Continuing with my project to create a list of great games you can play for free, this post features a pencil and paper racing game. Whilst ‘Racetrack’ simulates real life Newtonian mechanics, the rules for movement are extraordinarily simple.
Number of players: 2 – 8
Playing time: 15 minutes
You will need:
- Pencils (of a different colour for each player) and a sheet of graph paper
Before the game begins, draw a racetrack onto the graph paper. The racetrack should form a complete circuit and contain a start/finish line. Whilst the racetrack can be any shape, try to ensure that it is not too narrow (less than three grid spaces wide), as this will limit the ability of players to freely move around.
Beginning at the start line, players take turns to move their cars around the track, aiming to be the first to cross the finish line. A move consists of a player moving their car (represented by a dot on racetrack) from one grid point to another. All cars begin the race with a speed of 0 (grid spaces per turn). Each turn, players may alter the speed of their cars by 1 grid space vertically and/or horizontally. An easy way to determine which spaces a car may move to in any given turn, is to mark the point which the car would move to if its speed was to remain the same (principal point). The place that it can move to in that turn would then be the principal point, or the one of the eight points surrounding it.
If a car crashes, either by crossing the boundary of the racetrack or by occupying the same grid point of another car, that car (or both cars in the case of two cars crashing into each other) must re-start from a point behind where the crash occurred at a speed of 0.
The player whose car is first to cross the finish line is the winner.
- Instead of allowing cars to accelerate/decelerate 1 gird space both vertically and horizontally in a single turn (as described above), cars can be restricted to accelerating/decelerating either vertically or horizontally. This rule would mean that cars can only move to the principal point, or one of the four adjacent points to it in a single turn. This rule limits the manoeuvrability of the cars and as such, racetracks should be designed accordingly.
- When drawing the racetrack, oil spills and turbo boosts may be added. When a car starts a turn in an oil spill, its current velocity may not be altered. Turbo boosts contain an arrow with a number. When moving across a turbo boost, the principal point of that car is moved in the direction of the arrow and by the amount of grid spaces indicated by the number.