The car was ready for the race. Each of the entrants checked his spring before the start, winded up the key carefully and then sat down in the driver’s seat. But while others started out, when the red lights went out, there was only clunk in my car and nothing happened. I suspect technicians have overpulled my spring again. And I told them last time to keep an eye on it!
Spring race was created for us by designer H. J. Kook, and his name was named Sprint Rally. The game got its final form under the brush of a pair of illustrators – Aline Kirrmann and Shans Zhu, and above all under the supervision of Mandoo Games. This game will be presented this year at the Spiel 2018 fair in Essen, but we got the opportunity to try it sooner.
On the lid of this small box, we find several racing specials, that have a key on their roof. This is their replacement for engine and could be a great alternative to real driving in the future. But let’s leave it to the engineers and put an unfolded game board on the table to create the racing track. Players will pick up one car of their chosen color, place it on starting grid and also a cardboard spring from two pieces – numbered round scale and center key for rotation.
Before each of the three rounds, players receive from the shuffled deck of rally cards (their total number depends on the number of participants) a set, that they will hide in front of the opponents‘ views. Each turn then represents playing one card from hand and starting player determines its color and value. This chosen color must be followed by the others, if they have it. They will usually try to play the highest card of that color (but can use any number of that color), because they have a chance to win whole trick.
But all this applies only in the ideal case, that all participants play the required card. Otherwise, the starting player loses his advantage and target color is the last played, the second or the third. The winner will become the one, who will play the highest value in this color.
All the losers wind the spring of their car by one space clockwise (turn the key), but their car does not move forward in this turn. Only winner can drive his car on the racetrack ahead and number of spaces is determined by the value of the card he won with. In addition, he can decide to let go the spring stretched from the previous lost turns and thus rebuild these failures into movement forward (based on number on the round scale).
Round continues by playing other cards until players have no more in their hand. At that moment, all participants let go their springs and one after the other move their cars forward. The game ends, when the third round is played and exactly 21 tricks are finished. But everything can end sooner, if one of the participants can finish two laps. At that point, he becomes the winner immediately, otherwise is declared the best player, whose car has gone the farthest.
Sprint Rally will surprise with its trick-taking character. The combination of racing and card trumping is really unexpected and makes it truly unique in terms of gaming experience. Players do not just have some cards as a measure of their success, but they are pushing racing cars, and are rewarded in particular for the loss of each round. The game counts, that it is not possible to win all turns, which is simply great.
It is clear from the rule description, that starting player has a clear disadvantage in the round. Later card play allows for much better planning, with the player in the first position just trying to guess, what the cards his opponents are holding. In addition to playing cards correctly, everyone also needs luck, because finding the necessary stuff in many hands is not a matter of planning.
The number of cards at the beginning of subsequent rounds increases to the third, where the players have a total of nine cards to play. This increases the choice in the initial stages and gradually emphasizes the planning and the correct preparation of the cards for the final turn. In the introductory turns of a round, it is not nearly as important to win as when you want to let go your stretched spring later.
How is this player order influence solved in terms of the following turns? Simply – whoever is in the race in the lead must defend his position. He instantly becomes starting player for the next turn. This ensures, that it is virtually impossible to win two turns in a row, but at the same time, everything depends largely on how the players sit around the table.
The longer the player waits for the spring to be released, the better it can become. But such a wait has also its downside, because the string can be tight too much and burst, resulting in no movement at all. But beside that, second part of every turn is important as well – victory in the individual rounds, because the cards have high numbers and their value easily equals to really stretched string.
In addition, the next stage of planning is at hand, and there are uphill and downhill sections of the baord. In such a case, the cars slide forward or backwards from the whole slope and can thus gain an advantage or lose a little. Here it is still to be emphasized, that when moving forward, the you simply jump over opponent’s cars and that move costs nothing.
Match is strongly dependent on the number of players. In three, games work, but it is not as good as in higher numbers, when players have a higher range of values of cards and the rounds themselves are significantly more thrilling. Additionally, the game is not unnecessarily long, and you can count on it with an absolute maximum of thirty minutes, and often you get well below that value.
Spring Rally is a game, that will really please you. But you must not base your expectations on the lid, because this is deceiving – its definitely not a racing game. Moving cars on the route is only the result of your effort, which is simply playing cards in tricks. They are the key word of all the fun, but the design of the game leaves a lot of room for influence of player himself. Spring Rally is a great game.
Spring Rally is a card game about Racing with wind up cars. They move only as a result of the played and won tricks. But even the moves, in which the players are defeated, have their meaning. The players themselves influence when and how the cars move forward to use their positional advantage. The track is smart and very fast, making the Spring Rally nice and original game to play.
Reader Rating0 Votes
great game time
a lot of options to influence the result
theme of wind up cars
very well-balanced influence of the order of the players