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Heat

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Based on simple and intuitive hand management, this fast paced game puts players in the driver’s seat of intense car races, jockeying for position to cross the finish line first, while managing their car’s speed if they don’t want to overheat. Selecting the right upgrades for their car will help them hug the curves and keep their engine cool enough to maintain top …
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Category Tags , , , , SKU ZBG-DOW9101 Availability 2 in stock
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Based on simple and intuitive hand management, this fast paced game puts players in the driver’s seat of intense car races, jockeying for position to cross the finish line first, while managing their car’s speed if they don’t want to overheat. Selecting the right upgrades for their car will help them hug the curves and keep their engine cool enough to maintain top speeds. Ultimately, their driving skills will be the key to ultimate victory!

Drivers can compete in a single race or use the “Championship System” to play a whole season in one game night, customizing their car before each race to claim the top spot of the podium. Players have to be careful with real driving situations such as weather and road conditions will change every race to spice up their championship. Players can also enjoy a solo mode with the Legends Module or add automated drivers as additional opponents in multiplayer games.

 

 

Awards

Dice Tower
Golden Pear

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You Might Like

  • A truly fantastic racing game
  • Easy to teach and learn
  • Loads of content
  • Exciting and feels like racing

Might Not Like

  • If you don’t like racing games
  • Or fun
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Description

Based on simple and intuitive hand management, this fast paced game puts players in the driver's seat of intense car races, jockeying for position to cross the finish line first, while managing their car's speed if they don't want to overheat. Selecting the right upgrades for their car will help them hug the curves and keep their engine cool enough to maintain top speeds. Ultimately, their driving skills will be the key to ultimate victory!

Drivers can compete in a single race or use the "Championship System" to play a whole season in one game night, customizing their car before each race to claim the top spot of the podium. Players have to be careful with real driving situations such as weather and road conditions will change every race to spice up their championship. Players can also enjoy a solo mode with the Legends Module or add automated drivers as additional opponents in multiplayer games.

 

 

Days of Wonder had a fine reputation at bringing out a yearly game of magnificent quality. In recent years those releases had tapered off a little bit in quality, until now. Heat has been nearly unanimously praised and with good reason. This racing game set in the 1970s brings the excitement and danger of racing to the cardboard track.

On Fire

On opening Heat’s box you will notice two immediate things. Firstly this is a box full of content… with some strange gaps in the insert! It seems as though there are plans for an expansion as there is spaces for two more players in the existing insert. This will annoy some for sure, but given the amount of other content I like the planning for future content to fit in the current box!

Heat comes with the components for 1-6 players to race one of four maps right out of the box. You can do this in one off races or play a season. Thanks to a fantastically simple bot deck you can top up any race with ‘bot cars’ meaning you can always have 6 cars on the track. I highly recommend this too!

Each player will take a deck of speed cards, a certain amount of heat and stress cards depending on the track or mode being played. They will add three upgrade cards to this, for your first game it is advised to use the suggested ones, a 0 speed, a 5 speed and an extra heat card. Managing heat is the name of the game here as you push your car and cool it down at the best times. Or at least try too.

Cold Snap

Players also get a gear stick, car mini, and player dash. The gear stick and the car are plastic pieces nicely done, while the player dashboards are somewhere nearer card than paper but definitely the weakest part of the package. They have places for your deck, heat and discard piles as well as ‘gear’ spaces to track your current gear.

Managing heat is a key concept here. Generally you will start with 6 heat in your middle heat deck. Certain actions cause you to add heat to your discard pile which eventually work their way to your hand. Once there they will clog your hand no end as they cannot be played or discarded. While your hand is a generous 7 cards large, even a couple of heat cards can severely limit you options.

Stress Head

Stress cards represent your driver getting distracted and add some unknown chaos to your planning. Perhaps the flames licking from your vehicle are putting you off slightly? Just like heat cards they cannot be discarded, but they can be played. When you resolve your hand stress cards draw from your deck until you hit a playable speed card which is then added to your speed.

It can be a lot of fun to play multiple stress cards and throw your chances to the gods of the cards. To play a round each player chooses which gear to use. This can be their existing gear or one or two gears higher or lower. However playing two gears difference adds a heat to your discard. No heat in your heat pile? No double gear change!

The gear you are in dictates how many cards you can play. You will all simultaneously play your speed cards facedown and then take turns resolving them, starting with the front most car and working your way back. Bezzing down the straights as fast you can is a good idea but you will need to watch our for corners. If you pass a corner line at a speed faster than the line dictates then you will have to pay heat equal to the difference. If you can’t you will spin out.

Add to these base rules slipstreaming, bonus moves for the back cars, and the option to spent heat to boost (the same process as using a stress card) and you have an excellent racing game. Every time I play it the races are exciting with lots of twists and turns and usually no run away winner. The bots are excellent at providing excitement and a challenge too.

