New Release: Anthony Apostolico’s Classic Formula One
For April Fool’s Day yesterday, I joked about Strat-O-Matic working on an F1 game, and I gave a screenshot of a mock-up card. The truth, of course, is that Strat is not working on an F1 game as far as I know of. I created that card myself in Microsoft Excel, using my imagination to come up with what I thought a Strat Formula One racing game card might look like.
This Driver Sheet for Gilles Villeneuve comes from the soon-to-be released All Time Greats set for “Classic Formula One” – Anthony Apostolico’s newest game.
The data and some of the concepts on the card, however, did not come from my imagination. Anthony Apostolico, creator of the great Classic Soccer
(for my money the most in-depth tabletop-soccer simulation ever), has turned his gaming brain toward Formula One racing. His game (as yet officially unnamed, but we’re calling it “Classic Formula One” around here), was officially launched
on March 30th, with the 1981 F1 season as the first release.
I had a chance to play a beta version of the game (with All Time Great drivers) and I agree with most points of the review posted by SeanL34 over at the Delphi Soccer Simulation Forum. I’d encourage you to read it if you’re interested in the game at all.
Where my opinion differs:
The learning curve for this game is not as steep as the Classic Soccer learning curve. Apostolico’s strength is not in writing rulebooks, and the Classic F1 rulebook could use (lots of) polishing, but the gameplay itself is considerably easier to master and by the end of your first race you should feel confident in your understanding of the game mechanics.
Though I love the sheets that contain ratings for each player and each individual team in Classic Soccer, I am not as smitten with the Driver Sheets in Classic F1. Each driver and each track has its own sheet in Classic F1. With the 1981 season release, there are 30 drivers and 16 tracks. And though there is no official release date set for the All Time F1 Greats set, Apostolico has said that there will be 150 drivers represented.
In general, the Classic F1 driver sheets are aesthetically very nice looking (the track info pages are less so) and easy to read and use for gaming purposes. My main complaint with the sheets is that they are all in color and that the color is pertinent to results. Meaning, that if you can’t or don’t want to print the sheets in color, then you’re out of luck. Since this game is only being sold in pdf, that amount of color ink will likely be too costly for some. I have an iPad, and to save on printing I’ve kept the pdfs open on my iPad while playing the game and that has worked for me.
According to some who have played the game, a knowledge and appreciation of the sport is essential – but I wholeheartedly disagree. I know almost nothing about the sport of Formula One racing, but I do love sports history, and for me the All Time Greats set has sparked an interest in the drivers, the cars, and the tracks that has led me to a new appreciation of the sport that I may never have had otherwise. I’ve found myself digging into the internet for stories and info on many drivers and tracks that I’d never even heard of prior to playing this game.
The designer has been very forthcoming about the fact that this is NOT a quickplay game by any means and that game time may be as much as two hours. I read through the rules a few times before getting started and asked a couple of questions when first getting set up, and my first race turned out to be under two hours. The total game play time is comparable to a full play football game, in my opinion, and if you can handle that investment of time, you can handle Classic F1. Also, due to the nature of the way turns work in the game you can pause the game at any time and jump back in later without losing any of the drama.
Lastly, Apostolico recommends using index cards to track each driver’s progress throughout the race, but the game could benefit immensely from an Excel Helper. I hope someone comes up with one soon. I do plan on creating one myself when I have the time.
I don’t find the track info sheets to be particularly appealing (despite the occasionally inspired selection of photos)
In summary, it’s my opinion that if what you see so far seems interesting to you, you’re probably going to enjoy this game.
Classic Formula 1 is currently being offered (in pdf format only) at $25 for the 1981 season with 30 drivers and 16 tracks. To find out more about Classic Formula 1, contact the game designer at: jakemotta at aol dot com.