Published by: Portal Games
# of Players: 3 to 8
Portal Games continues to provide excellent art that is very colorful and grabs the attention of those playing. The karts are wooden shapes with stickers that can be applied to both sides to make them look like carts. Cards and player mats are made excellent and will handle lots of playing. The one minor issue I had was with the player screens. They look nice but are a little smaller than I would like. They barely cover the the player boards from end to end and they are not very high. Players were saying they could see a lot of people's boards. The instruction book that comes with Crazy Karts may be one of Portal Games best to date. The instructions had lots of colorful illustrations and was broken down nicely to make it easy to understand. Portal Games also had a video done by Watch It Played's Rodney Smith that goes over set up and most of the gameplay. I read the instructions and watched Rodney's video and both do an excellent job explaining the game. Portal Games did a nice job of giving the consumer a game that is easy to learn and will stand up to lots of playing.
Crazy Karts has players team up in groups of 2 to race each other in two races. You will first race in a shorter Qualifying race (Start map and 2 additional boards) and then compete in the Final Race (Start Map and 3 additional boards). The team to cross the finish line wins. You may be wondering how this can be played with odd numbered groups. There is a lone wolf board that allows one person to in control of their own kart, but each turn you must draw and play a Malfunction token that prevents you from performing a certain action space. You will also draw a Buff token that can be used to buff an action by 1, but you do not need to place it if you decide you do not want to.
I am usually not a big fan of racing board games, but Crazy Karts is like a party game with racing being the theme. You will yell at your teammate and be confused by their decisions they make. You will laugh at some of the crazy stuff your kart ends up doing because you failed to turn or went too fast. Doing 2 races lets each player on the team try each control board. This is nice to not be stuck in the same role each game. You will run into obstacles tiles. I did not discuss these, but they usually provide some damage and can raise or lower the speed of your cart. It may feel like one team has an advantage after the first race, but we found that teams ended up focusing on the first place person and that in turn made the race close at the end. Some new gamers will feel a bit overwhelmed because they are on their own making decisions for them and another player, but after the first race they get over that and enjoy the game. This a game that group your playing with will either make it fun or not. If your group is loud and social, you will have a great time. If your group is more strategic and quiet, you may not enjoy this as much. I love how it does feel like Double Dash from Gamecube. There are lots of maps and each team has their own ability so there is plenty of games to played. This game benefits highly from higher player counts. I feel that you need at least 3 karts (5/6 players) to really have a game of Crazy Karts. I really enjoyed Crazy Karts and will keep in my collection for when my group wants to have a goofy, loud time racing. If your group tends to have higher player counts, then this is definitely a game you should check out.
+ Encourages lots of emotion and social interaction from what is happening in game
+ Very colorful and eye grabbing art and solid components
+ Instructions are easy to understand and there is a video you can watch as well to help learn the game
+ Switching roles after the first race
+ Having to decide how powerful actions without discussing with your teammate
- A quiet group may not enjoy this game as much
- Intimidating for new people due to having a teammate that they can not get help from
- 2 Races can take up to 2 hours, especially with newer ones
- Player screens are a little small and barely cover the control panel