Friday, 13 July 2007

Stock Car Champoinship Racing Card Game. Long name for a pretty cool game.

You all should know I am a race game Junkie. I have this unexplainable attraction to any racing game. From Speed Circuit to Mississippi Queen from Win place & Show to Daytona 500 (one of the best out there), I will pretty much buy any racing game I can get my hands on. Sure these are not your mainstream Ameritrash Fare, but they sure are fun and the good ones do have a lot of player interaction, a ton of trash talking, most have some dice tossing and even the rare combat phase if you look hard enough. (Circus Maximus anyone?) In fact there are few racing games I have played that I didn't enjoy, the only one I can think of is Ave Caesar, that thats really a euro with a racing theme.

So anyway, I have been working with the group to try and run a race season over the next year, and have been looking for a game to do it with. I looked at Formula De, obvious choice in that there are tons of tracks, the game looks great on the table and most folks like it. I however find it a bit the same all the time, a little too easy to be an idiot and wreck someone else and way to much depended on the dice. Speed Circuit was another choice, not as popular with my group as Formula De, and we would have to print out the tracks, turning the members attracted to the bling off, but to me its a much better game than Formula De, using the modified AH rules currently deployed at the WBC. However I do not think I can rally the boys on this one so maybe I keep it in the back pocket for the 2nd season.

The last game that I own and one of my favorite race games is McGartin Motorsport Design's Stock Car Championship Racing Card game. This sometimes hard to find game (it ebays for a ton, but is available most years at the WBC from the designer) is one of the most unusual racing simulations you will find. Instead of a printed track that you move mini cars around. The game attempts to simulate NASCAR races, where the track is almost an afterthought and the action is based around how the lead pack of cars bump and grind for position. SCC, or "that card game" as it has become known in these parts, is far more abstract than a normal racing game. Each player is represented by a car (we use 1/64 or 1/24 die cast mini's) placed on the table in a line. Something like this:

Players have a deck of cards that they draw a hand from (7 to 9 cards depending on the type track). These cards contain a number of different bits of information. Each has a Lap count, a Speed Rating, a Pit Time and an event (Action or Response). there is also a Track Deck that contains cards with events and lap counts on them.

Each turn has 3 phases:

The Track Phase - The top card of the Track Deck is flipped and players must play cards out of their hand so that the added value of these cards meets or exceeds the lap count. Each card played will use up one of the players actions (more later on these) and players can use as many cards as they have actions to fill this, however the more cards played here they less that player can do on his/her turn. Additionally a player may play a draft card here regardless of the lap count on the draft card. This counts as the player making the lap count for the turn but the player will get to take no actions during the turn. Any player unable to make a lap count runs out of gas and fetches beer until the race ends.

Also in the Track deck are events. Like a crash ahead, slow traffic, or engine trouble. Players may have to play a card from their hand or top-deck a random card to see if they get nailed by the event.

The Action Phase - This is where all the fun stuff happens. Players compare the speed ratings on the card(s) played to make the lap count. (if more than on card is used players pick the speed rating they want to use and place it on top of the other cards before seeing other players speed ratings)

Players now can play action cards out of their hand, assuming they didn't use up all their actions making the lap count. (Actions for the games are either 3, 4, or 5 per turn depending on the type of track)

These are usually cards that allow you to pass the guy in front of you, or maybe pull away or even have you pull next to some slower traffic to prevent being passed. This doesn't just happen, that driver in front of you gets the chance to play any response card in their hand. This is usually either a block, or a challenge to your pass. Also there are times when players can choose to draft you while passing, or draft the car being passed, this adds a bonus to the card being drafted for challenges and can cause a lot of heated discussion about potential future support. Anyway this is when race position changes, gaps form etc. etc.

The Refill Phase - This is where player refill their hands (again 3, 4 or 5 cards depending on the track type) Players have a max hand size and can not draw more than the refill limit. Spend too many response cards trying to stay in 1st and you will be playing the next hand a bit short!

Thats a fair description of the basic game. There are advanced rules that limit the size of your draw pile until you pit to refill it, allow you to take damage or use tire points until you pit to fix/replace them.

For a fairly simple card game SCC does a great job at simulating the lead draft in a stock car race. Knowing when to pit under green conditions, timing the drive to the front of the pack, and sometimes getting a lucky caution just when you need to catch up is all a part of the game.

For the season you can score each player using the normal NASCAR points system for finishing and laps on the lead. There is even a driver experience system that can be used to increase hand size, speed modifiers on passing or the drivers skill rating for avoiding random events.

I hope to nail down the rules we will use for our season this week and present it to the group in 2 weeks (I will be in Atlanta next week for some gaming with my F:AT buddies! So look for some crazy session reports soon!)

Thats all for now, and remember "If you ain't first, your last!"



Joe Belanger said...

Bastard! I love racing games and I just spent my July allowance on something else. Curse you!

Ken B. said...

Looks like fun...I'll have to check this one out myself. I'm a big Formula De fan and I liked Detroit-Cleveland Grand Prix okay, so I'm always up for finding new racing games.

Michael Barnes said...

So Mal...we gonna run an 8 player Circus Maximus thursday? I've got six willing...

Ken B. said...


Michael Barnes said...

No no, Ken...that was CIRCUS IMPERIUM we played with you...and "Poor ol" Steve Avery isn't involved in the rules explanation.

Michel said...

Shouldn't it be Champagneship instead of Champoinship?


Hayden said...

Shake 'n' bake!

Casey said...

I think the number of comments on this post shows that racing games must be as boring as actually watching racing.

But I've never played anything but Winners Circle. Does that count? Or is it in another class because it's got horses and gambling?

Tom Hazlett (Southernman) said...

I always check eBay now and then after seeing this on BGG somewhere - looked good then and sounds even better in your piece.

I love a good race game as well but only have a small group and very few others do. 'M-Queen' is great (especially with the Black Rose taking people out) and the old Waddingtons 'Formula-1' is a classic race simulation with its tyre and brake wear dials for when you hit those corners a bit too fast. And Knizia's 'Formula Motor Racing' is great to finish a night off - a bit similar to SCC in that you don't have a track (unless you print out the fan-made one and mount it on card) but is quite simple and a riot as you play cards to move you cars up and/or your opponents back ... the best bit is always when someone throws the dice to select a car for a crash or spin and rolls their own number.

Malloc said...

I would love to play circus maximus. on thursday, but originally I was thinking Dune.


Malloc said...


The lack of comments probably have more to to with my not saying anything controversial about Board game celebrities than they do racing.

Anyway Race game are anything but boring, and on a side note they usually make good gateway games for all of you guys who wanna play games with non gamers for some reason. The concept is simple enough, everyone gets the game.

Also not I an not much of a real life race fan, but I still like the games.


Michael Barnes said...

I love racing games, actually...the problem is, most of them I find tremendously unsatisfying because they either take too long to play (thus sucking the immediacy and sense of speed out of them) or there's not enough game there to warrant more than a play. SPEED CIRCUIT and WIN, PLACE, AND SHOW are still the top games in the genre to me and they're what, 40 years old now?

Mal's right- race games are good games for beginners because they have a pretty clear-cut goal and they have a real sense of drama that comes from actual position rather than abstract values.

Anybody play BOLIDE? It looks like it might be too mathy and slow, but some of the concepts sound cool.

A great race game that almost no one has played, I'd bet, is this old Parker Brothers game called ASTRON. It has this bad-ass retro sci-fi look (it was made in the 1950s) and this awesome scrolling board that you race little metal rockets across. It's really simple but it has some amazing artwork and it's lots of fun. Impossible to find though...

Mr Skeletor said...

The problem with race games I think is that video games are able to capture the flavor of racing better than boardgames are.


Joe Belanger said...

The problem with race games I think is that video games are able to capture the flavor of racing better than boardgames are.

