About a month or so ago, my friend Chad invited me to his house to play a game called Das Motorsportspiel. As the German name would indicate, this is a car-racing game. Being something of a game fan, I took him up, and we had a great time. Das Motorsportspiel is the first car racing game I’ve played that actually recreates the feeling of split-second decisions, pressured timing, and breakneck speed of a car race. We had such a good time, we decided it would be good to get a league together.
This weekend saw the qualifying lap and opening race of Das Motorsportspiel Liga, our six-person league. Each person gets two cars per race, and over the course of seven races, we will accumulate points until our final later this year. Our site shows the tracks we will race, and eventually it’ll results as well. I’ll be giving regular reports from our races. That begins right now, with our qualifying lap.
First, a quick rules explanation. Players line up behind the starting line, and take turns rolling up to three dice. Two of these are normal D6s, but the third is a special D6 numberd 1-3 twice. Once you’ve rolled the dice, you take a few moments to order them. You can use the face you rolled, or the opposite face, but you must use every die you rolled. Once you’ve selected an order, you must execute each die roll on the track, in order. You can’t change lanes unless you are moving with a 2, 3, or 5. In addition, turns only allow up to a certain number to be used while you are in the curve. After all, you can’t run too fast through a turn. The important thing to remember is that you get no take-backs. You need to use what you set your dice as, and any screw-ups are permanent. If you do screw up (like going too fast through a turn or failing to change lanes and rearending someone), you take a flag. Enough of those, and you have to pit. Most races are 3 laps.
All that sounds easy enough, and it’s not very complex. The real trick is that your turn is done on a time limit. Depending on how difficult you want to make the race, you can take 50, 40, 30, or even 20-second turns. For DML, we have decided on 30-second turns.
Our time trials were conducted on the Oschersleben track. Each player took both cars, and alternated taking turns to complete one lap around the track. This would determine seeding in the first race. Any flags accumulated resulted in an extra turn added to your time. This was fairly high-pressure, but the whole field ran in about 45 minutes, with breaks. The biggest challenge of the time trial was that there was no time to collect yourself between turns. In a full field, you can pull back from the pressure of the clock after you’ve taken your turn. Not so here. Finish one turn, and go right into the next.
After the time trials, the field looks like this:
- Purple Stripe – Brad
- Yellow Dell – Jonathan
- Dark Orange – Colby
- Silver Twenty – Nate (this would be me)
- Blue Red Bull – Richard
- Light Orange – Colby
- Purple No Stripe – Brad
- Light Green – Chad
- Dark Green – Chad
- Light Blue – Richard
- Yellow Gator – Jonathan
- Silver Eighteen – Nate (I wrecked a corner)
So that’s the starting order. For the first race, we went in reverse order. That means that I actually got to go first.
The YAS Marina Circuit was our first race. As you can see, it has some looooong straightaways, combined with some brutal turns near the finish line. My first place start gave me no help at all. I rolled bad right out the gate. Jonathan, in his yellow Gator car, jumped out to an early lead, and no one ever caught him. Oh, we came close a couple of times, but it never happened.
How to describe the feeling of having a full field of racers? Well, for one thing, it was long. Our game took us about 3.5 hours. That sounds worse than it is, but it was late when we finally left that bad boy. Another factor in a 12-car race? People wreck a lot more. Only 3 or 4 cars made it out of the first lap unscathed, and several of us had to pit going into the second lap. And of course, there were the dreaded black flags.
Black flags represent a high accumulation of goofs. If you get enough penalties, you take on a black flag. You MUST pit when you get a black flag. In fact, you can’t actually finish the race with a black flag. If you get one in the last lap, tough cookies. You need to do one more go-around. I myself was forced to pit one of my cars in the second lap, and it cost me a great deal of time. Another car wrecked drastically, and I lost several turns. I was the lucky one though. Everyone else got their black flags in the last lap. It was so bad that four of the cars actually had to go for another lap due to black flags. Since I had lost so much time with my own, this allowed me to sneak one of my cars into the top six.
In this cup, we stop racing after the first six cars finish. The last six cars are simply assumed to finish in their current order. Not completely true to a real race, but it keeps us from taking years to finish each race. At the end of this to-do, the standings were thus. Notice the point totals for each place. These hold for every race except for the last one
- (36 pts) – Yellow Gator, Jonathan
- (30 pts) – Light Green, Chad
- (25 pts) – Blue Red Bull, Richard
- (20 pts) – Dark Orange, Colby
- (16 pts) – Purple No Stripe, Brad
- (12 pts) – Silver Twenty, Nate
- (9 pts) – Silver Eighteen, Nate
- (6 pts) – Light Blue, Richard
- (4 pts) – Dark Green, Chad
- (2 pts) – Purple Stripe, Brad
- (1 pt) – Yellow Dell, Jonathan
- (El Zilcho) – Light Orange, Colby
When you add in the pittance of points we got for our time trial runs, the final standings for the cars stand like this…
- Yellow Gator, Jonathan (36)
- Light Green, Chad (34)
- Blue Red Bull, Richard (32)
- Dark Orange, Colby (29)
- Silver Twenty, Nate (20)
- Purple No Stripe, Brad (19)
- Purple Stripe, Brad (13)
- Yellow Dell, Jonathan (11)
- Silver Eighteen, Nate (9)
- Light Blue, Richard (8)
- Dark Green, Chad (7)
- Light Orange, Colby (7)
I won’t presume to do the math for you, but the more observant of you may note that I am in dead last in the player rankings. I am well in shooting distance though. A lot of cool stuff could happen still.
Overall, it was a lot of fun. We’ll run the next race in a couple of weeks, and you had better believe that I’ll post some thoughts on our next race at that point.
*edit* Here’s the Picasa link to see pictures of our opening heat.