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Wolfhound
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« Reply #15 on: August 10, 2014, 09:06:15 PM »

Oh wow, this thread has said it all, I thought it was just me! - I don't find the game fun anymore, I no longer look forward to seeing the race results as i already know they will be poor. I have never been very succesfull in the 9 years I have been a member but the last 18 months or so have been appaling and I simply don't understand why. surely I must have had some good horses but I seem not to be able to get them to win. I have tried different methods but nothing seems to improve matters. I especially can't understand why the few promising 2yo I have fail totally at three and almost no horse has more than a few months of running well anymore.

I always used to look forward to the big FF auctions to see if I could pick up a bargain. The last two years I have not bothered as I can't afford any more poor runners.And I did find them so much fun in the past.
I only want to sell now as I hope if I get the numbers down I can give more attention to the ones I keep. But there are so many horses selling is almost impossible. I have retired a lot of horses this year and will retire more at the end of the year.
When I first started there were about 8,000 horses in FF now there are 27,000, how many of these are retired or deceased I don't know but thats still an awful lot of horses for the number of active stables. Perhaps earlier retirement would re balance the numbers and make buying and selling a bit more competetive.

I'm not looking for a game where I don't have to put in any effort to play but having to spend so much time working on "balancing the books" spoils the fun. I want to concentrate more on getting the right horse in exactly the right race, rather than missing races because it's too expensive to send them to a distant track if its only a low level race. (getting rid of nominations would be great too if it could be done.)

I do want to continue with the game, I used to enjoy it so much, and I'm so glad there will be no taxes this year as I would almost certainly be bankrupt at the start of 2019. So perhaps next year will be a bit more successful.
And thank you Shanthi for listening and helping.
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« Reply #16 on: August 11, 2014, 02:20:19 PM »

So, first off, I hope this post won't sound too defensive. I understand that there are challenges with the game, and opportunity for tweaks/improvements, but at the same time I've devoted the majority of my free time to creating/running this game for most of my life, so it's kind of my baby. ;)

That said, if anyone truly doesn't enjoy the game or finds it too frustrating, please leave. I don't mean that in an offended "it's the best, if you don't agree you're out!" sense, just a "life is too short, don't spend time on something that's not positive for you" (especially if you're counting the hours until code gets better...I am, too, but as I've said before it's a very slow process to get things to the point that the Beta can be used for real). I want the game to be challenging, but fun.

Having said that, I'll try and hit all the points raised so far...

-  Barn size restricted again (yes, I realize I have quite a few of my own, but I wouldn't mind being forced to cut down...even by half). We have almost lost the buying and selling market because of over breeding.  I think if people were forced to sell or retire instead of hoarding and breeding every breathing mare we might get a market back with quality horses.

I don't want to do this on a game-level because what's a "big" stable? I might say that 50 racehorses is plenty, someone else might only want 20 (or 200).

That said, in the beta this could be a user preference. You could decide to enforce limits on your stable, and set the limits to be X/Y/Z. Would need to flesh out what happens if/when you exceed those limits (previously the game would just steal random horses until you got down to your limit, that seems a bit harsh for something you decide) - maybe you'd just get alerts on your stable page or something, telling you to sell horses.

- Less emphasis put on working out and shipping horses.  It would be nice if more emphasis was put on your horses natural statistics so less time would be required to "work on them".  I miss the GOT's...Is there a happy medium?

The only "emphasis" workouts have is keeping your horse fit (if you choose to do that between races). Workouts are not mandatory (people above have mentioned they never use them) - the can help maintain fitness, and let the jockey get to know the horse a bit better, that's it. If you like them, use them, if not, don't.

Regarding shipping, that's staying. I hope to add more races (and possibly racetracks) so that you have to ship less, but that also depends on how many races fill up (and getting everything else on the to-do list done). Boarding should help with shipping as you can just keep a horse at a racetrack and ship to the next track when you enter them again.

- Less nominations.  I understand this is in the works, but we are still required to pay them which is still eating in to budgets needlessly.  If we want a horse to run in any of the important Triple Races we have to shell out still. Therefore, some of the more than qualified horses aren't running in them because owners either forgot to nominate them or just can't afford it.  Then those who do remember and can afford it are getting to run in them with relatively no competition.

Nominations are going away with the rewrite. I'll see if I can kill them sooner - no promises, though (it depends on how much time it would take to kill them).

However I think my last nice stakes horse was with the old script;

What do you mean by "old script"? Aside from the bug fix for the margins that I did last year, the race code hasn't changed in at least 4 years.

I've been in FF a few years but apparently not long enough to recall barn size restrictions. Can someone fill me in?

There used to be limits on how many of certain types of horses you could own (I believe it was 150 racehorses, 10 stallions and 150 broodmares). If you went over the limits, the game would take horses away until you were at the limits again. I removed it because most people weren't hitting those limits anyway.

From my own stable's performance this year I had noticed that although our OTB % is the best it's ever been, on the whole stakes level performers have been few and far between. I'd put this down to not having such good quality horses in the barn and my best racer perhaps being past his prime. I never thought it could be because the energy balance (or something) has more emphasis - perhaps Shanthi could confirm if there's been any changes.

Nope, no changes to the code. (As a side note, I've noticed this trend as well - my horses kick butt in maidens/allowances, put the same set of horses in a stakes race and they flop. :P)

However, there's been a number of horses on the sales board (and leases) for several months. Perhaps there could be a limit on how long a horse could be on there for, maybe 3 months, and if the horse didn't sell in that time they couldn't be reoffered for another month. I think if you are selling a horse, you know in your mind how much you want to sell it for but if it doesn't sell at that price you have to make the decision to either reduce the price until it does sell, keep it and possibly reoffer at a later date or retire. There was certainly a few in my auction that I would have retired had they not sold.

That's planned in the rewrite - sales/leases will expire after a certain amount of time (probably 1 month) and you'll have to relist for a lower price if you still want to get rid of them (as obviously there's no interest at their current price).

Maybe there could be tighter restrictions on mares allowed to breed although plenty of unraced mares or those with relatively poor race records turn out to be excellent producers. Also, if newer/smaller stables couldn't breed any foals unless the mare had performed at stakes level that could take an awful long time and put some people off.

I'm hesitant to do this because mares can have so few foals, and each breeding has a chance to produce a crap foal or a superstar foal (higher quality mare/stud combos just have a higher chance of superstar relative to crap). Stallions get restrictions because they can have up to 30 foals a year (and to prevent people from retiring every breedable male to stud), but if you retire a mare after 2-3 years because her foals have been "meh" you might miss out on the MSW champion she would have produced next.

Thus, I leave it up to stables to decide who to cull. Personally, my rule is that a mare has to be stakes level herself, or have produced stakes level foals, to stay in my program. I make a couple of exceptions to this (mainly for rare-to-me bloodlines), but that rule helps me a lot when I'm waffling about whether to keep or sell a mare.

** I think you should be able to sell horses over a certain age to FF OR any age if YOU bred them. The amount you should get for them is enough to cover the flat rate for owning them so that it can't be abused.

Just a question - do you need to sell them? You can retire a horse at any time (and any age). If you have no interest in the horse and don't wish to/don't think you can sell it, you can retire it.

(I'm just wary of anything that hands you money from the game, especially if taxes go away ;))

** Most importantly I don't think there should be less input from players required, but as there have been changes made several times to FF perhaps we need to find out if there a lot of horses with talent going around and some stables are managing them better OR if it is all the management making even low quality horse run well? But I must say that I manage all my horses the same and yet they don't run like Ishka and Devil's Walk.

