As a Formula One fan, I was always intrigued to see how Formula D was going to work, and quite frankly I wasn’t disappointed. In fact I’d go as far to say this is a racing game where even those who don’t like Formula One will enjoy playing it.
Formula D is a game of two halves though, you have the ability to take on motorsport circuits, but flip over the board and you are transported into a fast and furious style world of street circuits, with various extra danger areas to contend with.
So, how does Formula D play?
As I stated above, you have two types of motor racing options in Formula D, either a street circuit or a motor racing circuit, with the base game coming with the famous Monaco Circuit on one side and the fictional Race City on the other.
The Monaco side of the board looks great, with the deep blue ocean and boats lining up in the harbour. There is even a darker shade of grey on the section of the track where the famous tunnel is in real life.
Setting up the game is simple, with the beginner’s rules getting you going almost straight away. Each racer taking part will be allocated a card with holes in it on one half, these will indicate how much damage your car has taken, as it makes it way around the circuit. In these you place a small black bolt to indicate damage, and a small black gear shift, for the purposes of beginners, or just wanting a simple one lap race, you are allocated 10 damage points (plenty for one lap around Monaco).
There is a gear shift panel on the other half of the card, to remind you which gear you are in as you approach that tricky corner.
Players choose a small car, there are enough for up to 10 players so plenty of options with 10 Formula One cars and 10 street cars/vans to choose from. All of the cars are colour coordinated if you wanted to create two car teams like in real life.
What makes Formula D more interesting is that you don’t just get your car, role a dice and move the car along, I’m afraid you are going to have to manage your car through corners and manage your car through the gear changes all by the throw of a die depending on what gear you are currently in.
Each gear shift has a corresponding number die, with six dice in the box in total. Each dice has a number of spaces for that gear, i.e. first gear has 1-2 spaces, second gear has 2–4 spaces and so on with sixth gear having 21–30 spaces.
The game ensures that you just can’t drive through hairpin corners without consequences if haven’t taken them seriously, so each corner or chicane requires drivers to stop within a red border, any overshooting without doing so will result in a bit of damage to your car depending how fast you were going through (i.e. how many spaces after passing through you finally stop on).
Other damages to your car can occur if you suddenly have to stop right behind another car, if your car finishes right next to another, with all damages are determined by the role of the 20-sided black dice.
Formula D is great, it’s a fun game you have can play with the family and friends, the age range on the box is 14, but I have played this game with my 11-year-old with no problems. There are plenty of additional tracks you can purchase to enhance your gameplay, and of course with this being a dice rolling game, no game is ever going to be the same.
Speaking of additional tracks, there are some instant classics available in the various expansions such as the Singapore night race. Expansions include:
- Exp 1 - Sebring, Florida, and Chicago, Illinois.
- Exp 2 - Hockenheim, Germany, and Valencia street circuit.
- Exp 3 - Singapore night race and The Docks.
- Exp 4 - Buhhd, India and the Baltimore Street circuit.
- Exp 5 - New Jersey and the Sochi Olympic Village F1 track.
- Exp 6 - Nevada Ride and The Circuit of the Americas, Texas.
As with any game however there is always a downside and in my opinion it’s the small cars, not because they are small.. nope.. but because it just takes a mis-roll of a die, an accidental nudge of the board and your cars are no longer in the spaces you left them.. So when you play this game, get yourself something to roll the die into, and make sure that everyone’s hands and arms are in safe places as the cars go around the board.