Sunday, April 16, 2006

A Tale of Two Cities

So here I am, a Melbourne local sitting in Adelaide, about to write a little something about Formula Dé. A tale of two cities? Why?

DW Tripp could probably tell you. A while back when Formula One racing returned to Australia it was held in Adelaide, but then Melbourne took/stole/won the race from Adelaide and it has been held in Melbourne ever since. Which word is used depends on who you talk to, or more realistically where they come from.

An interesting aside to the tale is that Formula One racing used to be held in Melbourne a long time ago and back in those days Jack Brabham was a very well known Australian driver, not to mention three times Formula One World Drivers Champion. One of Jack's technical team at the time was one of Melissa's uncles and the reason that we are actually here in Adelaide at the moment is to celebrate the engagement of one of that uncle's daughters, although DW probably didn't know this aside bit.

I mentioned last time that I had been interested in Formula Dé for some time and finally got around to playing it. I bought some tracks a couple of days later, but was unable to obtain the game for another week when a friend picked up a copy from a geographically inconvenient game store for me.

The next day I managed to convince Daughter the Elder to try it out with me.

For our first game we played Zandvoort 1, mainly because it looked like we could go faster than we could at Monaco! I explained the basic rules and we were off and racing - a one lap race with just one car each. The first race was reasonably close most of the way, I did notice that I was much more inclined to take risks like zooming towards corners in 5th gear than Daughter the Elder was. She finished the race with her car in pristine condition, but I had finished first.

We played another game on the same track straight away and she still played fairly conservatively, but this time beat me home.

The next day I introduced her to some of the advanced rules, slip streaming and pit stops. So we had a two lap race with two cars each, playing on the Barcelonatrack. The first lap had a lot of changing of the lead, but there was very little wear and tear on the cars at all and so as we came around the last corner all the cars screamed down the straight ignoring the pitstop. Daughter the Elder actually seemed a bit miffed that there was no reason for her to make a pitstop. The second lap was a little more harsh on the cars, but since we were racing for the finish no pitstops. She actively pursued slipstreaming opportunities whenever she could.

A day or two later I had a happy moment as gamer dad. Daughter the Elder requested that we play a game, she requested Formula Dé and she even chose a track to play on! A two lap race with one car each (as it was getting close to her bed time) on the Hockenheim track.

I'm not sure if it was because she was playing more adventurously or because she was intending to make a pitstop anyway, but she drove faster and burnt a few tire points coming out of corners too fast this time during the first lap. She had the lead and gleefully made a pitstop to get all her tire points back. Unfortunately she had a slow pitstop and was not impressed to come out of the pits in 4th as I zoomed down the straight in 6th and snatched the lead. Needless to say I had to change down gears rather heavily in the corner at the end of the straight, but I managed to keep the car in one piece and on the track much to Daughter the Elder's annoyance.

Unfortunately Formula Dé is a bit too big to take away with us, so it is at home at the moment. However when we get home I will review the advanced rules to see if there are any more worth introducing for our races and we will see if we can get Melissa to join us too. As yet she has not, but if we keep badgering perhaps she will.

We have seven tracks at the moment, so should be able to set up our own little home league with relative ease and when we get home I am looking forward to playing a few more games and working towards that.

Notes for a long car trip
If your seven year old asks to buy a big book of Knock Knock jokes - just say No. Feel free to remind Melissa of this.

Mmm meeples taste like...

2 comments:

DWTripp said...

Right you are, Formula De is an all time favorite of mine. I own all except the most recent two tracks, China (?) and Bahrain. It seems that EuroGames printed just a few and then went into some sort of hiding.

One of my passions is high dollar racing. The politics are insane and the pouty little turf wars that break out amongst drivers who earn $100 million a year are hilarious.

A racing format that is much more regular-person accessible is World Champ level Superbike and GP racing. Both venues again are represented by a number of talented Aussies.

Enjoy!

Gerald McD said...

Daughter the Elder is an amazing game player. Sounds like you've got a real racing fan coming up there.