I got my Kickstarter copy last week and the game has taken
over my workbench since then. I played probably
10 games, all solo. My quick reaction at
this point: This is a light,
quick-playing game with some engaging bits.
I liked it. Quick disclaimer, Jim
Dietz was instrumental in getting CFR published for which I will always be
Racing games have a habit of being long or being racing
games in theme only. I applaud designers
Mike Clifford and Mike Siggins for coming up with a quick play game that feels
like racing. I admit that people looking
for deeper decision making may not enjoy this game. But I also think that there is a bigger decision
space here than might be apparent at first.
It is tempting to think that your only decision is which of
your cars to 7 spaces and which to move 6.
But more often the decision is really IF you want to move all of that
speed or not. Slipstreams make a huge
difference in this game and shorting yourself a couple spaces this move to set
up a slipstream is probably worth it. Or
maybe you should move fewer spaces to create a blocking situation for some cars
right behind you that have yet to move this turn. Or maybe I want to move a little less because
it means that a car that moves up behind me later in the turn will be in a
curve and not eligible for a slip next turn.
Don’t get me wrong, this is not the thinkiest game. But after a couple plays you can find ways to
be thinkier with your moves.
There are some specific design elements I really enjoyed
with this game. The grid position
assignment was very well done. Faster
teams will be randomly assigned to grid spots 1-4 and then mixed in with the
next tier of teams for spots 5-11 and so on.
I think this works really well as there is a level of randomization
I love that you can reconfigure the track.
Although I get that this is mostly cosmetic.
The reality is that the track only matters to
the degree that you can change the order and quantity of straight spaces versus
If you are going to use
all of the pieces every track, there are really only so many variations you can
And yet, it’s fun to do.
This is not an overly produced game but I really like the
design esthetic of the 1930s era cars and the added bit of rationale when cars
get bounced from races is great. (Yes,
drivers got sick ALL the time during races back then.)
As with any game there are things I did not like as
much. In my first handful of plays I noticed
the track was REALLY clogged up in the back during turns 1 and 2 after the
starting procedure. If the random
determination of who went first was mostly backmarkers you ended up with a LOT
of spun cars because there was literally nowhere for them to go. Recovering from a spin requires a pull from
the Action Deck and can mean that car is done for the race. Lots of spun cars means you churn through the
Action Deck which means more and more Events.
Events can be random one time bonuses but can also mean random retirements. While I saw this happen more in early turns
before the field naturally spreads out, I would typically cycle through the
Action Deck about 3 times per race. I
get that a lot of retirements is very thematic, but when I saw the French team
lose both cars that were 1-2 in the race a turn from the finish line it just
felt bad. This would have been a
table-flipper if it were competitive.
So, I came up with a couple ideas, one of which I REALLY like. First a little background.
Every game you control two different teams. Each turn, 1 card for each team is shuffled together
with cards for all of the other teams and that random draw determines who moves
in which order. This very random turn
order is what I think is the cause of more mayhem than I enjoy.
My Supercharged House Rule
At the beginning of the turn, each
player puts one of their team’s cards facedown into the “moves first” pile and the
other facedown into the “moves second” pile.
Randomly assign half of the privateer teams to each pile. When the two piles are complete, shuffle each,
and then place the “moves first” pile on top of the “moves second” pile. The cards are then drawn from this combined
If one of your teams has had both
cars removed from the race, continue to play both cards because that hides
which pile you put your remaining team in.
This ends up doing several things I enjoy.
First it helps solve track congestion issues. If I see that one of my cars has a lot of
traffic in front of it that I want to try to avoid, I can put that team’s card
in the “move second” pile. Maybe things
will have cleared out. I felt like this played
out the way I’d hoped. But it also had
another impact I did not anticipate.
Because fewer cars got stuck in situations where they had no options and
had to spin, I churned through the Action Deck less. Now I’m shuffling only once per game not
three times. That means a LOT fewer
random events knocking out drivers for no real reason… especially late in the
This rule also adds a decision to every turn that was not
there before. Sometimes it seems
relatively obvious that I should make one of my teams go first and the other go
second. But often I saw myself
considering both teams for different reasons.
And then you are put in a situation to maybe prioritize one team over
the other or start trying to anticipate the other players’ choices here.
I’m sure this modification is not for everyone, but if you
are looking for more decisions and less random give it a try.
A few words about Supercharged as a solitaire
experience. Supercharged solo is not set
up to be competitive. You aren’t racing
against the game. You are just running
the system to see what happens. I
actually enjoy that kind of solo experience but I realize that will not be best
I also decided that I’d rather play this game solo with the
4-player rules than the solo rules in the box.
I think the game is easy enough to play multi-handed. There is not a TON of player interaction in
your decision making. And it’s easy enough
to anticipate what a Team might decide to do based only on their situation and
not trying to anticipate other Teams’ moves.
This also means you get to play with the Tactics cards which provide
more decisions to make and keeps more cars from spinning out. The Great Maneuver card is often a get out of
jail free card when you would otherwise be stuck spinning.
To Sum Up
A light, quick racing game with enough flavor to feel like
racing. The lighter level of decision
grit keeps the game light and quick but your satisfaction with that will vary. I recommend my turn order modification. I also recommend playing 4-handed solitaire
and not the solo rules in the game. It honestly
gives you a better flavor of the game.