***This review is based solely on the beginner rules***
Formula D is a Formula racing game for 2-10 players that plays in 30 minutes or more. It’s great for ages 8 and up as it is a low complexity game.
In Formula D you are race car drivers for either a Formula Race or and illegal street race, the game comes with a set of cars for each. There are also 7 different sized dice (d4, d6, d8, d12, d20, d30, and a black d20) These represent the gears of your vehicle. When in first gear you roll the four sided die (d4), when in second you roll the six sided die (d6) and so on. The special black die is for wear your car may receive for various circumstances. Lastly each player takes a board with a gear shift area and a wear track with pegs for each.
Players choose their cars and how many laps they want to complete. After each driver has chosen their car they are lined up behind the starting line and starting with the player at the front each driver will roll the four sided die and move the amount of spaces rolled. Cars can move straight or change lanes (there are three lanes) to maneuver into a better position. After everyone has taken their turn the car furthest ahead starts the next round followed by the next car behind and so on. Drivers can chose to shift up to the next gear to gain some speed and potentially move further ahead. To do this they move their gear shift peg up to the next gear and roll the next die up (if they move into second gear they roll the d6, 3rd = d8, 4th = d12, 5th = d20, 6th = d30).
Each turn on the circuit has a number printed on it. This represents how many times a driver must end their turn within the turn area to avoid taking damage. 1 stop is most common which means a driver must stop once within the red turn area. This may mean that the driver has to shift down in order to guarantee that they slow enough to not blow right through the turn. After their stop they can shift up and gain some speed out of the turn.
That sounds easy…..hears the tough part. All cars start with 18 wear points (health) and will lost wear throughout the race. If you end your move directly behind or beside another car you will have to roll the black die which may mean you take damage. If you don’t stop enough at a turn you will lost wear for each space past the red area you travel (five spaces past means 5 damage). If you stop only once at a 2 stop turn, or only twice at a 3 stop turn this happens as well. If you do not stop at all on a 2 stop turn or once or less at a 3 stop turn you crash and you are out of the race. If you roll a 20 on a d20 or 30 on the d30 you are straining your engine and lose 1 wear point. If you need to slow down faster than your die allows you can hit the brakes which will also take 1 wear point for everyone space that you don’t travel from your roll. But don’t worry about all of this damage, there is a pit-stop on the board as well that you can pull in to to repair your car.
Drivers continue around the circuit until the reach the finish line at the end of the amount of laps agreed upon. The first driver to cross wins, but drivers must continue to cross to find out who was 2nd and 3rd etc.
After you have played the beginner game you can play the advanced rules which add the ability to customize your cars, use pre-generated characters, Drafting, road debris, tire types to modify your rolls. There are also variations for a single lap race. You can also purchase extra track expansion packs to give you more race options. Each track may also have weather effects that change car handling and die rolls. This opens up the game for points over a number of races leading to a championship.
My Thoughts: I went to my favourite game store to meet a friend for a game and I got there much earlier than he did so I had some time to choose a game and learn the rules. Formula D is what I chose and began looking over the rules. I am not usually that great at learning games from just reading a rule book, I usually have to play to get it. But I was surprised by how simple the game was and how quickly I was able to pick it up. The rule book is layed out well and goes through everything in a nice linear fashion, and it only took me about 5-10 minutes to figure out what was going one and about 5 more to tell my friend. That being said, this was just the beginner rules but there is plenty of game in beginner mode.
One of the best things about the game is that no matter what you do you have a chance to win. My friend and I were neck and neck through out the race and even when I blew passed him on a straight away he was able to catch up on a turn. One race I had with my wife and mom, my wife spent most of the race behind us with my mom and I neck and neck. I was driving a bit recklessly and taking damage, my mom was driving responsibly and not taking any. I had to stop in the pits but didn’t have to wait long and was actually able to continue the race in the lead. My wife used the pit stop later but had to wait until my mom’s car passed before she was able to leave. I say all of this to then tell you that after being behind, and waiting in the pit-stop my wife was still able to pull ahead at the last stage and beat us. No matter what is happening you’re always in the race.
The components are great. The cars are a little tiny, smaller than micro machines if you remember those, but with the size of the board you wouldn’t be able to make them much bigger. The board is actually made up of two nice thick full sized game boards, with a city Formula track printed on it, that you put side by side so this has a large footprint. The gear box and player cards are great quality and fairly durable, and having the gear shift is fun. The dice are nice, the numbers are etched and not just printed on so they’ll last a nice long time and each is a different colour pertaining to the gear that it represents. They are custom having only specific numbers on each which means that if you lose one you will have to replace the whole set by buying a new Formula D dice set at a game store or online.
After playing with my friend at the game store we went our separate ways and went on with our lives. But I could not get over how great the game was. That week I went onto a game swap Facebook group that I frequent and found someone that would trade their copy of Formula D for one of my games so I couldn’t do that fast enough, and now I own my copy of the game and I am very happy.
For the Parents:
Sexual Content: None.