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Do you enjoy Formula One? No need to dream any more! Now you can discover the thrills of driving a real track in your first single-seater: a Formula De.
Speed, tactics, taking risks and a dash of luck: the high-octane cocktail needed to race the world's most prestigious Grand Prix circuits.
The principle of the game: a die for each gear! The higher the gear, the more spaces you travel. Simple? Yes, except that you can't just slow down. You should save your engines and tires, conserve enough fuel for the finish, and above all, use skillful braking to take the corners.
Corners, what corners?
Coming into the chicane while still in sixth gear... don't worry... at 200 m.p.h. no one will hear you scream.
Eurogames Descartes USA
Players: 2 - 10
Time: 60 - 360 minutes
Ages: 12 and up
Weight: 1,736 grams
Language Requirements: This is an international edition or domestic edition of an imported item. Game components are language-independent. Manufacturer's rules are printed in English.
Average Rating: 4.1 in 28 reviews
Ok, so this game will have you throwing dice every turn. But guess what? Its still super fun and challenging and plays well whether you are a kid or an adult!
While luck is certainly a factor, I havent played a game where the winner was accused of 'being lucky' nor the loser claiming 'bad luck'! More likely, its a risky move that paid off for he winner and a bad tactical decision by the loser.
So, dont be put off by all the 'dice fest' comments. Anyway, the long standing top rated games Axis & Allies also sees a lot of dice throwing dosent it?
Give it a shot. The many different tracks make it even better!
Many in the reviews section here claim that luck plays too big a factor in this game. If this were the case, why is it that in both our second and third seasons of this game, one player had a Michael Schumacher-like lock on the series? And only two other players regularly chellenged him (out of a full complement of ten, plus some substitute drivers)?
In the last 18 races, he has missed the podium only twice, and taken first place no less than 11 times (even counting the time he did not attend the race). It can't *just* be our rules tweaks or an inordinate amount of luck with the dice on his part.
Yes, there is an element of luck, but far from excessively so - in fact, no more so than in the real thing.
A five-star game for the connoiseur.
I have many boardgames and lots of different types. I love them all. But this game is just awesome. It is not that slow pace brain thinking strategy planning take forever type of game, which I love at certain times. No it is a beer and popcorn type of game. Just don't spill your beer on the boards as they are absolutely beautiful. Many many compliments to the artist. In between races we just dive into the art work of the boards and always seem to find new and funny things that are in them. And yet the tracks are fantastically portrayed.
I find this game to have that delicate balance of lightness with some serious strageties. I can't tell you how many times I have played this game to have the race come down to the last corner of the game to determine winner or loser. Which makes you reflect back to some earlier plays that you wish you could have done different.
There is a tremendous amount of different tracks. We own 29 tracks. Each one has its own differences and have to be raced differently. And you can even combine 2 to make one big hugh track.
You can even get little cars and paint them yourselfs for a more interesting setup.
I love the dice part. IT is different than any other type of dice game in that the gears of the car are reflected on the dice. Love that 6th gear which allows you to move up to 30 spaces. Boy you talk about speed. Playing the game and rolling a die that can go up to 30 makes you feel like your hauling butt.
Plus: Absolutely beautiful boards (best I have seen in any game), Lots of strategies because of the random factor of the dice, negociating turns and straights, pit stops, breakdowns and lots of track variety, light hearted beer and pretzel game with a tone of seriousness cause you want to finish the race and win. The ability to make up some cool house rules, and a great game for league play with up to 10 friends or even more, why not?
I love this game and it rocks. Totally addicting.
This game is just great! Though it doesn't involve a great deal of strategic moves, it is still a very fun and complex game. Those who think there is too much luck involved, watch an F1 Race or another race for example. Many cars simply can't go swooshing away from the start, or it just happens some accident will stop the race for some driver.
Anyway, the tracks are well made, and all the dice and gears make for a very luck-based system, but it is VERY funny. I highly recommend this game.
This is definitely a great game for the entire family--both boys and girls alike. Our two daughters 9, and 11, have no trouble with the strategy and often beat their dad. Our six-year-old boy does fairly well, but sometimes needs a little assistance with strategy. Unless your kids are a little older, they will probably need some help, especially if you add the advanced rules.
