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Review of version 1 of Breaking Away

Criticisms of version 1

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An instalment in the rise of 

Fiendish Board Games 

to the apogee of apathy

The story so far

Plucky games inventor, John Harrington, and easily duped financial sponsor, Mike Woodhouse, collaborated under the trading name of Fiendish Games to produce version one of Breaking Away, the popular bike race game.

Despite having a few technical difficulties with the components, version 1 practically sold out its first print run of 100 copies, enabling the Fiends to invest in producing a second version of Breaking Away, the even more popular bike race game.

You must have made a fortune

Yes, we have, but not on Breaking Away.

It cost us about 550 to produce version 1 of Breaking Away in the early nineties. Record keeping is not our strong point but we reckon that we made between 300 and 500 profit on it. Encouraged by customer feedback and mindful of the very pertinent criticisms of the production qualities of version 1, Fiendish Games decided to reinvest the profits from version 1 into producing a better version of the game. 

Not being part of the car or software industry where new versions are given baffling code-names like "Cairo" or the "PZ3bX" we decided to call this one version 2.

For those of you unfamiliar with version 1 of the game, here are some of the details with pertinent criticisms attached.

Board - at school I was the joint-worst student in the Technical Drawing class. I was a natural, therefore, to do the artwork for the board. Actually, with the aid of MicroGrafx Designer software, I did not do too bad a job. There was one major design flaw, however, and that was the absence of numbered squares. This slowed down players' calculations when they were deciding on their moves.

The master-copy as provided to the printer chappie was big enough to accommodate the cyclist counters we had purchased. Printer chappies, however, like to photo-reduce stuff wherever possible to get greater definition or, possibly, to piss off games designers. Whatever, when the board came back the "definition" was great - lovely bold lines, and they had even added some rudimentary artwork free of charge - but unfortunately the size of the squares on the track were no longer capable of accommodating the cyclist counters unless one was extremely careful in their placement

Packaging - it came in a large gripseal polysomething bag. According to the supplier, these were heavy duty bags but I had a few split on me and I would not be surprised if customers did too.

Movement pads - low technology they may be, but they are cheap. Some lucky punters also got to write on the pads with the famous MidCon pencils, enclosed with their copy of the game, but my partner, who looks after the finances, soon exercised his right of veto over such extravagance.

Counters - We used card stands and thick cardboard square figures to fit in them. Some people prefer these to the new plastic cyclist figures. We still have about 1,000 bases and about 600 cardboard cyclist figures in stock, so expect a new bike race game from Fiendish Games circa 2019 purely to get rid of the surplus stock.

Rules - The rules generally got favourable reviews although whether this was because the reviewers were already familiar with the game from playing it by post, I don't know.

Part two of this article



Breaking Away

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