Saturday, 2 August 2014

PitchCar

Plays: 3Px7, 2Px1.

During the Raya holidays Allen suggested to lend me his PitchCar set for me to try with my daughters. His children are still a bit too young for it. So I played, and I had a great time. I didn't know much about the game before, other than having seen some photos and knowing it's a dexterity game. It turned out to be a pleasant surprise.

The Game

PitchCar is a car-racing game, where the cars are discs that you flick around the race track. There aren't many rules. If your car goes off track, or you cause another player's car to go off track, you reset all discs to positions before your turn, and you have just wasted a turn. If your disc flips over, you need to spend your next turn just to flip it back. First to complete 3 laps wins. That's the gist of it. Let's look at how it plays.

The Play

At first we designed our own race track, but I found that it wasn't very good, so after that we stuck to the recommended designs that came with the game.

The race cars.

After playing for a short while, we realised we needed to push away all the chairs. They got in the way. We had to keep moving around the table, and we ended up all sweating. The weather being hot didn't help.

This is one of the recommended race tracks. However we modified it slightly by adding a ramp.

The race tracks have barriers, which can act as guides for the cars and thus help players move their cars further.

Crossing the ramp was harder than I thought. Flick too hard and the car would go off track. Flick too lightly and the car wouldn't make it past the gap.

I wonder whether it's possible to make something like the Sepang F1 race track in Malaysia.

This was a challenging shot. Shee Yun had to be careful not to knock Chen Rui's car off the track.

Allen has not only the base game but also quite a number of expansions, so there is a lot to play with. I grouped the parts by type to ease building the next race track.

Another race track.

This part is actually not easy. Flying over the ramp is challenging. Going through that narrow corridor is also tough.

See how Chen Rui missed.

The Thoughts

This is a simple fun kind of game, but it is not mindless. You are constantly involved, and because it's a dexterity game you do need to focus. Turns are quick, are you are always eager for your next turn. When I played with the children I had to keep reminding them it was not their turn yet. We had to chant a mantra like "red blue green - red blue green" so that we kept to the proper turn order.

There is often a balance between slow-and-steady and fast-but-risky. Everyone will try to push his luck and try to go faster and further, but if you are careless or overly ambitious, you may end up going off track and wasting turns. So there is a nice tension of how far you want to push yourself. When you are behind, you need to keep your cool and not be too rash, because otherwise you might make things worse. Playing with the kids was relaxing for me, since they were not as nimble as I was and I kept winning, but I imagine the game can be quite challenging when playing against adults. We had a lot of laughs with lousy shots or unlucky shots, and we had a lot of cheers for great shots or crazy lucky shots. Say all you want about balancing risk and gain. Eventually when you play, you don't really think that much. You just immerse yourself in the simple fun and the adrenalin rush.

2 comments:

flamesofthephoenix said...

This sounds like a lot of fun. I think that kids particularly get into dexterity-based games easier and they can still be fun for adults.

Hiew Chok Sien 邱卓成 said...

I played PitchCar again yesterday, and this time I modified the rules a little. To win, I had to complete 4 laps instead of 3. The children still win upon completion of the 3 lap. This made it much more challenging for me. Perfect solution!