Formula D, by Asmodee, is a dice-rolling, grid movement game, with ongoing elements of press-your-luck. Up to 10 players take control of their own F1 car and race it around a multi-lane track.
Laurent Lavaur and Eric Randall’s classic revolves around your gearbox, which is a physical, 3D device that even has a movable gear stick! At the start of your turn, you have to decide whether to stay in the same gear, or move up or move down. Depending on your current gear, you’ll then roll the corresponding die and move that many spaces. The higher the gear, the bigger the die. First gear is a four-sided die, with pips ranging from one to two, while sixth gear is a monstrous 30-sided die that ranges from 21-30.
Players can’t just slam it up to sixth gear and then whizz around the track for the rest of the race. Thematically, it makes no sense… In real life, whether you’re Lewis Hamilton or the kid driving a go-kart, you have to slow down around corners.
Happily, the same applies in Formula D – players have to stop a certain number of times in each corner of the track or face a penalty (they’ll lose ‘wear points’ from their car; either generic points in the simple version of the game, or specific points from different parts of the car in the advanced rules, such as tyres, brakes, the gearbox, and so on). You can also lose points if you collide with other cars. Run out of points? Your vehicle stutters to a halt and you splutter out of the race!
Therefore, the crux of Formula D is calculating those gear dice and pushing your car to the limit – can you risk going up a gear and maybe rolling something that sees you overshoot the corner? Or do you play it safe and tootle along like the Safety Car, letting first place further extend their lead?
Formula D might look like a roll-and-move game, a mechanic which some gamers look down upon. However, there’s actually quite a few decisions to be made here. There are also varying degrees of difficulty to pick between. As well as the specific wear points spread out across your car (which makes for a far more tactical race rather than having 18 generic wear points to blow away), there are also asymmetric driver abilities to experiment with. Also, if you decide to play two (or more) laps, players can nip into the pit lanes – this slows them down, but tops up their wear points, meaning they can drive reckless again!
The board is double-sided, so you get two different tracks straight out of the box: Monte Carlo and an illegal street race. The latter track has debris to swerve around and other fun additions such as speeding past the police station. Also, great news for Formula D fans: there are lots of expansion packs available, consisting of many other tracks for hours of wacky racing.
Player Count: 2-10
Time: 60 Minutes