Dale Yu: First Impressions of Lazer Ryderz


Lazer Ryders

  • Designer: Nicole Kline, Anthony Amato
  • Publisher: Greater Than Games / Cardboard Fortress Games
  • Players: 2-4
  • Ages: 8+
  • Time: 30 minutes
  • Times played: 2, with review copy provided by Greater Than Games

Lazer Ryderz feels like the boardgame version of the Lightcycle races in the classic movie Tron.  In this game, players lay down racing lines as they race to control three different Prizms (at which point they immediately win the game).  The racing surface is defined by the table edges.  In the center of the table, one Black Prizm per player is placed in a circle (of any size which is agreed upon by the players).  Each player chooses a Character of their choice and takes all the pieces of their color as well as a matching small d6.

To start the game, each player takes their ship in their hand, closes their eyes, and then all players simultaneously place their ship on any table edge which they can reach.  In their other hand, they raise anywhere between one and five fingers – signifying the gear in which they would like to start.  All eyes are opened, and each player sets their small d6 matching their chosen gear UNLESS they have chosen the same number as another player.  All tied players stall out and must start in first gear; all tied players set their d6 to “1”.

Then, the first round of the game starts.  Players take their turns in descending speed order with the fastest player going first.  Tied players go in clockwise order from the tiebreaker marker.  There are five phases to each player’s turn.

1 – Change Gear – you can choose to change your current gear by 1 step in either direction OR you can choose to stay the same.  Change the number on your die to reflect your new speed.

2 – Move – Decide if you want to play a straight piece or a turn piece.  You can only play pieces with a number on them that matches your current gear.  You are not allowed to pre-measure a piece, you can only use your eyes to try to judge how a piece fits in.  If you want to turn, you must first roll a d6, id you get a number equal to your current number or higher, then you are allowed to play the curved piece.  If you fail, then you must place a straight piece.  If you do not have a suitable piece available in your supply, you remove pieces off the tail of your line until you have the suitable piece to place at the head of your line.

3 – Score – Check if your newest piece goes directly through a Prizm on the board (either a neutral Black one or one of an opponent’s color).  The entirety of your lazer trail must be within the Prizm piece’s edges.  If so, you replace the Prizm with one of your color.  If you have just placed your third colored Prizm, you win the game!  Note that Prizm is the only piece of another player’s color which is safe for you to drive though.  If it is a Black Prizm, your Prizm piece is placed at the head on your current trail.  If it is another player’s Prizm, your piece goes at the exact same spot of the opponent’s piece. If you have only gone partially through a Black Prizm, you do not capture it but only nudge it.  After your movement, you move the nudged Prizm by the distance of a short edge of a Lazer piece.  If you scored a Black Prizm, given the black Prizm to the player on your right so it can be replaced.  Your opponent simply throws it on the table (Starting from anywhere off the table) and wherever it lands is its new location.  If it is too close to an existing Lazer or ship, move it away by the distance of a short edge of a Lazer piece.  

4 – Check for Crashing – see if your ship or Lazer has touched any other player’s ship or Lazer OR is off the edge of the table.  If so, you remove your ship and your entire Lazer trail from the board.  Additionally, if you hit an opponent’s Lazer, all pieces from the hit piece to the back end are also from removed the table.

5 – Flip over your turn marker to the DONE side so that you don’t mistakenly go twice this turn.

Again, the game continues until one player has all three of his Prizm tokens on the board.  That player wins immediately.

My thoughts on the game

Lazer Ryderz is an interesting game that doesn’t fit into traditional game genre pigeonholes.  It’s sort of a race game (trying to get to Prizms first), and it’s sort of a dexterity game (gotta be able to throw the Prizms onto the table where it helps you) as well as one that really rewards good spatial recognition (no takebacks once you decide on a piece to play).  I was a big fan of the movie Tron, and this game very much feels like the Lightcycles from the movie.

I have a four player set, and it has worked well with that number.  We’ve played on our usual 6 foot table, and we’ve had to make some artificial borders to the play area in order to keep things close… The game is a lot more interesting when you have plenty of obstacles and trails to dodge.  If the play area is too large, the game is admittedly a bit dull.  It might be good for a first game as you’re trying to learn how the pieces fit together and training your brain to figure out where/how the pieces will fit, but once you’ve gotten past that first hurdle, you’ll likely want to keep things close as this makes the game more interesting.

Speaking of that first game, it really only takes a few turns to learn how the game works (less than 10 minutes), and once you have that figured out, you pretty much know all of the rules.  The game is pretty simple.  While this is a great advantage to learning the game, the simplicity also keeps it from developing any significant depth – but not all games need that!  Though I’ve only played two games, I’m not sure how much more there is left to explore with the game.  So, though it might not fit into a genre pigeonhole, it does nicely slot itself into the 20 minutes fun filler box.

The packaging is interesting.  My game comes in a large sleeve with four smaller boxes within.  What it ends up looking like is a old school VCR tape box set.  The artwork also has artificial “wear marks” all over it which also makes me think of my moldy-oldy VHS tapes.  While they look cool, my OCD side complains that it’s not a uniform size and makes it hard to stack nicely on the shelves with the other games.  Additionally, the individual sleeves are a bit loose, and this allows all the bits to move around in the vac trays a bit.  In the end, this might not be a big deal as the sleeve tends to keep everything in the overall package.  We have had one spectacular spill though when one of the “tapes” fell out of the slipcover sleeve.

This is an interesting release from Greater Than Games as they expand from Sentinels of the Multiverse.  After playing this one, I’m interested to see what else they have for us in the future…


Ratings from the Opinionated Gamers

  • I love it!
  • I like it.
  • Neutral. Dale Y
  • Not for me…


About Dale Yu

Dale Yu is the Editor of the Opinionated Gamers. He can occasionally be found working as a volunteer administrator for BoardGameGeek, and he previously wrote for BoardGame News.
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1 Response to Dale Yu: First Impressions of Lazer Ryderz

  1. Dan Blum says:

    It sounds vaguely similar to Techno Witches – how does it compare?

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