Monday, February 18, 2013

Every 100 Games Series - Daytona 500

My 3,800th game played was Daytona 500, which was pretty nice timing since the Big Race is coming up here shortly. An interesting note on this game, it was designed by Wolfgang Kramer, who is one of my favorite designers of all time and has title such as El Grande, Tikal, and Mexica to his name. However, they didn't give him credit on the box or in the rules for this one.

Game Play
In Daytona 500 players will purchase 1-2 cars via auction that they will attempt to help finish better in the final standings in order to get a bigger payout and thus have the most money and win the game. Each player gets a small deck of cards dealt to them. These cars have numbers on them, often more than one, that are in colors that match the 6 cars in the game. Players will play a card on their turn, move the cars associated with that card, starting with the top number, and then play passes to the next person. To incorporate the NASCAR theme more, if a car is directly behind a car that just moved, it gets to move forward one space on the board because it was "drafting". Once all the cars have made it around the board, you give payouts for places, auction cars off again, and then race again. The person with the most money after races is the winner.

The game was made in 1991. It does okay for components. The board does it's job. The little plastic cars do their job. The paper money does its job. Nothing flashy here at all. As will all paper money, except those rare situations, I prefer to use nice poker chips.

Strategy & Tactics
There is a lot of tactics in this game and not so much strategy. Because many of the cards have multiple numbers on them representing several of the cars in the game, you often find yourself doing everything you can to play a card that allows your car to get its full movement, but making your opponent's car lose it's movement because it is being blocked by having two cars in front of it or is in one of the turns where in order to pass you have to go twice as far so you can end up in the inside lane. Also, each car comes with a single 9 movement card that is just their color on it, so trying to use that at the most opportune time is very important.

My Thoughts
Daytona 500 is a good game, however it isn't a great game. The NASCAR theme fits very well, but having only one track and playing that 3 times in a row can be a bit boring. It plays relatively fast though and does a very good job of feeling like a race. It is very possible to come back if you get a bad start, as other players also have cards with your car's movement on it. The game I played for my 3,800th one of the races both cars owned by a player were in first and second 1/3 of the way through the race. They ended up finishing 2nd and 6th, so there is variation as the race goes on.

My Recommendations
Those Wanting a Race Car Game - If you are only going to buy one race car game, of the ones I've played, there are really only three options. Daytona 500, Formula D, and Detroit/Cleveland Grand Prix. I'd go with D/C Prix. It is also designed by Kramer, has basically the exact same mechanics as Daytona 500 (except for the drafting), but has a two-sided board with non-oval tracks that make for a lot more blocking and excitement. Which means sometimes cars don't even finish the race. However, if you are like my buddy and see Daytona 500 for $2 at Goodwill, by all means, buy it!

NASCAR Fans - This is an auto-purchase...yep, I just did that. You will not be sorry you purchased this game should you find it. It will be played way more than NASCAR Monopoly, it is way better than that game or probably any other NASCAR game out there, and it will be played quickly by just about anyone.

Deep Strategy Gamer - If you would rather not play something that is lighter, something that doesn't reward extreme strategy, and something that doesn't make your brain melt from your ears, then you'll want to look elsewhere. This one is just a light game. Not so light as Uno, Yahtzee, or No Thanks, but still it is pretty light.

Boys Who Like Cars - I feel like I played this game when I was 8 or 9 with some neighbor kids. It might've been a different one, but I remember the small cars, because my brother and I had a whole collection of Hotwheels and Matchbox cars and we loved the game that let us play with similar cars. If your son (or daughter) is all about micro-machines (I hear they don't make those anymore) or matchbox cars, then this is a game they'd probably enjoy and should be one you find for them.

No comments:

Post a Comment