Board game reviews, strategy tips & session reports
No. of players: 3-6
Amount of time to play: 20 min
Age requirements: 8+
Set-up time: minimal
Formula Motor Racing is a quick-playing card game that puts you at the controls of a two-car team. You must get to the pole position while thwarting your opponents. But look out they’ll be coming for you too.
Formula Motor Racing takes place on a small board that is marked with positions numbering one through twelve. There is one spot for each of the six teams’ two cars. You must position your car as close to the pole position as you can.
The game begins by choosing your team color. You determine starting positions randomly by shuffling each team’s card and drawing them. The first color drawn starts one car in first and their other car in twelfth. Then next color starts in second and eleventh. You continue to pick cards adding one car to the front-most available and back-most available position until all teams have been placed.
You always play with all six teams and uncontrolled teams can even win a race. If you play with three players you can each take two teams.
Each player starts with five cards and the player in first place starts the game. On your turn you must play one card and draw a new one. Play continues clockwise.
Many of the cards pertain to a specific color. They let you move them forward two to four spaces in the positions. When moving this way you also bring the car behind the car you moved. This helps you possibly move your car forward even if you have no cards in your teams color.
There are also cards that cause cars to pit stop or lose control and fall back in the rankings. Other cards that can hurt players determine their target randomly. Crash and spin out cards can move you to the back of the back or out of the race for good. These cards require a roll of a 12-sided die (sometimes allowing a reroll) to determine the target of the card.
The race ends when the draw deck is gone and players have played one last card. So when everyone has four cards you are done. Players in positions one through six get points.
You can run seasons and play as many races as you like keeping a running tally of your points. If you plan to run more than one race players should start a race in the same position they finished the last one in. A three race season takes about an hour and there are rules for shorter races, drivers’ championships and even a complete 17 race Formula One season.
Formula Motor Racing is quick to play, learn and teach. Kids and adults can both enjoy this racing game and have an equal chance to win. Just be sure to tell little one they might crash and lose a car.
The game’s components are very nice and even thought the board is not mounted the thick cardstock is good enough for what it needs to do. The cards are high quality while the artwork is fine. The rules are easy to read too.
Some people don’t like the amount of randomness in this game. But there is a good and bad side to it. Accepting the random factors in the game can help you enjoy the ride a lot more.
The randomness of this card game is upped by the die. Part of me really likes this. Not knowing who will crash makes playing the card more risky and adds tension to the experience. Trying to send the car in first place to a pit sop has only a 50% chance of slowing them down. The die rolls on these cards makes for a more exciting game.
That said the randomness means you cannot plan much of a strategy. The board will most likely change every time it comes around to being your turn. You have to react to the state of the board and make the most out of the current situation. Sometimes you won’t have the cards you need to help yourself or slow someone in front of you down.
While not too mean, there is some “take that” in this game. Players that don’t take things too personally will enjoy this game more than those that do. Playing three race seasons can intensify rivalries and make for more revenge scenarios.
If you like race car games or are looking for a fun game to play with your kids try Formula Motor Racing out. It makes a great filler and running a few races back-to-back goes by quickly. This is also a great game to play with non-gamers. It is so easy to teach you can explain it in minutes.
Score and synopsis: (Click here for an explanation of these review categories.)
Strategy 3 out of 6
Luck 5 out of 6
Player Interaction 5 out of 6
Replay Value 4 out of 6
Complexity 2 out of 6
Fun 4 out of 6
Overall 4 out of 6