“There are only three sports: bullfighting, motor racing, and mountaineering; all the rest are merely games” is something I heard Ernest Hemingway once said… well in this case Motorsport actually IS a game! There are no boulders or bulls in Rallyman GT, but there are cars, corners, crashes, and champions!
Rallyman is to racing games as Formula 1 is to motorsport. You’ll need to have the right strategy to come home on the podium. But there’s a chance that risking it all on one heroic divebomb can result in crashing out, needing to race your way back up the standings.
Drivers To The Grid
The Rallyman box contains modular hex tiles with sections of the circuit printed on both sides. One side is usually a harder difficulty version of the same shape track piece. These can be arranged either into “ready-to-race” circuits found in the back of the rulebook or as players choose, adding as many hairpins or straights as you’d like.
The cars are each uniquely coloured and moulded to resemble their real-world equivalents. Each has a set of their own double-sided tyre dashboard cards (rain and asphalt) and gear markers. Dice representing gear, braking, and coasting, the round marker and pit-stop tile. A large number of tokens and a draw bag make up the rest of the box.
Determine the number of laps and starting weather conditions (wet or dry). Pick a car and which tyre to start on, placing the corresponding dashboard on the side matching the weather. To make up the grid, use a single gear marker from each player and draw one by one assigning first through to last. Players take their starting positions and place the “0” gear marker alongside them, all on the white or black side matching the round marker.
The Lights Are Out And Away They Go!
The order of play follows a nice simple rule: “Speed > Distance > Position”.
Each round the player with the highest speed starts. If multiple players have equal speeds, the player furthest along goes first. If multiple players are neck and neck then the player on the inside line for the next corner starts. Easy enough!
The player turn is also quite simple in principle: “1. Place Dice, 2. Roll Dice”.
Place gear and coast dice along the track, avoiding any spaces with another car. Change up or down gears sequentially with coasting maintaining the speed of the previous space. In order to overtake, you’ll need to be travelling at or above your opponents’ speed. The racing line is always the fastest line around a corner (the marked spaces), but you’ll have to take note of speed limits or conditions on them. Coming in too hot will lead to an instant loss of control. Using the red dice allows a player to drop right down the gears, each dropping a further gear but increasing the chance of crashing!
Once you’ve optimised your path, decide which way to roll the dice. Each has a number of hazard symbols on them that you’ll want to try and avoid. There are two options, either cautiously roll the dice one by one choosing whether or not to travel the full distance; or, go “flat-out” pushing your luck and roll them all at once. Going “flat-out” increases the risk but guarantees valuable focus tokens for each space dice were placed, which can be used to secure moves in later turns.
Focus tokens can only be used when taking the safer option, but have the caveat that they can only be spent on unrolled dice and increase their cost per dice banked (the first costing 1, the second 2 and so on…) meaning a hefty supply can dwindle as the race goes on.
It’s a fine line between being in control and losing it! Roll as many hazards as you have on your dashboard and you’ll spin out, potentially picking up some damage. Check the difficulty of the track section and the speed you crashed out at against the table on the dashboard. See how many damage tokens you’ll need to draw and whether you’ve spun on or off the track (gear “0” or “00”). Rallyman damage tokens come in the following forms:
- Losing dice from your available pool, akin to losing gears or brakes failing, can only be repaired by heading into the pits.
- Causing a yellow flag preventing players from overtaking each other until you get moving again.
- Changing the weather conditions flipping everyone’s dashboards, leaving everyone scrambling to decide whether it’s worth pitting and changing tyres.
- Pulling out a green flag (if you’re lucky!) and face no consequences for the audacious move you tried to make…
If you have taken damage or need to change tyres, you can choose to pit. You’ll have to slow to first gear along either edge of the track (not on a marked space). To change tyres, you’ll need to assign the “0” speed marker, flip your card and move the car to the pit lane tile for that turn. At the start of the next turn, you return to the track and take your turn as normal.
If you need to repair any damage, you’ll have to place the “00” marker, return all accumulated damage back in the token bag and move the car in the pit lane (you can also change tyres when doing this!). For your next turn, you’ll have to replace the “00” marker with the “0” marker and wait until the following turn to return to the track. If the space is blocked by another player when trying to re-join the track, you’ll have to wait another turn!
The winner of Rallyman is the first player to cross the start/finish line after the agreed number of laps. Start spraying the champagne and play the “Prelude to Carmen” at full volume!