This is a summary of all changes I have made in my rules set since I took over the GM duties for the Speed Circuit tournament at the World Boardgaming Championships. This includes changes to the core rules and changes that affect only tournament play. Many of these changes came about due to suggestions from drivers I have raced with at WBC and online. However, I'm typically bad at remembering who suggested what, so I called out no one in particular. Thanks to everyone.
June 1, 2016
Start Speed Test: After a lot of debate about the start speed test table, I made a slight change. The idea was to prevent stalls from feeling like they ended a driver's race after the first turn.
First, the odds of a mis-shift increased at the expense of the odds of a stall. Second, stalls no longer result in damage to the car and are now treated like a spin for all purposes.
March 30, 2015
Starting Grid: I actually came up with this idea late last year and have been using this rule since then through some online racing as well as my play testing for the historical drivers system. The goal is to spread out the grid and balance pole bidding when there are less then a full 12 cars in the field.
With six or fewer cars, only one car will be placed in each row of the starting grid. The winner of the pole bid will always be placed in the space in the first row closest to the grey side of the track. The lower of the pole bid will always be placed in the space in the last row furthest from the grey side of the track. The second through fifth placed cars from the pole bid will be placed in their corresponding rows of the starting grid on alternating sides of the track. So the 2nd place pole bid will end up in the space of the second row furthest from the grey side of the track. Consequently, if there are fewer then 6 cars in this field there will be a gap between the last car from the pole bid and the car in front of it.
When there are more then six cars in the race, we start placing two cars in each row of the grid -- from front to back. So in a 9 car field, the first 3 rows would have two cars each as has been done in the past and the last three rows would have one car each -- in the positions they would have been in a 6 car field.
May 30, 2014
Slipstream Tweaks: Two changes to slipstreaming for this year. Both of these changes have been tested recently and in some past PBEMs.
A car that starts the turn on the last space of a corner may slip a car in front of it. I think just makes sense given that we allow cars on the last space of a corner to freely accelerate as well. Note that you still have to slip a car DIRECTLY in front of you, not diagonally in front of you even when you are both on the same racing line.
Cars may slipstream into and through a corner. Even if they only enter the corner because of the slip(s) they received. The old AH rule was that you had to enter the corner under your own power before taking a slip. I was never entirely sure why. So I'm changing it. This doesn't come up a lot, but I think it can be fun when it does.
May 20, 2013
Qualifying: As warned in January, there will be a change to the qualifying bonuses given out for the final race at WBC 2013. Instead of handing out a pole bid bonus, drivers will be given skill before the start of the race that they may either use for pole bidding or keep to use during the race. All first place finishers will receive 1 3-skill chip and 3 1-skill chips, second place finishers will receive 3 1-skill chips, third place finishers will receive 1 1-skill chip, and anyone who manages to get to the finals race with a lower finish gets nothing.
The old system more or less forced first place finishers to play either from the front or middle of the qualifying pack or essentially ignore their bonus for qualifying first. It also essentially forced second place finishers into race from the back or middle strategies. This new system will hopefully give drivers more strategy options but still provide them with an advantage for top qualifying finishes.
February 7, 2013
Late Braking in a Corner: "If a car late brakes after entering a corner they may lose some or all of the advantage they may have "bought" with wear or skill earlier in the corner. For the purpose of determining how fast this car can go in the corner next turn, pretend that the car entered the corner at its new speed." -- because otherwise, its just weird.
January 30, 2013
Forced Passing: Forced passing has been redesigned with a goal to make it easier to pass, bring back direct interaction with the defender, and improve the logic behind possible collisions. 2-8 is now a success (most recently it was 2-5). A single car is chosen to pass and that car can decide to block. Blocking adds 2 to the die-roll (bad for the passer) but it also means that either car might lose wear in a collision: For every "3" rolled on the dice for the test the defender loses 1 wear... for every "4" the attacker loses a wear. Not blocking means that there will not be a collision no matter what is rolled on the dice.
June 25, 2012
Car Construction: As a direct reaction to some imbalances that were noticed in 2011 related to the new car construction options, all -2-point options were removed. This was tested through four plus races and found to be an effective foil against building super cars: an 80-80-200 is no longer possible and and other high end cars require minimal wear, skill, and the new lower -1-point start speed.
December 1, 2010
Car Construction: I've been playtesting expansions to the high end of the car construction table and it hasn't seemed to have much affect, so I'm going to roll this out for WBC. Mostly, this now allows for 80 accel, 80 decel and 120 start speed. I've also expanded the choices for buying skill chips up and down so you can now buy 0 skill and 15 ones plus 3 threes.
Move After a Spin: Anticipating another issue with this as I expand the high end of acceleration, when moving after a spin you now will use either you start speed or your acceleration, whichever is lower.
