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Brief summary of the rules

Instructions for the computer version

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QBasic version


About this program

This is a computerised version of Breaking Away, written in QBasic by George Crawshay. You may download it for free, but should you feel inclined you may wish to send 2 to Fiendish Board Games (1 Churchbury Close, Enfield, Middlesex, EN1 3UW) to reward the author for his efforts. If sending a cheque, please make the cheque payable to George Crawshay. The software may be freely distributed but may not be sold. Copyright on the software remains with George Crawshay and copyright on the game Breaking Away remains with John Harrington.

Neither George Crawshay nor anyone affiliated with Fiendish Board Games accepts any responsibility for anything nasty that happens to you or your computer as a result of using this file, although frankly we’d be very surprised if something untoward did happen (the file has been virus-checked but we suggest you check it yourself too).

Downloading the game file

To download the file, click on the hyperlink BA.BAS and save it to the directory where you habitually store your games.

Running the file

In order to run the program you need to have QBasic. Just start up QBasic, open BA.BAS and away you go.

Brief summary of the rules to Breaking Away

1. You control a team of 4 cyclists of varying ability. Your team competes against 5 other teams (controlled by the computer) in an attempt to score the most points in the sprint stages.

2. There are three sprint stages. The first two sprint stages score points as follows: 1st cyclist gets 10 points, 2nd gets 8, 3rd gets 6, 4th gets 5, 5th gets 4, 6th gets 3, 7th gets gets 2 and 8th gets 1 point. In the third (and final) sprint stage the points for the first 8 cyclists are doubled (i.e. first gets 20 points instead of 10, 2nd gets 16 points instead of 8, etc.)

3. Points are allocated to riders as they cross the line. In other words, the game uses a "first past the post" scoring system, not a "furthest past the post" scoring system.

4. Sprint finish lines can be found on square 33, square 73 and square 100. (You have to pass these squares to score points)

5. Each turn, each cyclist (starting with the leader and working back through the field) gets to play one "card" from his hand to determine how many squares he moves.

6. At the end of the turn, each cyclist’s hand is replenished with a replacement card, the value of which is determined by how many cyclists he is slipstreaming. To work out how many cyclists your man is slipstreaming, count up (starting with the square directly in front of your rider) how many cyclists there are in front of him and STOP counting when you come to an empty square (i.e. an empty square breaks the slipstream).

7. Except in the case of leaders (see below), the replacement card always has a minimum value of 3, to which is added the number of cyclists the rider is slipstreaming. So, if your rider is slipstreaming behind 7 cyclists he gets a basic value of 3 plus 7 for the slipstreaming bonus, for a replacement card of 10 (7 + 3).

8. There is a special rule for the leader. If he is on his own in the lead he is said to have broken away and instead replenishes his hand with a card equal to his lead over the second placed cyclist.


The program starts with a title screen. It loads a bit slow on older machines (e.g. 486/33) but there’s nothing you can do to speed it up, you’ll just have to grin and bear it. On more modern machines it loads in a relative trice, if there is such a thing.

Do you want a special random seed?

Answer "Yes" if you want to play the same starting scenario over and over again to see whether you want to improve your performance, otherwise choose "No".

How many teams?

Enter a number from 2 to 6. I see no reason why you should not always choose 6, as the game plays very briskly.

Which colour do you want?

Choose a colour by typing in a letter.

Random selection for your initial move set-up?

If you answer "Yes", the computer will choose the allocation of movement cards for each of your cyclists. It’s probably best to answer "Yes" for your first game.

If you answer "No", you get to choose your own cards, subject to the following constraints.

Cyclist 1 is special in that he is allowed to have 3 OR 4 cards in his hand. Choose 4 if you want your top rider to have more tactical options open to him, and 3 if you want him to have more speed.

You then choose the value of the cards for each cyclist’s hand. Note that no card at the beginning of the game may have a value higher than 15 (during the race cyclists may well pick up cards worth more than 15)

There are limitations on the total value of each cyclist’s movement cards at the beginning. Cyclist 1 is allowed cards up to the aggregate value of 30; cyclist 2 is allowed cards up to the aggregate value of 25; cyclist 3 is allowed cards up to the aggregate value of 20 and cyclist 4 is allowed cards up to the aggregate value of 16. (The numbers are indicated in brackets on screen during the set up process).


If you are not happy with your selection you get the chance to do it all again.

Instructions for the race

The computer will randomly choose which cyclist starts. As each cyclist moves, the value of the card just played will be displayed in the centre of the track and the cyclist counter will take up its new position on the race circuit.

Once you have digested this information, press Return and the next cyclist will move.

Sooner or late, the computer will prompt you to choose a card for one of your cyclists.

At the bottom of the screen are the "hands" for each of your cyclists. When prompted to play a card, look at the relevant cyclist’s hand and choose one of those cards to play. Type in the value of the card you have selected.

That's about it. Keep going until the race ends, at which point the program will show you how many points each cyclist earned and how many points each team earned. The team that scores the most points is the winner; in the event of a tie then the tied team that has the highest placed finisher wins.



Breaking Away


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