Today’s game Hurry’Cup! takes us to 1925 Cannes. You and the rest of the players are about the enter the Cannes-Monaco car rally. The race will consist of winding roads that you have to carefully navigate in order to beat your competition. At first Hurry’Cup! looked like a pretty average racing board game. Roll the dice and move around the track. I wasn’t particularly interested in the game as there are so many other racing games with the same basic premise. I became more interested in the game though when I found out about the speed mechanic. Hurry’Cup! develops an interesting blend of a speed and dice rolling game which leads to a solid but unspectacular game.
How to Play Hurry’Cup!
- Place the starting board in the center of the table so it is an equal distance from each player.
- Assemble the race course by placing the tiles in any order you want with the finish tile placed at the end.
- Each player chooses their color taking the race car of that color and placing it on the starting line.
- Each player takes one road ace, nitro and horn chips.
- Place as many pawns as there are players onto the starting tile. The same colored dice are placed next to the board.
- The six bonus chips are randomly placed on the spaces with stars on them. The chips are placed with the star side up.
- The wooden die, second chance chips, and red lantern chip are placed to the side of the starting board.
Playing the Game
Each round of Hurry’Cup! consists of two phases:
- Choosing a Fuel Tank
- Moving Your Race Car
Choosing A Fuel Tank
One player will place all of the colored dice into the dice cup and will roll them. The youngest player takes this role in the first round followed by the next player clockwise in the next round. The player removes the dice cup which will show all of the dice. All of the players will look at the dice and determine which dice they think will help them the most. Each player grabs the pawn from the starting tile that corresponds to the die they want. When a pawn is taken, none of the other players can use the corresponding die. When everyone has taken a pawn, the players take the corresponding die (keeping them on the same number that was rolled).
When choosing a die players have to factor in a couple things. Higher number dice allow a player to potentially move more spaces but they carry more risk. If a player is moving around a lot of corners they should consider taking a smaller numbered die.
Moving Your Race Car
Starting with the player who rolled the dice in the last round, each player takes a turn rolling the “accelerator” die (the non-colored die). The player will then determine their car’s speed as follows:
- Add the number rolled on the accelerator die to the number on the die that the player took.
- Multiply the total by ten.
The player then begins moving their car forward. They can move their car up to the number on their colored die. When a car reaches a turn that features a speed limit, they compare the speed limit to the speed of their car. If their car is going the same speed or less then the speed limit, they can move their car onto the space. If their speed is higher than the speed limit, the player has to stop their car on the space before the turn.
If a player is unable to move forward any spaces on their, they get to take a Second Chance chip which they can use on a future turn. If a player lands on a space that features a bonus chip, they take the chip and place it in front of them face up. Each bonus chip has a special ability which are detailed in the chips section.
After everyone has moved the players check to see if a player is in last on a space unoccupied by another player. In this case the red lantern token will be placed on the space. This entitles the player who is in last to move forward one space on their next turn before they roll the accelerator die.
All of the colored pawns are returned to the starting board and the next round begins.
Players can only use one chip each round. Once a chip has been used, it cannot be reused.
At the beginning of the game each player will get three chips which are referred to as “Trump Chips”.
Road Ace: Before rolling the accelerator die, a player can use this chip to automatically move their car forward spaces equal to the colored die they took. If the accelerator die is rolled, this chip cannot be used.
Nitro: If a player is able to move the entire distance of the colored die they chose, the player can use this chip to move one additional space.
Horn: A player must use their horn chip before the dice are revealed at the beginning of the round. The player who plays the chip gets to look at all of the dice and take the pawn of the color die they want before the other players get to see them. The dice are then revealed to the rest of the players and players choose dice like they normally would. If multiple people want to use their horn on the same turn, the first player to call it out gets to use it.
When a player is unable to move any spaces on a turn, they get to draw a Second Chance chip. A player may only hold one Second Chance chip at a time.
Second Chance: When a player is not happy with the number they rolled on the accelerator die, they can choose to use a second chance chip to roll the accelerator die again. The player must keep the number rolled on the second roll.
Throughout the game players will acquire bonus chips if they land on a space that contains one.
Short Cut: When a player uses a short cut chip they can leave the gameboard on a shortcut space and move directly to the next space that has a shortcut. This counts as one movement point.
Fast Forward: This chip has to be used before a player rolls the accelerator die. The player can immediately move their car to the tile directly behind the player that is in front of them. The player then rolls the accelerator die and continues their turn normally.
Assistance: A player can use this chip to take back one of the “Trump Chips” that they have already used in the game.
Oil: A player can play this chip on any tile that they crossed on this turn (including the space that they are on). This chip places a 50 speed limit on the space that it is placed on.
Swap: By playing this chip a player can swap the pawn they took this round with the pawn taken by another player.
Empty Tank: When a player draws the empty tank chip, they must use it on their next turn. The empty tank chip replaces the number on the colored die the player takes with a one.
End of Game
The game ends when one of the players cross the finish line. The first player to cross the finish line wins the game. Players can choose to continue playing to determine who places second and so on.
My Thoughts on Hurry’Cup!
When you break down Hurry’Cup! it basically is a combination of a speed and dice rolling game. Each round begins with one player rolling all of the color dice. The players look at all of the numbers that were rolled and race to grab the pawn that matches the color die that they want for the round. After everyone has a color die each player takes a turn rolling the accelerator die to determine how many spaces they are able to move their car. Players then move their car around the track and another round begins.
