Thunder Alley is a tricky, and luck riddled game but it creates a theme rich tapestry. Can you survive the shunts and scrapes that will hit you on the track or will you hit the wall and find yourself at the back? After a few times on the track, here’s my thoughts.
During the Game:
Splitting the pack; This is a tricky tactic but if you can get your cars into the middle of the pack then you will have the chance to split the pack. Leave the cars at the back and find a way to pull your cars into the lead pack or the chasing group. It’s a tricky way to play the game, but if you can push a meaningful gap in these two groups and leave some of the lead car’s team behind then you are suddenly in the best position to win the game.
Drift vs Solo; Drift is key to pulling cars – use these when it’s your cars you are pulling. Solo is the opportunity to push a car away from your opponents. Use the cards not just for their values in movement but for their strategic value in positioning. If you have got a drift card then line up the other cars behind / in-front of your car that is using the drift. Position to maximise these moves as the drift moves are the free moves that you need to maximise. In fact, if you can use other people’s drifts then that is even better!
Getting Dropped; If you get dropped it can seem impossible to make it back. You will need to race to the back car early in the turn and then drift that car further into the pack. Leads are even better. Also, you might want to bargain with other dropped players to pull you up together. Co-ordinated sprints are going to be better than a single player’s actions. However, these alliances are short lived and the second player to move can often rush forward from the initial move – you will need to trust your co-conspirators…or go second.
Break Out; The chance to break forward in the race is limited. You can use a solo to rush forward, but an early break is rarely rewarded. With enough cars behind you the drift will catch you quickly and you wont be able to take advantage of it. Don’t leave the attack to the very last turn though otherwise you will not cross first. Make the most of the last three turns in the game – this is the chance for a break. Yellow flags will also push the pack back together and lose the early leads.
Pit Stop; You want to take the pit stop when there are three pieces of minor damage – more and you will suffer slow movement. However, less than this and you may find yourself needing a second pit stop. This is dependent on the game though, because an early yellow flag and a coming together of the cars – this is the time to pit early and make the most of the small loss of position that occurs in a yellow flag pit stop.
Luck Mitigation; There is luck in this game, you cannot shy away from that. However you can mitigate it. Avoid two points of the same damage on one car (it exposes that car to the events). Take the opportunity to heal at the right time. Do not put yourself at the extremes of the pack, or the edges of the track – again these are the places of risk. Balance what you can, and accept what you cannot.