I was at a local game store recently and heard about one of Peter Newland’s recent games. The line I was told was that the game takes under a minute to play. How weird as a concept….. and as a fledgling game designer myself I became incredibly interested in how something like that would even work. Then the theme came in – Drag Racing…… and it all makes sense now.
I’m not really a car guy…. and funny story, I accidentally TANKED an interview at a game company when I was 28…ish by claiming this vehicular ineptitude and the interviewer responded with, “Oh….this is a position on a team that is making a car racing game….” How do you come back from that? I tried to recover with a joke about how the only things I learned while working on cars with my dad when I was young was how to hold a flashlight and get yelled at. Definitely did not get that job.
Oh! The game, yes. Fortunately for me, you don’t need to know anything about cars to have a good time playing Project NOS. The gameplay is very simple for this filler game. Before each race players get to choose 2 different modifications as they strategize how they will beat their opponents off the line. These modifications are traditional mods you may see on racing cars, such as Nitrous, Turbochargers, and Spoilers. These modifications will give you 3 extra dice, which are added to the 3 that you start with, for a “hand” of 6 dice.
Then the players lay out a track for their race. There are 18 cards, each with a number of 1 through 6, with 3 copies of each number. You’ll randomly deal out 6 of these cards to create the track. Everyone selects a car, and someone yells GO!
All players then roll simultaneously and as fast as they can two dice at a time, trying to match, be one under, or any number over the number that is on the next piece of track for them. If you match the value, you place that one die on the card and move on to the next piece of track. If you are one under or over the number, you can take a redline cube to essentially count that roll as a match for the track card’s number. But….. you can only ever take 2 redline cubes.
The first player to place all of their dice correctly on the track wins!
I think this game’s design is pretty solid but I can definitely see that this game may be something that will be absolutely loved or just simply ignored by specific types of game groups. The same type of people that enjoy Escape! and Tenzi will love this game. People that need a filler game that truly IS a filler game that takes less than 15 minutes to play will love this game. Hardcore gamers that only want 4+ hour epics may not find enjoyment here.
The thing I like most about this game is that it is VERY easy to play it back to back multiple times. Often when you play filler games like this one, your one strategy that you try just simply doesn’t work out, you lose, and you move on to some other game. But since the game takes less than a minute to play, you can attempt multiple different strategies in a 10-15 minute session.
My only real issue is that I think this is a better party game than anything else. For me, its hard for me to play 2 player only because I get anxious when I see that I am behind and it causes my brain to stop. But when playing 4 players, who wins and losses becomes less important as you are just having fun playing, and it weirdly becomes more relaxing. My point is, if you don’t take the competitive nature of the game too seriously, it is much more fun……but as I write that I think I am basically talking about gaming in general.
If we were in my game store and you pulled this off the shelf asking if it was a good game, I would ask:
- Are you looking for a quick filler game?
- Do you like dice games?
- Can your group handle a MAD DASH to victory instead of the normal slow pace of most board games?
- Is your hand-eye coordination super sharp and accurate? (I kept flubbing my grab of the dice after it was rolled lol)
If you say yes to most of these, I think Project NOS will hit your game group right.
Project NOS should be coming to Kickstarter very soon. Watch http://mindthegapstudios.com/ for more information and follow Pete on Twitter: @MtGSPete