Posted by: coolerbecky | May 30, 2009

Vroom Vroom! Screeech! Vroom!

Day 2 of the Church Convention. After some morning lectures and small group discussions, I certainly am starting to feel like I’ve learned something about God.

The afternoon, however, is for leisure activities and I have spent it playing Formula D.

For those of you not in the know, Formula D is a board game that simulates the fun of F1 racing without the actual driving… and it… IT IS GREAT.

Formula D is played with adorable multicoloured plastic cars along a “racetrack”. The tiny cars come in all sorts of models, colours and sizes. Heck, by themselves, the tiny cars already make a great toy – you don’t even need to start playing the game. Still, since this IS a board game review, let’s get on with the actual review.

At the beginning of the game, you set the level of play and the number of laps you want to go around the track. Each player is given a gearbox, which lets you keep track of the condition of your car, including what gear you’re in at the moment – and also allows you to take advantage any powers you might have.

Like in real life driving, each gear you’re in sets the speed you’re traveling in – this is simulated by having a different dice to roll depending on which gear you’re in. The higher the gear, the higher the range the dice is… but this doesn’t mean that you can just keep accelerating – a racetrack has bends and turns in it and if you’re traveling past these bends too fast, you’ll damage your car or crash out. You can also overtake other cars throughout the game – the racetrack has three or four lanes. So, some strategy has to be employed to keep yourself ahead of the game, ahead of everyone else and preventing crashes.

Turn order is quite interesting in Formula D – whoever is in the lead gets to go first. This doesn’t actually completely translate as an advantage to the lead car, there’s always a chance that you can get overtaken by someone traveling at a higher gear. This keeps the competition fresh throughout the game.

Incidentally, in the more advanced sets of rules, the car you pick also dictates the type of driver you’ve got in the game as well as various physical aspects of the car. You also get to use stuff like nitro and driver powers. I really wanted to play the advanced rules, but couldn’t because we didn’t have time to do that. The game has two boards – a standard racetrack and an illegal drag-race map.

All in all, Formula D makes a great game if you don’t want too much thinking, but don’t want to play Snakes and Ladders. It’s not entirely chance, but not entirely strategy either – it’s simple to play and heaps of fun. Plus, it turned my church’s pastor into what I can only describe as an excitable kid as he happily pushed his little plastic car around the track, bouncing up and down in his seat and making car engine noises – if that’s not a good sign, I don’t know what is.

This game review is brought to you by Imagine Sanctuary, as they’re the ones who brought the game to the camp in the first place. You can get Formula D and many other games at their website

I’m totally buying the game from them sometime in the future – I’m looking forward to giving illegal racing a try.

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