There is nothing typical about Hot Rod Creeps, the new customizable racing game from Cryptozoic Entertainment and designer Matt Hyra.
Back many years ago when I had a group of friends who played Formula De, there were always a few who wanted to be able to mess with their opponents cars, whether it was to put down oil slicks or shoot weapons at them. Formula De had no such mechanic, but Hot Rod Creeps does.
In this game each player selects one of the six teams; Epic Battle Wizards, Monsters, The Underworld, Food Fighters, Aliens and Rockabilly. Each of those teams has their own deck of movement cards, which makes each team feel and play a bit differently from one another.
But the distinct feel doesn’t end there. There are cards available on the table to customize each hot rod as the race progresses. These upgrades come in the form of weapons, engines, wheels and pit crews.
Yet more options are available including a push-your-luck choice called the Nitro Deck, which can give the car a big boost or land it in big trouble.
Each team deck serves as a fuel gauge as well. When the movement deck runs out, a pit stop will be necessary to continue. When a car suffers damage, cards are discarded from the deck. Several track pieces have pit stops marked.
Hot Rod Creeps is a blast to play. Very few games combine simplicity, variety and fun in one package to the extent this game does.
Much of the game’s fun starts before the first card is drawn and the first car moves away from the starting grid. Designing the layout is entertaining and will greatly control the length of the game as well as the strategy needed to safely navigate your way through. Cryptozoic has done a stellar job of providing enough track pieces to make the building process a creative bonanza. There are over 50 track pieces along with several markers and accessories to make the layout as challenging or easy as desired.