Shuffle Grand Prix is a game by Robert Newton, published by Bicycle. It is for 2-4 players. In this game, players will take on the role of a madcap racer as they try to reach the highest distance by the end of the race. Of course they’ll have to be careful as their opponents will always be trying to sabotage them and make their car spin out. In the end the racer that can endure all this reach the farthest distance will be declared the winner.
To begin, each player takes a tire health card, a reference card and two turn trackers. The distance deck is shuffled together and each player is dealt a card. The player with the highest value card is the first player. Each player in turn order, starting with the first player, will now select their first driver, taking the driver card and their ability deck. Once each player has finished, players will then choose their second driver, starting with the last player and continuing in reverse turn order. Players will then set up their card with a driver card on top of their tire health card. They will also place their second driver card beneath both of these cards. Players will place their tire health card so that the 4 tires are shown to the left side of their driver card. Players will then shuffle the ability cards of both of their drivers together to form a single deck. Each player will then draw 3 cards to create their starting hand. The remaining cards are placed face down beside their driver. The distance deck is now reshuffled, along with the distance cards that were dealt out earlier. Once this is finished, the newly shuffled deck is placed in the middle of the play area. The trophy tokens are also placed their in a single pile. Once all this has been done, play now begins.
The game is played over a series of turns, with each player taking a turn consisting of 4 phases. For the first phase, the player will draw a distance card and place it above their car to track their distance. Each time a new distance card is played, it is placed on top of the last distance card in their row. When placed, it should allow the number of the last distance card to be read so that players can visually compare how far they’ve traveled. The card on the top of this stack is called the top distance card.
For the next phase, the player will rotate a turn tracker, if they have any ability cards with a turn symbol that are active. This is done by simply rotating the turn tracker card beneath the card with the ability to show the correct number.
In the third phase, the player will be able to play an ability card or perform another action. There are 5 types of cards that can be played; action, nerf, trap, equip and anytime. Action, nerf and trap cards can be played straight from the hand. Action cards are simply played and then resolved. Nerf cards are basically equipment cards that are played on an opponent’s car. Trap cards are conditional and are only allowed to be played if the specific condition is met. It should be noted that a player is not immune to their own traps. Equip cards are attached to a player’s car and have no effect until then. Only 2 equip cards are allowed to be placed on a player’s car. Anytime cards may be played at any time, even during an opponent’s turn and may be used to cancel another card’s effect. In this phase another option available to the player is to take a pit stop, swapping an equipped card on their car with one from their hand. If this is done, the player must discard their top distance card from their row. They may also choose to discard a card from their hand and draw one from their ability deck instead. Finally, they may simply choose to pass.
The final phase is to spend trophies. Trophies are collected any time a player reduces another player’s tire health to zero, forcing them to spin out, more on this in a moment. A player may choose to spend 1 trophy to swap their driver with their co-pilot. They may spend 2 trophies to play an extra ability card.
Just a moment ago I mentioned spinning out. Any time a player’s tire health is reduced to zero, that driver spins out. When this happens any equip cards on their car are discarded, as are all the cards in the player’s hand. Any nerfs played on their car are discarded back to the original player’s discard pile. The spun out driver will also have to discard their top distance card and then swap their co-pilot with their driver. Until their next turn, the player will then be immune to all actions. The player that caused the driver to spin out earns a trophy. If multiple players cause a spin out, then each player will gain a trophy. If a player causes their own driver to spin out, they will earn a trophy.
The game continues until there are no more distance cards to draw. Once this happens, the player that drew the final distance card will be allowed to finish their turn before the game ends. Afterwards, each player will add up their distance cards and the player with the highest total distance is the winner.
This game consists of only 2 things, cards and trophy tokens. The cards, as you’d imagine, are very high quality. They’re super sturdy textured cards that you’d expect in a expensive deck of cards. The game comes with 8 different drivers, along with their ability decks. There’s also the distance deck which contains 4 different distances from 25-100. There are also tire health cards and turn tracker cards, as well as player reference cards. There’s actually quite a lot of cards included with this game. The artwork is kind of fun, albeit a bit odd looking. It’s almost like a kid got ahold of pens and markers and made some designs for the game. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, it fits the wild over the top design of the game. Each driver has their own deck which is specialized just for them, so every card’s artwork and design fits in with that driver’s specialty. As for the trophies, these are simply thick cardboard pieces that resemble golden trophies that a person might win. Included in the box is a great insert that has special places for the trophies and for all the cards. This was a really nice addition that I wasn’t expecting. Overall I think that the wild silliness of this game fits the fun designs and look of the artwork. While it’s not exactly my style, I think it looks pretty good.
7 out of 10
The rulebook for this game is a nice and small little book. It doesn’t have a lot of pages to it, but it does have plenty of pictures and examples. The book explains everything from the individual card types to the various steps of gameplay. It looks pretty nice and is easy to read through. As a matter of fact, it doesn’t take long to read. Other than that, there’s not much to discuss in regards to the rules. Everything is pretty much straight forward and doesn’t take much to learn.
7 out of 10
This is a fairly simple game to play. Like a game of Mario Kart, you will be trying to go farther and faster than everyone else without getting too much damage to your car. You’ll be playing cards in a take that kind of manner to affect other players or equipping things to make your car run faster or smoother. As you wipe out your opponents, you’ll be able to earn trophies which will allow you to play an extra card or even swap out your driver to use their abilities. Knowing when the right time to make this move can be crucial. While this one does have some strategy to it, a lot of the game relies on luck. You never really know what the distance on the card you draw will be. You could get lucky and pull a 100 distance or be unlucky and only get 25. A few bad draws and a spin out or two and you might as well throw in the towel. While I do like the sheer ease of play and the fun factor of the various drivers, I really don’t like the luck aspect of this game very much. In some cases this can be mitigated with the right equipment or abilities. Other times it’s just completely aggravating and can run your fun. This one goes back and forth for me. I do like things about it, but there are others I don’t like. For this reason, I’ll say that this is one that players interested in the theme or that think the game sounds fun should give a try. One good thing about the game is that it can be played fairly quickly. So the luck and chaos doesn’t really get too frustrating before the game is over. I think players that are ok with luck and chaos may actually find they enjoy this one. As for me, it kind of misses the mark just a bit. While it’s not one that I normally would recommend, I still think it deserves a try though. As it is, if the mood is right I’m willing to give it a go and play it again.
7 out of 10
Shuffle Grand Prix is a light weight racing card game. This one doesn’t take a very long time to play. Most game sessions last around 30 minutes. The artwork is zany and silly and the cards themselves are high quality. The rulebook is short and sweet without too much filler. The game itself is an interesting race that is mostly luck based with only a small amount of strategy involved. It does have some interesting aspects including the fact that each driver feels unique and has their own skills that can be utilized to help them win. However that can be buried beneath the high luck factor of drawing distance cards. As I’ve mentioned in the gameplay section, this can result in huge deficits that are too high to overcome. If players enjoy a good bit of chaos and don’t mind a mostly luck based game, then this may be one that they’ll enjoy. For me, I’m on the fence. There are aspects that I like and others that I don’t. Overall this is one that I would recommend trying first.
7 out of 10
For more information about this and other great games, please check out Bicycle at their site.