Thursday, 7 January 2021

Giro di Sardegna - Part 1

After our last Flamme Rouge tour, Catherine was up for another one - I think she's run out of old episodes of 'Endeavour' to watch - so I obliged by downloading a five-stage Tour of Sardinia from Boardgamegeek. Once again we played one team each, and had two bot teams - one Peleton and one Standard from the 'Peleton' expansion.

This is the course for the first stage - the 'A' tile is the start and the 'U' tile the finish. Red areas represent ascents and blue ones descents. Corners are immaterial in Flamme Rouge (these are races of 150km or more), but the game includes them because it keep the course on the table.

Starting positions were based on the results of our previous tour, so Catherine (Green), who came third, was towards the front, whilst I was in the left-hand position at the back (Blue). The Peleton team was Red and the standard team Black.

I took photos roughly every other turn.

The first couple of turns saw us strung out in a long line, with plenty of slipstreaming. Catherine and I were in the rear.

There was a small ascent early in the course, which broke the pack up a little. Black and Red broke away.

A short burst of speed and some slipstreaming saw us catch up as we approached the first major ascent/descent (Pattada). Catherine pushed herself into the middle of the pack, whilst I was saving myself.

We bunched up on the hill, but one of the Black riders broke away, closely followed by Catherine's sprinteur.

Black continued out in front, but most of the pack caught up with Catherine. We both had one rider each that was still struggling with the ascent.

At this point I made my attack. I'd saved up my higher cards for this point on the track - a long straight run to a series of ascents and descents that almost go to the finish. I would play these high cards, break through to the front of the pack and risk the final hills on my own with the cards I'd saved.


Except that everyone else chose to do much the same on the same turn, so all that happened was that I ended up in the same relative position as I was before.

We went into the final set of slopes, labelled as Burgos on the map.

The series of ascents and descents broke up the pack, which meant that a lot of riders were now accumulating exhaustion. I still had the cards to push myself forwards though. I fluffed the positioning though; in this stretch the descents can be used to give a good run at the next ascent, but I got bounced from the best positions to exploit them.

The final run to the finish. Catherines rouleur had burmed out, but her sprinter was still in the main pack. I had high cards saved up for both of my riders for a powerful sprint finish.

But the deck was unkind to both of my riders, and I failed to draw my best finish. I crossed the line, but other riders were faster.

So a fourth and fifth place to me and seventh and eighth for Catherine, who really lost it at the end. Red ran a powerful race for a first and second.

I scored the races at 8pts to the winner down to 1pt for last place. So at the end of the first stage the scores were:

Red 'Sprinteur' - 8pts
Red 'Rouleur' - 7pts
Blue Sprinteur - 4pts
Blue Rouleur - 5pts
Green Sprinteur - 2pts
Green Rouleur - 1pt
Black Sprinteur - 3pts
Black Rouleur - 6pts

Team totals were:

Red - 15pts
Blue - 9pts
Green - 3pts
Black - 9pts

Stage 2 involved another series of climbs and descents, with a massive climb to the finish. 

Somehow at the start I got out in front. This is not necessarily a good thing, since it means accumulating Exhaustion cards. The spectators were not thrilled.

And I stayed in front as we reached the first climb at Olzai.

As ever the pack broke up a little, with Catherine's Green team bringing up the rear.

The stage ends with a couple of serious climbs, so this middle sprint section was crucial. Despite having picked up fatigue from being in the front in the early part of the race, I decided to stay there. I pushed both of my riders as fast I could go.

My rouleur didn't fare so well; a bad run of cards saw him absorbed by the main pack, but my sprinter got well out in front. Catherine also decided that an attack was called for on the same stretch, and I found myself being pursued by her sprinteur.

The final climb was a slog, especially as I was running out of good cards to play. The other riders started to edge closer. Red was now in on the act as well.

I couldn't quite make the finish ...

... and got edged into second place by Red. Other riders were coming up strong, including my rouleur.

Final positions - a win for Red, but decent placings for both Catherine and myself.

However the race had cost us - we were both carrying a ton of Exhaustion cards into the next stage, partially due to my being out in front for so much of the race and partially because of how the pack broke up in the final third of the race. A rider keeps half of the cards they still have in their deck. Bots don't accumulate Exhaustion, so have a slight advantage there (offset by the fact that they basically play randomly).

At the end of Stage 2 the scores were as follows:

Red 'Sprinteur' - 16pts
Red 'Rouleur' - 12pts
Blue Sprinteur - 11pts
Blue Rouleur - 9pts
Green Sprinteur - 5pts
Green Rouleur - 7pt
Black Sprinteur - 4pts
Black Rouleur - 8pts

Team totals were:

Red - 28pts
Blue - 20pts
Green - 12pts
Black - 12pts

Stage 3 had some ascents in the middle, but some good long descents as well, which help burn low-value cards. The one at Orani was especially long and could be run over two turns if you get the positioning right.

Catherine's Green team and the hapless Black bot got to be at the front for the start since they had the lowest scores. 

Red and Black moved out in front from the start.

We reached the first climb, at Orani. I was in the rear this time, and couldn't break into the middle of the pack.

Catherine blocked me getting into the optimal descent position, so as we came off the hill into the next stretch I was still stuck in the rear.

We did the second ascent/descent at Olzai and nothing much changed. I was hoping to be in the middle of the pack at this stage, though, as my plan for the finish involved some very careful positioning, and it's harder not to be blocked when there are fewer riders in front of you.

I failed. I lost a turn negotiating the climb at Morgongiori, and the main pack broke away into the final sprint. Catherine was in the rear of the main pack, but I suspected she'd saved up some good cards for the finish.

She had. Both her riders shot out in front on the run to the finish-line.

But Red put in a final attack to take second place, depriving her of a point.

Since every place was important I still went for the sprint finish as well.

I still ended up in the bottom half of the placings though.

Catherine and I burned off a lot of the Exhastion cards we'd accumulated in this race, so weren't looking so bad by the end. 

At the end of Stage 3 the scores are as follows:

Red 'Sprinteur' - 18pts
Red 'Rouleur' - 19pts
Blue Sprinteur - 15pts
Blue Rouleur - 12pts
Green Sprinteur - 13pts
Green Rouleur - 13pt
Black Sprinteur - 5pts
Black Rouleur - 13pts

Team totals are:

Red - 37pts
Blue - 27pts
Green - 26pts
Black - 18pts

So Red is looking strong going into the last two stages, whilst Catherine and I are basically neck and neck. Stay tuned for Part Two, to see who will win the Giro de Sardegna.


  1. Most enjoyable read! Looks like a great game.

  2. Good reports. Just curious: when you say "I saved up my high cards" you mean that you didn't use them and kept them in the deck (not in hand), correct? Because you have to draw 4 new cards every turn?

    1. That's right. You draw four cards, use one of them and put the others face-up on the bottom of your deck. When you work down the deck to them, you reshuffle. The danger with saving all your good cards to the end is that they'll end up shuffled with the exhaustion cards you've accumulated, which work to dilute your hand (exhaustion cards are only worth 2, so cause you to move slowly)


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