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At Full Throttle

A highly portable and fun real-time game

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating


At Full Throttle

At Full Throttle

Image courtesy of Haba
Robert Fraga, the designer of At Full Throttle, is the Genius of Real-Time Gaming. He's the mad scientist behind Treasure, Ready, Go!; Dancing Eggs; Squad Seven; and Trotofant. (For the non-gamers in the audience, "real-time" games are those in which players are racing against each other simaltaneously. A common real-time game that many people are familiar with is Double Solitaire, also known as Dutch Blitz or Ligretto.)

Tracing Lines in Your Head

This time around, Mr. Fraga manages to wring an excellent little game from 14 cards, a color die and six tiny wooden cars. (There are actually two different 14-card decks in the game, but you only use one at at time.) The colors on the die match the color of the six cars and the pictures of the cars on each of the cards. Every card has three pairs of cars attached by squiggly lines that cross each other.

For each round, three cards (or more, if you're playing with the difficulty ramped up) are turned face up, then the color die is rolled. Starting on the leftmost card, players find the car that matches the color die and trace the line (mentally!) to the next car. Once they've found that car, they jump to the next card and trace the path from that car to the next car.

Repeat that one more time, but when a player finds the path to the final car, he grabs the corresponding wooden car from the middle of the table.

The player who is correct gets one of the track cards to show that he has won a round. Then you deal three new cards, roll the die and you're off to the races again. The first player to win three rounds wins the game.

It Shouldn't be Difficult...

Following a dashed line isn't difficult... or at least it shouldn't be difficult. But the time pressure and the competition conspire against my brain and I jump lines or mistake colors or just basically have a couple of synapses blow out, thus giving my son the opening he needs to beat me.

Once you've mastered the basic skills needed to play the game, you can move up to the second deck of cards, where the lines are much more twisty. You can also play with longer races (more cards in the tableau).

The age recommendation (5 and up) seems spot on. My four-year-old thinks the cars look cool but otherwise doesn't enjoy this, while my eight-year-old enjoys beating his old man and chortling about it. I especially like how portable it is -- it's in a smaller box to start with and could easily be transferred to a baggie to make a great "waiting somewhere" game.


At Full Throttle is for 2 to 4 players, ages 5 and up. It was designed by Robert Fraga and published by Haba.

Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
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