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Crazy Driver

[Crazy Driver]

Author: unkown

rudy Games

No. of Players:



G@mebox author Ralf Togler writes about the game:

Does anybody remember Top Race? Wolfgang Kramer’s racing game from the year 1996? I think there was a revised version published by PEGASUS about 10 years ago. That game was definitely my first auto racing game. But it is not my oldest racing game: Um REIFENBREITE - that won the SPIEL DES JAHRES award in 1992 - is still four years older, and is still one of my favourite games. Both games were easy to learn, but great to play. I mean a race is a race, and although the games are luck-dependent, they still have enough elements to try the one or other tactic. I played many more racing games after that like Rallyman or Leader 1. A lot of those game have more to keep in mind and think about, and more tactical elements that make those games more complex than the first two titles. But although I love to play them too, I often come back to those simpler old games.

Why I am telling you all this? Well, the reason for this is the new title of RUDY GAMES, called Crazy Driver. For those of you you do not know RUDY GAMES I have to explain that the Austrian publisher designs all of their games as hybrid games with the smartphone or the tablet being part of the game. OK, it’s not the device alone, of course it’s an app you have to download and start before you play the game. But it is a necessary element, sometimes you are lead by the app, sometimes there are some side quests to be solved, triggered by game elements found on the board or the cards of the physical game.

[Crazy Driver]

Click on image to enlarge!

When you first open the box of Crazy Driver and set up the game, at first glance nothing indicates that you are in need of any mobile device. I mean, everything is there: you can build up a race track with various hexagonal course elements (straights, bends and crossroads), place speed limit signs for the bends and other game elements like action and checkpoint markers, every player gets a player board to track the car’s damage level, the current gear and the driver’s skill levels (in four categories), and there are dice and cards to start the race. So why the app? Well, in comparison to other titles of the Austrian publisher, the mobile device is actually only used to start some side quests along the road and to lead you through the set-up phase. So, Crazy Driver is much more a traditional boardgame than for example last year’s Quiz It. So let’s focus on the board first:

A striking difference to most other racing games I know is the absence of lanes along the track. Consequently there are no lane changes, and players can always overtake, no matter how many other cars are on the next space. Clockwise the players take their turns and move their cars forward. This is done in two steps. First, players have the option to change the gear (one gear higher or lower), then they roll a die and add the result to the current gear level. The sum are the movement points for the current turn. All of them have to be spent, one point for every space along the track. So, if there are no bends, it’s great to be in a high gear. But you better shift down some gears when a bend comes into sight, because if you enter a bend with movement points above the speed limit of the bend, your car body gets a damage for every movement point above the speed limit.

[Crazy Driver]

Click on image to enlarge!

This can lead to a total loss of damage tokens, meaning that your car is so much damaged that it has to be repaired. And that again is the moment when the mobile device comes into play: to repair your car, you have to activate the Crazy Driver app in the next round after you have lost the last car body marker, and - at a command - you have to draw several parts of your car like the motor or the exhaust pipe to the right positions on the screen of the mobile device. The faster you manage to arrange the parts, the more car body markers you get back. Of course this is your only action of the round, meaning that you miss one turn on the speed track.

There are a lot of other side quests that are triggered at checkpoints along the track, and all of them are played on the mobile device. These games are all quite simple, some are played simultaneously (my mobile phone was a little bit too small for that with four persons), others are played one by one whenever the next player reaches the checkpoint. The result of such a sidequest can be seen when the last driver has reached the checkpoint.

[Crazy Driver]

Click on image to enlarge!

All drivers have four skills for changing gear, reaching top speed, drifting and forcing other cars off the road. Each turn a player can use one of these skills to either change another gear, pushing the car one step further or damaging other players’ cars. But to use the skill a player has to stand a test (which is solved by rolling a D10 against the skill level of the driver). These skills as well as the side quests do not dramatically change the course of the racing, but they can be that extra something that makes all the difference in the finish.

So, what type of game is Crazy Driver? Of course it is a racing game. Compared to those older titles I have spoken about, I personally think it’s an entertaining easy family game. Those side quests are great for smaller children, for grown-ups and older children I would like to see more ambitious challenges on my mobile device. But who knows: RUDY GAMES has already proven that they further develop their games, and maybe we can find a more challenging app variant in the near future. Apart from that, the game plays fast and fluently, all game components are well-elaborated and the race feeling - although the game is much luck-dependent - definitely arises.

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Copyright © 2021 Ralf Togler & Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany