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There's Only One Winner

£16.00

THIS GAMES IS SUPPLIED AND DESPATCHED BY LAMBOURNE GAMES AND IS NOT AVAILABLE AS PDF

And now for something completely different!

Not a replay game but it does have a sporting theme, needing from 2 to about 12 players. It's more a fun family game than most of our offerings, ideal also for a corner of the pub when the dart board is being used and cribbage is deemed to be too serious, and will also more than likely play well as a Play by (e)Mail game.

Designer's Notes

There's Only One Winner can be played in many different ways. Based on horse racing it can be used for both Flat and National Hunt, handicap and non-handicap races in either code. Each race takes only about ten minutes to run and a complete game can consist of just one race or as many as the players agree to before the off.

Players can contribute a small stake to a pot, or merely play for the honour of winning, that is having the most points at the end of the scheduled number of races. Also provided are a few Racecards with a mixture of flat races, hurdles and 'chases that you can draw at random to determine your schedule, plus a few single races which can be used to make up a schedule to your own design.

Each race has a field of twelve runners. In non-handicap races they all start level, all with odds of 11-1. Each player draws a single Bonus Move Card which applies to one specified horse. Players are allowed four bets, staking 4, 3, 2, and 1 point, in any order, on any horse or horses of his choice.

More than one bet is allowed on one particular horse and it is possible to place all four bets on the same horse. If the game is being run over several races this may be a very sensible 'desperation' tactic if a player finds himself well behind with just one race left.

Before the race each player may place one bet of any denomination, or may pass. All bets are placed at the odds currently applying to that horse when the bet is made. As the horses move up the track towards the winning post their odds shorten, as shown beside each section of the track.

Between each Turn players may place another bet, but this has to be one of their remaining denominations. A Turn consists of three phases - first, the Betting Phase, secondly players can throw in their Bonus Move Card showing the number of the horse subject to the Bonus Move, and thirdly, the Movement Phase.

In the Movement Phase two 12-sided dice and two 6-sided dice are thrown by any of the players. The highest of the two 6-sided dice is the amount of Movement and the numbers rolled on the 12-sided are the horses that move. If either of the horses to be moved is subject to a Bonus Move Card the Movement is increased by 2 for that horse.

It is possible that both 12-sided dice show the same number. In that case that horse moves twice the amount set by the Movement Dice. If it is also a Bonus Move horse and Movement is rolled as 6 this becomes 8 and that makes sixteen spaces up the track in a devastating burst of speed!

When one horse reaches or passes the Winning Post the race ends, with second and third places being decided by the current position of the horses. Bets are settled - a Pay Out Time! card is provided to make calculations for second and third easy - but basically you win your stake times the odds at which the bet was placed for the winner, and approximately one-half and one-third of that for second and third places. The player with the most points at the end of the game, be it one race or several, wins and takes the honours - or the pot!

Although the random element is strong play-testing has suggested that a fair amount of skill is also required. Knowing when to place your bets is all important. Waiting too long means that the odds shorten alarmingly, but jump in too quickly and your horse's number may never be rolled again!

Playing your Bonus Move Card is also critical. When a horse is positioned in the final six spaces before the Winning Post no betting on that horse is allowed and you cannot play your Bonus Move Card for that horse. So again timing is important. And a Bonus Card in no way guarantees even a place - some horses are often left way behind the rest and if you don't roll the horse's number it moves nowhere!

If you play your Bonus Move Card early all the world and his wife may jump aboard and you lose the advantage of your 'inside information'. Play it late in the race and you reduce the advantage of holding that card and other players may have already backed the horse at longer odds, so you are only helping them! But at least you will probably have placed a bet on it at good odds before you played the card.

The order in which you use your four bets - remember you must bet in demoninations of 4, 3, 2, and 1, and only one of each - is equally crucial. Do you risk your 4-point bet when the odds are long, when the horse is still a long way from the finish, or do you leave the big bet until it nears home, when the odds are only 2-1 or Evens? Much will depend on the state of the game overall, if you are playing over several races. Players trailing behind may need to take more risks to make up lost ground.

So far we have talked only about flat, non-handicap races. For handicap races the horses start at different points on the track, and their original odds differ quite a lot. For example a horse can start as short as 5-1 or could be a 33-1 outsider. This introduces several new considerations into the game because betting becomes more critical, especially if this race is just one of several scheduled to complete the game.

Three of the spaces on the track are shown as hurdles/fences. In flat races they are ignored. In hurdle races a horse that lands on one of these spaces must go back four spaces. In 'chases the penalty is seven spaces for the first two fences and if a horse hits the final fence it is a faller and is removed from the race.

Again races over hurdles and fences can be handicap or non-handicap, and a short-priced starter in handicap races (8-1 or less) has only two hurdles/fences to negotiate, so that's another point to consider.

Play-testing, apart from suggesting that the skill element is higher than anticipated, also showed the wide differences in tactics used by different players. No optimal strategy emerged but players quickly developed their own pattern of betting, which was interesting. Most agreed that three to four races per game was the ideal format, bringing into play not only the race tactics but also the need to consider the state of the game overall in the final two races, adding another layer of decisions to the game.

This game does work with just two players, is probably better with three or four and still plays quickly, if a bit more noisily, with eight or nine.

Enjoy!

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  • 10 Units in Stock


This product was added to our catalog on Monday 13 April, 2009.

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