Super Mario Kart Fan
This review was originally written in german at www.BoardgameMonkeys.com. The translation was made with DeepL.com.
I like sports games and I like racing games. To name a few of my favorites: Formula D, Flame Rouge, Race! Formula 90: Perfect conditions for 1500 m from the Spanish publishing house Lucky Loser, which is completely unknown to me so far? That publishing house is exclusively focused on sports games, so to speak. In its extremely young history, the publishing house has so far included Basketball Age (a basketball game) in its portfolio, Segundos...Fuera! (a boxing game) in the pipeline, as well as the aforementioned 1500 m author of all games is Eduardo Crespo, self-proclaimed sports freak and also head of the publishing house.
At 1500 m I became attentive by my love to sports games. There was also no other realistic possibility in the run-up to the 2018 fair. The publisher is rather invisible in the German blogger scene and the cover of the game is not really an eyecatcher. Unfortunately, we have to start our review here. The cover! A door opener for many games. In 1500 m it is rather a bolt that blocks the door. The runners on the cover (1500 m is an athletics running game, if you haven't already guessed it) look very funny drawn. The muscle parts stand out strangely, the faces seem distorted and why the hell are the ladies and gentlemen running out of the curve? One player at the table even said that 1500 m could be a good zombie game, because the runners look more like them. No, something else is appealing.
The content is rather appealing. We get a cinder track, which certainly evokes memories of the Federal Youth Games, moderately drawn hand cards, but also chic individual runner figures made of a transparent, glass-like material. Not only do they look unique, they also look chic. Great praise at this point. But beauty also has its price. Because probably it is exactly these unique, chic runner figures that increase the unit price for a copy 1500 m to 40,00€. And that's a whole chunk, considering how sparse the rest of the material is.
But let's get to the main course - the playful component in 1500 m. In 1500 m we have to be the first to cover that distance on the ash track. That's exactly 3 laps á 400 m and one 3/4 lap. A game of 1500 m makes sense, but only with 5 players or more, even if the rules for the bots filling the field work surprisingly well. In the heart 1500 m is a condition game, because of course it makes no sense at all to run the whole time in the runners field in front and to go full speed. Therefore all players start with a certain amount of stamina, which has to be divided in the course of a game. Logically, the more speed I make, the more stamina I consume.
The rules at 1500 m are quickly explained. Each round starts with the players bidding for certain special actions undercover with stamina. Who offers more, gets a first choice right. I can roughly choose to recover, increase the speed or run faster. Once this has been selected, the run phase takes place in which the players uncover a previously placed speed card and cover the number of fields shown on it. Two things are important: Each player has exactly 4 identical speed cards, which you only get back in your hand when you have played them all AND that moving diagonally in a curve can be problematic, because you can't always see clearly which field is the diagonally in front. Here small arrows would have been great for better visibility on the map.
At 1500 m, however, a second running phase follows in the same round, after which each player advances as many fields as he wants, depending on his basic speed (separate bar on the map). Depending on how high his basic tempo is, the more stamina the runner loses. A high basic tempo can therefore logically not be sustained for long and must probably be throttled from time to time. This gives the condition mechanism another very interesting component. At what moment do I pick up the pace? Is my condition sufficient for this? What do the others do? Can they perhaps not follow me at all if I put on now because they have a much too low basic tempo?
In principle, these are already the whole rules of 1500 m. There are still some small adjusting screws, which are listed as modules for advanced players in the rule book, but in my opinion improve the game immediately. For example, the leading player always gets an additional loss of condition or from a certain point on the condition bar the player also loses more points (the lungs are virtually at the stop).
How do I like 1500 m? 1500 m very strongly reminds in its basic principles of one of my favourite racing games Flamme Rouge. The management of the condition, the staying in the slipstream in order not to get the malus for the leading player too early, or however the racing tactic element. 1500 m is not a sprint. You have to think very carefully about in which situation you increase your speed and when you start to overtake. It is also interesting, for example, if you are relatively far behind in the field. Here another very interesting aspect comes to the fore - positioning. In 1500 m you can't just skip a runner figure, you have to run past it. This costs additional movement points (if I change a track to the outside) and needs to be well planned. If I don't plan this action at the right time, it may well be that I am pushed outwards in the runner field and waste valuable energy for nothing. For such situations, however, there is a field on which I can bid with stamina at the beginning of the round, with whose help I can pass through figures and be the first to execute my speed card. How much stamina do I have to offer in order to get access to it safely?
1500 m offers a lot of tactical considerations during the race. I have to keep an eye on the other players. How much stamina do they have? Will they perhaps use the next move to regenerate a little? Is that my chance to pass them by? I really like 1500 m at this point. It plays itself also damn fast with actually no downtime. But like many racing games, it's much more fun with more players. In 1500 m I would also recommend to bring at least 5 players to a table. The rest of the running field is always filled with bots, which always run in step and orient themselves at the current maximum speed. This works surprisingly well and it is not uncommon for the bots to have won a race. In 1500 m the obligatory filling of the field with bots is not just a necessity, but also well solved.
Also the whole condition mechanism works round. The number of available points seems to be quite well tested. The winner of a game 1500 m actually always arrived quite at the end of his condition bar at the end of the game. Of course, there are phases in which you inevitably have to regenerate in order to keep your distance. 1500 m is exciting at every point. Positioning in the field is extremely important. The optimal position is always directly behind the leader in the slipstream or just so far behind him, in order to be able to take advantage of the energy surplus at the decisive moment and to start overtaking.
Fans of racing games have to take a look at 1500 m and fans of this genre shouldn't miss it in any collection. It is fast, offers interesting decisions and arouses emotions. A little pearl in the 2018 season.
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator