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Subject: Racer Knights Is Alright By Me rss

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Paul DeStefano
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If you're stepping in here with your preprogrammed response of "random collect moneypit", "Toys for boys, not a real game", "Diabolical marketing", and so forthm just don't bother going any further.

I mean, come on, we all know why the gambling addiction of blind boosters work. Heck, how else can a company make you pay repeatedly for something you already own in the quest for that which you do not?

Well, in truth Racer Knights works pretty damn well out of the pack, unlike some other games that SAY "everything you need is included", but don't tell you what you can play is a watered down crippling of the already dysfunctional rules and you have to go buy many more "complete" packs to even get close to playing an actual game, not counting the extra packs to actual field a tournament legal team...

Sorry. Lost my train of thought.

First off: the bits
Weeehooo! These suckers are cool!!! Each pack will contain the parts to build and race ONE car. Not two. Not one and an accessory. One vehicle. And if you're used to assembling those childish namby-pamby boats, you're in for a shock. You first car will take you at least a half hour to assemble, and I've heard tales of over an hour. Once you get used to it, this speeds up considerably.

And you will have a styrene sheet built mean machine of a warped fantasy world that looks like a reject from an old Heavy Metal comic. Kewl.

Each vehicle has a driver, represented by a stat card, a Chassis, some Wheels, an Engine, a Weapon, and if you want (you can easily agree to play without them and not buy more packs) one or more Shields.

Each car piece has its little model bit that fits together, to create your own little custom machine, and a stat strip. In theory, stat strips are great. In practice, they're OK. They snap together in puzzle fashion and have columns that will modify your cars performance. For example, maybe Widget 1 has a +1 in Handling and Widget 2 has a +2 in Handling - well, your car has a +3 handling when you add up everything in that column.

Cool, but the columns usually don't actually, well, line up.

The races (Snake people, human people, elfy people, gremliny people, you know, not like the Indy 500 races, like the species races) each have cars that look radically different. Ogres build hulking machines, gremlins use scrap, elves (oh, Alfar, yeah, sorry) use spiderwebs and crystals. Each race will have a chassis shape that can be different cars based on Common/Uncommon/Rare, although the stats will not make the rare more desirable than the common, in truth. You can mix Gremlin shields (bubble wrap - I kid you not) with a Serpid Chassis, Human Wheels, no problem. There is an advantage to having a racer of all components from the same race (not in the rules - Perfect Racer, online rule book, +1 Valor per turn), but it kind of seems like a slight advantage.

One of those annoying, near microscopic 6 sided dice is used as your engines "hit points". Here's the flaw in the physical game. It is in the car engine, and when you take damage, you must rotate your die by taking out the engine, removing and replacing the die, proper side face up. At this point, it often becomes a dexterity game involving expletives.

"Deckbuilding"
This is really interesting. Parts do NOT have point values. No "I have 100 points to spend, do I take the fast wheels, and weak weapon or slow wheels and great weapon." All parts are created equal. Seriously. This makes the game superb for young folk like my son (6) who would get caught up in the math of adding and subtracting parts.

How is this done? Valor. Valor is points you get to spend during the game to modify die rolls. Parts that don't have great stats might come with LOTS of valor. On the other hand, Uberweapons yield no valor. Interesting option - do you want a part guaranteed to function at a certain strength, or a weaker one you can kind of boost, but within limits?

My son immediately decided all he wanted to do was ram my car. I had 4 boosters - 4 sets of each component. He easily tuned a vehicle that was designed purely to ram, based on picking what stats and abilities would help him ram. It would be just as simple to look at your collection and go for maximum valor, or speed, or armor. And the cars will (theoretically) balance out.

Play
The game plays nice and fast. You have to reach 'waypoints' and run them over - the first to get there must blow the shield off of it - an immediate cure for runaway leaders. You get points for finishing the race, hitting way points, and beating the snot out of opposing drivers. Ignoring waypoints and choosing carnage is indeed a viable option to win.

Cars move along, using their driver stat cards to measure distance AND turn angle.

TURN ANGLE. Different car features can change how tight a turn you could make. You can't just swivel (well, you can if you choose treads for your car). That's right folks, unlike those magical pirate boats that can outmaneuver Scott Hamilton (I'm comfortable enough in my manhood to state I enjoy men's figure skating), these cars have a turn radius. AND a weapon radius. Facing that matters! Designing a car that can maneuver absurdly well is a very solid tactic as well.