The game boards are very colorful and help in keeping your attention. If possible, collect some other boards for even more fun. What makes this game great for us, though, is the strategy. Those who say it is dice-only may not have incorporated the advanced rules and even house rules (these can be linked to from the formula-de website). We have found the best way to play this game is to start with the basic rules, then add one or two additional rules each game. Finally, adding additional house rules really brings in the strategy.
The common mistake we made originally was trying to conserve our wear points. We have found, now, it is best just to go for it and take risks. This is where the fun comes in--especially when you have no more wear points with half a lap to go!
This is one of those games you will keep coming back to. Our family has had it for over a year, and it never seems to get old. Of our 5 family members, it is the favorite of 3 of us--and we have approximately 50 games to choose from.
What also makes this game great is the variety of races we have had. We have had some that were total blowouts--one person dominates from beginning to end (this does not happen often). We have had some that looked liked they were going to be blowouts and then--bang--a bad roll or decision, and suddenly everyone catches up. We have had some games where the lead has changed numerous times. And finally we have had some games even come down to the very last roll.
One thing to remember is that the game does take considerable time to play--although we have found the more games we play, the faster we become at playing it. The average four-player two-lap game takes about 1 and 1/2 hours. One-lap games are quicker, but we seldom play just one lap because the pits add more strategy and excitement. Three-lap races are fun, but will take some time because of the extra lap and time at the beginning determining how you will set up your cars' wear points.
All in all, this is a great game. With the basic rules, it is quite simple. If you want a lot of strategy, just add the advanced rules and go get some house rules. One thing I didn't mention is that if you are a group of skilled gamers, you could always make up your own rules--the possibilities are endless. Out of the box with no changes, this is still a 5 star game. I highly recommend it!
Formula De is simple game that works on many levels. Game mechanics are based on using dice with increasing number of sides to represent higher gears. The higher the gear, the greater number of sides on the die and the greater number of spaces you move. The dice are numbered so that there is very little numerical overlap between gears. With that said, other factors such as braking, engine damage, collision damage, suspension damage, and fuel consumption are handled neatly on each player's dashboard card. The real beauty of the game, aside from its aesthetic beauty (and it IS illustrated and packaged incredibly well) is the ability to increase the amount of detail. Add the optional tire and weather rules and push the number of laps up to three and you've got a different game. You also get a new strategic dimension as you have to build your own car for three-lap races. While chance does play a part in the game (it uses seven dice after all), there is sense that you're basically going to get what you deserve. Think you can hit the next corner in 5th gear? Well... maybe... but maybe not, and you know the odds in advance, so downshift if you want to play it safe or keep it in 5th if you want to make a mad dash for glory--but NO WHINING! Random elements like flying starts and engine failure add other chance elements that some may not like, but I've watched enough racing on TV (and that's not very much) to see more than a few cars suffer mechanical breakdowns due to no apparent reason.
In summary, Formula De is a fun game that can be played in under an hour (for 2 people). It's an easy game to grasp and can be modified with additional levels of complexity through the use of optional rules. The [page scan/se=0217/sf=category/fi=stockall.asc/ml=20]expansion tracks (of which I own six - #'s 7 & 8 and 27-30) are a nice touch too as each track adds its own flavor to the game. I've played with 1 to 4 players and I've played with ages 12 to 79 and they all liked it. I think it's fair to say that this game is literally 'fun for the whole family.'
I purchased Formula De after reading many of the reviews, and I was not disappointed. After making some "family rules" we decided to have a racing league that would be entered by those who have completed 3 races and received their license. Then they could choose a racing team and team colors. I also purchased the USA circuit courses 27-30 for a little variety. We now have 5 people that have licenses and teams and we use the basic rules for now and will race 3 races at each circuit during the year and the team and drivers with the most points will claim the 2001 driving title. I also purchased the Formula De pewter cars and some model paints and we all painted our cars with our team colors. Eurogames really supports this game also--if you go to their web site you will see all the clubs and ideas people have to increase your game enjoyment. If you're looking for a car-racing game for yourself and family and friends this is a winner which you'll be playing in 10 minutes and enjoying for the evening. It takes us about 30 minutes for every 2 cars in the race so 6 cars is about 1.5 hours of racing.
