I think we can all agree that rolling a die and moving a ‘pawn’ around the outside of a board is one of the most boring game mechanics around. But what if you changed that pawn to a race car, and instead of rolling a die, you had 6 different die to choose from. And what if instead of just going around the outside of a board, you cut in and out around the board and weaved around other cars. And while you and up to 9 others are doing the same thing, you’re trying to reach the finish line without blowing your car up… I present to you – Formula D.
Let me just start by saying, this board is MASSIVE. It’s actually not even a board, it’s two boards that you unfold and put side by side. This thing is over 3′ wide, and 2′ tall. Not only is this board massive, it’s also double sided! What?! OK, enough about the board. This game also comes with 20 individual cars, each painted a different color than the other. Ten indy style cars, and ten street racing cars. There are 5 different colors, with variations of the colors on each car. This means that you can play up to 10 people at a time, or do 5 person races where each player controls two cars of the same main color.
One of the coolest components of this game though is the ‘dashboard’ that each player gets. It actually has a gear box style section with a little shifter, that you move around to show what gear your car is in. Another cool thing is that for the street racing cars, there are ten unique drivers – all with unique skills and abilities. And to make things even better, the game comes with two sets of rules; a beginner rule set, and an advanced player rule set. Jumping from beginner rules to advanced rules is easy, it basically just breaks your car’s wear points (WP) into different categories, rather than just having 18 ‘blanket’ points.
Gameplay is insanely simple, but the choices you need to make can either blast you into the front of the grid, or blast you right off the board. All players will start in a random formation and in 1st gear. 1st gear allows a player to roll a 3 sided die with the results of 1 or 2. On a player’s second turn, they can shift their car into 2nd gear, and then roll a 6 sided die with results of 2 – 4, and on their third turn can shift into 3rd gear and roll an 8 sided die with results of 4 – 8. Eventually, if you plan it right, you can throw a 30 sided die with results 21 – 30!! However, you can’t go blasting through corners at maximum speed.
Every turn in the track has a number in a yellow section next to the turn name. That number is the required number of ‘stops’ needed to be taken on your way through the corner. For example – a turn with a 2, means you must end your car’s movement in 2 spots within that turn before leaving the turn. If you fail to stop twice, and only stop once, your car will take damage based on how far it overshot the turn. If you fail to stop in the turn at all – you went way too fast, and went off the track into the wall, and your car is finished for the remainder of the race. However, lose all your WP and you’re out of the race as well. There are a couple more specifics regarding turns, but you can learn about that on your own.
You can play 3, 2, or 1 lap races and even include pit stops. If you really want to get crazy, I suppose you can do more – though I’ve never played a race longer than 2 laps. Just like real racing, first one across the finish line on the final lap is the winner!
My Thoughts: This review is shorter than most I do, but this game is also very simple at its core. However, once you sit down and start playing it, you’ll understand the depth in the strategy and the important decisions you’ll have to make. Should I take the longest route through the corner in order to guarantee I stop the required amount, or do I risk it and take some damage in order to close the gap to the leader, or pull away from the rest of the drivers? If I go through the turn in 2nd gear, I’ll definitely meet the required stops, but do I really want to start the next straight away in 3rd, or would I rather be in 4th? These are the types of questions you’ll ask yourself each time you approach a new corner. I’ve played games where the person who started in 6th place out of 6 drivers ended up winning by the end. I’ve played a 7 player game, where only 5 players were able to finish the race, and one of the players was taken out by a die roll because of a collision check. I’ve yet to play a game where the isn’t some kind of nail biting excitement going on at one point or another. Sometimes I’m not even involved in the situation, but it’s still so intense! There are also a whole bunch of expansions available that provide different tracks to race at, and every expansion has a double sided board… one indy car track and one street racing course. If you think you would enjoy the racing theme and are up for some of the most exciting game play you’ll get from a dice rolling game, you need to acquire this game. If you aren’t really into racing, I still urge you to find someone who has this game and give it a shot – it’s really that good. I give this game a solid 9.5/10 because I can’t imagine a time I will not be excited to put this on the table, or a time where I’ll include it in choices for someone to choose what we should play that night. Not only that, the art is great, the quality of the components is wonderful for what they are, and it’s always a great time playing it. The loss of the 0.5 is that sometimes the rules are a little confusing when they don’t have to be, and it’s kind of a niche theme.
- Rating: 7.0
- Playtime: 60 min
- Complexity: 1.99 / 5
- Mechanisms: Dice Rolling, Grid Movement, Press Your Luck, Player Elimination, Roll and Move
- Category: Racing, Sports
- MSRP: $60