There's only so much management can do (positively - if you overrace your horse like crazy and never send it for a rest it's going to run like crap no matter how nice it would be potential-wise). There are probably more successful management techniques than others (using workouts to learn desired equipment/running style from jockeys, keeping fitness optimal, resting for the optimal time and no longer, etc), but perfect management shouldn't turn a claimer into a MSW.

Also there is a problem with the rest cycle. Almost any horse (but not over the hill) can win a stakes race so long as it hasn't raced for 3+ months. Indeed don't race a horse for 7 months and it will win any race at all you put it in and get a speed record in the process. If same horse is raced monthly it's a total dud. This needs looking at

I'll look into it - like I said, you shouldn't be able to turn a claimer into a MSW. Personally I haven't noticed this with my horses - I've given plenty of them lots of time off (inadvertently due to lack of time to enter them :P) and they may win a race but the next race (where they still have lots of morale/natural energy) they flop.

It used to be that you could stable rest 1 month and be good, and 2 months would almost seem to "super charge" a horse and you could run them for 5+ months.

The way I designed the code/stats is that - in an ideal world - a horse should be able to run ~10 times and/or spend up to 3 months at a racetrack (not a farm) and then its morale would be 0. A month at home should be enough for most horses to get morale crom 0 to 100.

However, if a horse has an easy 10 races it might be able to go 15, especially if it can run once a week and be OK for energy (as it would spend less time at the racetrack than a horse that needs 3 weeks between each race). Likewise, if a horse has very tough races, maybe it's at 0 after 6-7 races. Also, as morale can go below 0 it may take a lot more than 1 month to get to 100% morale again.

I do wish there was a way to "donate" horses to FF if they don't sell, for little or no money. But those young broodmares with 2-3 foals on the ground (and no runners yet) have too much potential to go ahead and retire. We need to consider skipping a year or two before rebreeding. But then the alerts will be fun. Maybe a "put to pasture for a year" status button would work? Ha. That's just my OCD.

Both of those things are an option (hand to FF for $0 and don't bug me about breeding mare X until Y date). I'll write them down for the beta.

Now I just wish we could enter more than 2 race days, because sometimes there isn't a good race. But that's just the lazy me who wants to knock it all out at once when I do it...

Also planned for the rewrite. :)

Yaay no taxes!
I'm also planning a new approach to selling this year's yearlings when they turn 2 in 2019: instead of picking the ones to sell, I will pick the ones I really (but really) want to keep, and sell the rest... the idea is to sell more than I will keep, but we shall see ;)

I try to do this every year...has yet to work. :P Maybe you'll be better at it than me! I can always come up with a reason that I have to keep this baby or that one.

As far as breeding and selling, I've always wondered if there should be a standard for BMs, but at the same time there are stallions now that are from mares that were practically duds. If there could be any evaluation of sorts that mares could go through, great, but I'm hesitant to restrict some BMs because they are wildcards in so many ways. What if there was a "if the mare hasn't produced a winner in 3 racing foals she retires" kind of rule?

As I said above, what happens if her next foal could be a MSW? (Technically every foal/breeding pairing could be.) That would need to be a user preference, I suppose - you might be happy with a winner in 3 racing foals, I might expect a SW in 5, someone else may want every foal from the mare regardless of quality, etc. So I'm hesitant to do that - I think it's up to the stable owner to evaluate their broodmare band when breeding and see if the mare fits with their program.

I've also thought about retiring being more standardized. Especially for the FF horses, since FF has so many. There are a lot of older horses running 1 minute+ for 2f in their races, which is so slow. Those horses are just over the hill to me, and it would be great to see them retire and give the other FF horses that have barely been raced a chance. Even if there was a notification that came up on stable pages like injuries/births/deaths/retirements. Maybe something that says "the FF trainer has noticed x horses has been performing poorly. She suggests this horse be retired." or something like that?

Right now FF retires mares when they're 7 and geldings/colts when they're 10 - I'll probably change this in the rewrite. FF entering needs updating anyway as it's meant to pick horses that haven't raced and it's ignoring that...another thing to fix in the rewrite.

