For the sake of complete transparency, this is a post about Race to the Rhine a game which I received a review copy of from the wonderful people over at Phalanx Games.
As a GamesQuest blogger I do not let the fact that this game was provided by the publisher influence my opinions. So, what you read here, and see in the accompanying video comes straight from the heart.
Phalanx games is a Polish company established in 2009. If you visit their website you’ll see that they currently list three titles – Race to the Rhine, Days of Honor: Operation Wildhorn III and The Magnates. This post is the first of two posts and looks specifically at Race to the Rhine, whilst the second post will take a look at Days of Honor: Operation Wildhorn III, also provided by Phalanx for review.
First Impressions… Can be Deceptive!!!
When I first saw this game back in May 2014, I was wandering around the UK Games Expo and didn’t have much free time to sit down and play. Based on only a glance at the board and components I moved on without giving it a try. A couple of weeks later I was on a call with Nigel and Paul, when Nigel couldn’t stop talking about this new game he’d played called Race to the Rhine. I vaguely recalled the name and did a search for it on BoardGameGeek (BGG). There, I found the game I’d seen at the expo. I read some of the details on BGG and slowly began to regret having walked past the stand at the expo. Race to the Rhine looked far more interesting than I initially gave it credit for! Another call later in the week and Nigel was still going on about the game, he was even going as far as to say it could make his top ten games of the year. It was at this point that I got in touch with Phalanx Games to find out a bit more about Race to the Rhine.
How does it play??? Pretty Damn Well!!!
If you want to see what’s in the box, all of the components, and how you actually play Race to the Rhine, then check out the following Youtube video and then read on below the video to find out what I like about the game and what I think could be slightly better.
What I liked:
Tight Gameplay: If you hesitate, you will lose at this game – the word Race in the title is not just for show!
Dripping with theme: You look at the board and the pieces and they don’t scream theme, however the mechanics and the overall feel of the gameplay shout theme from the rooftops! There’s the pressure of the race, the Nazis pushing down the board towards you, the supply and demand logistics. It all works very well together!
Reasonable Play time: I expected this game to run long, but it doesn’t – once you know the rules you can fly through a game in around an hour to an hour and a half.
Asymetrical gameplay: The game plays with one to three players- each character Paton, Monty and Bradley has their own starting positions and special skills which makes the race even more interesting!
Single player mode: You don’t need any friends to play this, you can play against the game and be very happy with the game you get!
Initial looks – When you get your hands on the components, look at the box and see the board up close, you’ll feel the beauty that Race to the Rhine offers. However, if you wander past a stand, as I did, you may carry on going because on initial glance it doesn’t look all that exciting Again this is really a comment about people walking past and seeing the game – my initial impressions weren’t of an exciting race with corps charging up the field of battle which is what this game really is!
Replay value – Don’t get me wrong, the game has legs, you will want to play it again – and you’ll want to play it just to let all of your friends play it. However, I do worry that you will eventually become so accustomed to a certain strategy that you wont stray from it. It’s not a major issue or a particular concern to me, but it’s something that you might want to bare in mind.
Final Thoughts… It’s Well Worth a Look!!!
So, to sum up this post I wanted to say a big Thank You to Phalanx Games for sending me a copy of Race to the Rhine. I have thoroughly enjoyed reviewing it and would happily recommend playing it if you like war-themed games, enjoy logistical problem-solving or race games. It’s quite a heavy game to pick up and learn which might be a barrier to entry – but don’t let that or any initial, uninformed, impressions turn you away! Give Race to the Rhine a chance, I’m glad I did!
The following two tabs change content below.
Driven Instructional Designer by day, board game fanatic by night! Tom has a long background in eLearning design and is a strong believer that story and narrative are crucial to creating excellent learning and gaming experiences. A passionate blogger, game reviewer and play tester, he enjoys spending his time playing games of all genres.