Talk:Race to the Top

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From Looney Pyramid Games Wiki

2009 Game Award evaluation

This is a surprising combination of a social party game with Chutes & Ladders, with a nice card-based movement scheme rather than a spinner or die. I'll deal with the two aspects separately.

The party game:

I like the fact that the questions include choices between two positives, instead of just all choices of negatives.

There is one big problem with the movement system: there is no motivation for the primary player to answer correctly. Only the secondary players can advance on his turn, so the primary players will often end up trying to confuse the others. It then becomes a cat-and-mouse guessing game, making the actual questions meaningless -- you might as well have everyone guess whether the primary player guesses A or B. One possible way to fix this is to have the primary player, along with his answer to the question, also guess how many of the others will guess his answer; if he gets that right, then he also gets to move his piece.

The board game:

The board is rather weak. There are not enough arrows: only 6 up and 4 down, compared to 9 up and 10 down in the Milton Bradley version of Chutes and Ladders. This means that moving on the arrows is fairly rare, and so it will be felt as an unfair component, affecting someone for good or bad perhaps once. In the game I played, pieces went on arrows only twice -- once unconditionally, and once where they could choose to go up rather than be on another space that didn't go up.

Add a lot more arrows -- even more than in C&L, because in this game pieces move not just up to 6, but up to 10 (or even 20, if a Heart). Then the experience of moving on the arrows will be a common occurrence rather than a rare destabilizing event. This would also give some real meat to the option of doubling the move (if a Heart), or adding 10 (if an Ace).

One other thing: this board has 2 very long arrows, one up and one down. It would be better if they crisscrossed, as in the C&L board, giving the possibility of having one make up for the other. The way it is now, the long one down is a severe blow, being hard to make up.

My assessment for the award: This is a bit borderline for me as a game overall. It has potential, but needs some tweaking. A deciding factor is that as a pyramid game, it doesn't use any significant attributes of pyramids -- they are just used as pawns. So, this doesn't make the cut.

- BStout