How I found out about Lazer Ryderz.
I played this at Gen-Con and play tested it at home. I am a volunteer play tester for Greater than Games (GtG). I can't share non-released information, but I have never gotten in trouble or even been discouraged from speaking negatively about a game.
Fortunately I don't have to worry about that here.
I first encountered Lazer Ryderz in the GtG room at Gen Con, and my initial reaction was negative. It looked silly and probably dumb, the kind of game that takes a silly theme and tries to cash in on it with no substance.
The next day I was waiting to get a game going on a different table and watched a demo of the game going on, and it looked better than I expected, so I tried a demo later that day, and I really enjoyed it.
Lazer Ryderz is a part dexterity, part spatial awareness game with a little bit of luck and some tactical elements.
The dexterity and spatial awareness part comes in with tossing the prisms on the table, and having to select your pieces without checking to see if they will work beforehand. You aren't allowed to hold pieces over the table or make measurements or anything, you pick your piece and put it on the table, and see if it worked like you hoped it would. It is quite common for newer players who aren't good at dexterity games to do really badly at this part, so be aware and cut them some slack.
There are dice rolls involved, and thus some element of luck. You roll a die when turning to see if you make the turn, your speed raises the odds of failure. It's a nice risk mechanic and creates some fun tense moments where playing it safe may win you the game the next round, but taking a risk will have you winning the game now, or missing your roll and likely losing.
The tactical elements exist in the crash mechanic, and unique character abilities. (I haven't seen the character abilities listed publicly at this time, so I won't say anything about them, Watch the kickstarter updates for more info)
The crash mechanic is pretty simple. Anytime you lay a track on your turn and it touches another ship's track, you crash. You remove all your pieces from the board, and the player you crashed into loses the piece you crashed into (you can't take their most recent piece) and all the pieces placed before that one.
You race to capture prisms, and when you capture enough you win. you can steal other player's prisms and there are always unclaimed ones on the table.
Cool things about the game.
1. The theme and setting of the game. If you like the theme and setting, you won't be disappointed, because the game lives up to it really well. If you don't, then I don't really know if you will like it or not, because I don't know anyone like you.
2. Stealing prisms. You are allowed to cross paths with another player's light trail *if* they only touch on a prism. I love that, and it creates a lot of fun situations. We even had a few times where 3 players had trails through the same prism, though it is hard to pull that off without a crash.
3. The unique character abilities. The ones I tested (may be tweaked for final version) were a lot of fun and changed the characters from just picking a color to having a unique feel to each character. They didn't change the game play and they weren't unbalanced once you understand them.
This game has solid, but not extremely high replay value. It's a pretty quick game, 30-45 minutes is right (unless you get people that take 20 minutes to play a piece, that's just ridiculous, don't be that person) and the set up and take down is really quick. Once you learn the rules the game goes pretty fast.
What I'm saying is, the investment to play is low, and the fun is pretty high.
Best number of players
This is mostly determined by table size. If you have a small table more players will be crowded and crashing will be a big part of the game, if you have a big table and few players it can get a bit boring and how well you toss the prisms can be too big a part of the game.
Creating a smaller play area with a game mat (your own or the one you can pledge for) is a good idea if you run into the big table, small group problem.
We ran a 6 player game by having 3 teams of 2 players, I don't know if that kind of play will make it into the official game or just be a player mod, but it worked well, we printed out a second set of the print and play pieces and let players cross their own color lines, it was fun, but again I don't know if they will have something like that in the final game or not, we threw it together ourselves.
1. Get the game. If you are interested in it enough to read this review you probably like the idea of the game, and you will most likely enjoy the game.
2. Keep it simple for new players. Should be basic knowledge for any game, but while the game is quick to learn you want to take it easy on new players until they get a good idea of piece length and angles and the rules. I wouldn't introduce the character abilities or enforce the placement rules harshly for someone learning the game.
I feel this needs to be pointed out, because once all the players know the game you need to enforce the placement rules strictly or the game can drag down into a geometry exercise. Don't let that happen.
3. Play as Lazer Shark. She's the best, and the others are just shark food. (esp. that darn sheriff, can't stand her)
That's all! Thanks for reading, and go check out the game.
Looks goofy and fun. I like Resistor_ quite a bit. I met and played games with Anthony and Nicole at BGGCon last year and love what they are doing.