Christmas 2009 brought a good haul of LEGO, including another entry in the LEGO gaming range: Race 3000.
Race 3000 allows you to build a LEGO Grand Prix track and to race around it with up to 4 players, overtaking, switching lanes, avoiding oil slicks and taking shortcuts. There’s even a little LEGO podium for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd placed cars to assemble after the race.
The game requires a little building to put together. There are about sixteen steps to build the race track and the instructions are well laid out as you would expect from LEGO. It took us about 15 minutes to build the game and the board is designed with a convenient break-point to allow it to fit back in the box without disassembling.
At its most basic level, this is a simple dice race. You roll the die and move the indicated number of spaces around the board. The die itself warrants special mention as it plays a crucial role (no pun intended) in the game. It is the same rubberized cube found in Minotaurus, but you start with only a couple of tiles relating to the turbo boosts on the die. As you roll, you add tiles of your color to the face that is showing, allowing the die to develop differently with every game. Depending on the tiles visible after a roll, multiple players may get to move their cars on each turn. This really adds a lot to the depth and replayability of the game.
The die mechanic, whilst quite ingenious, brings with it a problem. Because there can be a number of actions each roll, there is a certain amount of patience required, which can be a bit of a stretch for younger players. A turn can involve adding another tile to the die, moving, and then allowing the other players to move as well, all with reference to the original roll. We found our youngest almost had to sit on his hands to stop him from fiddling with the die during an extended turn.
The rules run to 3 well illustrated pages, though they need careful reading as some of the rules are a little abstract and hard to follow. Players are encouraged to create their own rules and upload them to the LEGO website. Unfortunately there isn’t much structure to this and the rules suggestions seem to take the form of a long, rambling forum thread. I would have liked to have seen something a little more formal and organized. With regard to house rules, there is one that we quickly implemented. The game keeps playing until a first, second and third player have been found. Once the winner has finished there is isn’t much guidance in the rules for how to bring the game to a speedy conclusion. When we play, once a player completes the race, his tiles are removed from the die and he takes no more turns in the game. With the free spaces on the die, the end of the game goes much faster and the remaining players can add their tiles to the newly revealed spaces.
Our initial impression of this game was that it was a little clumsy to play, but once we had played a few turns, the rules started to make sense and a good time was had by all.
Wired: The die mechanic is excellent and plays to Lego’s strengths. Captures the feel of high speed racing, with LEGO!
Tired: The rules are slightly clumsy and take careful reading. Requires some attention to detail that younger players may struggle with.