Since August is the month of our National Day, I felt it was fitting to speak about a game made by local game company Cardboard Island Games and a board game I took a long time to get – Dash! A Whimsical Race Around Singapore.
While it appears to be your run-of-the-mill roll-dice-and-move kind of board game, the game’s characters and mechanics give all players a slight twist.
Setup is very simple. What you have in your compactly-packed box is:
- 1 game board
- 5 race card decks (Follow the colours of the words on the back of the cards)
- 5 power card decks
- 1 deck of gold race cards
- 1 deck of silver race cards
- 5 character sheets
- 10 character counters (2 for each sheet)
The game board has an elaborate but easily navigated design. While the objective of the game is to get to the end point first, Dash adds a twist – three race routes. Therefore, whoever reaches the end of the final race first is declared the winner.
Each player chooses a character sheet, and gets their respective race card and power card decks with their character counters.
The Game We Played
One of the most interesting things about Dash is the fact that there are no dice involved in moving each character counter. Instead, players will have to use their race cards (which are numbered cards from 1 to 14) to play a version of Bridge or Dai Dee to decide who should move ahead first and by how much. I broke this game in with the Tiger, Eugene, and Katrina during our Cameron Highlands Adventures.
In summary, the first player call to play a race card has to decide if s/he wants to draw cards or play a race card. Players draw three cards at a time, with their hand limit at 10 cards. If you draw cards, you also sit out of that particular play round.
To play a card, the first player will decide if s/he wants to play a single, double, or triple set. Singles and doubles cards have to contain cards of a single number. Triple sets can be a straight (8,9,10), a flush (all three have the same colour backing), or a triple (all 3 are the same number). The next player will have to beat the first player and the play will continue until player skips reach the last player who was able to play a race card.
Power race cards can be brought into play during a player’s 2nd play of race cards.
To have a clearer picture, playing race cards can go like this:
- Player 1 plays straights 2, 3, and 4.
- Player 2 draws three cards.
- Player 3 skips.
- Player 4 plays straights 4, 5, and 6.
- Player 1 plays triple 1s with a power card.
- Player 2 plays triple 3s.
- Player 3 draws three cards.
- Player 4 plays triple 5s with a power card.
- Player 1 skips.
- Player 2 skips.
- Player 3 draws three cards.
- Player 4 wins the play round.
After which, players move forward the amount of spaces indicated on their character sheets. Depending on how many players played and the mode of play (singles, doubles, triples), the number of spaces differs. Do note, however, that once you’re done with your race card deck, you CANNOT recycle your discard pile, so play carefully.
At the end of the first and second races, gold and silver race / power cards are given out according to their finishing position. While these cards may help in later races, what matters the most is finishing the last race in 1st position.
By the end of our first game, the Tiger, Eugene, Katrina, and myself got the hang of the game mechanics, and the habits of each player. Soon after, card trolling started (a.k.a. when players decide to be funny and play singles for a good part of the game so you waste cards at the first race).
Gameplay Winners: The Tiger, Eugene, then me.
We played three games, with each of us emerging winner from each one. While the rules appeared more confusing than I would have liked, it was easy to play once actual gameplay has started. Despite that, I wished there were clearer instructions on how to set traps – that would have added another element to the game itself.
Dash! A Whimsical Race Across Singapore, was created by Cardboard Island Games. For more information, click here.