Downforce is one of those games where you may look at it and assume it’s a kids game only, but don’t be fooled. This is a game full of fun, strategy and high stakes. It’s got just the right level of depth to make it a quick and easy game to play with both seasoned gamers and newbies alike.
High-stakes bidding on million-dollar race cars. … Downforce is a card-driven bidding, racing, and betting game for 2-6 players based on Top Race, the award-winning design by the legendary Wolfgang Kramer.
There are three parts to Downforce: bid on your own high performance racing team, bid on who you think will be the winner and collect all your winnings at the end to smash your opponents. The cool part is you can use strategy to bet on your cars, or on others, increasing your winnings and potentially stealing the game at the last second.
You begin with an auction phase, in which players bid to purchase specific drivers and special abilities (one of each randomly drawn in each bidding phase). Once all drivers are spoken for and players with drivers have chosen their special abilities it’s time to race! You do want your cars to place high, because you’ll get prize money, but you can bet on ANY car in the three betting phases (marked on the board).
Movement strategy too is important and it’s fun to try and ensure the cars you know you’ve bet money on are going to place, be it by using your movement cards to race them ahead, or by blocking other cars out on the bends. Fun stuff.
The boxart to Downforce is indicative of a racing game, so there’s zero confusion and it’s really well done. The board is straight forward, double-sided with an easy side and a more difficult side. Oh and the board is huge, which makes it look awesome on the table. The cars are cute plastic models that feel fun to use. Most people we played with ended up doing the vrooooooom car noise when playing which is adorable and testament to how fun they are to play with (the cars, not the people, although…). The ‘Driver’ tiles in the game are solid, feeling more like coasters, cards too are nice stock and slick to use. Overall it feels like a well made game.
Speaking of quality aspects, another thing we noticed was that they’ve included a number of female drivers, which we appreciated as they could have easily skipped that. The game also has skill cards that give you specific abilities and these can be crucial to winning the game, so choose wisely!
Overall, Downforce is a fantastic, fun game, with lots of vroomph. Easy to pick up and play, Downforce led to lots of laughs and smack downs and generally was just a joy to get out. Buy it.