Welcome to The Game Shelf!

After getting into the board game hobby at the end of 2014, we've decided to share our thoughts on the games we're collecting on our shelves. The collection has certainly expanded over the last few years and we've been making up for lost time!

Sometimes our opinions differ, so Amy will be posting reviews every Tuesday and Fi will post on Thursdays. We hope you enjoy reading some of our opinions on board games - especially those for two players.

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Sunday 20 January 2019

The Game Shelf Reviews:- VektoRace

Game: VektoRace

Publisher: KaleidosGames & Gen42 Games

Designer: Spartaco Albertarelli, Davide Ghelfi

Year: 2018

VectoRace was first released at Essen 2018 from Italian publisher KaleidosGames and Gen42 Games is bringing it over to gamers in the UK. It introduces a system called the 'Octogon System' of vector movement, in to a racing game for up to 4 players.

Each player has a paper car, which must be constructed before you play. I personally enjoyed this little craft project - they're pretty easy to build and there are also a huge array of fan made card on BoardGameGeek! Although the box says the game is for 4 players, there are 8 cars in the box, so you could easily play up to eight and add to the fun!


The aim of the game is as simple as you'd expect for any race game - be the first player to cross the finish line after a set number of laps. The unique aspect of VektoRace is that there is no board and no pre-set race track. Instead there are 8 tokens representing corners. You can place these out however you'd like over your playing surface to create a race track. All you have to do as you race is go around the coloured side of each corner piece and then cross the finish line. This gives you a huge amount of free-reign to create sharp corners, chicanes, or huge straights to really use the most of your boosts.
The course layout is yours to invent, but your imagination will need to fill in the gaps between corners.
Once the course is set up the race can begin, Players will place the movement vector matching their current gear in front of them and then move their car along it. You are allowed to position your vector slightly to the side of your car, and then place your car at one of 3 different spots at the end of the vector allowing you to drift as you race, at the cost of forward movement. You are also allowed to turn slightly at the end of each move which you will probably find necessary at some point!

After moving you select your gear for next turn, which can typically be 1 higher or lower than the previous gear and then it's the next players turn. If you need to make some fancier maneuvers then you can spent nitrous tokens or tire tokens to do so. Nitrous can be spent to go up and additional gear at the end of your turn, and tyres the opposite. Tyres can be spent to give your car move movement options at the end of their vector, allowing for tighter turns and better racing lines, while Nitrous can be used to boost, giving you dramatically move movement as you place a second vector, but also dramatically reducing your ability to turn and maneuver. While you start the game with a few of these tokens you can gain more by going through the pit lane. This is, of course, slower than going through the normal finish line, so you'll have to know when to use your tokens to gain your speed back.

Amy’s Final Thoughts

VektoRace does suffer slightly for being a 'slow' race game, turns can be a little long and if someone gets behind the pack then it can be a struggle to get back into the race. All of this come about because it's actually a really good racing simulation, the game is all about being in the right gear for the right course and managing to pull off the most efficient lines. If you can drift slightly through a pair of turns rather and turning through them both then you'll be able to do it faster and pull ahead. The other great thing that VektoRace does is simulate other drivers putting pressure on you. Should someone end their turn just behind their car then they have a few options, then can spend a nitrous token to overtake you, but they can also stay right behind you. Should they do this then you can't slow down in your next turn, forcing you to take turns wide. If an opponent is instead slightly to your side then they prevent you from drifting in their direction, again forcing you to take worse lines around the course.

This player interaction is a lot of fun and actually makes it incredibly difficult to be at the head of a pack of racers.Since player interaction is the best part it's no surprise that 2-player is the worst way to play, we had increasingly more fun the more players we had. It's also true to say that a bigger table really helps. While you can make a course on a smaller table you will have to make it full of tight turns, and one thing that really helps the game is being able to catch up with nitrous boosts on long straights. While this doesn't in any way ruin the balance of the game, VektoRace is simply more fun if you have a larger playing surface.

When push comes to shove VektoRace is an incredibly thematic and social racing game. It's the idea game to be playing while watching formula one in the background, with it's rules being simple enough to teach anyone in a matter of minutes. The components are intuitive and the cars themselves are absolutely lovely so long as you don't mind the mini craft project. The most important thing for me is to remember that the more friends you have involved, the more fun everyone will have, though there is a risk that the game may slow down a little too much once you approach 8 players.

Fi’s Final Thoughts

When we first played VectoRace with two players, we appreciated it as a clever racing game design, but I wouldn't say we enjoyed it. What we needed to really enjoy the game was some other fun humans. When we played with three and four players, we really had a lot of fun getting into the spirit of the game. The game has ample opportunity to be a little mean to your friends by pulling in behind them, causing them to fly off course or not be able to make a tight turn on the track.

One of the things I really appreciate about the game is how it takes very simple components to give you a very flexible game. If you have a small table then build a small course - it might be really tight and really challenging, but that will give you a very different experience compared to using a big table and being able to boost along the long straights and really get up some speed.

However, on the subject of speed, VectoRace can also feel like quite a slow race game. You're limited in how far you can really go each turn, and every corner is taken in small 45 degree steps, so progress can certainly feel slow. It was even commented that the game might be better themed with turtles! I do wonder if that's why the game caps at 4 players, rather than the eight that the number of cars in the box might indicate. With more players, there would be a lot of downtime, and maybe even a little too much carnage. Even in a four player game it was possible to be surrounded by people in your slipstream on three sides!

We had a fun time with VectoRace and I'm sure we'll have fun again when we take it to another group of friends, including a big motor racing fan, but it's just not enough of a gaming experience for us. It's an activity that brings friends or family together, but it doesn't scratch my itch for playing board games.

You Might Like...
  • With simple mechanisms, VektoRace manages to recreate some pretty realistic racing moments, with slip streaming, tyre wear and crazy maneuvers.
  • We have had huge, huge laughs around the table!
  • It's really fun to mess with your friends and get in the way or ruin their plans.
You Might Not Like...
  • VektoRace falls into more of a party activity category than a game.
  • You can't be too worried about accuracy.
  • The game can go on a little too long, but you can reduce the length by adjusting the numbers of laps you play.

The Verdict
6.5/10 VektoRace is a beautifully simple concept for a racing game. The rules don't get in the way of the fun or the theme and it's certainly been great fun to play with three or four players. It's not a hugely tactical or challenging gaming activity, but it could be the perfect fit for a motor sports fan looking for a fun activity to enjoy with friends and a few drinks during an afternoon of watching sports.

VektoRace was a review copy kindly provided to us by John Yianni at Gen42 Games.

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