Patrick Wilhelmi
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Our group got a review copy from a game store who was asked to sell the game in Germany. As we try out almost everything we went for a ride.

The whole game looks as if someone put some serious effort in the game. I was never aware of how many cycle games have been published, but most have a home made quality to them. Not so the "World Cycling Game". It comes in a big colorful box with a lot of components inside and looks like a big company product. It even has a dedicated website full of information, pictures and even add-ons.

But although Mr.Niels Kristian Andersen was a professional cyclist he is sadly no professional game designer, which becomes pretty obvious while going through the rules. For an easy dice rolling game the rules are bloated and much too confusing. Taken the campaign material out of consideration, the rules would should have fit on a single sheet of paper instead of being spread over several pages!
The game is presented in four languages...some the designer were obviously not 100% proficient in.

After going through the website myself, I'm not sure which version of rules we had, as I was not the one preparing the game. As the game was lying around for several months I have to assume that we played an early version.

The game starts with a monumental 100 pieces puzzle. The racing track consists of lots of road pieces, curves and straights, you'll have to assemble. For game purposes it does not make any difference if you'll place a curved or straight piece. It's rather your table size that determines the actual look of the final track. Each tile is color coded to determine if the race goes uphill (or mountain - black), downhill (red) or stays flat (green). If you are standing on a black piece you'll have to deduct two points of your roll, if you're standing on a red piece you add two points to your roll (if I remember correctly), nothing special happens on the flats. There are also a few special pieces I don't want to explain in detail.
Of course you are free to build whatever you like but if you plan to play a suggested race out of the book (as we did), which goes like 3 green, followed by 2 black, followed by 3 red etc. prepare to spend 10 to 15 min for the construction! Some of our pieces were pretty warped because the thin cardboard used and I'm not sure how long the pieces will last if TWCG should land on your table regularly.

Next you assemble your team. Each player gets seven riders in his color and chooses five of them. You'll want the blue leader who always gets to roll the blue sided 8-sided dice. But who will you take along? One or two mountain specialists (who usually use a 6-sided dice and the 10 sided black dice while standing on a mountain space), one or two flat specialists (who usually use a 6-sided dice and the 10 sided green dice while standing on a flat space) or rather one or two sprinters (who usually use a 6-sided dice and the 12 sided grey sprinting dice after having crossed the sprint board piece which comes in the final third of the race track)? Decisions after decisions snore

Each player also gets a fixed set of seven action cards which are supposed to help you to attack the leader or advance the last one of your riders. You'll have to manage the cards properly as you'll get no new ones during play. Now you're finally ready to go.

And the rules go like this: If its your turn you choose one of your riders, roll the appropriate die, add or deduct something to the roll according to the tile he's standing on and play a card if needed until...when we asked the guy preparing the game how to win he only shrugged. According to him the rules omit the winning conditions for a single race. Is it enough to have one single rider reaching the finishing line? Or is it with the whole team? Or do your team gets points somehow...?

That's when we decided to put everything back into the box! With some good titles waiting to be played we did not want to start deciding on house rules to fix this bugger. It's a very simple dice rolling game in its core and no smart comments in the rules or on the website can turn it into something I would call a tactical game. Maybe we overlooked something (thanks to the confusing rules or translation), maybe version 3.7 or 5.2 will finally get you a playable bicycle simulation but our group won't be around for it.

There are many special interest games on the market, games for sailors, games for ecologists, games for economists, even games for beer drinkers...but they all do have something in common, they are not for gamers. The World Cycling Game is no exception to the rule. Maybe that is the reason why the game is mostly sold through bicycle stores instead of game stores!
But most importantly it is NOT the best cycling game on this planet. If I remember correctly I've only played "Um Reifenbreite" out of all the cycling games and it has not been among my favorite racing games (which are Formula De, Robo Ralley and Flinke Feger) BUT it beats TWCG easily without even going to sweat.
At least you get a box full of useful material to come up with your own version of a perfect bicycle racing game, it could be worse.

I know that my review sounds harsh. But the general message of the game is: "I'm a world class professional sportsman, so it's only natural that I know more about this game as any game designer so obviously my game will be the best!"
WRONG!!!
Maybe (and just maybe) I'm a world class racing gamer but does that mean I should considering participating on the next Tour de France? NO!!!

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René Christensen
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You should have gone for the world championship race first. Then for a race with about 3 stages, earning seconds. Next is the Tour de France race with 21 stages!!!
When it's your turn you roll for all your riders, not just one! You roll the dice that suit the rider and the space he is standing on. If you want to attack, attack only from behind (so other riders can't follow you) and NEVER downhill.

I find it very playable!!!

And about the rules in four languages - how many games do you own that comes with the rules in four languages?

And thin cardboard - I don't think you could be anymore wrong here. I have played almost 30 races, and yet the cardboard tiles still look like new!!!

And you last remark just says all about you. Niels-Kristian is/was a pro-rider, has won some minor races, but NEVER said he was world class.
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Patrick Wilhelmi
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René,
I wondered when you would jump in....
With you being the only one to promote this game it was just a matter of time...

