St Ives, Sydney
We had an absolute blast with this. It's a horse racing game. And yep, it's really nasty. In a fun way.
You've got 6 horses graded best (1) to worst (6). There are 6 races worth differing prizes. Before the race meeting you allocate your horses to the races. You may wish to play your best horse in the top prize money race, or perhap to one of the lower races to better your chances there. And so on.
At the start of each race, each horse is randomly allocated to the 6 lanes. An odds table combines the lane and the grade of horse to give the winning odds. Each player may now bet on one horse to win only.
The race starts! Simple roll 1 die and move. Lane 1 has the advantage, with only 4 corner spaces to negotiate. Lane 6 has 24 corner spaces to negotiate by comparison. You quickly find out that lane is a way bigger advantage than
the grade of horse. Speaking of grade, there are are three areas on the track that allow you to double your move. A 1 graded horse can double-up in each of these areas, a 6 graded horse in only one of them.
On a roll you can move out as many lanes as you like. You can only move inwards a lane, but only 1 lane, if you roll a 6. So if you have pretensions of winning, the decision to move outwards is not taken lightly. But you may feel that's the only choice if you would otherwise land on a fence. For a horse on a fence is subject to the 'Faller' cards.
At the start of the game, each player is given a hand of 'really nasty' event cards, the majority of which are 'Faller' cards at the various fences. If a horse lands on a fence, and someone 'Falls' you, out of the race you
go! As each race takes about 4 minutes at most to complete, especially for us Formula De types where simultaneous rolling is becoming second nature, you're not out of the game for long. And if you were smart enough to bet on
another horse, your interest is still held - especially as you may need to play one of those cards yourself to help it along the way a little.
I was lucky enough to win the first race (in fact I drew Lane 1 in the first 3 races) which was the top money race. I then worked that 250,000 windfall into serious money by backing the next 2 winners. It was catch up for the others from that point whilst I whacked down half a million pounds a time and pondered who to bet on. Kerry Packer, eat your heart out (pun intended).
There were many memorable moments, the highlight being Jeff, who had obviously backed himself at 12-1 and was looking at a cool million pound windfall, running 2nd to Andrew in Race 4 only to call for a Steward's Enquiry (card). The 1 in 6 shot paid off, the tape clearly showing Game Boy's horse had run foul. I too had (unbeknownst to Jeff at this point) backed Jeff for a 2.4 million windfall and we were DANCING, I tell you, DANCING. Only then ... to find Rick, who was now second, had ALSO called a
Steward's Enquiry. Bring it on we said, fat chance another double. AND HE DID! Shattered, shaking our heads, while Rick literally did a victory lap of the house. Many other funny moments ... horses in lane 1 moving to lane 6
before the first corner (hmm, wonder who didn't bet on themselves!) only to roll 6's throughout the whole race and almost win. And blatant lane blocking which had all the corrupt stewards shaking their heads but nothing done.
Scores: Pat 3150, Rick 380, Jeff 330, Andrew 50, Nick 0
A rating of 7 after 1 play for 'good game, usually willing to play'. The trick to enjoying this game is realising it's a complete luck-fest, know you're going to get plastered and then proceed to plaster everyone. And never, never, never bet on your own horse! There's definitely a rich get
richer syndrome happening, also luck-brought (luck stacked on luck?). But for 90 minutes of carnage, drama and laughs, we had a hoot. Not a game you'll always pull out, but it's blessed for being perfect for 5 or 6 which is tough to find in a game. GREAT components as well!