Sunday, November 30, 2014

Camel Racing!

I like racing games and I own a copy of Formula D. One drawback to the game is that I repeatedly crash my car long before the finish line. I've played a good number of games and I think I've made it to the end maybe once. Now granted this is solely my fault, the game is brilliant. Still, it's depressing. And that leaves me looking for a racing game in which I can't crash and burn both literally and figuratively.

A few weeks ago Camel Up appeared at the Myriad Games game night. Camel Up is a camel racing game and it comes with a colorful board, amusing cards, a pyramid that dispenses dice and a set of solid wooden camels. In one sense even if the game was terrible the components looked fun to play with! Happily the game is great fun. And the components Are fun to play with as well.

In Camel Up a set of camels race around a board in a series of phases, or "legs." In each leg the players bet on which camel will be in the lead. You can bet on several camels but you lose points for each incorrect bet. During the game you can also bet on which camel will be the overall winner and the overall loser. As above, you could bet on several winning or losing but each wrong bet loses you points. Further, the first right bet wins more points that bets made later in the game. And that's the central dynamic of Camel Up- you want to make guesses early but you also want to be accurate and it's hard to be both.

Big Hefty Components
The movement system of Camel Up is what make the betting "educated" rather than random. Each camel moves once per leg. There are five camels. They move in random order and one, two, or three spaces on the track, also rolled randomly. You can imagine that it's going to be harder to guess which will be in the lead when only one has moved and easier when four have moved. The overall movement system is dead simple in principal but leads to a lot of calculation and guesswork during the game.

Camel Up is simple but very exciting. The camels move on their own, your job as a player is just to calculate which will be in the lead. There's a lot of plotting and planning and then also moments of surprise as your plans fall apart over an odd die roll. It's a great game for people who like a mix of surprises and planning. Kids could play it easily enough and non-gamers should like it too.

No comments:

Post a Comment