Kitchen Table Games

Games I've played on my kitchen table
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My top games - #36

Max Jamelli
United States
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#36 on my list - Formula D

Formula D is a mechanically simple racing game and a reimplementation of Formula Dé. I was introduced to this game by some friends from Gettysburg a few years back. Couple of really good aspects of this game -- it can play up to 10 players! It's a very easy game to teach, especially if you're playing with just the basic car cards.

When we played through, the first thoughts I had were of growing up and playing Le Mans with my dad. We set up the track and had a dice-fest race. It was a good way to show me a new style of game, and it was one I could beat my dad at whether he was trying or not. It came down to who rolled good dice. (those of you who know my father and I know the answer to that is usually neither of us roll good dice, so the game became who rolled better dice than the other.

Formula D brings in a new aspect and that's the gear shifter mechanic. If you stayed in first gear you'd finish a race in about an hour. Formula D allows you to use multiple sided dice which are designed with varying minimum values. For example, the 8 sided die isn't number 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8. It's numbered with values from 4-8 (so you can't roll a 3 no matter how hard you try). There is a 20 sided die with a minium roll of 11. The fastest die is a 30 sided die with a minimum value of 21 - so while you don't know what you'll roll, you'll have an idea of how fast you'll be going. That becomes important as you enter curves or encounter other various objects in your path.

That's all fine and dandy if you are playing with other gamers. What I saw Formula D as when I first played it was my version of Lemans for my son and I. I can see it now -- I'll show him the board map (which is a lot nicer than Lemans as you can see)

(image credit: rsolow)


(image credit: glassairports)

But hey, we're talking about a game published in 1961 vs a game published in 2008 - the graphics are obviously going to be better. Although I have to say, FD took a lot of mechanics from Lemans and jazzed them up a little graphically.

Back to my original thought -- I'm thinking when he's about 6 years old, I'll pull out the map and show him the dice and show him how the game works. All we'll do is roll dice and move our cars. No need to worry about damage or whether or not we stop in the middle of a curve. Just fun dice rolling and space counting. I'm sure he'll out-roll me sometimes and there will be times I out-roll him. I see this as a chance for him to learn how to win and how to lose. Then when he gets a little older, I can show him car damage and the stopping in curves aspect of the game.

I also like the fact that there are some readily available expansion boards for FD. Some of them are harder to find, but I keep a look out for them with the hopes that Derek will someday grow to like the game. I feel pretty good about that since I showed it to his 7 year old cousin when she was 6. She thought the map was pretty and liked rolling the big dice and counting how far she went. She even asked me to bring it along the next time we come out to visit. I thought that was really cool.

Maybe by the time Derek is old enough, we can play really big races with his cousins, Aunts, Uncles, Mommy and Daddy. If Grandpop plays, that's a full 10 and we could have a big race.

Final Thoughts
The cool thing about this game is the custom dice. The D20 with a min value of 11 for example gives the game a level of strategy you don't think you'll see with a dice racing game.
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