and 80 deceleration to go as fast as you can between corners without having to spend wear in corners. Then split your wear into two piles and spend one pile during the middle third of the race and the rest during the last third of the race. Use your high top speed and maybe even push that top speed to pass slower cars in the straights.

Pitting (optional)

When using the optional pitting rules, each car uses the pitting wear rating for their car instead of the standard wear rating. This means that cars will start the race with roughly half the wear they would in a standard race.

Cars may pit at the end of any lap to reset their wear to their starting total but each stop in the pits takes 2 turns to complete. See page 17 for more information about pitting.

Cars also get a choice of different tire compounds. Soft tires let drivers spend a wear instead of testing acceleration, deceleration, or start speed, or instead of rolling a chance. So, cars on soft tires can spend 3 wear in a single corner but not 3 wear and a chance.

Hard tires gain wear as the race progresses. Every time that a car on hard tires crosses the start/finish line without pitting, they gain wear equal to their car's hard tire bonus.

Historical Drivers (optional)

Using the historical drivers system, you can add up to 10 famous open-wheel racers who will drive themselves in your race.

This allows you to race in a larger field without needing as many opponents, test your skills against the best in the world, and even play CFR as a solo game.

Each historical driver is the combination of their driver card (Ayrton Senna's is shown to the right) and a strategy card. The driver card shows that car's set-up, which strategies they prefer on different tracks, how they will bid for pole, and any special rules they might have.

Movement Summary

When it is time to move a historical driver,

  1. We look on their strategy card at the row marked by the cube (each row is called a tactic). The row of symbols to the right of the arrow tell us how much wear the car would like to spend in the next corner: 1 dot equals 1 wear, 2 dots equal 2 wear, 3 dots equals 2 wear plus a red chip or a chance roll.

    If the cube is not on a tactic, roll two dice and place the cube on the indicated tactic.

    Sometimes a column of dots will include a green star. When a star appears with 1 or 2 dots next to the track, it indicates that this particular move is an efficient use of wear. When a star appears on a strategy card it indicates that the car will only spend that much wear if it is an efficient move (ie. The same number of dots next to the track also has a star).

    Usually a tactic will include more then one symbol arranged by preferance from left to right. In the case above, the car would like to spend 2 wear. If for some reason that is not an option the car would like to spend 1 wear.

  2. Next we look at the side of the track and look for matching symbols. This gives us the car's target speed for the turn. In the example on the right, a car trying to spend 2 wear would go 120 mph this turn.

  3. Then we figure out if the car can reach that speed given its speed last turn and its set-up (acceleration, deceleration, top speed). Historical drivers may use skill to automatically pass tests as indicated in instructions next to the current tactic.

    In the example on the right the car can spend 1 green skill to automatically increase acceleration or top speed by 20 mph. If the car does not have green skill it will not.

  4. Finally, move the car using the wear indicated by the stratecy card and the track If corners are negotiated this turn.

  5. If the car passes or enters a row that is marked by a blue steering wheel set the cube aside and check conditions to see if the next phase should be used when the car resets its tactic next turn. Always spend at least one corner on each phase.

Conditional Statements

Use Your Best Judgment

This system does not completely spell out how to move historical cars. Use your own judgment to fill in any blanks.

The tactic above includes a conditional statement inside the square brackets. If the formula at the beginning is false then ignore the content of the brackets.


C is a variable that is written next to most of the corners on a track. It is roughly equal to the number of corners remaining in a race. However, it is almost always some number less the actual number of laps remaining.

2C is twice the current value of C and is also written on the track.

The Exclamation Point !

After you determine a historical driver's move for the turn look to see if there is an exclamation point ! next to the speed on the track. This indicates that the car might be better off going 20 mph faster if there is another car in the same row.

But historical cars do not always do this. Only if there is an exclamation point in the car's current tactic then they plot 20 mph faster than indicated. Remember that some drivers have a special rule that they always act as if they have that exclamation point in their tactic.

If the car reaches a corner this turn after plotting 20 mph faster, it can either take a lane through the corner that spends the correct amount of wear or consulting the car's die roll options for "D" which could result in the car spending a red skill chip or an extra wear in the corner.

Driver and Strategy Card Selection

When using historical drivers, determine how many historical drivers you will use before human drivers set up their cars.

After cars are set up, select the drivers you will be using and then assign them to strategy cards, provide them with a deck of speed cards, place a card from an unused attribute deck face down next to them to assign them a car color, and finally supply each historical driver with the appropriate amount of wear and skill.

You can pick which drivers you are using any way you want. Each driver has a star rating indicating how hard of an opponent they will be. Experienced drivers should find one star historical drivers relatively easy to beat. Two star drivers are moderately difficult to beat and three star drivers are very hard to beat.

The line just below a driver's name shows what three strategy cards that driver will use. The strategies are arranged in an order of preference but you do not always read the preferences from left to right, it depends on the T value written on each track. If the T value of the track is 0 then Senna will read his preferences (shown below) from left to right preferring the Even strategy before Front B or finally Front A. However, if the track has a T value greater then 0, Senna will take Front A first, then Front B, or finally Even.

Pole Bids

After historical drivers are all set up, human drivers should make their pole bids. After their pole bids are revealed you can roll a die for each historical driver to determine and pay for their pole bids. Then human drivers and historical drivers are assigned to the starting grid based on those pole bids.

Lucid Phoenix Games