From all the three games we could play and review from Tactic Games, this one surprised us the most. Arctic Race turned out to be a really fun and fast light game where you have more freedom then most tile building games.
How to Play.
This is the first boardgame I’ve played where the setup is already so much fun. Because with Arctic Race, you actually create your own play map every time.
The only guidelines you have to follow is, you place the ‘Start’ tile at the beginning of your setup, and the ‘North pole tile’ at the end. Every other ice piece you can place on the table however you want. You can create a dense map or one that is spread out a lot. Don’t hold yourself back and expirement with the map. The ice tiles with water will be turned up side down and shuffled. You place all the 6 dog sleds on start regardless with how many players you start the game and place all the hazards around the map. The vortex hazards go near the end of the map, blizzards in the middle and the fog near the beginning.
Then you shuffle the sled cards and give one card to each player as well as three ladder cards and one helicopter tile. Now you are ready to begin your race.
Each player can interact with any dog sled, but you have to be first with the two colours you were given on your card. You have to keep the sled card hidden at all times, so no other players know what colours you have. So more players may have the same colour as you do. With every turn you start by rolling the dices, they tell you what you can do in your turn. One dice contains numbers, the other dice contains the tokens of the hazards, a cross, and a joker token.
If the dice shows a blue number, you can reveal an ice water tile and place it on the board. If you have a black number, you can’t place a tile. If the hazard die shows a hazard, you can move that hazard on the board with one space. If you get the joker you can move any hazard, with the double joker you can move one hazard two times, or move two hazards one space. The cross means you can’t place a hazard. After that you can move any dog sled as many steps as the numbers die shows. If you want to cross water you can use a ladder card. If there is a hazard on the same tile as a dog sled, that sled can’t move until the hazard moves. Also a dog sled can never walk into a hazard.
Instead of moving a sled, you can always call the helicopter to come and rescue you. The helicopter will even save you from a hazard if you call them and he will move you two spaces in the direction you want to go.
The game ends if a player is the first to get his two colours at the finish line.
The fun for us with Arctic Race started already at the setup. Every time you play, you create your own map. And as you will discover when you play it, you can make the map more challenging when you set it up. I like the amount of freedom this game gives but also the gameplay itself is really fun.
You have no idea what colours your opponment has, but every player can move every sled. This brings a lot of speculation to the game.
When you play Artic Race, you will have thoughts like: ‘He just moved blue, does that means he has blue? Should I block blue?’ Or ‘He just moved my yellow sled, does he have yellow to? Or worse, does he know I have yellow?
You will find that sometimes it’s best if you rush your colours to the finish, and sometimes you want to mess with other colours to disquise what your true colour is. It is hard to describe the feelings and the rush this boardgame gives, all of the above are just examples. Every game we’ve played so far, turned out to be completly different even tho we played with the same people.
Arctic Race is a unique light game that makes you plan the best strategy and brings a lot of interaction between players. We still have a lot of fun playing this game and we love how every game turns out to be so different. This game is definitly a great addition for every boardgame lover, young or old.