I would say that the most interesting and most important mechanic in Hurry’Cup! is the speed mechanic. While the mechanic is not highly original, I actually like it quite a bit. What I like about the mechanic is that it is pretty simple to grasp and actually plays a pretty big role in your success in the game. It may take some of the players a couple rounds to remember to take the pawn matching the die they want but afterwards the mechanic is really straightforward.
Most of Hurry’Cup!’s strategy comes from choosing the right dice in the speed portion of the game. The die you take determines the maximum number of spaces you can move on your turn. Therefore you would think that you want to take the highest valued dice each time as it will let you move more spaces. The catch is that the racetrack has turns and taking the highest valued dice makes it harder to make it around the corners. Between the die you take and the die you roll later, the total multiplied by ten has to be less than or equal to the speed limit of all of the spaces that you will be moving through on your turn. This mechanic adds some risk/reward to the game. Taking a higher die can potentially get you more spaces but if it forces you to go too quickly around a corner you could get less spaces than if you would have taken a lower die. If you are going around a turn that has a low speed limit you might be best off taking one of the lower dice.
Having a good reaction time is key for this portion of the game. Players with a fast reaction time are going to have a pretty big advantage in the game. Being able to get your top or second choice is generally going to help you out quite a bit instead of being stuck with whatever is left. The players who excel at speed games are going to have a pretty big advantage in the game. Players that are not great at speed games are going to have to rely on even more luck if they want a chance of winning the game.
While the speed mechanic adds most of the strategy to the game, the dice rolling mechanic is probably just as important. The problem with the dice rolling mechanic is that it relies entirely on luck. When you are rolling the accelerator die you want to roll as low of number as you can. There is no benefit to rolling a higher number as higher numbers just increase your odds of not being able to complete a turn. The players that are best at rolling ones and twos are going to do really well in the game. If you can consistently roll low numbers you are able to take larger movement dice which will let you move more spaces on your turn. Meanwhile players who roll high numbers on the accelerator die are going to have troubles in the game even if they do well with the speed mechanic. The player who rolls the accelerator die the best is likely going to win the game.
The only other significant mechanic in Hurry’Cup! is deciding when you want to use your special abilities. At the beginning of the game each player is given three one-time use special abilities which help you in the game. These special abilities can really help you in the game, so choosing when to use them can be crucial. In general I like the special abilities that you are given at the beginning of the game even though some are more powerful than others. Since everyone has access to them, everyone has the same opportunity to use the powerful abilities. It is debatable whether they are overpowered but I like that choosing the right time to use them can actually have a pretty big impact on the outcome of the game.
I am not quite as enthusiastic about the bonus chips though. The main problem that I have with the bonus chips is that they are too powerful. While one of the bonus chips is a trap that hurts you, it is usually beneficial to land on the spaces that give you bonus chips. With how powerful the bonus chips are it just doesn’t seem fair that you just have to land on a space in order to acquire them. The reason the bonus chips are beneficial is that they usually let you gain several spaces on the other players. Using one bonus chip can easily catch you up or extend your lead by quite a bit. In the game I played all of the players were within a couple spaces of one another until a player was able to use the short cut bonus chip. This chip let them skip like five spaces which allowed them to cruise to victory. The player might have still won the game but by using the bonus chip there was no way the other players could catch up.
When you add the three main mechanics together you get a game that mostly relies on reaction time and luck. There is a little strategy in the game but it is usually pretty obvious what you should do on any particular turn. I doubt players will regularly win the game because they had a better strategy than the other players. While the game doesn’t rely on a lot of strategy, that is not necessarily a terrible thing. Hurry’Cup! wasn’t really designed to be a highly strategic game. It was meant to be a game that could be quickly picked up and played by the whole family. Even people that rarely play board games shouldn’t have that much trouble playing it. With games taking around 20-30 minutes, Hurry’Cup! works pretty well as a filler game.
While it isn’t really a gameplay mechanic, I like the idea that Hurry’Cup! uses tiles to create the track. This allows players to create whatever track they want. Generally I like modular boards as it gives players flexibility over how they want to set up the game. With more flexibility comes more replay value which is never a bad thing. The only problem that I have with the modular board is that it adds a decent amount of time to the game’s setup. It is not hard to set up the board but it takes time if you want to create a balanced course. You are probably best off trying to spread out the turns, tiles with bonus chips and tiles that can be used with the short cut bonus chip. If you don’t spread out these tiles it can lead to a very unbalanced course which might lead to the game not being as enjoyable as it could have been.
As far as the components are concerned, I would say they are pretty good. The cardboard pieces are quite thick where you don’t have to worry about them getting damaged through normal gameplay. The dice and wooden pieces are also sturdy. The game’s artwork is pretty nice as well. Basically the components do a good job serving their purpose.
Should You Buy Hurry’Cup!?
If I had to describe Hurry’Cup! in just a couple words I would say that it is solid but unspectacular. Outside of some of the bonus chips being overpowered there is nothing broken in the game. Hurry’Cup! is an interesting blend of a speed and dice rolling game which has some interesting ideas. The speed mechanic is interesting as players have to quickly analyze which dice they want and grab the corresponding pawn. Choosing when to use your special abilities can also have a pretty big impact on how well you do in the game. The problem is that you have to consistently roll low numbers on the accelerator die to have a good chance of winning the game. I had fun with Hurry’Cup! but it is not a game that I am going to regularly pull out and play. Basically the outcome of every game is going to come down to a combination of the players’ reaction times and luck.
If you aren’t really interested in a game that combines speed and dice rolling mechanics, Hurry’Cup! probably won’t be for you. If the game’s concept interests you though I think you can have fun with Hurry’Cup!. I would probably recommend waiting for a deal on the game though since you can usually find the game pretty cheap and it is not special enough to warrant overpaying for it.