Ever since caveman days, when he discovered that being faster meant that he not only had a better chance of catching dinner but more likely not to become dinner, we have been obsessed with speed so it’s no surprise that race games are a popular genre– car races, horse races, bicycle races, tortoise vs. hare races, lemming against lemming races– you name it, we’ll race it.
Bolide is a car racing game originally produced by Ghenos Games in 2005. They advertised it as a “revolutionary” car racing game and were immediately pounced upon by many who had played it as Racetrack using a pen and graph paper. I say if you want to play it with a boring piece of paper and a pen, go for it, but I’d rather play on a big, picturesque board (roughly 27 X 38 1/2 inches) with nice little plastic cars in eight colors with matching pawns.
The “revolutionary” part of the game is in the physics-driven mechanism for moving your car which simulates the inertial effects of speed and turning. The faster your car is going, the wider the turning radius it will need so you are forced to slow down or run off the track. This is done using a pawn that exactly copies the movement your car just made to mark a target location for your next move.
Your movement can be to the point occupied by the marker or any point that is within two spots of the marker. In this way you can speed up or slow down by two on your turn. The two-spot limit prevents you from zooming around a corner at speed seven which would place your marker for the next move out in the middle of a field, and make you some sabertooth tiger’s dinner.
This has been a “wow” game for me and everyone I’ve shown it to. It may not be revolutionary to some but it was a new and clever mechanism for us. It is also fun if you have the right people. You can not, I emphasize “not”, spend five minutes planning out this move, the next move and the one after that. Fly by the seat of your pants, rely on experience and/or intuition, and have a good time.