Also, when we get new members, is there anyway that we can give them FF stock horses instead of making more created horses? Especially since so many of the new stables seem to disappear after a couple races.

Also planned for the rewrite. :)

I especially can't understand why the few promising 2yo I have fail totally at three and almost no horse has more than a few months of running well anymore.

I've had this (*cough*Bravado*cough*). I blame it on him maturing early, seeming awesome against all the other 2yos who are immature. Now that he's 3 1/2 most of his compatriots are mature so he doesn't stand out as much. I don't know if this is his excuse, but that's my hypothesis.

I hope this isn't too rambly/incoherent. holly, I've also got some ideas for GOT-like feature(s) that I'll outline in another post.
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« Reply #17 on: August 11, 2014, 02:42:35 PM »

I don't think you sound defensive at all :)

Some good information here and interesting points from the other posters. It's been interesting to see what issues other people are having and how different players manage their herds.

I think I borrowed your idea about only breeding from stakes performing/producing mares a little while ago although I do still have the one or two sentimental "underachievers" ;)

Out of curiosity I had a look at where the majority of my money's gone this year and the majority was on breeding fees and shipping mares, with a little bit of shipping racers outside of the English racing season which tells me I should try to cut back on the ladies a bit more. This year's colt heavy weanling crop should help with that. I probably need to be a bit more selective about which racers get sent overseas and try to only send out the consistent ones.

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« Reply #18 on: August 11, 2014, 04:06:02 PM »

Regarding taxes glad to hear something good came from my ramblings. Having a look at the numbers though the majority of my racehorse tax was due to the flat fee not actual earnings so I don't know if it would be too helpful.

I've studied the faq and n00b guide and spent plenty of time getting a workout system that works and overall it doesn't take too much time anymore but for doing race entries.

Extra entry days will be so handy as well as the multiple shipping option, which are the most monotonous tasks. Like imagine I have quite a few low level horses stuck at home and only the stakes quality horses go to America. This will be a serious handicap when my home breds start running, dangit. And I believe if the option of donating to FF came up it would be popular.

My plan with mares is to alternate breeding years, but as there's no way to know their quality I will be giving them all their fair chance. At least until I realise how unmanageable that is lol

Can I ask what are the GOT's you're talking about?
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« Reply #19 on: August 11, 2014, 04:15:16 PM »

Can I ask what are the GOT's you're talking about?

Grumpy Old Trainer report. It was a feature in the original race program (not written by me) that was originally used in the game. It had...8?...lines, I think, all describing various stats of your horse.

e.g. This horse breaks slower than molasses!
This horse has bags of stamina.
This horse could take or leave jumps.
etc.

You could read it and get a basic idea of what your horse might like, but they were pretty unreliable (I had horses with terrible-sounding GOTs becoming champions, and spent tons of money on really nice GOTs for horses who couldn't run their way out of a paper bag).
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« Reply #20 on: August 11, 2014, 04:17:01 PM »

Shanti you don't sound defensive, I think you worded everything very very well :)

I've been sitting on the sidelines reading everyone's comments, I had no idea so many people were frustrated with things. I've been here since 2008 (wow, 6 years already?) and here is what I have found...

We are having a very successful year this year, I think our best so far.. We have the highest OTB we have ever had and have the highest number of successful stakes runners we have ever had.. We have been fortunate enough to have bred and acquired some fabulous horses but I do think some planning, training and management play a big role.

Training/Workouts really do make a difference... Initially, when these were introduced our horses SUCKED because I was too lazy to train 100+ racehorses.. With that said, we have a very very light training schedule for all our horses (walk and jog only, and only 1/2 a mile of one or the other everyday) this just keeps there fitness up... I find if I train any harder then that, then their energy tends to bounce back very slowly after a race. The only disadvantage of this training method is that every horses is different and this training schedule doesn't work for all horses... Regardless, all horses are put on this schedule, if it doesn't work for a particular horse they are typically sold. This was really easy to set up, and I really don't ever touch their workouts anymore (unless someone gets injured or I get a new pony of course!).

