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How many rides to judge a coaster?

Discussion in 'Q&A' started by MestnyiGeroi, Sep 22, 2017.

  1. MestnyiGeroi

    MestnyiGeroi Well-Known Member

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    So I want to ask a question I can't answer. And probably no one can answer. But I'll ask, anyway.

    This summer I rode Dorney's Steel Force, and my impression after one ride was very clear: this is the weakest hypercoaster I've ever been on. But the park was empty and the coaster a walk-on, so I kept cycling round and round and round, trying different seats. Eventually, I settled on the front row having the best airtime, and after marathoning it for some time, I came away with really fond memories of the coaster. It didn't suddenly become one of my favorite hypers, but my estimation of it grew immensely. I think it's a really fun ride.

    But it occurs to me that if I had stopped after one or two rides, I would have left with a very dismissive attitude toward this coaster. This emphasized to me once again how arbitrary most of my opinions of coasters can be. There are so many factors that can change our opinions: where did we sit, was the train running fast or slow that day/time of day, what was the weather, how was I feeling, was the queue before the ride oppressive, was I stapled, who did I ride with, etc., etc.

    So my question: IS THERE SOME KIND OF MAGIC NUMBER OF RIDES THAT YOU THINK OF AS A MINIMUM TO GAIN A RELIABLE OPINION OF A COASTER? I mean, obviously if the coaster is terrible, one ride suffices, but for most rides is there a number you think you should hit to feel, "Yeah, I definitely got that coaster and know how I feel"?
     
  2. Hixee

    Hixee Flojector Staff Member Administrator Moderator CF Award Winner 2016

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    Personally, I reckon four rides is the goal on any better than average coaster. One in the front, one in the back, one random and a second in which of those if the favourite. That gives you enough scope to assess the ride's variety, and then confirm it with a second ride. Not always achievable (either due to time or effort).

    I think if a coaster is truly exceptional (either good or bad, I suppose) then one ride can be enough to get that feeling, although I'd argue a re-ride on a potentially good coaster is required for certainty (whereas with a bad one, riding it once is enough). It's the coasters in the middle ground that are trickier, but at the end of the day I'm not sure more laps will make any difference. Sometimes an average ride is just... average.

    From my recent trip, Wodan (Europa Park), Karacho (Tripsdrill) and Anaconda (Walygator) were a great examples of this.
    • Wodan was clearly a spectacular GCI from the first ride. No doubt about it. Further laps simply cemented this feeling.
    • Karacho is very middle of the road. It doesn't really do anything particularly special, and after the first lap I was left feeling a little underwhelmed. Lapping it a few more times did bring out some of the charm and I did forgive it some of the criticisms I had early on, but I still thought it was "better than average" and not "great".
    • Anaconda was very dull, and this was very evident from my first ride. A second ride later in the day did nothing to change my opinion.

    Somewhere down the line, I do think too many laps is a thing too. I think you either get so obsessed you can't see the merit in any other coaster, or the flaws in the coaster you're whoring. This is often the case with coaster marathon-ers, I find. Alternatively, too many laps can spoil the magic. Would Top Thrill Dragster still be as exciting after you've ridden it 20 times a day, every day, for a week? I somehow doubt it.
     
  3. DelPiero

    DelPiero Well-Known Member

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    Generally... 2 for me.
    With any well known and generally well liked coaster I'll always ride it twice, one in the front and once in the back. If I have time I'll try other seats, but 90% of the time my rides in the front and back have given me an accurate indication of the ride.
    The other 10% are usually due to evening rides elevating the ride from a poor early run.
    Those which are just OK I'll ride once and maybe again if my first ride wasn't bad.
    Things like slcs I get a middle row, brace and leave.
     
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  4. MestnyiGeroi

    MestnyiGeroi Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, your notion that marathoning can also distort has occurred to me. I recently had one- and two-hour ERTs on two coasters -- you know, when you don't even get out of the train, except to change rows -- and those two coasters shot up to be my number one and number two coasters. Is that a fair assessment, or did I brainwash myself with repetition? Was having the special ERT time part of the magic that influenced me beyond a normal ride? In the end, I don't know -- I just know those were my two best experiences on coasters.

    Now that I think of it, I can say the same thing about my current third favorite as well, only it was a walk-on marathon, not official ERT.
     
  5. Hixee

    Hixee Flojector Staff Member Administrator Moderator CF Award Winner 2016

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    Well this is the debate that comes up often, and I'm of the opinion that it is your memory of riding the coaster that matters. If it was late night ERT with a close group of friends, early morning excitement as you visit a new park, lunchtime coaster marathon-ing as everyone's out having food, riding in the pouring rain - all of those things will influence how you felt about a particular coaster, on a particular day, in a particular set of circumstances.

    In my opinion, that's the best way for you to rank your favourite coasters, as there's no fairer way!
     
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  6. Zek_Teh_Kek

    Zek_Teh_Kek Well-Known Member

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    3, typically. One on Wheel Seat, one in front, one in back (non-wheel)
     
  7. Mysterious Sue

    Mysterious Sue Well-Known Member

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    This is so very hard to answer. With most headline coasters, I have a good idea after just one ride but obviously try for at least a couple of rerides in different seats to make sure. But with a middling woodie for example, more rides might be needed to help tell it apart from it's siblings in my list.

    The worst thing about a huge time-sensitive trip or cred run is having only one ride on some coasters.
     
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  8. MestnyiGeroi

    MestnyiGeroi Well-Known Member

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    This is what I have been especially feeling this summer. I never like to rush a park. I have to ride everything (all coasters and whatever else interests me), and then I want to re-ride all the best coasters.

