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Turfmaster Course Collection I
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Now you can experience the full action of vying for victory and position on two new race courses "Dsseldorf Grafenberg" and "Berlin Hoppegarten". New features include running direction, more varied play with different long and short races and a new way of sharing cards. You must have the cards, dice, horses and hurdles from the basic or deluxe Turfmaster game.
Last year I came across a horse racing game from AZA, a company new to the Essen scene. The production was lavish and the game was good. This year, in a more prominent part of the arena, AZA launched two additional tracks for their horse racing game. Having asked for votes from the internet, two of the eight tracks we selected to be produced--Düsseldorf Grafenberg and Berlin Hoppegarten.
The tracks feature several new options from the original TurfMaster. In the original game, which is required for the add-ons, the races were set over jumps or flat racing. The new tracks feature several course lengths with a variety of bends to traverse. I suspect this was why these particular tracks were opted for as there are some small and much larger corners to tackle. As before, cards are dealt out according to the length of the races with four races one each course, but this time including one steeplechase. Each player has the same overall chance as their sets of 30 cards are used over all the races. Points determine the winner after each series of races. I have not had time after Essen to play all the races, but you get the same feel as the original TurfMaster--when do you make your play for the lead, and when do you hold back? I found this a good feel in the game.
In view of the popularity of the original game, English rules are included and, like the German set, are well presented. There is even a hotline(!) for rules queries that deals with rules queries in German, English and Russian!!! (Sales must have been good in the former USSR.) The boards themselves are large and in a similar style to original game.
AZA also had what for me was the excessive luxury of the show--a storage case for your well-groomed model horses to be stored so that when you race you use your favourite horse colours. Why not? Most people who I play games with tend to like a specific colour dobber to use. However, my resistance level was higher than my wallet of Deutschmarks, so I deferred to another year.
Overall, if you liked TurfMaster a lot, get these tracks. AZA's presentation style is high, but the prices are also on the high side. Personally, I like good quality and am prepared to pay for it, but this may depend on your love of racing games. Finally, I understand that AZA plan to release a Formula one game, which like Turfmaster has been long in testing. It should feature 16 cars (all replicas?) and will be produced to high standards. It will be interesting to see how this one develops.