Review: Fast & Furious Full Throttle – yet calm and tactical

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Last step to the very highest league was guaranteed by backlit sills, fenders and bumpers. That got my car an unmistakable look, which caught interest of organizers. They look a bit like mafia. It is not really no wonder, because these races are anything, but legal. You can have as much power as you want under the hood, but if you can not drive in traffic, it’s hard to rule the streets of your town!

Racing in the streets goes in footsteps of Need for Speed: Underground. And precisely in the same manner, with look and feel of successful film series, new board game Fast & Furiuos: Full Throttle tries to impress us. It was created by Jeff Hörger and Carla Hörger. If memory serves you well and you like racing, then you remember, that this couple has already created successful car game . This news comes under banner of and was published in . Distribution for Europe is responsibility of company .

Box is black as a night, in which you will compete and shows unmistakably two really souped-up sports cars chasing around a city. And under the lid, then wait for us rules and underneath also massive double-sided game board. On it are various tracks and intersections divided into smaller rectangles. Roads have a different number of lanes and cornering shows numerals in a circle, that corresponds to the difficulty of passing through.

 

An important part of racing madness is also four game boards made of really thick cardboard. You will find not only gear indicator in the upper left corner and place for damage markers on the right, but above all nine spaces to improve your car. For a moment, we will stick to cardboard components, when we find tokens of improvements and obstacles.

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Damage indicator needs some small assembly. There is only one piece, that will be passed among players. The basis are two decks of cards – these offer a dozen of racer profiles and remains true to the license. Therefore, it offers all the familiar characters from movie The Fast and the Furious and its sequels. Most important are speed cards, which are distinguished by a colored stripe on top and each belong to one gear. But there is also scale to reveal current speed for each gear (different on each card) and some text describing its special capabilities. Perhaps you’d like to hear, that the last component are plastic cars. We will however have to disappoint you, because instead of tiny plastic rovers, we get only cardboard flat cars. There is more of them as some will create traffic in the city.

At the beginning of each racing session, players select colored cars, get also gamers board, cardboard competitor card and speed pointer. It will be used on their own board to mark current gear (neutral at first). And they, players can modify the car by choosing any combination from tuning options, using ten enhancement tokens.

In the middle of the table will be of course game board. With the help of two special cards, players marks start and finish spaces on it, creating a chosen route to race on. It may begin and end anywhere based only on player wishes and their decision will influence course of the race (the more turns, the more difficult). Also some of those obstacles may be placed on the road. Racing machines will then line up on the grid and players get six starting cards in their hand.

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Cars are starting next to each other and players will alternate in turns. Basis of all is switching gears, that can only be done by discarding cards. Shifting upwards requires sacrifice of three cards from hand, while a lower (by one) gear position can be chosen only for two cards. Shifting up or down is not limited in numbers, but only by quantity of cards, that player is able to sacrifice.

Before or after using shift action, player can move his car forward once. For that moment, it will be really important, which number shines on his gear indicator. But first, player must choose and play one or more cards of the same suit from his hand. But that still does not mean anything about number of spaces, because their count only determines, how many cards from a shuffled speed deck can be revealed.

These cards are spread next to each other and player will focus on scales on their right side. All the exposed cards are distinctly different and he may select any value specified next to his current gear number. In the case of playing set of cards corresponding to his actual gear (which normally is not needed, it can be any set), he may furthermore also use so-called minimum speed indicated in the upper right corner of each card. This number is same for all cards of each gear.

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Movement itself still provides some limitations. Player may switch lanes in one direction only during one round and always to the side and not diagonally, as we are used to from other racing games. Driving forwards is then simply one step at a time until number of movements runs out. Or maybe until car arrives into a corner. Turns force players to observe speed printed on their spaces. For each speed point, that car is moving faster than corner speed limit, player receives one penalty point. It has nothing to do with damage, but it reduces number of cards in hand for the next round. If there are more points like this, they may even force players to reduce the gear selected. All potential points are added up together (round indicator is used for it and arrow shows final punishment), because penalties can also be obtained from some early braking.

Also other elements influence the gameplay. First, there are improvements of cars as they were chosen at start. They allow players to increase speed, reduce cost of shifting and lowering cornering limits, but also enhancing possibility of maneuvering. And then, there are obstacles, which allow players to set some additional speed limits or create places, that should be avoided. Game, of course, lets players go further and further forwards, shifting until the moment, when one of the vehicles crosses finish line. But even other players will have option to finish, so everyone has played same number of turns. Only then, the winner can be decided.

