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Classic Rally Board Game Preview

This is a prototype version sent to us for our thoughts. No money exchanged hands. If you want to find out more about this game you can head here.

Racing games often suffer from one of two problems for me. They are either too complicated to be fun, or too simple to be interesting. A few games recently have found a nice middle ground, but I am always intrigued to look at new games in this field. Classic Rally is pitched as a strategy race game mixing hand management and dice rolling to bring the thrills and spills of car rallying. That is certainly something that gets me excited! let's get it to the table to see if it lives up to that billing.

Set Up

The set up and rules for Classic Rally seem complicated at first, but everything comes together smoothly and works in a very intuitive way. There is a suggested starting track set up for your first game, but you can lay the modular track tiles in any way you like. Sticking to just a few simple rules to avoid certain types of track being next to each other. There are a lot of different types of cards in the game, but they all make thematic sense. There are toolkits to fix your car, fog lights and wet weather tyres. To set up your vehicles, players will take it in turns to choose from the various options of modifications. You control two cars. One to race with, and a second support vehicle that can supply your main car with additional fuel and accessories when you share a space with it.

How To Play

The race works by players taking it in turns to roll three dice. Two are regular D6 than can hamper your modifications, and the other one controls the weather. This will either be sunny, rain, fog, or rain and fog. If you have the right tyres and fog lights, this won't make any difference. But if you risked it in set up to carry more fuel, poor weather may force you to deactivate certain features of you car. During set up you can choose two unique upgrades to your vehicle that will allow you to move an extra space when overtaking, on straight lines, when on a corner, or on each turn if you picked to be light weight. However, this power also has it's downside as it can be disabled in its own unique way if you ever roll a seven with the dice. The only other purpose of these two D6 is they disarm one feature for any dice that shows a single pip. So, if you have the light weight upgrade and you roll a seven with a six and one, you will need to disarm both of your features.

Once the dice are rolled, players can then play fuel cards to move one space on the track. You can play as many as you like, but must stop on a Hazard space, or if you want to fuel up at a service station, exchange cards with your support vehicle, or pick up one of the three checkpoints. Your support vehicle can move one space each turn without the use of fuel cards, and careful thought into how you move this car and where you can cross paths is crucial if you want to win the race. The game is won by the first player to pick up their three checkpoint markers and cross the finish line.

Players will also have access to one joker card, dealt at random at the start of the game, which will give them a one time use power. This could be to take cards from their support vehicle even if they are not on the same space, take any card (bar the Toolbox) from your opponents board, disable all feature cards on your opponents, or fix any malfunction or breakdown on your main race vehicle. The final cards you have access too are the Rood Book cards which have to be used at intersections. At the start of the game you will be dealt two straight on road book cards, one turn right card and one turn left card. They have to be used when you move on from an intersection if you have them, meaning a careful route needs to be planned at the start of the race, otherwise you may be forced to turn right when you want to turn left.

Is It Fun?

Classic Rally certainly hits the sweet spot of racing games, being strategic, quick, fun, tense, and not overly complicated. We found we were able to finish two player races within 20 minutes, perfect for games like this. I don't want them to be too complicated and long, but I do want them to be enjoyable, accessible, and make me want to race again when done. Classic Rally certainly does that. In a four player game, I can see this getting closer to the 45-90 minute game advertised on the box. It quickly becomes very intuitive as to what you need to do, but that does not take away from the strategy. This is a race game. But the core mechanic to me feels like a hand management game. Do you stock up high on fuel to give you long range? Or cover your self for inevitable hazards and tool up with the necessary kit?

I often found that the second strategy is more likely to bring you success. Hazards are unavoidable in this game, and they all slow you down. Flat tyres, fuel leaks, power failures... There are many hazards that could all bring your race to an abrupt halt unless you have the right kit on your boards. Stock up too much on fuel sacrificing the required accessories and you will pay. But, without fuel you cannot move. There is a balance here. You need to have your support vehicle moving into the right spot at the right time to refuel at the right time to make that burst for the line. The tension created from this duel car movement is very interesting, and crucial to both the success of this game, and making it stand out from the obvious alternatives within this field of games.

This is certainly a game I enjoyed playing. It created a beautiful tension every game. Across six games, all with different set ups, tracks, and opponents, I won three and lost three, but was never sure of victory or out of any race. Speaking to all the players I tried this with, they all felt they were going to win the race up to the final few turns. And this is why I think this game deserves your attention if you are a race game fan. A race game with a runaway leader is a failure for me. A game like this that feels more luck based that a strategic experience will always flop. Classic Rally succeeds in both these areas, it looks great, and delivers tense, enjoyable race experience that focuses your mind on your cars and cards from the beginning to the end.

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2 תגובות

Very interesting comment and deep analyse.

14 באפר׳ 2023
בתשובה לפוסט של

Thanks a lot, I appreciate that.

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