Auf Trab im Sulkydrom

Every weekend the sulky drivers meets at the trotting course where they have great fun finding the latest champion. He who knows how to trot, is able to bring other horses to galopp, and brings the Joker into play at the right time, will stay in front.
Depending on the desired playing time one of following winning criteria may be chosen:
  1. The first one over the goal line.
  2. The first to accumulate 64 points (minor champion = 2-4 races / 40-160 minutes).
  3. The first to accumulate 128 points (major champion).
  4. The first to reach two victories (1 Victory plaque is awarded per victory).

Tempo Cards
32 Horse cards and 16 Position cards
Shuffle and distribute the cards equally among the players * ; any surplus is discarded and placed on the space marked "Tempokarten".
Each player looks through his cards, sort them into the desired order and places the cards in two separate stacks* face down on the table in front of him. Since the cards cannot be viewed again until drawn is the packing order very important. Each player may use his own stratetic skills to find the best order of his given cards.
A) The player on the highest numbered starting space begins the race by playing a Tempo card (Horse or Position). He draws the wanted card 'blind' from one of his decks*, turns it over and places it openly in the discard pile (Tempokarten). NB: There are special rules for the Joker/Galopp cards.
B) The player with the leading sulky (in position 1) is the first to move the designated number of lenghts (Längen) [a space divided into two half lenghts], then the player in 2nd position moves etc. When several sulkys are on line will the player in the inner track move before the outer ones; ie: at the starting line is lane (bahn) 1 in position 1, lane 2 is in position 2 etc.
C) When all players have moved their sulkys (it is allowed to move only parts of the designated number of lenghts or not move at all) takes the next player in the play order against the clock (same direction as the racetrack) his turn by drawing a card.
D) JOKER/GALOPP CARDS. The player may one of these cards before he plays his Tempo card*.
If he plays the Joker may he move his horse two lenghts forward.
If he plays the Galopp card he places it on the Owner card (Eignerkarte) of a fellow player and this horse cannot use the next played Tempo card.
Either card can be used once during each race, and no horse may receive more than one Galopp card during each race.
E) The Owner card (Eignerkarte) shows who each horse belongs to.
F) CHANGING LANES. The horse must use at least one full lenght in order to move to the nearest space (half a lenght) forward into the next lane to the left or right (see the examples of play). [As I interpret the examples - especially #3 - the sulky must first move sideways, then forward in the new lane].
This game is perfectly suited for betting. It is easy to implement the betting rules from the real-life trotting tracks to this game.
Example 1: The START
The player of H (Happy Days) has the highest starting number and therefore begins the game. He playes the Tempo card shown in example 1. Since all horses are in line, the rule of 'inner before outer lane' takes effect: A moves one and a half lenght straight forward. B moves two full lenghts (four half-spaces) forward. C doesn't move (0 lenghts). D moves 3 lenghts: 1 forward, 1 lane change, 1 forward. E moves a half lenght forward, changes lane and moves forward 1 lenght. G moves forward half a lenght (1 space). H moves forward 1 space, makes 2 lane changes and continues 1 lenght forward. The horse Forecast is not participating in this race.
In the first curve has the driver of Casino placed himself in 4th position and it is his turn to play a card. First he plays a Galopp card on Green Spirit whereafter he plays the following Position card (see example 2): P1 (D), P2 (E) and P3 (B) doesn't move. P4 = C moves four lenghts: 1 straight out, 2 lane changes and another straight out. P5 = G cannot move because of the Galopp card. P6 = A can neither move forward or change lane this turn. P7 = H makes 1 lane change and 1 straight forward.
On the straightaway has Bandit position 7 and is in turn. First he plays his Joker which he uses to make two lane changes, then he plays the following Horse card (see example 3): P1 = A has already reached the finishing line (the sulky is placed on the 1-space next to the track, his chit is placed on the score track at 32 points, and the player receives a victory plaque). P2 = C moves 0 spaces. P3 = G can neither move forward nor change lane since the gap between C and H is less than 1 lenght). P4 = H moves forward one and a half lenght. P5 = D moves forward 2 lenghts. P6 = B moves forward 3 lenghts and goes past the finish line. His sulky is placed on the 2-space and his chit at 24 points on the scoring track. P7 = E moves half a lenght.
Before the second race: When all placings have been determined and the owners have placed their chits on the scoring track, can the 2nd. race begin. The sulky which came last in the first race, begins the second race in 1st position; the second last sulky begins in position 2 etc.
Game value: invaluable [designer's rating]
Individual changes to the rules are allowed and preferred.
Idea: HOLGER THIESEN ©1998   Co-designers: Cordula Schau & Olaf Schröder

Translation: Mik Svellov - 1999 v1.1

*) The rules doesn't state whether the cards are mixed together or shuffled in two separate decks, but I assume that the latter is correct. I also assume that he must take the top card; and that he must reveal the card immediately after drawing it.