Hey folks! I’m back again with a review of an official review copy game! I know! I was excited to be selected to try a couple of new games coming out. First, a company you may have heard of before is starting to get into the board game world. The United States Playing Card Company, better known as Bicycle, has a couple of new games coming out. I responded to an ad that they were looking for reviewers. I thought this was the perfect company to first reach out to about a review copy. This is mainly due to my childhood memories of playing cards with my great grandmother. I would get asked to grab a deck of cards, and I can say every single deck she had was by Bicycle.
Ok, with that little blurb out of the way, today we’re drafting a couple of drivers and trying to get the farthest in this take that race. Shuffle Grand Prix is a take that card game with variable player powers. It’s a game designed by Rob Newton and produced by Bicycle. It’s a 2-4 player game and plays in about 30 minutes.
The game comes with a deck of 50 distance cards, 16 trophy tokens, 8 driver decks (each deck has 12 cards), 8 turn tracker cards, 4 reference cards, and 4 health trackers. In total, there are 170 playing card sized cards in this game, all nice and snug in the box insert.
To set up, give each player a reference card, a health card, and two turn trackers. Shuffle the distance cards, and deal one to each player. The player with the highest distance goes first. They select one of the 8 drivers. Then the next person clockwise selects one drive. Look closely at each driver, as they each have a unique power. This goes on until the last person has selected their first driver. Now, going counterclockwise starting with the last player, everyone selects their second drive. Players will place their first selected driver on top of the health card, and their second, co-driver, under the health card. Now, take the corresponding driver decks and shuffle these together and draw 3 cards. Shuffle all the distance cards together again, set them in the center of the table and the trophy tokens next to the deck. You’re ready to start.
Okay, let’s go over some the health card, turn tracker, and some of the cards in your driver deck.
The health card will keep track of your health during the race. It also helps determine what driver and ability power is active. The card has 4, 3, 2, and 1 tires. Every player starts with the driver on top of the health card, and the 4 tires showing. If you take damage, you then move your driver to show the new total. Once you are down to 0 tires, fear not. You just spin out, lose any equipment or nerfs, discard your hand, and lose your top distance card. I did say fear not. You’re not out of the race just yet, you swap your co-driver with your driver. And guess what, your co-driver is at full health!
The turn tracker card is used when you play a card that lasts for a certain number of turns. I like counting down the number of turns. I place the turn tracker under the card I’m tracking for turns. The number of turns showing on the top of the card.
Next, for the driver decks we have 5 types of cards.
Action Cards – Play on your turn and complete the action on the card.
Equip Cards – Play on one of the two slots for your card. The equip cards range from absorbing damage to stealing distance cards.
Trap Cards – These are usually played next to the distance deck and trigger when the condition is met. Careful though, you’re not immune to your own traps.
Nerf Cards – This card is played on another player and often hinders them in some way.
Anytime Cards – These are cards you can play anytime and are typically used to cancel effects of other cards.
To play the game, the starting player is first going to draw and play a distance card. Distance cards are 25, 50, 75, or 100 values. Place the distance card in front of your driver. The next you draw will go next to this drawn card to keep track of your distance, cover up any gray areas on the previous card. Next, rotate any turn tracker cards on your driver. Then, you can either play a card, discard a card and draw a new one, or pass. If you play a card, you draw a card. Always keeping 3 cards in your hand. Lastly, you can spend trophies. One trophy lets you swap your driver and co-driver. Two trophies lets you play another card. How do you get trophies? You get a trophy token by making another driver spin out. Dealing the last blow to a driver, will net you one trophy token. Then it’s the next players turn, and this goes on until there are no more distance cards to draw. Player with the greatest total distance wins.
So, that’s the game. There’s a bunch of Take That, variable player powers, and trophies for players who take out the competition. The components of the game are nice quality. The cards have a nice feel to them, and the trophy tokens are nice, thick, and actually shaped like a trophy. I like the art. It’s weird, cartoony, but it works. Each driver has different art for their driver and deck. To top that off, the cards themselves are all named something different often a joke or pun. I did find an error on all the tracker cards. I’m not sure if it was intended to just rotate, with the numbers showing on top, but the 3 turns into an E with how it’s printed. A little thing, nothing that can’t be worked around. The rules book does a nice job of explaining the game. Game play was a bit slow at two players. I know the game says this is 2-4 players, but I don’t think it should be played below 3 players. It’s a Take That style game, which gets too back and forth at just 2 players. I like the drafting drivers and variable driver powers. The different combinations can make each game play different. I didn’t like the distance cards laid out in front of you as the way to keep track of how far you’ve gone. A simple board with cubes in your “color” would have worked better in my opinion. I was running out of table space with my distance cards. The turns are easy, draw a distance, play a card. It was easy to explain. With different player counts, I feel like using only a certain amount of the distance deck would have been better as well. Two players the game was dragging on. Three players it seemed a bit too long as well. This game didn’t go well with my group. I think it was due to the length of time playing it. I’ll play it a couple more times, but I can see this as being a fun take that race game once the game length is figured out. I can also see this as a game where expansions are released with more drivers and decks. Currently, this game is neutral for me. I can’t recommend it, but at the same time it’s not a bad game. I’ll play it, but there are other racing games that I’d go to before this one. I also want to comment on the insert for this game. I’m a big believer in organized boxes for board games. This insert does that, and everything seems to stay in place when transporting it. I don’t know hot may times I’ve gotten a card game, and the insert has been horribly sized or lacking, and the cards slid and mix up during transportation. Well done, Bicycle! That said, I’m still excited that Bicycle is coming out with a line of board games. Next Bicycle game to review, It’s Blunderful, is a betting party game that I’m excited to get to the table.