6-Tage Rennen (6-Day Race) (Holtmann VIP)

Game by ?.

Review by Bob Rossney.

6-Tage Rennen is a game of bicycle racing for four to eight players.

The board is an oval track, divided into 81 spaces. Each player begins with an identical set of cards of denominations 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 7; the total number of cards varies with the number of players.

On your turn, you play a card from your hand and move your bicycle that number of spaces. If you land on a space containing one or more other bicycles, you "slipstream." If the space contains one opponent, you double your move, if it contains two, you triple your move, etc.

Because you don't have enough points in your starting hand to get around the track, slipstreaming is essential. If you get too far ahead of the pack or too far behind, you may not even finish the race.

About a third of the way around the track is a "change riders" space. If you land on this space, you trade in your hand for a new, random hand. It's a viable strategy (though in my experience not a winning one) to burn up all of your high-value cards in a sprint to this space and then to draw a new hand.

Scoring is what drives this game. There are two "sprint" lines on the board, as well as a finish line. The first four racers to cross one of these line score points based on the order they cross.

In a single race, these points are generally immaterial, but in a full game, which consists of six consecutive races, the points become critical for breaking ties. In the full game, riders that fail to pass the finish line are penalized with "lost laps," and the player who has lost the least laps at the end of six races is the overall winner. The points that you get for winning indiviual sprints and races are used only to break ties.

This is a tremendously exciting game. Just as in real bicycle racing, the best cyclists tend to group in a pack until the final straightaway, at which point the person who's the farthest behind without being too far behind and who has reserved his strength the most wisely surges ahead and crosses the finish line. There's almost no luck in the game (unless someone decides to change riders), so among players of similar ability a given race can be a very close thing. As you play, you must continuously strike a balance between staying with the pack, getting the most out of your cards, and keeping a good mix of denominations (races are often lost by not having the one card that would let you slipstream past the finish line).

Copyright 1994, Bob Rossney.

The Game Cabinet - editor@gamecabinet.com - Ken Tidwell