Review by Ken Tidwell, October 30, 1994.
I had the good fortune to play a proper game of Nikki Lauda's Formel Eins at Alan Moon's Gathering of Friends. Formel Eins is the original game that Daytona 500 from Milton Bradley was derived from. There are several key differences between the games, however, which annoy devoted Formel Eins fans a lot. One difference is the track layout. The original race course has several turns that are a single lane wide. These turns can easily be used to create blockages that will allow you to throw off cards that would have otherwise moved your opponents car. They also give the game a bit of a Formula 1 feel. There are also three more cards in the original deck that allow cars to suddenly catch up even though they may be far behind. These balanced out the blocking options nicely and allowed for some interesting playing strategies. Copies of the original Formel Eins are both rare and expensive. DIY kits abound but homemade sets are never as satisfying as sturdy sets made with good production values. But now there's new hope for diehard fans!
Mayfair will be bringing out a new game, Brickyard, sometime early in '95 (though that date involved a certain amount of finger crossing). Basically, they've licensed the Formel Eins system from Kramer and Milton Bradley. The card set will include the infamous catch-up cards though the initial rules set will not use them! The board will be fan fold with a blimp shot of the Indianapolis Speedway with the track blacked out and the traditional Formel Eins gridwork drawn in. The game will play much more like Daytona 500 using this board since the turns are two lanes wide. (In fact, the only reason Mayfair is not using the Daytona 500 as the setting is that MB felt that the layout of the turns were proprietary!) However, the plan is to offer additional tracks (possibly packaged in tubes after the fashion of Mayfair's railroad games but packaging seemed up in the air at Essen). Many of these tracks will be along the lines of Formel Eins with the deadly single lane turns!
Production of the game is tied up indefinitely as Mayfair negotiates for the rights to the background shot of the Indianapolis Speedway. Management also seems very distracted by the introduction of their new SimCity game. On the other hand, all of the cards are printed (they look just like the original cards) and the little cars are bought (they look a bit more substantial but essentially the same as the Formule De cars) so there is the weight of inventory behind the release.
Stay tuned for further information (and a proper review) as it becomes available.
See also the review of Daytona 500 by Bob Rossney.
Copyright 1994, Ken Tidwell
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