A simple pen & paper game without abusing horses

Printed version adds additional challenges

In the past, I also printed out the tables and also played around with a printed race track, which was surprisingly difficult to generate. Why? Because most of the vector graphic tools can draw curves without problems, but to create curved, splitted segments with the same length is a kind of challenge and in the end, it needed some additional manual helper lines and some workarounds. Please note, that this track image is just an example, because it doesn't fit the actual setup of the tables:

And there is more... if you play the game on a printed track, you will discover soon the problems or questions like: what is, if one horse changes the lane and is in front of another one? Does it slow down the horse behind? Should you loose some speed or a field, if you change the lane to be more fair? What is with the horse on the outside? The distance increases outside in real life, so all lanes need the same amount of fields to compensate that in the paper version, on the other hand if your horse is running on the inside lane, it's hard(er) to stay on the lane, if you run outside, you (should) loose more power and so on... It raises interesting questions & ideas, when you sit in front of the screen and start to think about the game play in detail.

Note: The lane change and curve radius isn't a topic, if you just play the scorecard paper version with counting the numbers, but if you want to play it with figures on the table, you maybe want or need some more values, to be closer to real races. In the track version above, I added some additional field points, to compensate the lane changes to the main lanes in the middle (the thick, red lines).

The track also offers the possibility to have short or very long runs with two different finish lines/wires.The F1-F15 numbers are Furlongs, each one is 6 fields long. The boxes and break out zone in red marks the area, where you can change the lane from outside without loosing fields (that's the reasons for the + values there, because in this version you will loose on field forward if you switch the lane. The idea was, that it forces the players to bring all of their horses to the middle lanes. This would create some "traffic jams" and increase the chances of strategic overtaking actions and could also create the situation, that a leader horse is stuck between slower horses.

So more complexity, on the other hand also more joy. But I'm still working on it, because the main idea is, that you can play the game with all values also without a printed version and just use your head and some squared paper for the numbers.


By the way... I thought more about the switching lanes. It would be an interesting part in the game, on the other hand it would increase the playtime and complexity too much, if you play with 12 horse a full race and always have to consider, which horse is where in which lane on the track. This would be possible in the printed version like here (because you can see it), but it doesn't make sense for the pen & paper counting version with numbers, otherwise the scorecard needs again more sub-fields and rows and then you have the next part: tracks with jumps, which creates additional complexity and then the fun begins to drop.

I think for now, I will focus more on the track, horse and jockey values and instead create a nice, healthy combination between them and switching the lanes would be an additional feature in the future maybe and for more experienced people later. I want, that the game is easy to understand for everybody without studying rule books or more. This game shouldn't be the next Dungeons & Dragons game, more a silent, calm and nice race simulation for some tiny breaks for some minutes aside the normal, daily life.