Formula Dé Mini
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Formula De Mini is the all-new introductory version of Formula D. It celebrates the competitive spirit and camaraderie of motor racing, while integrating all the risks of true competition in an easy-to-play game.
Now's your chance to show 'em what you've got. You've landed one of the best jobs in the world... a test driver for a Formula De team. It's your first day in the newly constructed racecar that your team will drive in the upcoming race season. This car is one of the most highly engineered racecars in the world... a Formula De racer. You will have to put the car through its paces on an exclusive test track, and what better way to do that than to have a short 3-lap race against some other racers?
In order to win the test-race, you must show your finesse, skill and your ability to control this high-strung machine. Take calculated risks while rolling at the optimal speed. Choose the best lines through the corners. Floor it in the straight-aways. And always take advantage of your fellow competitors' mistakes.
With Formula De MINI, you will truly experience the emotions of a real racecar driver, and if you win, it won't be because of luck. It's because you really are the best driver on the circuit!
In his series The Dice Tower Audio Reviews, noted reviewer Tom Vasel provides short audio (mp3) reviews of both new and old games. Tom knows games, and these audio reviews are a great way to find out more!
Eurogames Descartes USA
Players: 2 - 6
Time: 45 minutes
Ages: 8 and up
Weight: 1,060 grams
Language Requirements: This is an international edition or domestic edition of an imported item. Game components are language-independent. Manufacturer's rules are printed in multiple languages (including English).
- 1 Double-sided Game Board
- 5 Special Gear Dice
- 1 Black 20-sided die
- 8 Formula De Racecars in 4 colors
- 8 Newly-Designed Cockpits
- 8 Wooden Gearshifts in 4 colors
- 200 Life-Point Tokens
- 1 Rule Book
Average Rating: 4.5 in 2 reviews
A great family game! A great lighter game for the dedicated gamer! The simplified rules and game play make this an exciting addition to the family game table.
The game is a simplified version of Formula DE. In my opinion, the two major differences between the two games are 1) the track size (smaller in mini) and 2) the car's wear and tear is tracked by Life Points (LPs - represented by gold poker-like chips) instead of individual stats. This allows the kids (my son is 5 and my daughter is 10) to enjoy the game as much as myself and my wife. Although many of the nuances of the game escape my five year old, he loves shifting the gears (each gear is represented by a different dice with different movement values), counting the spaces his car can travel safely through the corner (the car must stop in a corner or LPs will be deducted), and taking risks that will deduct LPs (skidding through corners, slipstreaming, collisions with other cars, extreme downshifting, hitting the breaks...). Once a driver's LP's are gone (each player starts with 20), the car is eliminated from the race. Of course, there is always the pit stop to replenish LP's...
For the older crowd, the games finer points stand out as a great game for the occasional player that doesn't have the want or need to learn the more complex rules of the original. An interesting facet of the game is the fact that two can play equally as well as eight. Each player can play multiple cars at the same time (racing teams).
Calculating the proper gear for the corners, blocking other racers from passing, taking advantage of slipstreaming, knowing when to break (all take away LPs), managing pit stops, etc. basically knowing when to push your car to the limit makes this learn in five minutes, play for hours game enjoyable to both the casual gamer or dedicated gamer looking for a little lighter game play. By-the-way, the game only takes about 30 40 minutes to play a three lap game with eight cars.
To sum up the mechanics of the game play: the winner of the game (when playing with people who understand the nuances) is usually the driver that runs the car faster (stays in the higher gears) and uses up most (if not all) of the cars LPs (resource management). In other words, the winner is usually the driver that drives the car as close to the envelope as possible. Not bad for a nicely crafted board, quality game pieces, and 4 page rule book (a little over three pages if you dont count the opening fluff).
Formula De is one of those quite popular games that, for some reason or other, I've never actually had a chance to play. So I was glad to give the Mini edition a spin (so to speak). According to the experienced players in our game, compared to the original this edition is substantially shorter (probably 60-75 minutes for a 3 lap race with 5-6 experienced players), a bit simpler, and quite a bit more forgiving in terms of how easy it is to wreck your car. Also, it comes in a nice package with 2 different racetracks and enough pieces for 8 players, with one 'narrow' track for races with few cars and a 'wide' track that can hold a larger field.
Now that I've played, I can see the appeal in the original that has spawned a plethora of new racetracks and other expansions. The rules are pretty simple, but the rules and track layouts combine to create many tactical subtleties and some strategic choices in how you run your race. The dice add elements of excitement and surprise, not to mention randomness. But clearly there's some skill involved: I started out in the pole position, and built up a huge lead in the first half lap of our short 2-lap race, but miscalculated on one turn and took it too slowly, in too low a gear. As a result I only finished 4th out of 6.
A review of a game after only one playing usually doesn't carry much weight, but in this case I think it has special significance. The original Formula De has many dedicated fans, so clearly there is something to it. This package is aimed squarely at enticing new players to try out the game. I, as a new player, definitely enjoyed my one playing and would be glad to give it another go. So in that sense, this re-packaging and streamlining of the game accomplishes what it set out to do. Finally, the package is attractive and offers good value for the money.