Everybody is waiting at the start line; engines are revving; Players are readying their cards and shifting to the highest gear to be the first to go over the finish line! But remember, the track is filled with dangerous corners and your engine might overheat if you don't pay attention. Make sure you don't end last in this race!
Heat: Pedal to the Metal is a racing game that was released last year by Days of Wonder, the publisher mostly known for the Ticket to Ride games. In this game, each player takes place behind the wheel of a racing car and drives through one of four parcours included in the game. Your goal is to be first after completing a number of rounds. You do this by playing cards from your deck filled with speed cards. You also need to shift to the best gear for the situation ahead. For instance: when closing in on a dangerously sharp bend in the road...
In the base game, each player gets the same deck of cards containing 12 speed cards, 3 stress cards, and 1 heat card. This deck is shuffled and placed face-down in front of the players. At the start of each round, all players takes seven cards from their deck. Players can now decide to change their gear. This can be important depending on your position on the track as the gear depicts how many cards you must play this round.
All players choose the cards from their hand that they will play this round and put them face down in front of them. The number of cards will differ for each player depending on their gear. The cards are now locked in and can no longer be changed. Starting with the first player, the cards are turned over and the effects are executed in any order. The most important effect is that your race car progresses in the race! When this is done, special bonus effects can be triggered, such as using a slipstream to overtake an opponent right in front of you.
Now that your car has moved we have to check if you didn't miss a corner! Each track has numbers at different sharp bends in the road that indicate the maximum speed at which a car can take this corner. If your total speed is higher than this speed, you have to add heat cards in your deck equal to the difference between your speed and the maximum speed. But beware! Each player has a limited amount of heat cards their engine can take. If you run out of available heat cards, you miss the corner. At this point you have to return your car right before the corner, you shift to first gear and you have to take all remaining heat cards in your deck.
Heat cards are very annoying cards to have in your deck. Eventually, they will end up in your hand, but you cannot do anything with these cards. This makes it harder to get your best cards in your deck when you need them. The game has several ways to remove heat cards from your deck, but let's just say it is easier to avoid them than to get rid of them.
This is a concise version of how the game is played, there are plenty of special modifiers and extra modules in the box that make the game even more entertaining. There are weather effects that impact your maximum speed, unique upgrade cards for more replayability, and even championships.
We have been playing Heat: Pedal to the Metal a lot now with different numbers of players. The game works well both with small groups of only 2 players and bigger groups up to 6 players. Our preference goes to a game with more players because this makes for more interaction and a better competitive spirit.
This game is very fun and can be played with anyone. It is simple enough to explain to someone who doesn't play many board games, but deep enough to entice the more hardcore board gamer. The replayability is also a big advantage. There are four unique boards and a bunch of modules to differentiate. We really like this game!
It is also clear that the box for this game was made to house more content. We see spots for a bunch of extra cards and more parcours. The game is now over a year old and we are very curious what expansions may come in the future.
Posted on 17 Oct 2023 by Jerodev