Warm-up before take-off
Before starting the game, you should prepare the pieces. Two stickers of the same color should be affixed to each of them. This way, one side of the disc will have the active form and the other side of the dormant. The board consists of five smaller ones. The start and end route must open and close the route, but the other three can be arranged in any order. Place the point tokens ascending towards the finish line in the appropriate places on the edges of the boards. Each player receives an equal number of victory tokens – 6 (2 players), 4 (3 players), or 3 (4 players).
Ready to take off? Start!
Each player chooses who will represent him – knights, wizards, forest people or gnomes and goblins. Every 100 years these four clans compete in a race where the prize is the possibility of choosing a new king. Each of them is represented by four runners. Regardless of the number of players, there are always sixteen daredevils at the beginning of the route. One pawn of a given color should be placed on each of the four starting fields. Then the first player rolls all the dice and performs the actions that were rolled on the faces. You can reroll any number of dice once during your turn. Then the next person counterclockwise performs their roll and actions.
There are six different symbols on the sides. They allow you to take victory tokens from your opponents, put runners to sleep / wake them up, throw a pawn in / out of the lake, copy any action, catch up with the nearest runner, or move any number of pawns from one field forward, leaving one of them in each area you pass. After crossing the finish line, the runners are placed on the spaces marked with the highest scoring. The game ends when all eight points scored are occupied. In a two-player game, the one who moves his entire clan to the finish line wins.
The first one is not always the best
The Royal Race is a simple board game for children aged 7 and over. And yes, with the first game, when we learn how it works, it may seem that the joyful sliding of the pucks is all that this title can suggest. Younger players will be racing towards the goal, because it’s a race after all. But how much more fun it is to disturb others! If you throw someone into the lake and put him to sleep, in order to do something with this pawn, the player must spend two actions to move him – first wake up and then get out of the water. And that’s only on the assumption that he can throw away the appropriate walls. With malicious players and a larger group, reaching the finish line is not that easy.
Ending the race does not guarantee a win. The players count the points from the podiums and victory tokens as well as from the spaces with pieces that have not finished the run. That is why it is important not only to reach the end of the route, but also to collect tokens, because they can help us when our clan’s runners are not in shape.
The above-mentioned negative interaction is quite a lot for such a light title. Of course, it is the dice that decide on the actions that we have the opportunity to perform, but sooner or later we will come across a wall with a negative effect. It is obvious that it will be used for the pawns of other players, not ours. For children, it will be good learning to take ‘punches’ from others, but also to decide whether it is better to follow your runners to the finish line or delay your opponents.
Combining is something I wouldn’t expect in such a simple game. With a full squad, we always move someone’s pawn, but with 2 or 3 players, we start using runners who do not belong to anyone. Each square may contain a maximum of four pucks. By taking them all and spreading them one by one, we can send our player four steps ahead, which is really a lot. In addition, on the way, we will certainly pass a lake, and of course leave another player’s pawn there. For experienced players, it is a fast, a bit mean “racer”, which will be a fun filler during a board game. However, for children it is a good time to learn how to optimize the available movements.
The royal race lends itself to the family game shelf, and I think it will be folded out a lot at many tables. The fairy-tale graphic design pleases the eye, and the variable route, although it always has the same elements, allows you to arrange different distances between the lakes in subsequent games. I hope that the author has ideas for other obstacles and new route tiles, because the modularity of the board gives a lot of room for creativity in this regard.