The Herald Bulletin

September 21, 2011

Racing game throws Curves at genre

Dicey Curves both innovative and fun

By Rick Teverbaugh
The Herald Bulletin

— Dicey Curves is a game designed by Matt Worden that mines a lot of new territory when it comes to auto racing games.

The game is also marketed by Worden and distributed through The Game Crafter, a site where new designers without the backing of a large company can get their creations published.

The first idea for this game is that it isn’t played with a board or some other type of solid construction representing the track. Most racing games on the market have such a track, Formula D, Rallyman, Pitch Car, etc.

“Originally, the design did have a pre-constructed track,” said Worden. “It was on a very big board and used Hot Wheels / Matchbox sized cars.  At that time, I was thinking of having a modular track with interlocking pieces, like slot-cars or PitchCar do ... but the cost seemed prohibitiveWhen I changed just about everything about the game -- the dice system, the track spot and movement system, and using smaller car pawns with poker cards for the track.”

So even though Worden admits to be influenced by track-based games like Formula D and Daytona 500, he found his niche my moving the cars through a series of cards, each representing a different type of section of track.

Yet to appeal to a lot of board gamers, there had to be elements of the game that could appeal to those who aren’t hardcore racing fans. So he looked to another game to mix in with racing that was very popular yet had nothing to do with the sport.

“Another game that had an influence on Dicey Curves that isn't a racing game is Yahtzee,” said Worden. “ Since I wanted the game to play like a lighter party game, I looked for a way to pull in that feeling you get in Yahtzee when you've done your first roll and you look at the dice and try to figure out the best thing to go after.”

The game is played with five white and five green dice. When the white dice are rolled each turn, movement is established by how long a run is or how many of a certain number are rolled. In addition, any 6s rolled are re-rolled along with the same number of green dice. There are also control chips available in limited supply to allow for dice to be set at a certain number or dice to be re-rolled.

The best way to play is to lay out the track cards as the race unfolds. The lead driver never knows more than two cards ahead what the track will throw at him and no driver will know exactly when that finish line card will come up. The result is a game that has players getting into winning the race as well as having fun.

“People play it much more competitively than I had expected,” said Worden. “I thought it would be just a light, fun game about racing ... and while it is, people seem to really get invested in moving their cars ahead and into the immediate direct competition with whoever has a car next to (or slightly ahead of) you.”

The game is available here: for just $19.99. There are expansions planned for it as well.

“ I have 2 expansions planned for the game,” said Worden, whose Jump Gate remains one of Game Crafter’s top sellers.  “The first should be ready in February, with the second ready by GenCon next August.  The expansions will include additional cards and parts and new rules to add-in car damage, random events, and a few other cool ideas.  I like how the base game plays as a fun party game, but the expansions are intended to add some more meat to that base framework for more serious gamers.”

This game is already capable of producing some serious fun for racing and non-racing fans. It carries my hearty endorsement.