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The forests are charged with the effervescence of springtime. Fairies flutter all a-buzz... great excitement and expectation accompany the new buds, for this change also heralds Gastrospeed! Banished are the unpleasant smells of gasoline and the dreadful racket of car engines -- for in this competition the champions are highly trained racing snails!
Each player controls one of six snail champions. A grand prix tour of tracks prepares him for the final race -- a grueling path... the route of championship racing "à l'escargot"!
Snail Race and Snail's Pace are 2 complete and distinct boxed sets. They can be used independently or together. The Snail's Pace boxed set contains the following tracks: Snail Maze, Mole Racing, Surfing Lilies, Speedy Kitchen, Pinball Snail and Star Snail.
This is a great family game, especially for getting younger kids involved. It is the partner game to Snail Race, also from Tilsit, and uses the same basic rules and game mechanics.
The game comes with six racetracks, a large deck of cards, six sets of playing pieces and other bits.
The object is to play speed and event cards from your hand (of four cards) to get your snail across the finish line first. Speed cards determine movement rate and order. Event cards allow you to attack other snails and defend your own.
Games take less than 10 minutes, and a full tournament of all six racetracks takes less than an hour. Each racetrack has its own special pitfalls and a few special rules. Games are very simple.
This is a great game for mixing younger players and adults for a light-hearted and low intensity good time.
This is a clever family board game, designed by Pascal Bernard (of Joan of Arc game fame), and imported from France (don't worry, everything from the rulebook to the box is written in English). There is much to commend in this game, unfortunately it is hampered by rules with frustrating gaps. I gave this game three stars because it it is recommended as a four-star game for many families, but not all (for others it is a two-star game), as I discuss later on.
The premise of the game is cute, from two to six players race their snails on six treacherous courses to win the Gastrospeed championship. Points are awarded to each player for their placement in each race, high total wins. Snails start at the beginning of the track and race to the finish line based on Speed cards held by the players that indicate the snail's sm/h, i.e., their 'slime-o-meters per hour.' Players also get to play Action cards that aid their snail and/or hinder their opponents. Each snail has three shells, and some of the cards will cause them to lose their shells (or protect their shells). Losing all three shells leaves the snail unconscious and it will receive just one point for that particular race. The six courses are clever and each has unique pitfalls, e.g., navigating a maze, falling into a molehill that may move you forward or back, falling off lily pads, avoiding hotplates and mixers in a kitchen, trying to navigate a pinball game, and dodging black holes and meteors in outer space.
The game is a good mix of chance and strategy and we found the races balanced and children often doing as well as adults. We had children, with basic reading skills, from ages six and up playing the game. The pieces and rules are cute, the game is attractively made. So what is the big problem? The huge gaps in the rules. The action cards, and unique rules for each course, allow for many different things to happen. However, the rules don't account for all the possible things that can happen. For example, if a snail falls off a lily, the water current takes it back to the next lily. But what if another snail is already there, does that snail get knocked off into the current? As we played we had numerous situations arise that weren't covered by any rule. Being experienced gamers though we quickly developed 'understandings,' or 'house rules' if you will, that we feel are in the spirit of the game.
So, here is my recommendation. If you, and the people you play games with, are patient and/or experienced gamers, and don't have a problem with filling in the rule gaps, you will find this game enjoyable. (I would suggest running a couple of practice races before you start awarding points so as get a sense of the limitations of the rules.) However, if you play with argumentative folks obsessed by winning and looking for loopholes, then this probably isn't for you. Nor would I initially let children play the game by themselves without an experienced gamer to help with rule interpretations. Once children have played through a complete tournament and understand how to handle the rule gaps, they should be fine at playing it by themselves without supervision.
Bottom line: in our experience with Snail's Pace, adults and children had a lot of fun (but the game experience and temperaments of the players were conducive to fun). We would usually run a couple of quick races every few nights, so that in less than a week we would finish a complete championship. (It is easy to play the whole tournament on a weekend evening.) For those easily frustrated by games and rules, who can't roll with the punches -- they may want to look at another game. Please note: there is a companion game, Snail's Race, that uses the same rules but has six different tracks with their own unique hazards.