Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Racing (everything else)

The best board & card games about racing anything besides cars, motorcycles and/or animals...

Also nominated:

For comparison, the top six games from 2002:



Blogger mark aka pastor guy said...

Intersting - the only new game in the top five won the category. (Deservedly - this is a very, very good game.)

Again, the voting was pretty clear - the five winning games were way out in front of all the rest of the games by almost double the votes... with the exception of Linie 1/Streetcar, which was a bit closer.

10:35 AM  
Blogger Kevin_Whitmore said...

Some good games here.

Lately my game group has been enjoying bicycle racing games. Um Reifenbreite is such a good game! Like many others, we have omitted using the deck of event cards. There is plenty of luck in the game due to the conspicuous use of dice. The additional luck element of drawing a good/bad event card seemed a bit too much to us. We use the variant rule that when you roll a 7, you must roll again, and if you get the same result again you cause a fall. We like this method. Also we do NOT use the yellow jersey rule, or the "cheating" rule. Um Reifenbreite offers some great decision points - when to draft; when to break away, and when to surrender your lead position to a bicycle behind you. Good stuff!

As good as Um Reifenbreite is, I finally played Breaking Away in the last year, and it has really impressed me. The sad bit about Breaking Away is how sub-par the production is. But the gameplay is quite good, and a polar opposite to Um Reifenbreite - absolutely no dice are used. Breaking Away is a bit old fashioned, as players have to use paper & pencil to keep track of their movement points. But it has received a warm reception from everyone I have been able to induce to try it. (But some flee when they see the homemade box.)

This past summer I finally got to play a full game of the legendary 6-Tage Rennen. Its almost cruel to list this game, as it is quite hard to find - and you pay collector's prices for it if you can find it. With 8 of us playing, and running all 6 races we spent a large amount of time on the game. I enjoyed myself, but also found myself thinking it might be even better as a four-player game where each player fields 2 bicycles.

I agree with Mark - Around the World in 80 Days is a great game. I especially like games with a literary motiff. This game may be a little more complicated than typical family fare; but it's not too big of a leap. A fine game to give to folks who you think might have "gamer potential".

Mississippi Queen has so many detractors that I am somewhat surprised to see it made the cut. I am a fan. The production is top-notch. If you can find the Black Rose expansion, get it. It adds some nice elements that you can bits and pieces of to your core game.

12:00 PM  
Blogger huzonfirst said...

Here comes that race game hater again! :-)

My picks didn't do too well. Then again, while there's plenty of games in this category I like, there aren't any I like a lot--Breaking Away is probably the closest to this, but I have to be in the right mood to play it. Still, it's a great design, as long as no one in the game is math-phobic.

Of my seven nominated games, only four made the list: Breaking Away, Vom Kap, 80 Days, and Mississippi Queen. Missing out were Dragon Delta, Tonga Bonga, and Zig-Zag. I added Fearsome Floors to my final vote list, so only two of those made the top five.

Unlike Mark and Kevin, I'm quite surprised to see 80 Days in the top spot. Not because I don't think it's a good game--I do--but because it doesn't quite fit its niche of "family game" quite as well as you might hope. There's a lot of fiddly rules and exceptions for what is a fairly simple game. Maybe this seemed more important when it came out than it does now because it was compared so often to Ticket to Ride, which debuted the year before, and usually lost the comparison.

On the other hand, 80 Days has the very nice feature of giving players the feeling that their decisions matter, probably more than they actually do. This is great for a family game, but I thought it might have been a problem with a voting crowd like ours. Still, out of the top five, this is game I'd be most willing to play, so I agree with the choice. I'm also part of the sizable crowd of gamers who feel 80 Days would have made a much better SdJ selection than Niagara.

1:25 PM  
Blogger Scott said...

Did Eselsrennen break into anyone's list? This is an older game from Doris and Frank that my kids and I have had lots of fun with.

8:19 AM  
Anonymous estoote langobarden said...

I'm a huge fan of Around the World in 80 Days, an extremely big fan of Robo Rally, and a fairly sizeable fan of Cartagena. So I'm glad to see them all looming large on this list!

Breaking Away is another favorite, one that has turned out to work very well with my Thursday night group of six veteran gamesters. We've played it often enough that we've even tried some of the variations, and recently have been getting a lot of juice out of the "staggered start" shaking us out of our usual patterns.

I also enjoy Vom Kap Bis Kairo (about once a year, it seems), and I hope to try 6-Tage Rennen and Dampfross sometime.

Nice to hear Larry mentioning one of my lighthearted favorites, Tonga Bonga! And racing around the tip of South America in Kap Hoorn is one of my favorite short courses.

Stven Carlberg

9:21 PM  

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