It’s Getting Hot In Here

And all the above is just the basic way to play the game! You can draft upgrade cards so that everyone is rocking a unique twist on their deck, play seasons, add in weather and track effects. Despite the small gaps in the inserts clearly left for expansions Heat is packing a whole lot of content.

Speaking of expansions one has already been announced and there are plenty of maps on BGG that can be downloaded and printed onto neoprene to add even more variety. Some people have 3D printed extra cars and used the bot rules for up to 12 cars racing at once!

The absolute best thing about Heat is the way playing it feels. You are invested. Races are exciting with multiple position changes and more than any racing game I’ve played it evokes the theme. Things make sense, and while there is some luck in the draw and shuffle of your deck, ultimately you put any heat you draw in there!

Heat is earning a lot of praise, and in my opinion it is well deserved. This is a game that will remain in my collection as long as I have one. There is loads of content in the box and a clear intention to carry on supporting the game, and the fan support too. I’m sure it won’t gel with some, but so far that’s been precisely no-one that I’ve played with!

Heat second opinion

Heat: Pedal To The Medal

I have only played Heat at 2 players so this review is coming at the game from that perspective. I’ve been looking for years for a racing game that plays well with only 2 players, and I’ve struggled. Unicorn Fever plays very well at this player count, as does Full Throttle, but I’d class them more as betting games rather than racing games. I’d pretty much given up hope.

And then Heat appeared. There are many great things about this game, but the way that you can always play with 6 cars on the track is impressive. The other cars are bots, and as such, are AI controlled. Oh dear, you say, that sounds like a lot of hassle, controlling 4 other cars in a 2 player game. But it’s not. It’s pretty straightforward.

For every round of the game, you flip a card that shows how the AI cars will move. This works differently depending on whether the car in question is close to a corner or not. A line drawn on the board shows you how close to a corner a car is: before the line and it is far away, after the line, it’s up close. If it’s far away, you move the car the number of spaces shown on the card. If this would take it past the corner then you stop at the numbered space shown in the diamond instead. Nice and easy. If it’s close, then you add the number shown on the diamond to the speed that the corner can be taken at, and move the car that far. You don’t have to worry about them having adrenaline boosts, cooling down their engines, slipstreaming, or boosting; it’s all kept as simple as possible.

This system takes a little bit of getting used to, but after a few rounds, it becomes second nature. Four AI-controlled cars can be moved in about 10 seconds. It’s incredible how quickly it all works, and how well the bots approximate the driving skills of real players. Sometimes cars will scream into the lead, only to falter later and fall back into the pack. At other times, cars will approach the corner at the wrong speed and get stuck before it. Even so, they can sometimes claw their way back, just like real players.

It looks like the first expansion for Heat will include another 2 cars, and I wouldn’t mind running 6 AI cars at all. It would be nice if the expansion gave a bit more personality to the AI drivers, especially for use in the Tournament mode. Playing against a selection of cars where one of them is always the odds-on favourite, and another is generally at the back of the pack, but can very occasionally come good and win a race would be great. Also being able to give faces to the other drivers would be a fun touch too.

Heat doesn’t just have a clever AI system, it’s also got a huge amount of content. If you have a fair amount of patience, you can treat elements of the game as expansions, and introduce them bit by bit over time. At first, we purposely didn’t look at the other tracks and only played on the USA course (we played over 10 games on this course alone). We then added in the extra cards, starting with the basic ones, and then the advanced ones. Finally, we added the weather module, and this was all on the first track. After leaving the game for a while and playing other stuff, we came back and started using the Italy map. It was like we’d bought an expansion without having to actually pay any money. We’ve still got two tracks left to discover, and then the tournament mode too. There really is a lot of content. It’s as if Days of Wonder travelled forwards in time, looked at the first few expansions they were going to release, and then bunged them all together into a big box version. That’s how the base game of Heat feels.

So how does this compare to designer Asger Harding Granerud’s other racing game, Flamme Rouge? Very well, in fact. The push-your-luck element of using the stress cards to try and jam it around tricky corners is a lot of fun. I know many people love Flamme Rouge, but I find it to be a bit dry. Heat has many more moments of fun and excitement. And at 2 players, it’s a no-brainer, Heat is so much better.

If you primarily play at 2 or 3 players, I can thoroughly recommend Heat as a racing game. Of course, I can also recommend the game if you play with any player count. It’s a stunning game, chock full of content,

excitement, and close finishes. I would completely agree with the original review’s rating.

Zatu Score

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You might like

  • A truly fantastic racing game
  • Easy to teach and learn
  • Loads of content
  • Exciting and feels like racing

Might not like

  • If you dont like racing games
  • Or fun