Slip Streaming Clarification: I codified a clarification that had been discussed on track at the last couple WBCs involving new track situations where you could conceviably slip two different cars or two different cars could conceivably slip the same car.
Spin At Finish Clarification: I clarified an old rule about spinning after finishing the race.
Forced Passing: This was a bit of unintentional change, but about half way through last year's WBC tournament someone noticed that I had been incorrectly preventing passees from using skill chips to make forced passes harder. To keep consistent, we kept it that way for the balance of the tournament and I didn't dislike it. In reality the biggest thing it does is make forced passing a little easier. So I've codified that change this year.
Rows: I've clarified that when determining what spaces are in the same row in a corner, the important part is that the spaces share a front edge. So in a basic corner with 1 space in the inside lane and 2 spaces in the outside lane, the second space outside and only space inside are considered to be in the same lane. The first outside space is in a lane by itself. This is important for determining crash involvment.
Car Construction Chart: I did a couple things to fine tune how the chart looks and feels. Neither change has any game impact other then to try to make it easier to build a car. First I changed the point scale so that the range is now -2 to 2 instead of -1 to 3 and then changed the total points you have to build with accordingly from 8 to 2. Mostly what this does is make the middle positions on the chart for each attribute worth 0 build points. So now instead of adding up to 8. You mostly just add and subtract to get to 2. I find this much easier to do in my head.
Second, I rewrote the skill chips portion of the chart to try to make it clearer what you get for each buy level. Primarily I made it specific to our usual 3 lap races and enumerate exactly how many of what kind of skill chips you get at each buy.
Moving After A Spin: There has been some issues with the the quasi-intentional spin for a while. But I think it got exacerbated when the start speed came back and the high end got higher. You can now come out of a spin at 120 with a push. So...
Start Speed: I changed the car construction table slightly to make the lower end of the start speed spectrum a little more friendly. -1 pts buys you 20 mph Start Speed and 0 pts = 40. The rest of that chart remains the same.
Changing Radius Corners: I added a somewhat long rules interpretation to deal with situations where corners change speeds in the middle. We've dealt with this situation a few times without thinking about it too much if someone changes lanes in one of those corners where you can do that. But I needed to deal with it more systemically because I built a number of true changing radius corner into the new tracks for this year.
The rule is section IV.E. The last part should be read most closely, because it is more of a rules change then an interpretation.
First Corner Sprint: I removed this concept from the rules. I still love the concept, but what I've started doing is simply building the concept into track design. All tracks that I currently run have a 3-wide starting front straight even if that is not necesarily the most accurate interpretation of the track.
Order of Movement: modified slightly. Instead of immediately looking to the next corner to determine the last tie-breaker for movement starting at the last space of the previous corner. We will continue to use the previous corner until the last row of spaces with an arrow from that corner. If two arrows from different corners overlap, we will use the upcoming corner.
Finals and Semi-Finals The semi-finals rounds has been eliminated and we have returned to a 12 car finals round. However, unlike years prior to 2006, it will be a hard 12 car limit using the tie-breakers developed last year. In addition, only drivers eliminated from the finals field solely due to a tie-breaker can be an alternate.
First Corner Sprint At the start of the race, the front straight of many tracks will be widened by one space. This extra column of spaces is only present at the start of the race and only on tracks that do not already thin out at or in-side the first corner. This rule is intended to simulate the all-important Formula One dash to the first corner, especially on tracks normally only 2 spaces wide at the start.
Slipstreaming No slip may be gained if either car involved in the potential slip began this turn at 0 mph. This rule was added due the fact that slip-streaming from a standing start was now possible due to the increased start speeds implimented in 2006.
Passing Table Was finally configured in such a way that it mirrors all other tables in form (good results are low, bad results are high).
March 2006 revision
Field Size Max field size is reduced from 14 to 12.
Field Seeding Field seeding rules in qualifying will be implimented. Past years have seen drivers assigned to seperate races randomly during qualifying. For 2006, Speed Circuit Laurel points will be used first to split up drivers.
Starting Grid Skill chips will count at half the value of wear chips for wear/skill chip bidding for grid position.
Semi-Finals Based on new recommendations from the WBC Board, our event will adopt a semi-final round in 2006, if more then 27 drivers participate in qualifying. Roughly half the total field of drivers will qualify to a semi-final that will consist of one to seperate races (assuming similar turn-out as in past years). Rougly half of the semi-final participants will advance to a single finals race. Still going to have a semi-final, but further discussions with Don has led me to the consideration that the WBC Board is striving for consistancy and certaintly in semi-finals, finals construction more then anything else. So, the previously complicated semi-finals construction system has been thrown out in favor of a simple 20 car, 2 race semi-finals round that will seed a 10 car finals. Qualifying for the semi-finals will be very similar to qualifying for the finals has been in the past. Qualifying points will be used to seed the semi-final races and will count toward bidding for grid position as has been done in past finals races. The Finals will use qualifying points from the semi-final races with bidding for grid position. [The semi-finals was abandoned the next year.]
