The Herald Bulletin

October 19, 2013

Rick Teverbaugh: Ever play with cars as a kid?

The Herald Bulletin

---- — From the time my parents first started taking me to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, I raced toy cars through the house.

The floor was a good starting place but carpets often ruined the track I had envisioned.

My parents had a really nice wooden coffee table with a glass inlaid top. Well, it was nice until I scratched the glass by turning that surface into a short track for my cars. That's when Dad replaced the glass with a mosaic tile top and I was off to the races again, this time without damaging anything.

As time went buy, I moved to other racing pursuits, but I never completely left the cars behind. I still have two Pinewood Derby racers that I made. Much more recently I have taken to collecting the 1/64 diecast NASCAR cars.

Very recently I discovered a new game that combines the best of what I loved as a kid and added just enough adult touches to grab my interest. The game is Turbo Rally Card Racing, created by Alec Ramsey.

It is offered through a website called Kickstarter. For those who aren't familiar with this relatively new way of doing business, here's how it works. People and/or companies, offer people a chance to get in on the ground floor of a project by pledging money to make sure the proper amount of funds are raised to get the project created and into the marketplace. The people who pledge often get some perks for their investment that might not be available to the consumer who purchases the product once it arrives in stores.

That's where the Turbo Rally Card Game is right now. Specifically you can look at some information about it and a few videos at:

Once this column goes from this page to the one inside, there will be a couple of photos of what this looks like as well. I had a chance to exchange a question and answer session with one of the designers and here is some of that exchange.

Where did this idea come from? "One weekend afternoon my girlfriend's 6-year-old son was building tracks with his Hot Wheels like he often does," said Ramsey. "He has tons of actual Hot Wheels tracks but he usually prefers to make up his own courses with household objects. This time he was using some playing cards to make race lanes and when he was done building he asked me to come race a car next to him. We were rolling our cars along the cards and the game idea hit me. The next day we made our first playing deck out of construction paper and simple drawings."

So the idea of the game was for adults to play with kids? "Yes. As a single parent I'm always looking for ways to entertain my kids that don't drive me crazy in the process," said Ramsey. "Building tracks and blocks are fun but once you're done there's a question of 'now that we've made this giant creation, what do we do with it?' Our game has expansive building and exciting play in one tiny little package you can take anywhere. We can spend as much time as we want setting up our course and the excitement of play afterward matches the joy of building it because your actually having an intense race inch-by-inch through your creation."

But it seems that adults find the game captivating. "The biggest surprise on Kickstarter has been in discovering how much adult interest is in the game," said Ramsey. "We purposefully kept the game simple in it's first iteration to cater to the Hot Wheels fan age players. Turns out Hot Wheels fans are adults too! We created an expansion set to add more strategy and dimension to the gameplay for older players."

The game play is simple. A decks of cards is shuffled and the track is put down virtually anywhere. The cards are kept face down. The faces of the cards are turned up when the car is on the card right in front of it. That card face will tell what happens with the car. It might just move onto that card or jump ahead several spaces. It might blow out a tire, have to stop for a light, take a shortcut or a detour or even have to lose a turn stopping for a traffic light. It is even possible to sideswipe your opponent and force him or her to miss a turn getting back on the road. There are oil slicks and other hazards.

The first car to get to the finish line wins. If playing a series of races, the winner claims a trophy card which carries a special ability that can be used in the next race.

There is also a special RPM deck created for kids 8 and up. These cards can be used to aid your own car or hinder the opponent. but they are available in limited numbers so finding the best time to use these cards will be critical to winning the race.

Tracks can be set up as long or short as needed depending on the time available to race.

Depending on the number and types of decks you want to purchase, the cost of the game runs from $11 to $32.

The Kickstarter for this project closes on Oct. 28. Delivery of the game is expected in December. Anybody planning to buy anything for kids during that month? This is such a intriguing idea. I can't wait to get the game myself and try it out with the grandkids.