Let me start by stating that to play the Turf game you don’t really need to do much in the way of planning. You can simply decide where to go, go there and grab a few zones. However, once bitten by the Turf-bug, you find may find yourself getting a bit more serious. Perhaps, trying to take as many zones as you can in the shortest time possible, your bicycle pedals a-blur as you pelt full speed for the next zone, and the next, and the next. Personally, I like planning my turfing adventures, even if only to take a handful of zones in my local area. And my planning always starts on the computer.
The first thing I do is pull up the Turf map and decide what area I intend to go turfing and create an approximate route. I’ll then zoom in and look in detail at the streets around each zone, keeping an eye out for footpaths, possible shortcuts through hidden alleyways and so on. A wise man also checks that the zones, particularly new zones, actually have access. Occasionally you may find a zone totally enclosed by a high fence with locked gates.
I’ll also look at the surrounding area, just in case I have more time than I planned for and can look for further zones. Next I check the weather forecast, to see what clothing will be required and also if ice or snow is forecast. Icy roads or pavements and riding bicycles tend not to go very well together. Lying snow isn’t usually an issue as I can always take the Surly Pugsley fat bike.
Then it’s onto the tools of the trade, such as bicycle and mobile phone, and I have a short checklist I run through before each Turf adventure.
- Bicycle – tyres, brakes, chain, tools and spares.
- Bike lights – charged, working and on the bike!
- Phone – check working and battery fully charged.
- Power Pack – fully charged, working, remember cable.
- Food and drink – water bottle full and plenty of grub.
- Clothing – hat, gloves, spare clothing, waterproofs.
- Safety – advise others where heading and for how long.
It’s also worth looking at the zones themselves and give some thought to the points on offer. Any given zone can offer a range of points depending on its status. At the start of a new round, the zone will have a set number of points but also a neutral bonus of 50 points. Once taken it will only have the assigned points and no bonus. If you re-visit a zone that you own you only get half the points value.
Where the zone is located is also important from the points point-of-view. A single or small number of isolated zones may not be worth the effort, particularly if difficult to reach. But on the other hand, if you put the effort into taking them, you may retain them for a longer if other turfers are less inclined to visit them. It can get quite complicated and unless you can write a computer program to determine the best route to follow, I usually don’t bother all that much and just enjoy playing Turf.
If you are keen to rack up points to get that next rank or perhaps just totally addicted to Turf, an important consideration is the number of zones in any given area. For example, Edinburgh, being a large city has plenty of zones to keep you busy for an entire round, whereas, for example, the entire region of Midlothian, would be exhausted within a few days at most. So, obviously, if you want points go where the zones are.
Something else worth considering is what time of day, or night, is best for taking zones. Taking zones during the day is usually easier than in the dark, though having said that if you know the area well, perhaps having already taken the zones on previous occasions, you may find that after-dark is ideal for you. The streets are quieter, traffic may be less and there will probably be fewer turfers about as well. In daylight hours you also have to contend with other users such as dog walkers, cyclists, runners and pedestrians talking on mobile phones and oblivious to you ringing your bell behind them.
You may also be able to use the weather forecast to your advantage. For example, turfers may be less inclined to venture out during inclement weather, particularly when rain. So, if you head out turfing the evening or night before rain is forecast, you may hang on to those zones longer, accruing more points per hour. Similarly, zones taken on a Sunday evening or overnight, may have less turfers out on the Monday as it’s a working day. Every little helps.
Planning may seem a chore but need not be so. Just look at it as part of the game, a part than might make all the different between getting that next rank, that desirable medal or that pole position on the region toplist. Happy turfing!
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