Ever wonder what it would be like to see a bunch of kangaroos race? Ever think about what happens when 2 roos get into close quarters with each other? We will answer these questions as we take a look at Glenn Zomchek’s game Roo Race.
Roo Race is a competitive racing game for 2-6 players. The objective of the game is to be the first to cross the finish line after a certain number of predetermined laps.
The game board consists of 6 lanes for the roos to race in, each one having different obstacles. There are also a number bonus markers that can be randomly placed on the board to change the dynamics of the game. In the picture above the bonus markers are set as recommended for the first game. There are also some traffic cone markers that can be used to close lanes off for a game with less than 6 players to increase player interaction.
There are 6 different roos that players can play in the game:
Each player will start with 5 coins that can be used to purchase cards as well as betting on roo boxing matches as well. I will get to that shortly.
At setup, place the game board in the center of the table. Randomly place Bonus markers in various spaces on the game board. These markers allow players to gain coins, gain cards, recharge their special ability, or boost ahead one space.
Also sort the item cards by title and form a market of cards next to the game board having each type sorted and placed in descending cost order. Also place the boxing mat off to the other side of the game board along with the red and black dice.
Each player selects a roo and takes 3 roo tokens. 1 will be placed in the token stand and placed in a lane on the game board.
1 will be used to indicate what lap the roo is on, and the 3rd is used as a betting token. Each player will then take their roo’s ability card. 5 coins, and 2 item cards.
To play the game is simple. Each player on their turn can do these actions in any order:
- Move 2 space
- Use any number of item cards from their hand
- Discard cards for coins
- Purchase cards
- Box another roo
Moving spaces on the board can be either forward, left, right, or diagonal; diagonal moves count as 2 moves. Players cannot intentionally move backwards. Landing on certain bonus spaces on the board will allow you to gain coins or cards, refresh the roo’s special ability, or even move ahead 1 extra space. There are certain spaces on the board that are obstacles that will slow your roo down and there are even obstructions in certain lanes that roos have to go around.
Using item cards from their hand is simply discarding the card and executing the actions on them. Typically the items are going to give you a benefit and mess with other players. If you choose to use the roo’s special ability, flip that card over to the exhausted side.
If you need extra coins, you can discard item cards from your hand to receive coins at the rate of 1 half of the card price rounded down.
Players can also spend coins to acquire item cards from the market by paying the cost noted on the cards.
Players will be moving around the board racing towards the finish line.
BUT…………There is more!!!!
If 2 roos end up on the same space, a boxing match will ensue. The boxing match will determine which roo gets to stay in that space.
Before the boxing match, each player has a chance to bet on the boxing match. They place one of their roo markers on the boxing mat and then places coins on top of their marker to show their wager.
The boxing match then ensues. The attacker rolls the red die, the defender rolls the black die.
Roo special abilities can then be used. And then each player involved in the boxing match (attacker and defender) can secretly select any number of item cards to be used that can affect the boxing match. The cards are revealed and played out and the results are added to the result of the boxing die rolls. Whoever has the higher total at the end is the winner of the boxing match. The winner of the boxing match stays in that space, the loser moves back one space. All players who bet on the winning roo doubles their bet in coins back; the losing betters just lose their entire wager to the bank.
This play will continue until a roo is the first to cross the finish line after the set number of laps, typically 3.
NOTE: The game can also be played out without the betting element and there are alternative rules set forth in the rule book.
Roo Race is a fun family-friendly game. It gives a double-punch of having 2 games in one. First, you have an arcade-game style race going on with the roos, changing lanes to pick up bonus items and avoiding obstacles and obstructions, and also trying to pick fights with other roos to control spaces on the board. Second, you have a betting game where players are placing bets on the outcome of boxing matches to win coins to be able to buy more stuff during the game.
This game combines elements of area control and wagering both supporting the race game.
The rules are well written and the artwork is well done. Setup for the most part is easy. There is some time involved in placing the bonus tokens on the game board. The flow of the game is great and with a lot of direct player confrontation, players stay involved in the game, especially with the boxing matches. Thematically, I like the idea of roos racing coupled with the boxing matches. Roo Race makes me think of Camel Up meets the World Boxing Association.
I like that the designer is sensitive to his potential audience and offers alternative rules to avoid the betting aspect of the game. This is important since many people do not involve themselves in any form of gambling.
Overall, I really like the design of this game. Simple rules and lots of player interaction makes this a great addition to a family library.
Roo Race is currently available through Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/Roo-Race/dp/B00YLPH3CI/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1440287580&sr=8-1&keywords=roo+race