High Roller Horse Racing

High Roller Horse Racing

High Rollers Horse RacingTime: 30- 45 minutes
Difficulty: Medium learning curve, easy gameplayAge: 8+
Players: 4- 8Replay Value: 4/ 5

. . . a high stakes horse racing game for casual gamers, gamblers, and horse racing fans, featuring the greatest American racehorses of all time.

High Roller Horse Racing has simplified the gambling mechanics of horse racing, while keeping it authentic. It also keeps players in control from beginning to end — buying horses, betting, and riding them — to excite casual board gamers looking for a competitive, engaging experience.

Scott Youmans, Designer https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/294357/high-roller-horse-racing

Likes

I think this game does a fantastic job translating the concept of horse racing, and all the technicalities behind it, into a full fledged board game. Each part of the game feels necessary and important. I enjoy how much effort was put into the betting system to make sure that there is a solid balance with how well the horse might do versus how much was spent on them. Even down to the end game pay out, I feel like Scott Youmans, is knowledgeable about horse racing and implements it into the game fluently. Which is funny, I never understood how horse racing works, but I honestly think I could go to the fields one day and actually understand what I am doing.

I’m a huge fan of the mechanics. It uses an engaging use of die to move the horses around. A lot of racing games I feel struggle with the feeling of movement and trying to recreate “real-time” actions. With This game, the options between gambling your chances of disqualifying your horse and rolling a natural die gives players that “edge of seat” feeling we get when we watch real racing from the stand. You don’t know what the outcome might be, but seeing your horse overtake the others is VERY satisfying.

The components are very satisfying to interact with, while I was not playing a final version of the game, poker chips, strong card board, and heavy card stock remind us that this isn’t some quick and cheap attempt at a game. Like I said, everything is necessary, the products quality really does increase the “high roller” side of things.

Neutral

The game does take some time to learn, and especially for someone who is unfamiliar with horse racing. You will find this will be a lot to take in at first. I’ll admit, playing this game the amount of times I have, I can appreciate getting over the learning curve because it’s totally worth it in my opinion. Not only is it a fun and easy game to play, but I feel very knowledgeable on the topic of horse racing and assume if I were to go to a horse racing event in real life I could keep up with the game.

Dislikes

I’m not sure how the end result of the game will look like post-kickstarter–but the board is VERY big. I actually have no idea how long it will be able to stay in it’s temporary hold against my wall because I don’t have room for it anywhere else. The opening quarter of the game is a bit slow as it revolves around betting on horses and setting up the game. Of course it’s unavoidable–we need our horses and of course we need to place our bets… However, with my group, I don’t think we were able to reach the same excitement the game anticipates we would have with a yelling out our bets.

I also found that the green die, while expected to be used cautiously, was extremely punishing when rolling a 1, or, disqualifying horses. I know it’s not reasonable to believe this would happen, but what if someone throws the game and disqualifies all their horses. I do want to mention, there was not much I didn’t like about this. It’s an extremely impressive racing game that incorporates all the rights tools and mechanics to create a good experience.

Final Thoughts

Whether you are looking for a good racing game to actually throw some friendly bets on, or trying to expand your racing mechanic library (I really do enjoy racing games myself)–this game really does find a unique position on the shelf between your top 3 favorite racing games. Even outside of the genre, I bring this game out more than others because it brings a certain type of excitement to the table.

My Advice

Don’t be afraid to invest in the longshots, while they may not win much as far as coming in second or third place–they are great to own because they DO win, and when they do, as an owner, you are looking at some pretty tasty payouts. Also, be cautious with the green die, as appealing as it looks, it’s never worth getting a horse disqualified over.

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