Review: Pit Crew – heroes are hidden in pits

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Racers are always the most famous. Drivers who put their lives behind the wheel of the racing special. But no one realizes that even such car racing is a team sport. A lot of determined workers are waiting in the boxes to decide the success or failure of the whole team in just few seconds. And you yourself will try their stress.

Role of these invisible heroes is even in the name of new board game . Designed by in , game was presented under the auspices of at the Spiel 2017 Fair in Essen. took care of the illustrations.

On the lid of the small box, we see the car and in the foreground two mechanics, who guard a new tire. And within this box, players find a racing circuit (twelve spaces per round) and round counter in the middle. It is here, that each team puts a cube of the chosen color in the box with number one (first lap) and also racing car next to the starting line. Teams then each get one board representing their racing car (top view) – each car is surrounded by several digits. In addition, teams receive a set of action cards and cards of completion. Dice is placed in all player’s reach.

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Each round is divided into two phases – preparation for the race in the boxes and then evaluation of the race progress. In the first stage, teams always fight all at the same time. At the beginning, each of  participants will receive several cards from their own deck, so whole team has six cards in total. They need to be cleverly used immediately in co-operation, when changing tires, repairing and refueling the car. Therefore, each action card has a digit on it.

Numbers near each race car are the assignments, according to which the players must arrange their cards. They can play only cards with same value (or value lower or larger by 1) on top of each other. This series must be followed by other cards, so there are four consecutive digits lying near each tire at the end of the effort. The tank is refueled by placing cards to the rear of the car. Goal is to reach the exact sum, which indicates a large number on the roof of the car.

During this endeavor, players can grab cards in their hand always to have the maximum allowable amount in hand. First of all, it’s about speed. Once a team of mechanics succeeds in playing cards, they overlay them with a completed assembly card, indicating to the rivals, that they are a step closer to getting back to track.

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Once mechanics have finished all their work, one of the team members can take a free dice (if there is still on in the offer) and start rolling. For each six that is rolled, their car can be moved immediately around the track to next space. It’s all happening in real time, while other teams are still struggling to complete modifications on their cars. Once a team, that can not take the dice, finishes, running time stops and other teams cannot move their cars anymore.

In that speed, it’s not hard to make a mistake. Moreover, such a decision to create an error can be made for tactical reasons to get faster to the dice and move car forward. But the individual mistakes can be pretty harming for all teams. Wrong card near a tire is worth one minus point, while fuel cards add an absolute difference between target number and player result. If total sum exceeds eight, then the car crashed. Such a team is eliminated from the whole game. But even minor mistakes have consequences. For each mistake, cars of rivals will move forward on the circuit. On the other hand, if a set of cards of the same color is successfully made, team gets turbo bonus and moves two further spaces.

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At the end of each round, teams get monkey wrench cards (in the opposite order of the current position on the track). They offer some positives for their own team or a chance to hurt opponents. Then all teams will return their equipment to starting shape. Only the car board change to another with different conditions. Now, in addition to tires and fuel, a set of two cards of the same number must be attached to front of the car.

Players fight one racing round after another, their cars are moving ever forward. For every full circle, they move cube of their color on round scale. The team whose car crosses finish line of the third round first, becomes victorious.

Pit Crew is an interesting racing game, in which players do not move cars. Only as a result of another successful actions, racing toy can move forward. The team must be fast, communicate well, and be able to risk early on.

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This is because no one forces player to tune digit requirements to last detail. Its only their decision, when they want to drive. By rolling dice, you can runaway to players, who are still in the boxes. At the same time, however, the team risks, because if there are too much mistakes on their car, it could end up in fatal crash. On the other hand, faster completion of the first phase may mean, that the car is able to move forward. But you have to be lucky and roll one six after another.

Indeed, luck is important earlier in the game. Teams have each their own set of cards, but they are shuffling them and drawing randomly from that package. And if they get dealt the wrong numbers, they have to work through the pile and that’s precious time.

But it is precisely this decision to close your garage and set off on a circuit, that is the most important and exciting feature of the gameplay. All teams are overtaking each other, have to look after their rivals, but they can not make a mistake themselves. Overall, gameplay is really great and game is fun from beginning to end.

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With its simple stuff and craziness, Pit Crew can get to a lot of players. But be aware that any tactic here is receding to quick talk, decision-making under pressure and look at the outcome of dice roll. But if you sit on the table with the right group of players, you will be amused very well.

Team members have each their cards and hold them in hands. So they have to make arrangements quickly and decide, what to play. It comes in a lot of shouting that takes care of the tense atmosphere. Wrenches give the game a more pronounced rivalry feel. At the same time, they still emphasize chaos of the whole game.

Whole competition is offered for two to three teams and each can have up to three members. This is a fight for up to nine participants. Well, and in the higher numbers, there is a place where Pit Crew excels. The game time still fits within half an hour, and all participants play and participate in the joint success (or loss). On the contrary, minimum two player games are no longer so much fun.

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Pit Crew is a clever racing game, in which running on track is result of successful endeavors. Despite its strong dependence on luck and action, it amazes us greatly. So if you have a weakness for nice fillers, you can play racing themed games and you are looking for a purely exciting game, then you should not miss chance to buy Pit Crew.

DesignerGeoff Engelstein
ArtistWilliam Bricker
PublisherStronghold Games
Year Published2017
# of Players2 - 9
User Suggested # of Players Best with 9 players
Recommended with 2, 3, 4, 6, 9 players
(13 voters)
Playing Time30
Mfg Suggested Ages8 and up
User Suggested Ages6 and up
(3 voters)
Language DependenceNo necessary in-game text
(2 voters)
CategoryRacing, Real-time, Sports
MechanicCatch the Leader, Pattern Recognition, Real-Time, Team-Based Game
FamilySeries: Pocket Line (Stronghold)
Primary NamePit Crew

Infos courtesy of boardgamegeek.com. More Infos.

Review: Pit Crew – heroes are hidden in pits
Final word
Pit Crew is not primarily racing game. Instead, speed is needed elsewhere - when playing cards and combining them into sets. Here's a need for co-operation to make everything perfect, as needed in racing sport. Every bolt has to be precisely, where its supposed to be. But only the first teams in this contest can move their car forward. But players can scamp setting the car and take risk on the racing circuit with less perfect car. They can roll a dice for a longer time, but they are also penalized. It is a question of making the right decision if it pays off to stay in the boxes or go out. This pressure on players is a source of entertainment. Game retains speed and simplicity. Pit Crew is a superb semi-racing game that works great as a relaxing filler.
Reader Rating0 Votes
Pros
excellent in higher numbers
chaotic communication in teams
cooperation is the foundation of success
simplicity
you can deliberately make mistakes (in an effort to be faster)
Cons
luck
it's not a racing game
4
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