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Velocity-9 Kickstarter Preview


Quick Look: Velocity-9


Designer: Ryan Dalton
Artist: Alice Bessoni
Publisher: Rebel Quill Games
Year Published: 2018
No. of Players: 2-6
Ages: 13+
Playing Time: 45-90 min

Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com

WARNING: This is a preview of Velocity-9. All components and rules are prototype and subject to change.



Review:

tl;dr: Racing rockets with lots of jockeying and sabotage. Luck is a big factor.

Getting to the Game: Each player chooses a colored rocket and a faction board, and then shuffle the Racing deck and the Cosmic Event deck. The board length is variable, which is a very nice touch. Choose the length to the finish line and have everyone drop their rocket on the start. Draw Reaction Time tokens that serve as your player order. On Your Marks.

  

Learning Velocity-9 is very simple. This is, at its core, a roll-and-move racing game. On your turn, you'll take actions in some combination of rolling the speed die and playing racing cards. There are turns where you're not able to move because of game effects, so on those turns (and also turns where, for whatever reason, you don't want to move) you can play up to two cards instead. Everyone moves in a straight line toward the finish, a planet filled with a rare fuel; first one to get there wins. It's that quick. Get Set.

Playing the Game: Go! Variable player powers elevate this game from incredibly casual dice-driven racer to a juicier experience. At the end of the day, Velocity-9 is Mario Kart on rocket fuel, and I don't mean that disparagingly at all. Each "Faction" has two powers they can choose to activate either once a round or once a race, depending on the faction. These range from good to outstanding, and no two are the same. However, each faction also buys that advantage with their Liability, a significant drawback that can only be activated by other players with the right racing cards. These add a really nice feel of variation to the game, and really take the whole thing a step up.




As I mentioned before, this is just a racer, though. The round order is determined by Reaction Time tokens you draw out of a bag, and these will get shuffled around the table a couple times, depending on the length of your race. In turn order, you go around drawing racing cards, rolling the die (moving from 2-4 spaces at a clip, more or less depending on the cards in play), and then playing cards which do all manner of nonsense. Some let you drop your trash (racing rockets generate trash?) behind you, cluttering up your lagging opponents, some let you lock on to rockets racing past you, allowing you to use their speed to your own advantage, some even let you straight up steal another player's roll for yourself. As with most free-for-all games, the trick is to keep yourself in a decent racing position without annoying too many other people or getting too far ahead so as to paint a big ol' red-laser target on your back.

Another nice bit of foresight in the game is that due to all the sniping your fellow racers will eventually do, it could end up that you all just pull each other back and no one ever gets ahead. When the racing card deck is depleted, this acts as a universal speed boost, giving all players a permanent +1 to their movement. Go through the deck again? Now everyone's at +2. I like games that come up with a clever and elegant way to solve too-cutthroat groups, and this serves its intended purpose nicely.

Some of the racing cards are a little confusing. There's a Cosmic Event deck of cards just waiting to throw someone far ahead or far behind, and due to the fact that literally everything takes place either with a die roll or due to a shuffled deck of cards, luck may play a larger factor than you'd like it to. The mitigating factor here is time. Velocity-9 claims to take 45-90 minutes, but we never played a game that took even 45. It's a very slick game, and it seems unlikely that we were playing wrongyou'd really have to be playing at redline cruelty. Maybe your group is into that. For the rest of us, while this can get to a state where one player is way too far ahead to do anything about, it'll be over soon, and you can start over.




Artwork and Components: Velocity-9 really shines in this department. With the caveat that all the components I have are prototype and likely not the final goods, the artwork on the Faction boards is really outstanding. Each character has a different feel and theme, while still all clearly living in the same universe. While the art on the cards and racing board is plain, it's still clean and clear, which allows for confusion-free gameplay. The template on all the cards makes sense, and the text is large enough to read from across the table.




The components are serviceable at this point, but I look forward to what the KS campaign brings to the table. Plastic player rockets are fine, but new cool models would be outstanding. The speed die is another piece begging for an upgrade, but if what I have is shipped to backers, that would be perfectly reasonable. 

The Good: Very fun, very interactive racer. Looks outstanding on the table. Variable player powers and varying track length are outstanding additions.

The Bad: Lucky, lucky, lucky. Dice and cards rule the game, so it's possible to lose without ever really participating.

Score: Overall, Velocity-9 delivers on high-speed racing with lots of opportunities for interaction and knocking other players about. While luck and ganging-up on a single player are possible, the brevity of gameplay makes that feel less bad. Individual player powers bring a great customized feel to what could otherwise be a too-simple experience. I'm giving Velocity-9 a score of Go For Launch.

Check out Velocity-9 on:

              

On KICKSTARTER now! Campaign ends June 15, 2018.

About the Author:


Nicholas Leeman has been a board game evangelist for over 10 years now, converting friends and family alike to the hobby. He's also a trained actor and works summers as one of the PA announcers for the St. Paul Saints, a professional baseball team. He lives in Minneapolis, MN with his board gaming wife and son.
Velocity-9 Kickstarter Preview Velocity-9 Kickstarter Preview Reviewed by The Madjai on May 24, 2018 Rating: 5

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