I am not at all what I would call a racing fan. Whenever flipping through the channels, I don't even think about pausing when I see cars speeding around a track. It doesn't hold any appeal to me to watch things like that.
Now, with that said, I bought this game on a recommendation because it was supposed to be a simple game I could play with my kids. I was hooked after the first few trial runs. I don't know what exactly it is that attracts me to this, but it's just something I want to play over and over. Even when I just need to kill an hour or so by myself, I can pull out this game and race 5 or so cars around a lap or two. That is probably the big reason, come to think of it. I don't own many games that I can play solitaire when I need to. This one fills that void nicely.
Overall, the rules are simple to teach others and there are advanced and optional rules you can suit your own tastes. Not a whole lot of strategy or brain-power needed--but it makes up for it in pure FUN!
For years, I wondered why someone hadn't republished FORMULA ONE, released in the U.S. by Parker Brothers in the '60s. I kept looking for a similar game to come along.
In 1996, I bought FORMULA DE, and became an instant fan (I currently own 18 tracks). It's about as simple as FORMULA ONE, but far more challenging and exciting.
The 'gear/dice' system is so easy to grasp, novice players can start playing after a minute's worth of explanation. (Descartes' dice system is an improvement over the Ludoliere system).
The numerous tracks (#31 Zhuhai China & #32 Sepano Malaysia are pending release) provide fans with a seemingly endless variety of layouts and challenges.
If there is one drawback, it's the length of a game with 8 or more players, which can take as long as a couple of hours. Limiting the time a player has to finish his/her turn is a solution.
That having been said, FORMULA DE is the great racing game I had been searching for for years!
I had never tried or even been interested in racing boardgames until coming across this gem. It was originally released by Mayfair and now it's published by Descartes (Eurogames). It's a game that plays well with more players. However, it's just as entertaining with only two players if each player races two or three cars as a team (more on that later).
First off, the bits in the box are top quality. The board features two sides with different tracks around the Formula One circuit. The cars are different colors with interchangable spoilers to allow identifying your team or color. The tracks are authentic representations of the real locations around the world. You can purchase follow on tracks, again two sides with two different courses. Right now they're up to tracks 21/22 with a four pack US release coming up in Sept 99. This keeps the game refreshing and challenging since each track has its own strategy. The dice are unique and represent the six gears you can shift through. Each die represents a block of numbers giving you speed at that higher gear (an eight sider does not have 1-8, but rather 5-12, a four sider has only 1's and 2's, and so on). There are individual boards and sheets to keep track of your car and driver stats.
The game eases new players in with one lap races and just the basic rules. You can then start getting into two and three lap races and add additional rules such as tire types (hard, soft, wet), drafting rules, weather effects, track debris, pits stops and others.
The strategy basically involves using the dice to control your speed and negotiate the turns. All turns are rated as one, two, or three stop turns (curves). You must basically stop no less than one number less than the number of required stops in the given curve. Do you risk coming in the turn at a higher speed and downshift in the turn, or possibly overshoot the turn and use some of your brake and tire points? Penalties are assesed on your car for various items such as braking, overshooting turns, over revving, and downshifting greater than one gear at a time. In the advanced rules, tire type is critical as it gives you an advantage or disadvantage depending on the type of weather. Do you pit in after the first or second lap of a three lapper? Or, do you think you have enough points to get you around one more time and take the lead? Playing with more than one car in a two or three person game gives you the option of cutting off your opponent with a second car to give you leader a better chance. Whoever is in the lead after a round of movement gets to go first the next turn. Getting out in front is critical to avoid other cars and have clear road ahead.
This game is best played with four or more players. A two lap race can take the better part of two hours with five drivers. It tends to drag with each player meticulously counting out the spaces of where he can and can't move to (no swerving changes allowed in the straights). This problem can be eliminated with a timer or threatening to disqualify the slow player, or better yet, cut off his beer supply.
