Formula Dé:

Gentlemen, start your engines...

This boardgame by french publisher Decartes Editeur, available in many different translations worldwide, takes the players to the fast and furious world of Formula 1 racing. Finally, you can follow in the tracks of Niki Lauda, Michael Schumacher, Jacques Villeneuve, Ayrton Senna, Mika Häkkinen and the lot.

Using several different, non-standard dice (Dé being french for die) that represent the different gears, the players have to maneuver their cars along a treacherous race track modelled closely after the original race tracks. Every die represents one gear and the numbers on that die the amount of spaces you must move after rolling it. The more sides a die has, the higher the gear it represents, but that does not mean that it has all numbers on it. Rather, the first gear only has ones and twos while the sixth gear (a d30) has numbers from 20 to 30. If you are too fast (or choose to high a gear), you might not make the corners, damage your car, or even crash into the other cars in front of you.

There are basic and advanced rules, so players can learn the game using the basic rules, and then upgrade their experience by ading the advanced rules, such as weather conditions choice of tires, and modding their cars. Every car has wear-points for brakes, tires, motor, chassis and fuel, and you have to manage your resources, i.e. risk less when your car is only held together by duct tape and wire. But risking everything in a tight corner may also be what you need to edge out a victory in the end. The basic rules are simple and the mechanics of the game are easy to understand and apply even for kids (the suggested age group is 12+), but for those of us who like more challenging games, the advanced rules add just that.

The game is fun to play, and one game with 4 players can take about an hour. To win, you need a mix of luck and skill, just enough of both that a good player might still lose and a mediocre player can just sometimes win. Two tracks are included in the basic game (the german edition has Monaco and Zandvoort), but every other track can be purchased as an add-on. Some tracks are slower, with more turns and corners, while others a pure speeding tracks. With a couple of tracks, you can hold mock world-championships with your friends with every race won or placed adding points toward the championship goal. There are even official world championships.

Ready, Set, GO!