If you have never heard of Downforce, check out my review which summarises why I like this game but why it is not a conventional racing game. If you have though, and are looking at strategy tips, then here are mine…
During the Game:
Trap Cars; The core way to win this game is to trap cars. I will talk about a couple of ways to trap them below but this should be the first thought of every turn – can I trap a car, and how can I avoid being trapped. The cards are balanced and so the placement of the cars and the sequence of those cards is key.
Finish Cars; The reason why traps are so important is that if your car finishes second you will not score many points, but if your car doesn’t finish then you will score so few points that you will almost certainly not win. Losing your car entirely is devastating to your final result.
Corner Traps; The corners have less squares to travel through – you need to use these spaces to block cars in the narrow parts of the track. These are the areas which if you finish there, another player cannot move through. That might be positioning on your turn that is less optimal, or it might be using a card to park another player on the corner behind you!
Power Cards; Power cards are decided at the start of the game, and they are not all equal. Always controlling your car is one of my favourites but watch out for the player with extra moves – they have a big advantage on some of the tracks and trapping them in corners is even more powerful / important because it limits that cards effects.
Car Traps; Parking your car or another car alongside another can cause a car trap, but the most common way will be to have the car you move with the card move to one edge of the race course and not be able to move forward or out due to other cars. Using one edge of the course reduces the cars you need for the block.
Car Order; On the card there are an order to the cars that move – be aware of this when picking the cards because you can execute the traps within the card itself. Blocking the corner intentionally or not, picking between the cards is as much about the order of the cars as it is the distance.
Turn Order; This matters a surprising amount because the players will try to move their own agenda in the game. Blocking a player with your car just as they go will encourage them to move your car forward. These little margins will make all the difference over the course of the game.
Wild Cars; Great to move your car forward, but sometimes these will be essential to create or remove the traps above. Try to keep these back for the final third when these will become the key to having enough flexibility to finish ahead of key opponents.
Know your deck; You know your deck before you bid – us the information about which cars you have movement for and which ones require the least impact to other cars. You will want too bid carefully and plan out your moves as much as you can for the course of the whole game and not just turn by turn.
Don’t bid 6; Even if it’s the best car for you, if you are bidding six then you are overpaying for sure. I would aim for a 4 or below on the preferred car.