SPRINT
Diset, Spain, 1980s

 

A nice Spanish game, though the rules are a bit disappointing. They are written in eight (*) languages, but they are way too simple. I would even say they are unfinished. Too many options are left for the players to decide (which is otherwise quite common in Spanish cycling games: it is a matter of cultural ethics), and the rest of the rules are too obvious. Among these obvious or unfinished rules, however, there are rules for stage races, including time-trial and team-time-trial stages, so I place this game in the stage race games section.

The best about the game is that you make your own track. With 114 pieces, 4 kinds of sections & some optional surprise elements, you have everything you need to make a multi-stage race. I would say this is a perfect buy for cycling game developers. Forget about the rules and use the elements of the game to build your own.

You will need a big table, though!

I have recently discovered that there is another version of this game, released by Ardatz in the Basque Country, with rules in Spanish and Basque, which makes a ninth language. Follow this link to see this version of the game.

 

 

 

 

 

This is the kind of game that might be on my favourite games list since I like it despite all its weaknesses. It is not there , but it is a sure feature on the different games list (and most "different" games are also my favourites, just for being different). By the way, I have said almost the same about this other game, the description of which I have also rewritten this month.

 

 

Sprint uses a spinner (called "wheel of fortune" in the rules) instead of dice. The spinner is numbered 1-8, and there are 8 possible race incidents as well (when riders fall on blue fields, you use the spinner to determine the race incidents). As you can see in the picture above, the race incidents are described in four languages (Spanish, English, Italian, and French) but the rules booklet  is in 8 (!) languages, the other four languages being German, Dutch, Danish, and Swedish.

 

Here are the race incidents as described in the English pages of the rules' booklet

 

The riders are big and colourful, made from a stiff plastic (polystyrene?) that can break if you do not treat them with care. They are obviously inspired by the French Aludo figurines, though maybe not directly: there were plenty of different Spanish riders "inspired" by Aludo in the sixties and early seventies. These riders are quite big: they measure 55 mm (wheel to wheel).

 

 

There are four teams of three riders in the game, and the riders may be in any of the two positions (seated / on their feet). It has no relevance to the game. I have had over the time four different boxes and the riders' positions are absolutely random: some teams have two riders in one position (either) and one in the other, and some teams have all the riders in the same position. The rules mention that the hame can be played by up to twelve players (with one cyclist each), but of course some of the riders are undistinguishable (same colour, same position). In the best of cases, providing that you do not have a team with all riders in the same position, you will have 8 different figurines. So, if you plan to have twelve players, you will need to mark the riders somehow.

 

 

On the other hand, the track segments do seem to follow a regular pattern, though maybe not exactly the one you would expect. While the rules state that there are "114 pieces for assembling the track", having owned at different moments of my life 4 different boxes (including the one released by Ardatz) I am quite sure that if you bother to count them, you will most likely find out that there are 122 track pieces included in your game (unless, of course, you do not have a complete copy).

There are 32 straights distributed as follows:

8 pavé straights
6 descent/sprint straights (red)
3 different danger signs + 1 feeding zone (dark green)
2 mountain straights (green)
1 start piece (clear blue with circumferences)
2 intermediate sprints (yellow with lines)
1 finish line (red with lines)

And there are 90 curves:

42 yellow curves (flat road)
18 red curves (descent or sprint)
18 green curves (climb)
12 blue curves (race incidents)

By the wau, the movement rules (I could almost add "of course") are:

- move the spinned number on flat roads
- move half of the spinned number on climbs or pavés
- move the double of the spinned  number on sprint or descent
- spin the "wheel of fortune" (and act accordingly) on blue curves
- miss a turn on danger signs
- compulsory stop at the feeding zone

 

 

So far, so good (except that the number of pieces is not the one mentioned in the rules). However, I have noticed something weird. As you can see in the picture above, there are two kind of curves: those that turn to the right (upper line) and those that turn to the red (bottom line). One would naturally expect to find the same number of each, and that is what we find with the red, green, and blue curves. However,  in the four different boxes of the game I have had the pleasure of counting, there were 20 red-turn yellow curves and 22 left-turn yellow curves.

In all four boxes??? You must be kidding!

While I have not worked out the statistical probability of this being a random event (the fact that the number of pieces mentioned in the rules does not match does not exactly help to do the math), I am inclined to think that this is the way things are. So if you feel like counting the pieces in your Sprint game, let me know.

 

 

 

Back of the box with rules abstract in all eight languages.

 

 


 

 

One last remark: before I found the Ardatz version of the game, I had not noticed this mark in the rules booklet. According to this, the game is a collaboration between Diset and Ardatz, a fact which is NOT mentioned in Ardatz's booklet. This leads me to think that the game might have been originally created by (or for) Ardatz, intending to be distributed only in the Basque Country, and then it was taken by Diset, a bigger company from Barcelona, for its release in the Spanish (and hopefully European) market. If you know more about this, please contact me.

 

 

 

Description rewritten in August 2022.

 

 

 

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