Buckle up, buddy! You will get to experience what it is like as a rally driver in Classic Rally Board game! The crowdfunding campaign Classic Rally Board Game will be held on soon on Gamefound. It is designed by Filipe J Freitas who was inspired by the classic motorsport of the same name. Vroom vroom!
Background and goal
As in many editions of the classic rally sport, players of this game have to assemble car equipment, maintain their car, plan and navigate a route, be smart with their equipment in order to be the first to reach all checkpoints and race across the finish line first.
At the start of the game, players will map out the route together. Literally. The route consists of several square tiles with a section of road. There are straights, turns and intersections. Some tiles show traffic signs corresponding to a hazard on the road, a service station to refuel and a checkpoint. The version of the rules included in this prototype offered a preview of an already mapped out route, but players can work together by taking turns placing tiles to create a new route each time. The pictures in this review are the pre-mapped route from the rules and give a good representation of the situations players can potentially expect during a game: multiple routes to the checkpoints, a dead end and alternating stretches of road.
Each player is given a team colour, a rally car and assistance car, and two player signs to go with the two different cars. On these player boards, players manage the equipment and load-out of their cars (the different cards) during the game. During set-up, starting with the player whose turn is last, players choose the features of their car. During the game, these features determine how many movement actions a player has (more on this later). Also, players determine how much fuel they start with and whether they start with spare tyres, a toolbox, fog lights and/or rain tyres. Each player board has limited space so players have to start weighing up the risks and benefits of their equipment and load-out. During the game, they can (potentially) swap and replenish cards on their player boards. Players get a number of navigation cards and a unique (secret) role.
Each turn, the active player rolls the three dice. The roll determines whether certain features of the car are disabled and which weather conditions are currently active. Some weather conditions require special equipment (such as fog lights or rain tyres) and if a player does not have these on his rally car at that moment, certain features are disabled.
During a turn, players can (hopefully) move their rally car and also their assistance car. The assistance car can always be moved 1 tile without any additional rules. If your rally car and the assistance car are on the same square, they can exchange loads. This allows you to refuel or change equipment during a turn without passing by a service station.
A rally car has 1 movement by default and should be moved when possible. Certain features allow a rally car to move extra tiles. For example, a lightweight rally car can move 1 extra tile by default. A car with a sporty suspension rips harder through corners and a powerful engine revs quickly over straights. With a close ratio gearbox, you can overtake your opponents nice and fast. These different features will sound familiar to any kind of rally fan. For every tile that a rally car moves, a player must be able to discard a fuel card. However, players should keep in mind that they need to handle their old-out wisely or else they might get stuck or lost.
Rally cars are allowed to share the stretch of road with another rally car only in special scenarios and otherwise they will get stuck in traffic unless they can overtake. At the beginning of the game, each player is also given a kind of navigation map consisting of several cards depicting different directions. Players use these cards as a sort of road map and every time they drive across an intersection and they have another navigation card to discard, they must follow the depicted direction. This requires players to not only plan the route efficiently, but also whether they can follow their navigator’s route, otherwise they will be in for surprises.
Speaking of surprises, some tiles feature a warning triangle. If your rally car comes to a halt on such a tile, you receive a nasty surprise in the form of an event that often has major consequences for your car unless you have the right equipment. Also, each player has a personal role that they can use during the game to hinder other players. For example, they can rob or sabotage other players. Nasty sport that Rally driving, in more ways than one (I am asking mostly about mud).
Classic Rally Boardgame is a game where the source of inspiration is blatantly reflected in the gameplay. The game feels less fast-paced and aimed at pure speed compared to other racing games, but more so as a game where players need to manage their resources (at least cards on the player boards). Taking too much risk can get you stuck in proverbial mud. As a result, sometimes you can spend a turn doing nothing to wait for your assistance car. So players that are easily frustrated be aware or think carefully about what equipment and loading you choose to be prepared for this. Classic Rally has a clear target audience, rally fans who enjoy playing a very thematic rally game. Start that engine and chug along!
This preview is written based on a prototype made available by the publisher. Actual rules, parts and artwork may change. Interested? You can find the crowdfunding campaign on Gamefound soon.