A few weeks ago I played Daytona 500 with two my co-workers and it turned out to be a real hit. Because of this and the fact that I wanted to be able to play the same type of game with more than four people I obtained Top Race which can play up to six and has very similar mechanics as Daytona 500. When setting up the game it turns out that two of our regulars could not play so we had four but decided to play Top Race anyway. Because we only had time for a single race I decided that we would use a variant the hands are dealt but are laid out for everyone to see and the bidding includes not only a car but also for a hand of cards and if a player wins a second bid they would only receive a car. My feeling was that because we only had one race, luck might be too much of a determining factor if someone received an imbalanced hand and I figured bidding for the hands would mitigate some of the luck.
It’s very difficult to determine how much to bid as this was our first playing and the bids were in the range of 60 to 80. After obtaining our cards and cards it was time to start the race. Below is the amounts paid for the cars as best as I can recollect:
Venkat red 60
Josh white 80
Abel purple and blue 60, 30
Paul green and yellow 60, 60
We were all moving pretty well until the third turn where the red car stopped on the first space into the turn backing things up for everyone. It was entertaining to see cars get bunched up and folks burning other players car colors. I ended up playing a breakdown card on the red car so I could get my yellow car by but after I played it I had forgotten I had marked the red car to place on tip 1 (doh!). My yellow car was moving pretty well along with some help by other players and I had bet on yellow to finish in the top positions on tip 2 and tip 3. As I rounded the last turn Abel played a breakdown card on me stealing my win while his purple car zoomed passed me and took first place. Of course by the time I was as back into the race all of my cards still left me just short of the finish line while two other cars also passed up my yellow car finishing before me.
I broke even as I had probably over bid for my cars and made a couple of very poor decisions during the race. Despite all of that I had tremendous fun while everyone else enjoyed the race as well. I look forward to playing more Daytona 500 and Top Race so that some time in the future I can compare the two. At the moment, to me, due to the betting, Top Race seems to have more decisions and opportunities to strategize a win. The betting really makes for a lot of interaction as you might push someone else’s car ahead of yours just because you bet heavily on it earlier. Or maybe you might not jump too far ahead with your own car if you suspect someone might play a spurt/breakdown card on your car. Overall, a VERY fun game.