Hey folks, fasten your seat belts and put your peddle to the metal. We’re going to be racing. We’re racing rat rods, customizing our chariots, and jumping a ring of fire. We’re looking at Hot Rod Creeps. This is a racing game for 2-6 players that has take that elements and a modular board you build before the game. It’s designed by Matt Hyra and produced by Cryptozoic Entertainment. It really depends on the player count and set up of the track for how long it takes to play.
The game comes with 50 different track pieces, double sided, 20 Nitro cards, 12 upgrade cards each for 4 different car components, 6 hot rods, 6 player boards, a deck for each hot rod made of 20 move cards, corner tokens, and a ring of fire and other stand ups. It’s an understatement to say there’s a lot in this game. When you get all the tracks out, tokens, cards, and cars it looks like a mess in the box. I tried my best to organize it.
To start, you first have to build the track. Start with the green tracks numbered 4, 3, and 2. That will be the starting point. Next, use your imagination and build the coolest track you can with turns, straightaways, and even a ring of fire. Make sure to add pit stops along the way, because this is how you refill your tank, get upgrades, or restart when you run out of gas. The turns will have tokens placed at the corner. These will let you know how fast you can take it without taking damage. If you go faster around the turn than the number shown, you discard some of you cards. Hairpin turns are safe under 3, 90° turns are safe under 4, and banked corners are safe under 5.
Now, each player will choose a team, take their deck of movement cards, team board, and the car. Pick a first player, and place them on the first 2, then randomly select the rest. Players draw cards from their deck equal to the number they’re placed on.
The teams are Aliens, Rockabilly, Food Fight, Battle Wizards, Monsters, and Underworld.
Each team has their own deck of movement cards. Think of this as your gas tank. The number on the card is how far up you move when you play it. Some will have abilities if you play it from your hand or flip it from the top of your deck. If a card says burn a number of cards, this is discarding from the top of your deck. If a card says damage, first you start by discarding from your hand before discarding from the deck. Now, because your cards in hand and cards in the deck make up your gas tank you can run out of cards to draw. This is running out of gas. If you run out of gas, you move back to the closest available pit stop. Shuffle your movement cards and draw two cards.
You can do one of four things on your turn. First, you can play a card from your hand. You move that many spaces and do what the card says. Alternatively, you can blindly flip over the top card of your deck and move that many spaces and do what the card says. Instead of moving, you can draw 4 cards. Lastly, I saved the best for last, you can hit the nitro and flip the top card of the Nitro Deck. Now, the nitro has been installed in questionable ways in your hot rod. There’s a high probability of something going wrong when you hit the nitro, but it also moves you the farthest. You could move 9 spaces, but have the burn 9 cards. Alternatively, you could move 0, because your engine blew.
If you land on a Pit Stop spot, you can do one of two things. You can gas up or upgrade. Gas up lets you shuffle your discard pile back into your gas tank. Upgrade lets you take one of the upgrade cards and place it on your player board. There are 4 categories for upgrades. Weapons, Tires, Engines, and Pit Crews. Weapons will attack other players if you moved a certain distance. Engines will usually give a bonus if you play a movement card of a certain number. Tires will give you a bonus when you draft over an opponent, and pit crews will give you a bonus when you stop at the pit stop. You can only have one of each activated at a time.
You might have noticed that the track is only one lane wide. One car can occupy a space at a time. So what happens if you land on the same spot as another car? You draft around the car. If you land on top of another car, to move you car to the spot in front of that car. You can draft multiple cars at the same time if they are lined up.
So there you have the basics of the game. First player to cross the finish line is the winner. Just watch out for other players. Build up your car with faster engines, weapons, and tires. Stop at the pit to refuel or upgrade.
So what do I think of this game? It has some great mechanics. I like how the deck of movement cards is also your gas tank. Then any damage you take is in the form of discarding. I haven’t seen this in a game before. I’ve seen the cards for movement, but not damage taken or being used as your gas tank. I really like the track and being able to make it how you want. If you want an easier track, put more pit stops. If you want it a little hard, spread them out. The art is unique. You either love it or hate it. I fell on the love side of that. It reminded me of the Rat Fink character. It has a very rat rod look to the whole design. The box looks like it’s been faded and warn. Same with some of the cards. The border on the cards have the typical pin striping you’d see on some of these custom rides. The cars themselves are clear stickers on chunky clear plastic blocks. I really like this, as it makes the game feel different than other racing games and small little car models. Some of the track has a hard time connecting to each other, and the ring of fire doesn’t like to stand up and easily falls down. I just used some of the stands from a different piece to stabilize it. I like the take that of this. This has one reminded me more of Twisted Metal than Mario Kart. Now, my gripes for this game are the insert. There isn’t much of one. Nothing fits nice and neat, but some time with an X-Acto knife and some of those stack-able crayon boxes fixed that. The other thing I didn’t like as much was the track not fitting together as well as I’d like it. Overall, I do recommend this one if you can find it. Lately, I’ve discovered an Ollie’s Bargain Outlet and the had some highly discounted board games available there. When I saw Hot Rod Creeps, I knew I just had to try it for $7.50. I still had a blast with this game. I’d highly recommend this game to anyone looking for a racing game with take that elements and who enjoys designing the track.