I also feel that alot of people over race their horses.. Especially at a young age. Most of my 2yos have only run a handful of times because most are not mature enough to be successful yet.. Maybe it is just the lines I have in my stable, but MANY of my stakes runners did not become stakes runners until 4 or 5 years old.. I think that there are alot of late bloomers out there and alot of people race their horses like crazy at 2 or 3 (then giving up) instead of letting them rest/mature and racing them at 4/5. This is just what i've noticed with my horses, again maybe it's just my lineage :)

I also use boarding, ALOT.. My horses in general race every 3 weeks or so and after every 3 or so races I send 'em to the boarding farm (even if its just for a couple days)..  I used to be too lazy to do this, but it has helped ENORMOUSLY!

Just my $0.02 on racing/training


Regarding taxes - they are painful.. The specific tax I find most redundant is the yearling/weanling tax... Because you pay the 10% tax on the stud fee when you breed (broodmare tax) then you have to pay this 10% AGAIN as a weanling and AGAIN as a yearling.... So for example I bred a horse to High Chances, this is a $45,000 stud fee. I get charged a broodmare tax of $4,500. The foal is born and again I have to pay $4,500 has a weanling and another $4,500 as a yearling. All of a sudden this stud fee is really $58,500. I feel that this is a bit of 'double-dipping' in the tax world. I like the idea of having flat rate tax brackets... Kind of like the real world, the more money you make, the more taxes you pay.

I don't think we should be restricted on broodmares at all, i've had so many dud racehorses turn out to be phenomenal broodmares.. But I am one of those hoarders, I need to be better at retiring my broods and some racers... But I always want to see what that next foal will be like or that next race will be.. I guess I have a problem :)

I also don't think stable sizes should be restricted but I DO love the idea of setting a personal limit... Maybe if this personal limit is reached you can't race any more races until you get rid of some horses or something? Instead of taking horses away?



Shanti - I think you are doing a fabulous job with this game, I love it and that is why I keep coming back.. Keep up the good work!
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« Reply #21 on: August 11, 2014, 04:46:24 PM »

No Shanthi not defensive, you just sound helpful and thoughtful. You have put so much time and effort into this game and of course FF IS your baby and it must be difficult/annoying to hear negative comments.

I have to admit I have thought about just leaving for the last 2 years but I really have enjoyed the game so much in the past I kept hoping to do better if only I could work out what I was doing wrong, or not doing right. I feel better knowing it's not just me. Now i know i can afford to keep going next year i'll try different tactics again with what i have learned from this thread.

It has been helpful to know how energy levels work and at what speed they ought change. and good to know that at least some of the jockey comments can be believed (there was a time I believe, when you said jockey comments were possibly misleading) so I have pretty much ignored them.

I will definately be cutting down on broodmares too, ATM it's cheaper to buy them from the auctions (but not as much fun!)

So now my whole stable is resting for the next month while I re plan the rest of the year knowing I'll still be here in 2019.




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« Reply #22 on: August 11, 2014, 05:12:34 PM »

Very interesting reading lots of ideas/opinions etc. I really enjoy playing this great game and always look forward to see how mine have done each race day. Taxes are a painful expense each year and I'm happy that we won't have any this year. Going forward perhaps only stables that make a net profit on the year should pay tax?
Most of my time on the game is sorting out which horses should be entered in what races. Also keeping them all as fit as possible with workouts is very important but reading some of the earlier comments from others I could be overtraining mine?? 2 canters over 6f and a gallop over 6f plus walks per week for most of mine tho they do get race days off. I give em 2/3 months rest a year also.
I've looked back at one I gave 7 months off cause he'd been busy last year(winning plenty) he got beat in a 40 grand allowance race first time only to go and win 3 weeks later in a grade 3. Good job we are all different(horses and all) else it would all be easy and predictable and that's not realistic is it!
Keep up the good work Shanthi
Now I will review my training schedules lol