Yeah, totally. But, like Doom (FFG's boardgame) and real FPS's, there's a sort of retro romanticism with race games and racing video games.

But, yeah, you're right. I'd much prefer to play "Rad Racer".

Ken B. said...

That's a tough one about actual speed in racing games--well, yeah, it's always going to be slower than a "real" race.

To me, the best game that finds a balance between the two is Formula De. I do like how in Detroit-Cleveland Grand Prix, on every player's turn generally more than just one car moves--it adds to the illusion that you're actually racing, if only a bit.

Michael Barnes said...

Mr. Skeletor is mostly right...that's why racing games have to focus on capturing other elements like manuevering, management of wear-and-tear, and such...I think SPEED CIRCUIT, as long as you don't play with jackasses who insist on counting and recounting every possible move, can play pretty fast and at least resemble making snap decisions. Still, no sense of actual "speed" there, just like fear I don't think it can really be done with a game.

RAD RACER, Joe? I had you pegged as more of a TURBO fan. I'll take WIPEOUT XL.

Ken B. said...

Yeah...but Rad Racer is IN 3-D, HOLMES.

It's like you're freaking THERE.

I found a copy of Rad Racer at a flea market a couple of years ago, box, booklet...but no 3-D glasses. I felt ripped off.

Joe Belanger said...

You have me pegged correctly by listing any console's racing game, starting with Night Driver (the hypnotic-trance inducing 2600 game).

I loves me some racing games.

All time favorite was PS1's Destruction Derby 2.

Ken B. said...

I just started playing Gran Turismo 3 last night...yeah, I've been bargain bin diving, it was only $3.

My kids forced me to buy with my $18,000....a PT Cruiser. *sigh* Man, I am SO tearing up the race track with my pimpin' PT Cruiser. A squarish body on a Chrysler Neon frame? How can that NOT be a screamin' machine?

Then we toured the car lots looking at $1,000,000 cars...their eyes got as wide as mine did.

Did anyone ever play Rad Racer with the F1 car? I never did, I always preferred the regular car.

What about that racing RPG on Turbografx? Final Lap Twin, was it? Where you wandered around a la your typical console RPG but your goal was to build up your car and get into races? That game was great.

Burnout is THE best racing's almost spoiled me on all others. You get in a Dominator in that game and then try to go back and play other "realistic" racing's tough.

Jack Hill said...

I'm a Burnout guy, myself. Have the 360 version, and it is easily the most fun racing game around.

Wipeout XL, and the Mario Kart series are just a wee bit behind it---for different reasons.

As to boardgames, I prefer Formula One. It is the original Parker game that Speed Circuit rips off. It does contain wacky cards you can use for boosts, so it also takes out some of the dryness of Speed Circuit.

I've also been wanting a good Kart racing game with weapons and stuff. Dragon Riders, Junkyard Racers, and The Great Space Race try, but don't quite pull it off well enough to actually be fun.

Michael Barnes said...

Ha! Yeah, NIGHT DRIVER pretty much captured the thrill of falling asleep at the wheel due to road hypnosis better than any other I can think of.

FINAL LAP TWIN was pretty bad ass.

Still, my all time favorite race game is probably RACING DESTRUCTION SET. I don't know how many times I played that stupid game.

Joe Belanger said...

Did anyone ever play Rad Racer with the F1 car?

If I remember correctly, the tires were really slippery and it was a pain to stay on the road. I think I had moved on to Top Gun at that point. Mid-air refueling!!

Ken B. said...

Ah. That explains all those emails you sent me saying "You can be my wingman anytime."


Michael Barnes said...

Oh god, the refueling in TOP GUN was pretty much the most difficult thing ever in any video game ever published...maybe that's why every game I play these days seems so damn easy...

drag racing videos said...

"I love racing thats why i m here to appreciate you!
You have done a great job keep it up."

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Diana Davis said...

. the best bit is always when someone throws the dice to select a car for a crash or spin and rolls their own number.
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