: Full Throttle is at first all about reduced expectations with respect to the movie license. We are all used to lower quality requirements, when it comes to famous series. Despite the names of authors, who had once managed to transfer the racing adrenaline on the table, we could not resist the uncertainty. Fortunately, all this only lasts until the moment, when you ride into the streets for the first time and start to chase with other rivals in the dim light.

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This game is many things, but certainly not common or ordinary. The centerpiece of experience are two game features: improvements of vehicles and speed choice. Deployment of tuning tokens at the beginning of the game decides about tactics, which player will have to follow. His choice is decisive enough and each racer needs to be aware of his options and utilize their advantages at the right time over the other players.

Fortunately, decisions also carry over into the game itself. Here, it is possible to use cards for two purposes and it is not easy to choose between them. Order is often important, shifting sometimes before and sometimes after movement, for example to prepare for what will happen in the next round. But without moving forward, you can not win. The more cards the player uses, the greater the choice of speeds he gets. And since its all tactical, shorter is sometimes better. The actual choice of cards is much better, than roll of the dice, where player has absolutely no control.

When moving, positional play enters the game  each round, because blocking, overtaking and avoiding obstacles is a basic skill needed from every street racer. Any hesitation in planning or maneuvering has consequences for the next round. These penalties are clever stuff and players are not punished forever, but only in one upcoming turn. They still have sufficient reach, but it is possible to recover from one error.

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But what pleases players more than enough are also always unique tracks, which depends only on the imagination of players. By the same time, participants will also affect length of the game. Variability also increases with possibility of a different improvement of the vehicle, but also deployment of obstacles on the track. Well, all this can be still experienced in the two environments thanks to doublesided board!

This time, you can not look forward to spectacular racing with a large number of cars. There will always be a maximum of four of them on the track at the same time. Blocking is not so important and that is reason, why Fast & Furious can be enjoyed and tried with two players. And each with one racing machine! Game with four players is of course a bit better. Length of the game will be determined by players and their selection of the route, but it usually takes about thirty minutes – ideal number for such racing game.

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Fast & Furious: Full Throttle is quite different from Thunder Alley. It is faster and less tactical. Thanks to this, game goes faster and attracts not only fans of the movies, but also lovers of fast races. Thanks to flipping of the cards, there is present push-your-luck element, which you must not be afraid of. Its still not random. Fast & Furious is undoubtedly a racing game, that you enjoy, especially if you like tuning and quick games.

DesignerJeff Horger, Carla Horger
ArtistDann May, Greg May
PublisherGame Salute
Year Published2015
# of Players2 - 4
User Suggested # of Players Best with 4 players
Recommended with 2, 3 players
(4 voters)
Playing Time30
Mfg Suggested Ages10 and up
User Suggested Ages8 and up
(1 voters)
Language DependenceModerate in-game text - needs crib sheet or paste ups
(2 voters)
CategoryMovies / TV / Radio theme, Racing
MechanicGrid Movement, Hand Management, Variable Player Powers
FamilyCrowdfunding: Kickstarter, Sports: Auto Racing
Primary NameFast & Furious: Full Throttle
Alternate Names10-Second Cars

Infos courtesy of boardgamegeek.com. More Infos.

Review: Fast & Furious Full Throttle – yet calm and tactical
Final word
Fast & Furious: Full Throttle is a racing game, that refused to be carried away by all the glittering facades of racing cars. Beneath its surface, we will find a real game and not just blindly used license. Even before the race, players have to make choice, how to improve their car and thereby determine their tactics. Race itself takes place by means of cards, but it is a bit of luck and ability to take risks. Players must still pass through turns and carefully avoiding obstacles, because they otherwise get penalized for the next round. Fast & Furious: Full Throttle is well done implementation of popular series into a boardgame universe and we are happy to recommend it to lovers of racing.
Reader Rating0 Votes
Pros
improving car before the game
speed choice
fault in cornering = fewer cards in hand for next round
barriers
very variable (two boards, improvements, route choice)
thirty minutes
entertaining in two
tactical
Cons
only cardboard cars
luck in drawing cards
4.5
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