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« Reply #23 on: August 11, 2014, 05:52:17 PM »

Quote
Most of my time on the game is sorting out which horses should be entered in what races. Also keeping them all as fit as possible with workouts is very important but reading some of the earlier comments from others I could be overtraining mine?? 2 canters over 6f and a gallop over 6f plus walks per week for most of mine tho they do get race days off. I give em 2/3 months rest a year also.

I was originally training my workouts like this as well, but I found it was taking FOREVER for my horses energy to pick up, they were always tired... I switched up my training routine which is now (giving away my secret  :P)
Friday - Walk 1/2mile
Thursday - Jog 1/2 mile
Tuesday - Walk 1/2 mile
Monday - Jog 1/2 mile
Sunday - Walk 1/2 mile
I know it seems like nothing, but it (for my horses anyways) is just enough to keep their fitness up, along with racing regularly. With 2yos I sometimes change things up to try and learn a bit about them, but in general ALL my racers are on this schedule and so far it has worked really well for us.
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« Reply #24 on: August 11, 2014, 06:09:03 PM »

I second Kim, my schedule isn't exactly the same but my horses picked up when I made workouts much less  strenuous. My ponies also get boarded heaps and I only pay attention to jockeys once they know the horse 'like the back of their hand'.

I'd be all for GOT's if they could be more reliable, otherwise I'd be pretty skeptical, because you just never know...
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« Reply #25 on: August 11, 2014, 06:13:39 PM »

I'm quite a light trainer as well.

Mine do three days a week:

Monday Walk 0.5 miles
Wednesday Walk 0.5 miles, Jog 0.5 miles
Saturday Walk 0.5 miles, Jog 0.5 miles, Canter 0.5 miles.

Very occasionally I might manually override the day's plan for an individual horse but that's generally if they've had quite a long break and aren't quite fittening up in time for their intended race. When the English season is in full swing I normally try and get them up to full fitness then they ship home after racing and just racing them seems to keep them fit. I'm quite lucky that I can log in most days so I can ship the ponies home on the same day after they've raced. It seems to help them recover energy pretty quickly although the majority of the string are having an extended break until October due to me having RL hols in September - I'm already curious to see how they react to that.

Like Kim I generally don't race my 2yos much - if they've got slow opening fractions in their races they normally get put away until they're 3 even if they win - I've got two who are likely to have more racing later in the year, all the others will have the rest of the year off.

I'm not entirely sure how effective my training schedule is as we're not winning stakes week in week out but I have over 60% OTB this year (and last year) and noticed yesterday that the stable has scraped in at number 10 on the Overall OTB list so something must be working, at the lower levels at least  :P
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« Reply #26 on: August 11, 2014, 08:14:23 PM »

Holiday camps !! Lol
God I think some of mine must be knackered - they will feel better when the work schedules are made much lighter, watch for improvement at littlefield from now on :)

G O T 
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« Reply #27 on: August 11, 2014, 08:21:06 PM »

Joe, I usually work my horses out at 1/2 mile jog/canters if they're pretty fit. Otherwise they get 1-2 mile gallops. Longer/harder workouts shouldn't affect your horses negatively, so if your current workouts are working for you feel free to keep them going.
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joe0605
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« Reply #28 on: August 11, 2014, 08:40:45 PM »

Thanks- have altered a few and will see how they go for now
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Shelbie
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« Reply #29 on: August 11, 2014, 10:09:33 PM »

After reading through how everyone works their horses, I finally gave my kids a schedule and we'll see how it goes. I rarely gave them strenuous works but I was going in and doing it by hand almost every day, working each horse a little differently because apparently I'm INSANE. We'll see how this works out!
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