This game is endless fun. There are even rules for timing single laps and determining pole positions. I recommend just rolling a die for high roll on the first race, and let the finishing scores determine the pole positions for subsequent races. You don't have to be a car racing fan to appreciate this game, but being a racing fan of some sort might help. If you like Mississippi Queen, as I do, you'll probably love this game. Why it never won a game of the year award is beyond me.
There's a wealth of sites to go browse for info on Formula De, and local teams are springing up in cities around the world. See some of the links offered below.
Like so many sports, actually playing them is much more fun than watching. I imagine racing is one of them, but who has the money or skills needed to drive Formula One race cars for a living? Now you can get darned close.
The variety of rules, tracks, and a little luck in the dice rolls makes for an addictive game where no race is like the one before. I've played with only 6 cars so far but can only imagine how hairy the turns can get with 10 cars jockeying for position.
Once you start to play you'll want every track so the game play never gets stale. And with so many available that's hardly a problem. After one game you'll find yourself saying, "I've got the need... the need for speed!"
At the end, you just want all tracks available on the market (if your wallet allows this). Because of the many variation in circuits you just never get tired of playing it.
My wife, my friends and myself enjoy playing a couple of laps of Formula De when we want to spend some good times together. Hey, even my mother likes to play! Not just another Parcheesi/Snakes & Ladder game! At first, it looks too simple but sooner or later, you'll start counting the spaces left between your car and that dreaded curve!
Being a big fan of the 3M/Avalon Hill (R.I.P.) game of Speed Circuit, I have had distaste for the numerous wannabe race games that have come along through the years. Leave it to the Europeans, who have lately redesigned many cars and many games, to come up with a true winner. This game has a bit more color and is a little more involved.
If you love this genre (what red blooded male wouldn't?), then you'll love this game.
All the tense competition of Formula racing right in your home, so many times a XBox system-link party has been put on hold because someone pulled out this game; yeah, it's like that.
The game play involves rolling one of six dice (depending on the gear your car is moving in) and trying to avoid spin-outs, collisions, and engine wear. You can take chances you would never dream of taking if your were actually behind the wheel, and it doesn't even feel bad when your car explodes or you spin out just before the finish line -- it's all part of the fun.
I would love to give it five stars as I really do enjoy this game, but the cars are so tiny and the boards are so large that you can almost count on someone (usually a child) bumping the edge of the board and causing chaos on the speedway. I suppose I could play on the floor and avoid this, but I am just getting too old to sit on the floor.
Thank goodness I am not to old to make "vroom vroom" noises as my car peels out for a 40-point stretch in 6th gear though!
This ia a game that's easy to get involved with. It's great fun to rig your own car in the advanced rules.
The game is a good mix of luck and experience, where the latter shows after a couple of games.
Time-concumtion is the only real negative point about this game. With several players and advanced rules it soon becomes a lenghty affair.
Formula De is one of the most lavishly produced games I have seen, with gorgeous racetracks and special dice for each 'gear.' Other race tracks are available, as well as pewter race cars, but the basic set is plush enough as is.
The game itself is on the low end of the scale as far as strategy, but that is just fine. This game has more meat to it than Carabande, for example, but will never be confused with a brain-burner like Princes of Florence. Players must decide whether to move up or down a gear or stay as is before moving each turn, taking into consideration where one might land on the board. Ending too close to another car can result in one or both cars being damaged. Going too quickly through turns can also result in damage. Too much damage and a car is eliminated. Things can get tense toward the end of the game, as players trailing the leader try desperately to negotiate the turns at high speeds to catch up.
While not exactly mu cup of tea, I can definitely see the appeal. Consider this as a high-end family game. Recommended for those who want a simple but exciting race game.
This is one of the few games that I annoy my mates till they play it with me--it's not strategic; it's just pure mindless fun at 200 MPH. I was a bit worried when dice were mentioned but after playing with them, they really don't affect the game a whole deal. There is some skill to playing the game but usually it's wondering whether your car is going to blow up or whether you can make the tires last before you finish.
Or perhaps it's just I play this like I drive.
I was first exposed to this game at the GAMA Gamefair here in Las Vegas in March during the 'open gaming' demos. I was amazed as I saw employees from half a dozen different game companies and retailers foaming at the mouth to get their next dice roll.
