If you’re really into horse racing, then there’s a great game for people who’d like to try their hand at racing and training for real, but don’t have the resources or time to do so. Starters Orders is a game that has been around for a while, but a new version is about to be released.
It’s a game that allows the player to breed, own and train a stable of virtual race horses and then to race them on simulated versions of the world’s most famous race tracks and races.
This is a dream come true for many horse racing fans all around the world – particularly as the detail is so impressive.
If you’re ever at a real racecourse, the starter always says, they’re under starter’s orders … they’re off … and the game really helps bring all this to life. So far, this is the best single computer-based game on offer for those of us who love horse racing. Racing is something of a neglected sport for gamers when compared with other sports like football, rugby, tennis and other racquet sports etc. This is perhaps because games generally go after the youth market ad horse racing is more traditionally a sport for slightly older people. But this is a mistake as racing is such an exciting world and the possibilities for gamers to get involved in planning as well as execution is possibly greater in horse racing than any other sport. That’s because there are so many key decisions to make before a horse ever gets anywhere near a race track – then there’s the event itself which is full of tactical manoeuvres as well as sheer riding ability. So if you put these things together well – you have a game which should appeal to all generations – which is exactly what Starters Orders achieves.
Starter’s Orders is primarily text-based, but the interface is superb and the presentation of the data is excellent. It’s quick and easy to access and assessing all the information you need as you make your key decisions regarding the breeding, owning, training, entry and riding of race horses in some of the world’s biggest and most famous horse races.
The riding in the races is particularly realistic and great fun – but as you get to play the game more – you get to enjoy the planning side of things progressively. And, of course, there’s also the betting which adds more than a touch of realism and of excitement to proceedings.
There are several thousand horses from which to choose – and all races are accompanied by some fantastically exciting and very realistic race commentaries.
Perhaps the races run over fences are the most exciting of all from a participation point of view. The Aintree Grand National is probably the single most exiting race of them all as the game simulates very accurately all the famous jumps at Aintree such as Becher’s Brook, the Canal Turn, Valentine’s Brook and, of course, the daunting Chair fence – the highest on the entire course.
As the horses line up at the start you get the same feeling of butterflies in the stomach as racing fans do in early April each year when the 40 runners and riders line up for the real thing.
The same can be said with Starters Orders for other well-known races such as the Cheltenham Gold Cup, the Champion Hurdle, the King George VI chase and many others. Then there are all the UK-based flat classic races like the Epsom Derby, the Oaks, the 1,000 & 2,000 Guineas and the St. Leger, as well as other well-known races like the Royal Ascot Gold Cup and hundreds of others. Further afield, you can also race in the Melbourne Cup in Australia, the U.S. Breeders Cup, Maryland Hunt Cup, Arlington Million, the Arc de Triomphe in Paris and the Irish Grand National. These are just a few good examples.
This latest version of the game, Starters Orders 6, is the first horse racing game to feature a full 3D race sequence. In order to accommodate this, the minimum PC spec requirements will increase and anyone thinking about buying the game should download the PC pre-release evaluation build. This allows you to see if your PC has the required spec to run the new game and you will also get a glimpse of the layout of the new game.
Playing on Starters Orders, you can also bet on the races that you train your horses up for and this may also give you a taste for some real-life gaming on the horses. Betting apps like the one from Betfair have made it really easy for people who like to have the odd flutter to get their bets placed wherever they are, whenever they want. For example, if you want to get a punt on the Ascot Gold Cup, you’ll find ante post odds already available at betfair.com today.
Starters Orders 6 is due to be released mid-May and will be considered a beta version. Anyone who purchases while it’s still a beta version will get a discount from the RRP, but the game will not expire when it goes out of beta.
Remember; the beta version will probably have a few problems associated with it and will probably come without a few of the features of later version that are yet to be completed.
The basic idea behind a beat version is that many gamers want to get hold of the new game as soon as they possibly can – so they’re prepared to accept that there will be a few “issues” at this stage. This helps the game’s creators as the first tranche of users are able to report back on any glitches or general problems and other feedback etc., so the finished product can be better honed.
People purchasing the beta version will pay £19.99, but when the game finishes its beta mode and Starters Orders moves to version 1.0, the price will be £24.99.