    This is why for me one of the hardest things in trip planning is deciding how long to devote to one park. I know a lot of enthusiasts can cover two major parks in a day, but I could never do that. I recently decided to give Dollywood two days instead of one, and I was so happy that I did. On the other hand, there are other parks that can be fully absorbed in one day and a second day would be superfluous.

    I wish I had a guide of all parks I've never been to with clear indications: One-Day Park, Two-Day Park, etc. :confused:
     
  9. Hixee

    Hixee Flojector Staff Member Administrator Moderator CF Award Winner 2016

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    It's almost as if there should be a forum for people to ask questions like that...

    Oh wait! http://coasterforce.com/forums/forums/trip-planning.11/

    ;)
     
  10. MestnyiGeroi

    MestnyiGeroi Well-Known Member

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    Heh heh. Actually, I think my very first post on this forum was asking if BGW and KD could be done in a day for each (I.e., in two days). The answer here and at the parks was yes.
     
  11. Sandman

    Sandman Well-Known Member

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    I agree that it's difficult to estimate properly, mainly because different coasters have different variations. For example, there are plenty of coasters that enthusiasts rate exclusively based on night rides. Some indoor/effects based coasters may be dependable on all aspects of the ride being functional. Those are the type of coaster you don't rate purely based on layout. And it could mean riding like 5+ times before you get the full experience.

    Also, on the Ploptrix live, I remember feeling like I had a clear judgement of Anubis after 2 rides. That was a ride on each of the 2 rows, so I didn't really need to go again to make my mind up. On bigger rides like Shambhala for example, I gave myself 3-4 rides to fully experience the different forces at different positions on the train.
     
  12. DelPiero

    DelPiero Well-Known Member

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    It's funny really as it does depend on the ride quite a bit. Someone mentioned the top ones you know after a ride, this is definitely true.
    I knew after 1 ride that Skyrush was my number 1 back in 2013, I also knew Toro was in my top 3 after 1 ride in 2015 and I knew Lightning Rod was my new number 1 after a middle row ride in April.
    There's some which do need multiple rides though, Helix underwhelmed at first but came alive at night, same with Taron, and Wildfire needed quite a few rides to fully appreciate.
    Same applies to the awful ones too, you know when you've stumbled on a really bad one, I've never re ridden anything in my bottom 30 for example.
     
  13. jayjay

    jayjay Well-Known Member

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    The thing with riding coasters is just how many different factors can affect your enjoyment, like how well you know the ride, where you sit, the weather, how tired you are, your frame of mind*. I try not to judge a top ride on a first go, since the quality usually diminishes with each reride. OzIris was a knock-out number one when I rode it first, but I questioned that on a second ride later on the front row. At the opposite end, I felt like I appreciated Helix more and more on each reride.

    My usual issue is how to judge coasters that ride unevenly. If I'd only done Taron on the morning of last year's visit, it would barely crack my top 20, but repeated rides at night and also this year, and it's right near the top. Colossus is one I've had mixed experiences with. Usually it's rattly and lumbering, but at a Live a few years back, it was absolutely on fire at night. Do I judge it based on that, or how it usually rides? I tend to go with whatever my most recent memory is.

    * I rank Sky Scream in my top ten, but is it partially the horror maze queueline heightening the adrenaline?
     
  14. Mack

    Mack Well-Known Member

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  15. ATTACKHAMMER

    ATTACKHAMMER Social Media Team Staff Member Social Media Team

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    3-4. I obtained my favourite coaster when park was busy so I knew there was no chance of a whoring session. Got a front, a back and a couple of middle row rides on Katun and it cemented its place as my number 1!
     
  16. davidm

    davidm Well-Known Member

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    0 - in these days of the internet, most people judge coasters based on a POV or someone else's stupid opinion of a ride posted on some social media?

    Seriously though, its very hard to do it fairly after one ride ; I recall where I've ridden a ride twice (second time immediately after the first ride) and the ride experience was markedly different - and I think that that experience made me realise that no-one's opinion means anything really, especially the more extreme opinions (either way) as the variables involved in any ride are so unique to that one experience (i.e. what Hixee&jayjay are saying above).

    That was a bit of a rambling way of saying "dunno it depends" then! :)
     
  17. Smithy

    Smithy Well-Known Member

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    If it's a great coaster, 1 ride is usually enough.

    Coasters that are great in certain seats it'll obviously take a few more, but then are they really "great" coasters if you have to ride in a certain seat to enjoy them as much?

    I honestly think 1 ride is usually enough for me to get a fair idea, even if on that day it may be running rough or slow.
     
  18. Howie

    Howie Well-Known Member

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    It takes.... however many rides one has on it, surely?
    Whether you've ridden something once, or a hundred times (or in some cases, not at all) you still make a judgment about it. Maybe not the judgment, maybe not your final judgment, maybe not even the popular judgment... but a judgment nonetheless. Semantics? Probably, but in the end all any of us can do is judge a coaster by how many times we've ridden it.

    Which is basically yet another way of saying "Dunno, it depends" then. :)
     
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  19. gavin

    gavin Administrator Staff Member Administrator Moderator Social Media Team CF Award Winner 2016

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    The exact number varies by coaster since you have to ride in every single seat before you're allowed an opinion.

    I've heard on a few occasions that my opinion of a s**t coaster is wrong since I didn't try the 6th row left outside seat at 5:27pm after rain.
     
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  20. Sandman

    Sandman Well-Known Member

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    Ahh, the herd mentality. A true classic. The amount of people who disregard perfectly good coasters just to fit in is actually worrying. It actually reminds me of one "discussion" that was had on a particular theme park page about "chinese knock-offs". Think a few people here might remember ;)
     

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