I received my copy of Lunatix Loop in the mail a few weeks ago, and it's been patiently waiting it's turn in the queue. It was wet out tonight, cancelling my soccer plans, so I went to try and scrape a game together.
For an independantly produced game, Lunatix Loop (LL) looks quite nice. Good little plastic cars and chips, and colorful cards. The cards are printed on somewhat flimsy cardstock, however, and should probably be sleeved. I also had a strong yearning to go find a cheap old boardgame at the thrift store to glue the track to.
We ended up with five players: Drew, Tim, Eric, Dan, and myself. None of us are big race game fans, however we've been working a lot of variety into our boardgaming lately, so this was a nice addition to the last few weeks of railroads, power systems, desert caravans, and colonial trading...
On the first turn, several people chose the ram card, and the beatings started right away, albeit mildly. Dan braked, to get behind us all, which was a pretty good move. I decided to be the bunny, and ran out in front of everyone with turbo. Drew and some of the others had some fun coming up with different ways to announce the turbo choice...
Over the next three turns, I kept running out in front and getting bashed by rams. I was first around the last bend, but had to pit. Tim had held back and lurked near the end of the pack during the initial ram-fest, and used this opportunity to surge ahead on the finish-line straightaway.
I came out of the pit a little slow, with people making progress difficult by dropping glue, oil, and tacks in the way as they passed through on lap two. The ramming and chaos continued, and everyone except Tim and I had to pit on their second lap. This allowed me to hit some good acceleration, and start to close the gap on Tim, who was out in front. The guys in the pit were slowed down enough that they couldn't catch up, although Dan would make a good run for it.
In a bid to close the gap, I accelerated, ran through a curve too fast, ran through some dropped tacks and oil, and ran into a second curve too fast, picking up a lunacy that would make me choose my action card at random the next turn. I had a luck chip left, and could have used it to get a new hazard, which would almost certainly have been better (I had a gadget that would repair damage), but, I thought, what could be more fun?
We had a huge laugh, on my turn, when it turned out that I randomly drew the one action which was terrible for me - the u-turn. I ended up drawing 6 hazard cards, but coming out of it relatively unscathed, albeit facing the wrong direction going zero mph. This effectively took me out of the race, and was equivalent to "spinning out."
Meanwhile, Eric got stuck in the pit, sucking dry fumes on turbo ("click") trying to come out. Drew went out the other exit, going the wrong way, hoping to head-on ram Tim. The ram proved unattainable, though, and Tim stylishly used his jump-jets to hop over obstacles and opponents on his way accross the finish line.
We finished in a little over an hour and a half, with rules explanation and setup. The time ran pretty well, but we actually thought the track could have been bigger. I'm hoping to soon aquire the desert track Mr. Leacock made to go with the game, and see how that works.
Overall, we had a pretty good time, including some good laughs. This is definitely a game that rewards some spirit of fun in it's players. That said, the only die rolling is for damage, and the random card draws are generally somewhat predictably good/bad, especially with the luck chips to switch them up. You're generally left with simple strategic choices about car position, and tactical selection of actions for each turn.
The group generally concurred on the following:
-It would be nice to have a "wrecker" rule to get inopperable cars back to the pit. We all hate player elimination and, although it's very unlikely in this game, it is possible.
-Turboing is a little too easy, and maybe needs some more damage with big apeed rewards type cards.
-There were a few too many non-harmful cards in the hazard deck. We'd like to be really on-edge drawing them, and felt there could be a few, and bigger de-celerations, and maybe some more creative things like spin-outs, slide-aheads, etc..
I look forward to playing the game again, with different numbers of players, and perhaps some of the optional rules. I'd recommend the game to anyone looking for something fairly light, with a healthy pinch of quirky randomness, that also has a flavorful amount of strategic investment, and a chance for some belly laughs.