I’m not a car guy. It’s not even that I’m not a fan of cars or that I don’t follow car culture, it’s that I don’t enjoy racing video games, boardgames or just watching it on tv. Heck, I don’t even have a driver’s license. Now, I know a little bit about cars (I did work in a gas station, which was odd), but they just don’t interest me.
So why my interest in Thunder Alley? Well, it is a GMT Games publication and as such, does suggest that there will be a little more tactics, a little more strategy than just a simple racing game. The designer was also familiar to me (he also did Manoeuvre), which had some interesting twists on old mechanics. Also, it promised an interesting experience for 2 to 7 players. I don’t have many games that can handle the higher player count, so if the game promises to be fun and simple, I’ll at least give it a go.
In Thunder Alley (GMT Games) by Jeff and Carla Horger, 2 to 7 players manage teams of 3 to 6 cars around a track to get the best possible finishing positions for all of their cars. While this is not an official NASCAR product, it does have bear a strong resemblance, from the circuit to the way the cars are painted, but don’t worry if you know nothing about NASCAR.
By playing cards, the players are able to move their cars, either alone or along with cars that are in the same lane. The strategy revolves around knowing where to place your cars, which packs to move along with them and when to pit to remove those pesky temporary damage. It is not about finishing first since each car that participate will get a certain amount of point depending where in the pack it is situated at the end of the race. It is this total that will dictate who won the race.
A good example of this is in the time-lapse video. It is possible to finish the race in first place like the Black team did, and still come out in third based on points. For a good rules explanation, check out my Sit Down and Let me Teach you How to Play video.
Expect a full review of Thunder Alley very soon. Here’s a preview: I love this game. I know that racing games are not my thing in general, but this is exceptional. Well worth getting.