I got a chance to play and I found this to be a very entertaining game with first rate components. The best thing is that you can get up to ten players playing at once! The game is easy to explain and has a full feel for being in a high performance vehicle, setting yourself up for the next turn and hoping that the engine performs (dice roll your way).
I understand that there are some house rules around for league play, and this is really attractive since there are about two dozen tracks available to race on!
Formula De is a sure formula for a great gaming evening!!!
I was quite taken with Formula De the first few times I played. The components and artwork are first rate (we even play with hand-painted metal miniature cars), the game is fast-paced, and it presents lots of opportunities to take interesting risks.
It's a fun game, but ultimately it's not that a great simulation of auto racing.
In real racing, your ability to successfully negotiate corners and maintain optimal speed throughout will lead you to the checkered flag. In Formula De this principle also holds true, but it manifests itself in some strange and wildly unrealistic tactics.
For example, a basic principle of driving a race car is that you brake into a corner and accelerate out of it. But in Formula De the best technique is often to do the opposite. Let's say you're at the beginning of a long straightaway that ends in a corner requiring one 'stop' on a corner space, and your car is in 4th gear. The corner is too far away to reach in 4th, and in 5th the best you could do is get to within 1 or 2 spaces of the corner, so what do you do? You slow down to 3rd to creep a little closer so on your next move you're close enough to shift back up to 4th so you can fly down the straightaway and land on a corner space at high speed, with the idea that on your next move you can shift up and leave the corner in 5th. The speeding up out of the corner part is okay, but deliberately slowing down at the beginning of a straightaway so you can accelerate into a corner is completely counter to any actual driving technique.
Other problem areas are: the pit rules in no way reflect reality (you can actually pass cars on the track by taking a pit stop - a couple of house rules can correct this), drafting doesn't play nearly as big a role as it should, and most importantly, there is little need to consider what your opponents might do on any given turn, since you make all your movement decisions after the cars ahead of you have moved.
These departures from realism don't prevent Formula De from being a fun game, and after all, games are all about having fun. So by that standard, Formula De is easy to recommend. But if you desire more substance in a racing game, you will soon discover that Formula De only provides the illusion of Formula One racing. Speed Circuit by 3M/Avalon Hill is still the one game that, in my humble opinion, best conveys the strategic tension of auto racing. But sadly, it has long been out of print.
I know, Formula D maybe deserves 4 stars, but I don't like it and I have to say it. I have played about 7 times and won 2 or 3 times. I had some fun, but I rarely felt like 'Oh yeah, that was a really wise move.': you just gamble all the race long and hope to get the right die number. Too much dice-rolling and too little 'brain-working' makes this game a nice filler, but is no way number 1. Maybe advanced rules could make this game more interesting, but I'd hate it nonetheless. The reason? My bro bought F-D the same moment I got involved into Gold Sieber Games and I got Tikal. Since then we played this damned game a lot of times (you know, in Italy Formula 1 is really popular), and I never got the chance yet to play titles like Tikal, Lowenherz, Medieval Merchant and Manitou.
By the way, Formula D is a fun, though luck-oriented, game, with wonderful courses and a proper dynamic of play. Too bad I HAVE to hate it.
This game is a lot of fun, but can be frustrating. You attempt to plan how far you are going to go, and the die rolls a little too far over and you shoot over the curve... boom your car blows apart and you sit out and watch everyone else race around. This game is addictive like gambling, but when you lose you lose big.
I love Formula 1 racing, and when the opportunity arose, I joined a 9 player game of Formula DE at my local game store. I was impressed by the presentation of the game. The board looks fantastic and it's darn cool with the litle plastic cars all over it. This game has lots of 'toy appeal', which I do not mind at all. However the game leaves something to be desired.
It plays like Snakes and Ladders, without the snakes or the ladders. Or like Backgammon, with more players, virtually zero antagonistic element, and less choice per turn. Quite simply, it's an excercise in dice rolling.
Luckiest player wins. That's all there is to it. The only skill you need is knowing a bit about probabilities so that you can manage your speed in the corners.
I'd much rather play Backgammon. Maybe it would make an entertaining gambling game, however it takes about 45 minutes to an hour, per lap (we played two laps and I was bored the entire time).
