Tiny Turbo Cars
Table Top TableTopTakes

Table Top Takes: Tiny Turbo Cars from Horrible Guild

Last weekend was a racing game weekend where I played PitchCar, Ready Set Bet, and Tiny Turbo Cars. All of these racing games offer very different experiences. Pure dexterity, mainly betting, and real time smashing into things with Tiny Turbo Cars. Now that I’ve experienced Tiny Turbo Cars several times, is this a game that you should seek out to add to your racing game collection?

How To Play Tiny Turbo Cars

Tiny Turbo Cars is a bit of a tougher game to explain because you are doing a lot and need to pay attention to a lot in the game. The goal of the game is to win the race. That doesn’t mean, completely, be the first person over the line, it means on the round where the first person goes over the line, go the furthest over it. But how are you driving in this game?

The theme is that you are driving little RC cars around the house. You jump over some obstacles, crash into others, and shoot rockets at your opponents. All of this is done through a real time sliding puzzle where you create two rows of actions that you’ll do. These actions are mainly move forward, though you can back up and move left and right.

The first person who completes their puzzle gets to go first. And the last person loses a battery. Batteries are your life that you use up as you crash into things or are the slowest on completing your puzzle. You navigate what you programmed and see what happens. If you run out of batteries you skip steps to charge them back up and continue on in the race.

Tiny Turbo Cars Components
Image Source: Horrible Guild

What Doesn’t Work

The first thing that stood out to me is that I’ve played with two players and I’ve played with more, not up to six yet, but up to five. And the game is much better at higher player counts. It does make the game take longer, but the game benefits from the havoc that more people offer on the track. So this is not a two player game. I think three is okay, but four to six is really where the game is best at. And to get up to six, you need an expansion.

Tiny Turbo Cars has a lot to teach as well. This is a weird knock on the game because it has too much to teach without player aids. If you know the game, you know what spots do. But learning the game the first time, what’s the rule for carpet, fire, what can you jump or what will you just run into? You need to know all of those things. And that’s a lot to hold in your head as well as the sliding puzzle. I wish that it had player aids and I hope someone has made them on BGG.

What Works

Toy Factor

The toy factor for the game is great. This one is a bit of a positive and a negative. The RC controllers that hold the sliding puzzle look amazing. It is going to make it stand out on the table. Most of the time they slide just fine. And I don’t know that there is a way to make a sliding puzzle like that work all the time. But sometimes it sticks, generally if you don’t have it quite flat enough. So there is that element of the game which is mostly awesome but it’s such a unique piece.

The game does feel crazy like just trying to get an RC car to go as fast as you can through a house littered with stuff. Probably not fire in your actual house, but in this game, it’s an option. The real time element feels like that and the chaotic layout and planning attempts do as well.

Real Time

The real time element also works for this game. Yes, your controller might stick for a second, but it works well. And the real time element itself is not a timed element. I generally realize that is where I dislike real time. When you tell me that I have one minute or 45 seconds and it’s basically all the game to get that one element right. This is more like Galaxy Trucker in that yes, you go for speed, but it’s not only speed because it won’t end until someone pushes for it.

Tiny Turbo Cars Controller
Image Source: Horrible Guild

Game Speed

Finally, this is not too long a game. Even at five players, which is definitely longer, it’s not too long a game. Once one player has locked in their board other players follow quickly to make sure you aren’t the last person. And then the actual going through the programmed actions is fast because that is following commands versus making decisions.

Who Is It For

I do think that there is an element where you need to be fine with things like sliding puzzles and real time in this game. It is a key part of the game and if you can’t half look at your sliding puzzle and half at the board to plan what you’re doing, you’ll lag behind. But not too far behind because everyone is crashing.

I also think that this is for people who want a chaotic game with a higher player count. To me this is a 4-6 player game. Yes, the board is fuller and you might spend a turn crashing into someone else, but that’s part of the fun of the game. But you need to know that this won’t be a strategic two player racing game.

Final Thoughts on Tiny Turbo Cars

This one I think is a fun game. But I have some reservations about it. Mainly, it plays best with that higher player count so how often will it get played. And with the rules or interactions a bit more complex, does that mean it will get played that often. There is variability in the game and that can be used to fine tune that complexity level. So that isn’t an issue, it is just player count concerns.

I also need to compare this to other racing games. Ready Set Bet, Downforce, Long Shot: The Dice Game, PitchCar all offer different things. And I want to play and pick up other racing games. Mainly I want to play Formula D and Rallman GT, and pick-up Thunder Road Vendetta. Because I wonder if I have room for Tiny Turbo Cars. Does the chaotic and randomness that can come into the game make it one that sticks. Or do I want that bit more control, unless I’m playing PitchCar which is dexterity?

It’s a tough question that I’m not completely sure of the answer on right now. But I think that the randomness, while fun in a fast game, might be a bit more than I really want. Tiny Turbo Cars might be one of those games that I’d always play, but not sure I need to own it. Which is disappointing because I backed it on KS with expansions. But also not, because I have played it and had fun with it and would play it again. It isn’t leaving my collection yet, but I wonder.

My Grade: B-
Gamer Grade: C-
Casual Grade: C+

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