Downforce is a fun and colourful car racing board game by Restoration Games. Aimed at 3-6 players with a 30-45-minute game time. In the game itself there are 6 player cars of different colours. Red, orange, blue, black, green and yellow. Each racer comes with a player card with a number 8 on. This is not only a player tag card, it is also a movement card that can be used any time during the game. Movement cards will become clearer further into this article. Each players character also comes with a game advantage token. Each one is different and unique to its colour counterpart and is designed to change up the game slightly.
Before the game can begin, you have an auction phase. Each colour car will come up for auction and you use your movement cards to bid for it. Each person picks a card and places it face-down. When all players are ready, you flip the cards over and the person with the highest number of that colour on their card wins that car. This keeps going until all cars have been up for auction. The number you bid to win your car is the auction price on your game slip. For example, you bid green 5 for that colour and no one else bid higher then you paid 5m for your car. This phase will become clearer at the end of the game itself. I found that bidding lower and taking a risk on losing the car I wanted to someone else proved to be a winning strategy in terms of having the most money at the end of the game! Essentially, you have could have two winners of this game. The player who passes the finish line first and the person with the most money from winnings at the end.
Movement cards have various colours and numbers up to 6 on. They are not specifically for your colour car only, every colour on the card you play will move the cars on the board the number of spaces displayed on it in descending order, unless it is the red player as their advantage token allows them to move their own vehicle to where they want it. Wild moves are white, and you can move that number of spaces for any colour that is not already on that card. For example, if your colour is at the top with the number 6 and you have a white wild 5 underneath, you cannot move your own colour car a second time, you must pick another car. This can work in your favour by sabotaging other players moves or getting them stuck in a pile up in a single-track bend or straight! During a pile-up, cars cannot jump over each other, so this is a good time to stump other players moves and slow them down! Saving your player card with the 8 on until you get into the home straight is another cheeky little strategy I found useful as it could make all the difference between yourself winning and other players winning if they are slightly ahead of you.
The board is reversible and both tracks have tight bends and skinny straights that only one car can pass through at a time. On the board, there are three checkpoints. Once one player passes a checkpoint, a betting phase is active. Each player ticks the colour car that they think will win the game, if you get it right you can earn yourself a tidy sum of invisible money! Once all checkpoints and bets are done and all players have passed the finish line, having been placed, the last phase of the game is determining who has the most money. If you bet successfully on a colour and it placed first, check your winnings on the slip for how much you get for the bet you placed, write it in your earnings box, the next box to that will be your auction prices and this is where your bidding amount from the beginning of the game goes. Take your earnings and minus the auction price and that leaves you with your grand total of (Not real!) money.
While the game slips look complicated to a first-time player, it is relatively easy to pick up and lots of fun to play. This game can be played with three people with all 6 cars (yes, we tried it!) but you only get to keep one advantage token for both cars you have, so choose wisely! Will you be cunning or aggressive? I believe both children and adults alike will enjoy this game and why not change it up a bit like we did. Instead of using the cars that come in the box, we chose to use cars from the Disney Pixar film franchise…you guessed it…Cars! Who doesn’t love playing as Lightning McQueen! Or have a little fun with the game and make your own cars. For the adults, why not try playing for a collection of pennies to make it more interesting!
Crawley Gaming Club