I will never buy this game, nor recommend it, and only give it two stars because of the classy presentation and components.
Formula De takes a great idea, the racing game, and unfortunately turns it into a dice rolling game. Where I like to roll the dice as much as the next guy, this game really just boils down to getting more good rolls than your opponent over the course of the game.
The basic concept of the game is to travel as quickly as possible while simultaneously making your car end its movement in a turn (some particularly nasty turns require you to be there twice). This is done by positioning yourself to the best of your ability to make the proper die roll to finish in the turn itself. And this is ultimately where the game breaks down. You roll one die in Formula De, and there is no bell curve on the die. For example, in fifth gear you roll a twenty sided die with 2 sets of numbers from 11-20 imprinted upon it. So where in a dice rolling game like Settlers of Catan you attempt to play the odds by covering better numbers, in Formula De there is no bell curve, and hence no way to play the odds. I may be on the track 15 spaces away from a small turn with five spaces on the outside line and a huge straightaway onn the other side. If I am in 5th gear when I roll I have a 50% chance of hitting the curve (60% if I am willing to burn an engine point on a red line), and at least a 40% chance of being in some serious trouble if I don't. Veterans of the game may say, OK then, drop to fourth gear where the numbers are from 7-12. Well and good, I drop to fourth and manage a 12 on the die roll. On my next turn I am 66% likely to overshoot the turn anyway unless I drop to third..... Meanwhile the guy next to me hits the turn in 5th and accelerates to 6th on his next turn. See ya!
And this is essentially the essence of the game. You can rarely manage track position because there is no bell curve to allow you to guesstimate where you will be after your next roll. In a large game the corners are usually congested so using different lanes to manage your position often isn't an option. The pit rules are terrible, and the ability to lose a turn right off the bat if you roll a one is totally unnecessary.
A much better racing game is Speed Circuit, if you can manage to find a copy. You are permitted to manage the setup of your car in Speed Circuit, and moves are decided upon simultaneously instead of consecutively, which adds an exciting gut check you don't get in Formula De. Auto racing requires split second reactions, this is not reflected in Formula De. Also, as another reviewer described, the concept of roaring into hairpins doesn't reflect racing nearly as well as the Speed Circuit system , which penalizes based upon the speed you enter a turn rather than the moment you enter. Racing games are great fun, but this one unfortunately doesn't live up to its predecessors standard.
I got this game based on a lot of positive reviews. But after attempting to play it twice, the game has become a permanent fixture in the corner of the closet. Basically, the decisions of what gear and what route to take seem to be obvious, which leaves only chance (dice rolls) to determine the winner. If you don't like to think, but enjoy rolling dice, then this game is for you. For us, it just didn't fit the bill. We wish we had saved our money.
Honestly I do not get this game. The reviews here are all skewed. I mean, who actually writes reviews for games they do not like? The only reason I am doing this is that my gaming groups insist on playing this and the reviews here do not accurately reflect the horrendous nature of this game. Roll dice. Yawn. Roll dice. Yawn. While I have heard that what you need to do as a player (other than have your head examined) is issue command decisions, this is not quite accurate. I question whether you are actually issuing these decisions. Next time you play, count how many times you here the following around the table: 'That is a perfect fourth gear move.' 'Play it in fourth there and you'll set yourself up for a fifth gear maneuver next turn.' As far as I can tell, that is what happens every turn and you do not even need to be there issuing your pathetic little 'command decisions.' As for accurately capturing the feel of racing, as far as I know Formula One racers will always take the inside for its shortness but in this game you often have to take the longest route. Where is the accuracy in that? Skip this game.
Off we go! Up to 10 drivers can race the Formula 1 circuit on this game's beautiful two-sided race courses, featuring Zandvoort (Netherlands) and Monaco. Many more courses from around the world are available for about $25 a pop. Each of the six gears is represented by a multisided die. You can shift up one gear on a turn, allowing you to roll a better die to speed your progress, but don't get too exhilarated! Corners must be negotiated by making one or more stops, and there are penalties for failing to do so. You will also suffer for shifting down more than one gear at a time. We hope this detailed simulation of the sport will be racing to success for a long time to come.