Downforce is a family-style racing board game from Restoration Games in 2017. It’s been out for sometime, but recently became a favorite around our house when I played it with some friends a few weeks ago. Looking at the box, initial impressions were that it was a copycat of Formula D (a fantastic racing game), but this game carries the racing theme from more of the owner’s perspective.
Players receive a set of cards that depict the movement of specific cars by color and how many spaces they move. This is the main mechanism for getting the cars around the track, but they are also used for bidding of the cars and drivers that you will own and race throughout the game. The initial tense round of bidding gets the game started off on the right foot. Do you pay more for a car you have the cards for to get it to the end or try to bid low and see if you can get a weaker car, and hope it finishes better than your hand would lead you to believe. Once all the cars have been purchased, players take turns playing cards and moving the cars around the track, but this isn’t simply just dragging cars around the track, but a strategic play of blocking, cutting off other cars, or sprinting your car off into the distance, but weakening your position later in the race.
At 3 points of the race, players bid on which car they think will win. Picking the right car early is more rewarding, but even picking a car in to the top 3 will pay out in the end of the game. Once the cars finish, you get points based on where your car finishes, plus the money for the cars you bet on, and then subtract the amount paid for your cars. The final total is your points for the game. Sounds simple enough right? Too simple maybe? For me, this is what makes this game great. It can be explained in a few minutes, but some of the more strategic nuances can take a few games to pick up on. But as a family racing game, it’s checks all the boxes for me. My 7 and 9 year old picked up on it quickly, and a game can be played in 30-60 minutes, which is great for short attention spans.
Downforce is available through the regular boardgame shops and Amazon, but also can be found at Barnes and Noble and Target.
Getting tired of the maps that come with the base set? The expansion adds 2 new maps with a new hazardous terrain feature to change things up.
Watch it Played before to see the game in action –