WBG Score: 6/10
Player Count: 2-6
Published by: Good Looking Richard
OK, before we start. Let me clear up what we are talking about. This is not the classic Sega arcade game from the 80s. Many of us have fond memories for this classic retro racer. For me, it was watching my old man flock straight to it every time we headed to the arcades on holiday in South Wales. I am not sure what pulled him in. The chance to drive a red sports car. The kicking 80's soundtrack. Or maybe just the occasional passing identical palm tree made him feel like he was on holiday in a far exotic place other than rainy New Quay.
But no, this is not that! This is a new card game. Nothing to do with cars, arcade games, or my dad for that matter.
Outrun is a fascinating fast-paced real-time card game that creates a true sense of tension. In what is essentially a dexterity-based race-game, Outrun brings some news ideas to the table, in a delightfully B-Movie style theme.
In Outrun, your mission is to literally outrun your monster of choice. Well, not literally, in card form. But there is a race! The game comes with four different monsters to set up against. All offering a completely different, and independent game. Bears, Zombies, Vampires, and Dragons. Although, you aren’t really trying to outrun the monster. That may not be possible. But you certainly should be able to outrun one of your friends! This is a game that seems to be based mostly on the classic joke about not ever needing to out run a bear. Just outrun your slowest friend.
To set-up the game, give each player the nine movement cards set for their character and away you go! There are 48 path cards in the game. Each one showing a different route you can take to try and outrun your fellow hero’s. The routes show different symbols, represented on the nine movement cards you have.
The idea of the game is that you need to sort through your nine cards, find the right symbols and place them face down in the order of the movement card as quickly as you can. Once you have done this, you must place your ‘finish’ card down in the center of the table. Once each player has done this, one person will check the cards have been placed in the right order buy each player and declare the points for that round.
The first person to complete this task correctly will be able to move their character piece the most spaces away from the monster. The number of spaces will be dependent on the monster you are facing and the number of players in this round.
Once the path card is turned over, this game becomes a simple race of hand-eye coordination, card sorting, and keeping cool under pressure! The task itself it relatively easy. But doing this at the same time as your friends, when your brain is screaming at you “they are going much faster than you, go faster!” is a stressful situation to be in! The player who can keep their cool best will inevitably win the round!
All this may sound pretty simple. The real-time nature of the game play wont appeal to all. But the actual mechanics of the game will come across as a little one dimensional! Well, hold onto your monster running away from hats!
In Outrun, the Monsters fight back. Interference cards are used by the monsters to make the job of running away from them that little bit harder! Each player will draw an interference card, and can decide if they want to play it against themselves or another player around the table. The interference cards will have multiple affects, but most make the job of escaping the chasing monsters a lot harder, and a lot more fun.
There are cards that will force you to lay the movement cards in reverse order, or simply switch the position of two specific cards if they come up. There are some positive ones that let you play one less interference card this round, or discard one. Hence why you may want to keep them for yourself. But most will be more troublesome. Like one where you must switch the second and third card round. So where everyone else will order their cards (for example) Spaceman, Cheerleader, Firefighter, Vampire. You will need to order them Spaceman, Firefighter, Cheerleader, Vampire. Which under time pressure, when up against a real-time competitive situation, can melt your mind!
Each monster will bring its own style and flavour to the table as well. The Bear encourages you to play the interference cards against each other to make other players escape that little bit more difficult. The Vampire makes the interference cards affect all players as the Vampire messes with your mind! The Zombie infects players with a virus, thankfully one that you can recover from. Mr. Romero had it wrong apparently. When one player is infected, they can infect other players and each infected player needs to use the special antidote card to remove the infection. Obviously, this is not true to life. We all know the only solution is a double-tap and to move on with your life.
The Dragon is my favorite monster to face. In Outrun, when all players have played their cards and their relative success has been determined, the player who acted correctly the fastest will get to run the furthest away from the monster they are facing. Generally, the player in last place does not get to go as far, but they can discard one of their Interference cards as a catch up mechanism. With the Dragon, the fastest gets to move five spaces as the rest are all caught by the Dragon’s fire breath and only go forward one spot. I like this all or nothing rule. It feels a little more dramatic. More tense. More fun.
Games of Outrun are fast. You only need to move nine spaces away from the monster to escape, and in turn, win and end the game. Each monster offers you the chance to move three or five spaces if you win the round. And each round only takes a minute max! An entire game could be over in 10 minutes. As such, we like to face off against all four monsters in a row. Or, as you can see from the comments below from Ian, one of the designers on the game, you can daisy chain the escape boards for a longer experience.
For what this game does, it does it very well. It looks great, the art is great, and is certainly suitable for the vibe this game is trying to create. The rules are light, simple, and easily explained. The theme is great fun. This game doesn’t take itself too seriously and there is a lot of joy to be had here. However, the experience can feel a little light, and empty of any strategy or the opportunity for clever play. But if you are looking for something fast, fun, competitive, and suitable for a quick romp you will find Outrun offers a lot of laughs.