Move, shoot, turn, choose when to "burn" a point of valor (Better to go first or fast?) choose when to lose a shield, try to match your tactics to the car you built and whatever concerns the opposing cars cause... Lots of simple and fun decisions.

Some weapons do damage, some spin the opponent, some have great range. Fun. Roll a die, beat an armor value, do some damage.

Overall, yeah, it really is pretty good. It scales well, it plays fast, it has LOTS of stats, but they are used in obvious points in the game.

And just imagine how much better certain sailing games would be if they included tiny details like turn angle.
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Jason McMurray
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I really like the review overall, but I need to disagree with one point. A certain pirate game does indeed have a turn radius, and it very much matches what sailing boats could do. It is about 120 degrees, granted, but you are practically staying in one place. I would not consider that out maneuvering.
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Brandon Pennington
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well, you have convinced me to pick some of these up if Tanga ever offers a box again. I have passed on it every time without really researching them.
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Paul DeStefano
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TGov wrote:
well, you have convinced me to pick some of these up if Tanga ever offers a box again. I have passed on it every time without really researching them.


Tanga gets these puppies up there pretty often.

Its a stoopid fun game, not without flaws, but well worth the absurdly low price Tanga releases them at.
 
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Jake Kiser
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TGov wrote:
well, you have convinced me to pick some of these up if Tanga ever offers a box again. I have passed on it every time without really researching them.


Today is your day.
 
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Paul DeStefano
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jammasterjake wrote:
TGov wrote:
well, you have convinced me to pick some of these up if Tanga ever offers a box again. I have passed on it every time without really researching them.


Today is your day.


They weren't up terribly long, he still might have missed them.
 
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Michael Evans
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They're up again now. Tried to buy a couple of boxes myself, but discovered that they don't ship to Canada! (Drat and other comments!)
 
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Chris Hillery
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Back up again right now. $8.99/box.
 
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Paul DeStefano
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Ceej wrote:
Back up again right now. $8.99/box.


And again right now.

I believe Tanga has 35 million of these.
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Jason Petty
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On Tanga now!
 
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Andy Van Zandt
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Quote:
Cool, but the columns usually don't actually, well, line up.


they've kind of got a front and back to them- if you put all the strips with the "front" face up, they line up MUCH better.
 
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Jonathan Corneau
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*Ribonizer casts thread necromancy*

Yeah, Call me crazy but first I bought 5 packs along with some other games and Game master Aid from Paizo. First I had heard of them. I really am a sucker for that certain pirate game's boats, but indeed the game just didn't work for me. From this review it sounds like everything I thought was wrong with that pirate game seems to be adressed:

You can't legally match ships and captains from other nations. Forcing you get a million packs because there's so many different nations and you get like one or two crew per packs

You move, or you shoot, which is one of the dumbest game mechanic I've seen. Only other game I've seen to do this was the Halo game and god that was terrible. Having only the choice to move, or the shoot pretty much destroys the whole maneuveuring part of the game. Because like Jason mentioned. Everybody just moves in range and start taking shots at each others.. Fun..

And finally, how in some packs you get one cool ship. And in an other you get 3 really lame ships.

Sure some of these can be adressed with house rules but it seemed too much trouble to fix a game that's really flawed.

From my understanding, You can mix and match like you want, you don't have to chose between moving and shooting. And you get realy sweet looking car per pack.

Anyway, I got so excited about that game imagine my distraught when I then realised that thing's been dead for years -_-
So I located at least a sealed box. Yeah, I know, Tanga, well I'm Canadian, and they hate us.

Can't wait to get it -_-

So um.. I really don't know where I was going with this post...
I just hope I'm not crazy to have gotten so much of'em XD

Oh yeah, I threw out all my pirate ships earlier this year. I was still getting packs, mostly for x-mas as cheap stocking stuffers, but I still kept all my ships despite how I had no intention of playing the game. But when I checked the bag I was keeping them in, I noticed that a great deal of the mast had either broken off, or just fell off, and it would have taken me forever to locate lost mast's owners and discarding broken ship. Kinda made me feel really disheartened and I just threw the whole batch away...

I sure hope these little cars are going to fill that hole.
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Richard Linnell
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On Tanga RIGHT NOW! Thanks to this review, I will drop $15 and clutter my tiny apartment some more.....
 
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Michael Matecha
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I think it's an excellent game!

My kids and I had a lot of fun with it and we still open a pack and have a race once in awhile.
 
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