- Designer: Friedemann Friese
- Publisher: 2F
- Players: 2-6
- Age: 10+
- Time: 20-30 minutes
- Played with review copy provided by 2F
So one of the highlights of my trip to Essen each year is stopping at the 2F Booth to see what the new games are. Unfortunately, neither of us was there this year for Covid reasons. However, I was still able to get a copy of one of their new games, Full Throttle, an intriguingly themed game about moped racing. I was worried that the game would not arrive here until Christmas time, but they shipping Gods smiled upon me, and the game actually made it here in just under two weeks from Deutschland (much sooner than the box of games I had someone collect and ship for me!)
So in this game, you find yourself at a moped race. 6 different colored mopeds compete in a 3 lap race around the track. As the mopeds circle the track, you will get a chance each turn to place a bet on who you think will do well in the race.
To start, first choose which side of the game board you would like to play on. The tracks on each side are slightly different, and each has its own quirks that will become apparent as the race progresses. The 6 mopeds are randomized onto the 6 starting spaces of the track, and the lap marker for each moped is placed on the starting space of the lap track in the center of the board.
One player is chosen to be the start player, and they are given the white wooden spark plug token. The deck of racing cards is shuffled and made into a facedown deck. The game will now be played in a number of rounds until at least 3 Mopeds have finished the third lap of the race.
Each round has 2 specific phases. First you move the mopeds. According to the chart found in the rules, flip over a predetermined number of cards from the deck, and move the moped shown on the card a number of spaces equal to the number seen on that card. Mopeds always move forward, though they can move straight or diagonally forward. If possible, mopeds will always move in the inner lane. If the inner lane is occupied by another moped, then the moving moped will move diagonally out into the outer lane. It might be possible for a moped to be completely blocked if there are mopeds in every lane of the track. If this happens the moving moped can move no further and its turn ends prematurely. It is possible for a moped to move through an obstruction such as another moped, but it cannot end its movement on a space with another moped.
If the moped crosses the start/finish line, be sure to move its lap marker 1 space further on the lap track (in the center of the board). Note that you move the lap marker even at the start of the race when the mopeds first across the start/finish line.
Once you have flipped over all of the cards for the round, and move the mopeds as directed, then you move into the second phase where you get to bet on the mopeds. The first player takes all of the racing cards which were drawn this round and then secretly chooses one of them as his bet. The only thing at this point which is important is the color of the moped on the card. This card is placed facedown in front of the player, and at the end of the game, this card will count as a bet for the moped shown on the card. The remaining cards are then handed to the player on the left who then chooses a card for his bet. This goes on around the table until the last player has a chance to choose. That final player in turn order will choose one of the final 4 cards for his bet, and then he will take the remaining 3 cards and place them facedown on the bottom of the deck in the order of his choosing. More likely than not, these cards will be drawn again near the end of the game
There is a special rule for 2 and 3 player games, where the final player ends up with 5 cards when he chooses. One card becomes his bet, 3 cards are put back on the bottom of the deck, and the final card is placed facedown next to the board. Once there are 6 cards facedown next to the board, one will be flipped up each turn to help players know which cards have been taken out of the game.
Continue taking turns like this until one of the mopeds finishes the third lap around the track. At this point, move its lap marker down onto the winners space on the podium. Now keep drawing cards from the deck until 2 more mopeds cross the finish line. Place their lap markers on the second and third positions respectively. Leave all of the mopeds on the board in the places where they stop. Note that there is no betting in this final round. The game moves immediately to scoring.
Now at this point, all players reveal their bets, and they score 4 points for each card for the first place moped, 3 points per card for the second place moped, and 2 points for each card for the third place moped. The player with the most points wins. If there is a tie, all tied players now evaluate their cards for fourth, fifth, and sixth place scoring 4, 3, and 2 points respectively. The person with more points in this tie breaker wins.
My thoughts on the game
So as one of the new guys in my game group correctly figured out, this game is very much like Camel up in that the race happens on the board, but the real game is betting on the results of the race, basing your bets on the ever-changing status of the racers.
The interesting change to the game is that the available bets are directly based on the cards revealed in each round. As a result, turn order can be very important, as the first person in the round gets the best selection of cards to choose from. However, it is definitely not horrible to be last in order either. While you have the worst selection of betting cards, it is definitely helpful to be in control of the three cards which are put back on the bottom of the deck.
Regardless of which side of the board you use, you will definitely need to go through the entire deck of cards more than once. Therefore, the cards put back on the bottom of the deck, especially from the first few rounds, are super important. I think when I calculated it out, there are not enough possible moves for each color in the whole deck to finish the race, and you might lose some of these movement spaces if you are blocked on the track. So all the mopeds will be competitive by the end of the original deck, and the winner of the race would end up being the first one to move 7 or 8 spaces from the replaced cards.
So, you have to be cautious in which cards you choose to take as your bet. Because if you take out a 3 movement card of a particular color, that color will not have that number to move as you will not be able to draw that card from the deck anymore. Additionally, the particular color is popular among the players, it will actually not do that well because it will not have as many cards to be drawn on that second pass through the deck.
Full Throttle ends up feeling very much like Camel Up or Downforce, but it has its own subtle nuances. Is one better than another? I don’t know if I could say – it may just depend what sort of mood you’re in. The pacing of this is OK. Our games seem to finish in about 20 minutes now, and that’s about right for the game you get. We get into a pretty good rhythm with the active player flipping up the cards and the other players moving the appropriate mopeds around the track. For me, the quick pace and the relatively compact size make this one a keeper.
Thoughts from other Opinionated Gamers
Rand – If this game was five minutes longer, I think it would land in some kind of no man’s land. But mopeds are zippier than you might think. I’ve now played this four times in the past week, which probably indicates my family enjoys the smell of oil and burnt rubber as much as, if not more than, roasted foodstuffs. None of the games lasted over 30 minutes, even with a full table of hecklers. And none of the games went through the deck of cards more than twice. As Dale mentioned above, most mopeds will ride roughly even with each other after the first time through the deck, and this means that every card selected during that first time through is a kind of self-sabotage as you’ve eliminated some probability that your selected mopeds will have the gas to cross the finish. It’s as if you are playing half of a Flamme Rouge turn with the full complement of racers at the same time as each of your fellow bettors. My favorite bit of the game is the detail and exuberance put into the moped drawings. Each is based on a real moped and there are two options for each color because, as Friese notes, “our graphic artist would not stop drawing!” I imagine there’s some nostalgia here, especially for a certain friend who sent along this video of a song written in…praise…of the Kreidler Florett. For now, Full Throttle! has joined that shelf of quick 6-player games along with Himmelsstürmer, 6 Nimmt, and Geschenkt.
Ratings from the Opinionated Gamers
- I love it!
- I like it. Dale Y, John P, Rand, Mark J
- Not for me…