I always thought this site is mainly a fan based community...which you seem to (mis-)use as a free marketing platform. Therefore I feel free to offer some counterbalance.
With 43 € the game does not come cheap, so my main goal was to prevent people from just fall for the hype.

I have no reason to be unfair. I love small game companies, I offer no product that's in competition with TWCG and my review was not based on personal grudges. I have a very long connection with the game industry and even worked together with some well known designers and companies, some among the Top 10 on this site. I know when a game is below the industries standard and sadly (and I honestly mean sadly) TWCG falls into this category.

I know a lot of games which offer multiple languages.
It is usually done to reduce the overall cost of producing a game. It is cheaper to print one version instead of having to produce separate versions for each country. It is not done out of courtesy! Don't try to sell it as such.
And it usually only works with simple or very abstract games as it needs to rely on icons instead of text.
So this comes with a price.

In your defense you try to split some hair and even try to discredit me...I won't fight on this ground.

BUT

I will check the rules and try to find out about moving your team and the winning conditions and might edit my review accordingly. But even if we made a mistake there, the game stays a simple dice rolling game.
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René Christensen
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Mail from the gamedesigner:
Hi Patrick

I have previously delivered a game to your friend in Flensburg is the game you have. I'm very open to constructive criticism based on a true assessment. I do not think that your criticism is justified. Some points are ok and it is also meant that the game will be developed from year to year. I have previously invited your friend and you to a meeting where I would show you in detail how the game functions delegate. The rules will never be made so that they fill a page, if I make it so the game will be a copy of ludo. I do not want to be discussed at Rene's website before you really know the game better, I have many many peolpe that write to my that the game is fantastic, but it do not meen that it is perfect. About the explenation of the ruels I want to make it even better. The ruel in version 2.0 gives more posibilitys to the player, but my big consern with the first version was that I was affreid to make the game to complicated. Patrick you should know that I believe it is important to have different opinions. I want criticism, or I can not develop the game. But my invitation is open and I would really like to meet you. I live in Harrislee not so far away. Hope you accept my invitation.

Best regards
Niels Kristian
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Niels Kristian Andersen
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Hi Patrick

Thanks for your kretik. It is sad that you have not played World Cycling Game true. It is clear from your letter that you have not given the game a proper chance. Your friend from Flensburg also told me that you had not played the game, but you only have looked through it and on that basis I do not think you have the right to speak up about the game. It is very unprofessional and disrespectful to this site. The game is built around some basic rules and the game provides a perfect first impression when you have played with the expanded rules and played with stage race which played with penalty seconds, points sprints, hill sprints etc. .. If you are a professional critic, so I hope you are a professional enough to accept my invitation in Harrislee. I would really like to meet you and your group. If you then still have the same meaning about the game I think it is fair, but I know you will change your oppinion it is 100% sure.

I'm getting more and more customers from throughout Europe who have played world cycling game with friends and family and who would even want to buy it. This tells me that the game has a future. World Cycling Game is the only bike games in the world who can make a properly insight into the tactics of cycling.

Looking forward to meet you

Best regards Niels Kristian Andersen
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Max Møller
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"World Cycling Game is the only bike games in the world who can make a properly insight into the tactics of cycling."

Really? How many of the games on this list have you played: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/19105/bicycle-racing-g...

Your commitment to improving the game is commendable, but you don't help yourself with that sort of statement (and even worse: "I do not think you have the right to speak up about the game").

I own and have played World Cycling Game and I can confirm that at least a handful of games on that list are a lot more tactical, and indeed include a lot more tactical elements from cycling.

At it's core World Cycling Game is a roll and move game and the tactical elements are mainly added on with cards: when do you play your breakaway cards, when do you choose to follow other breakaways, which type of rider do you play them on (the type defining the kind of die used for movement - but the roll of the die will be a major factor in your decision). There is a rule allowing you to move team members as a group as well resulting in decreased speed for some riders.

I'm sure most readers will agree that does not sound like neither a tactical game nor an accurate depiction of tactics in cycling. And indeed World Cycling Game isn't. It's a simple game, easy to learn and fast to play, with very little player influence. It is more akin to Ludo with a cycling theme than the designer wants to admit, and is thus suitable for families, but players who enjoy tactical games will quickly move on and players with a dislike for large amounts of randomness will be disappointed.
 
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René Christensen
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Guess Patrick and his group is still playing the game!! whistle


And it doesn't have to be a complex game to be great fun to play!
A game like WCG with few rules is easy to learn and great fun to play!
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Cookie Monster
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Spot on with the review.

My only game with a rating of 1. Ludo is more satisfying to play. Just sold my copy and hope the New enjoyed more than me.
 
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René Christensen
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danielhgreve wrote:
Spot on with the review.

My only game with a rating of 1. Ludo is more satisfying to play. Just sold my copy and hope the New enjoyed more than me.

Did you try it with the new house rule about a peloton before you sold it?
 
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