Sixth place. That's what the sponsors have asked for. One lap to go. The little pink dots that represent the slick cars of Vroom Vroom Motorsport are in fifth and eighth. All I need to do is coax them round and that $118,000 bonus is mine.
And then tragedy. A shattered wing half way along the lap. Fifth becomes last. Eighth remains eighth. The cash disappears and I'm left to wonder what might have been.
This is the ice cold nature of Motorsport Manager. One second you can be flying high in first place, the next your tyres fail you and you slip back to fifth, cursing as you do.
But sometimes hanging on for a last gasp win can be more nerve-wracking than if you were in direct control of your cars.
That lack of agency sometimes curls up into hopelessness. Other times it spreads its wings and soars as a burst of joy when your pit strategy pays off and your driver takes the chequered flag first.
The game sees you micromanaging a racing team. You hire and fire staff, expand your facilities, work with sponsors, and generally try and make sure you've got enough money to pay people and keep your cars on the track.
That's easier said than done though. To begin with you can't afford the best drivers. Or the best mechanics. Or the best anything really. So you need to coax the most out of what you've got.
An upgrade here, an upgrade there. Get some more sponsors, try and get at least one of your drivers on to the podium. Build up your brand and try to make sure you complete the tasks your backers toss at you.
It's a compelling experience, but not so deep that it's going to put people off. You don't need a vast understanding of motor racing to understand what's going on, and you don't need to have a background in strategy gaming to succeed.
Once you're on the track things are a little more hands-off. There's a timed qualifying session where you need to listen to your mechanics, set up your car using nine different settings, and hope that your drivers don't crash.
After that you move to the race proper. Here you can tell your drivers to push it, stay neutral, or conserve their tyres. They'll tell you if they're having any problems, and you can push your luck and keep them out there, or bring them into the pits to fix things.
You need to keep an eye on your competitors, work out their strategies, see which tyres they're using, and try to second guess them with pit stops of your own. It's a surprisingly engrossing stretch of play, and the last stretches can become incredibly tense.
Then you get your cash, work out your bills, expand your business if you can, and try and get a little bit better for the next race.
Drive a bit more
There are contracts to negotiate, dilemmas to navigate through, and plenty to keep your fingers busy in short-burst play throughs.
Things do get a little repetitive, but there's a huge game to work your way through here, and if it gets its claws into you it's unlikely to let go for a good long while.Motorsport Manager manages to walk the line between number-juggling sims and the softer end of the spectrum, and in doing so creates a strategy game that almost anyone can have a crack at.