Car Construction The amount of skill chips a driver has each race will be purchased during car construction starting in 2006. Start Speed values have also been modified in 2006 to increase that attributes effect on car construction. An additional design point has been given to each driver to build their car because of the addition of the skill chips to car construction.
Off Track Spinning off-track has been much reduced in impact for a couple years now, so this part of the rules was cleaned up to better reflect the only situation that calls it into play (the Gerald rule). Basically cars are reduced in speed but do not automatically spin and bleed wear and skill until they get out or get stuck, but otherwise move more normally.
Engine/Brake Damage Engine failure (not just damage) automatically reduces a car's speed by half. This only really comes into play if the driver could potentialy cross the finish line that turn.
Crash Involvement The first two modifiers to the chance table for crash involvment have been reduced by 1, making bad results in this event a little more likely.
Passing Table has been made more difficult. Success has been reduced from 2-6 to 2-4 2-5. [I was a little concerned that I may have swung the pendulum too far.]
July 2005 revision
Start Speed is back. Start speed will be used any time a car is accelerating from 0 mph (mainly at the start of a race) as per the original Speed Circuit rules. However, it is not used to seed the grid as it was in the original rules, bidding will continue to be used for that. The rabbit start table has been removed as well. And drivers are given 1 additional point for car construction (7 total) now that they have an additional spec to populate.
Skill Chip Denominations Skill chips are now divided into -1 increments so drivers have the option to spend only -1 on a given die roll.
Skill Chips Added to Wear Bid You can now include skill chips in your wear bid for starting grid position. [Note that this rule was modified slightly in 2006]
Forced Passing Modified Instead of passing between two cars as in previous versions. Forced passing now occurs in a single space against a single passee. The passee can now spend their own skill chips to hamper the passer. [Note that this rule was modified slightly in 2006]
Crash Involvment Has been simplified with a modified chance roll that takes the driver's distance from the crash and speed into account. [Note that this rule was modified slightly in 2006]
July 2003 revision
Edges as Spaces clarified that edges between spaces can only be used as a result of Rabbit Starts. All cars must be in proper spaces by the end of the first turn. [Note that this rule was effectivly eliminated in 2005]
Engine/Brake Damage clarified what happens to cars that die this way. Cars eliminated from brake damage spin off track. Cars eliminated by accelerating from 0 stall and are removed from the track. Cars eliminated from other engine damage coast to a stop off track or remain on the track if crossing the finish line at the end of the race. [Note that this rule was modified slightly in 2005]
Crash Involvement modified to not affect cars that do not move through the crash row during the same turn.
Reentering the Track modified to allow off track cars (as a result of spin off track results) more opportunities to get back on the track if their initial reentry space is otherwise occupied. [Note that off-track occurances have been reduced drastically after 2005 and this specific set of rules was modified in 2006]
May 2002 revision
Qualifying points changed slightly. The gap between 1st and 2nd grew from 2 to 3 points. In 2001, points and positions bearing points increased as the field size increased. In 2002, a 1st place finish will be worth the same number of points regardless of the number of entries in that heat. The same is true for all other finishes as well, except that only half of the entries in a race can receive points. [Note that there is no longer a limit on point bearing positions based on field size]
Slipstreaming was clarified. As was pointed out mid-way through last year's qualifying, there is no minimum speed requirement for the slipstreaming car. The 100 mpg minimum from previous years has been thrown out.
Recovery is gone. The whole concept was removed from this version.
Speed Cards will now be revealed simultaneously at the beginning of each turn. This is a change from previous WBCs but is consistent with the original rules.
Rabbit Start table (previously known as the Start Gird) is back. Its affect has been lessened from previous incarnations. The table is really designed to be adverse without the use of a skill chip and will never produce more then 1 bonus space. However, all rolls on the Rabbit Start Table occur prior to any 1st turn moves (but after all plots are committed to) so that one space can be more affective then in previous incarnations. [Note that this rule was eliminated in 2005]
Forced Passing was made slightly more difficult and slightly more dangerous. You must now roll on the Passing Table even if no one declares a block. There is less of a chance of randomly lossing wear, however there often will be more opportunities to end up on the chance table. I finally came up with some rules for immediately sequential passes (don't laugh, it happened once). [Note that this rule has been modified several times since]
Accelerate from 0 table is back. The odds are akin to the push start speed table from the original rules. [Note that this table has reverted back to a Start Speed push table since 2005]
All Other Tables were reconfigured to parallel their original forms as much as possible with few exceptions.
Engine/Brake Damage is made more dangerous / reintroduced akin to the original rules. Basically this is a 2-strikes and you're out system. With the first failure reducing the tested stat by 20 mph. The second failure on any one table results in removal from the race.