Designer: Sean Dallas McDonald
Date Released: 2014
Number of Players: 2-6
Age Range: 8 and up
Setup Time: About 5 minutes
Play Time: About 20 minutes
Game Flow and Review:
Krash Karts is Mario Kart in tabletop form. Racers dash to the finish line, pummeling each other with quirky attacks, and the whimsical characters have their own abilities that will give them an edge on the track. When you try to mimic something like Mario Kart, you have to keep things simple, fast and fun. Krash Karts accomplishes this.
Players get handed a certain number of track tiles (determined by how many players are in the game), and on each turn, they have three actions at their disposal. Five things constitute an action: moving one space (each tile has smaller movement squares printed on them), drawing an item, using an offensive item (more on this later), discarding an item (either offensive or defensive) so you can lay down more track ahead of you, and moving your cart from its side to right-side up because some yahoo oil slicked you.
You can use any combination of these five things to make up your three actions for the turn. Want to turn on the afterburners? Use three straight actions for movement. Want to load up on items? Take a couple of items (you can only have two items equipped at a time: one offensive, one defensive) from the draw pile. How you play the game is up to you. But players win the game when they run out of track tiles, and they cross the last bit of track before their competitors.
Movement is self-explanatory (you move from one adjacent space to the next, using an action with each space), so let’s get into items and knocking people silly. When you choose to draw an item, the pile you choose from corresponds with which position you currently hold. Like Mario Kart, if you’re in last place, you have a better chance of using an item that will derail everyone in front of you, or if you’re in first place, you most likely will get items like an oil slick that will slow down your pursuers.
If an item has a shield, it can be used as a defensive item, warding off an offensive item. You can stash an offensive item as a defensive item, but it won’t do you any good unless it has a shield in the upper right-hand corner of the tile. Some items have no business in your defensive position. The bomb goes off if someone hits you with something else, so it’s never a good idea to have the bomb on defense.
Then, there’s discarding items to lay down track ahead of you. Some items have a discard number in their lower left-hand corner. When you discard items, add the value of these numbers to determine how much track you can lay down. You can use these track tiles for several purposes. If an opponent is about to cross the finish line, you can add another tile of track to extend the game. You can use shortcut tiles to make the track shorter for you (but you have to have enough points from your discarded items to facilitate the construction of the entire shortcut). Or you could build a lot of your track tiles in advance, so all you have to do is cross the finish line. You have many ways to win the game, and the addition of Krash Karts’ colorful characters adds to your options.
The characters of Krash Karts come from other Kickstarter projects. If you aided another Kickstarter in the past, you may see one of the characters you helped produce in this game. The abilities are silly and over-the-top. But what Mario Kart inspired tabletop game wouldn’t have silly and over-the-top abilities for their characters?
Krash Karts is a fun game to pass the time if you have only a few minutes and plenty of table space. If you enjoy Mario Kart and always wished someone would come up with a tabletop version, then Krash Karts should be on your Christmas list.