The Really Nasty Horse Racing Game

Well, I've played race games where you come to a dead stop because you are tired ( DeMarrage ), I've played race games where you have to go backwards a fair amount of the time in order to win ( Hare and Tortoise, and Zanpkfel (however you spell it, the apple picking game)), and I've played races where you run out of gas and don't finish (Daytona 500) and races where you go to fast and spin out (Formule De).

But in all of the race games I had ever played, I always wanted to win. That is, until I got The Really Nasty Horse Racing Game.

In TRNHRG, your goal is to make the most money. You have a stable of horses to be run in 6 races, from the Lady's Purse all the way up to the King's Crown. Each race has different prizes for 1st-3rd. (Up to 6 can play). As I've said before, you have six horses and all players pick which of their horses go to which race. Your #1 horse is better than your #2 which is better than your #3, all the way to #6.

You also start play with 3-4 cards that let you influence the race, such as making a horse fall, having a false start declared, having an enquiry against a certain horse, etc.

And the last thing you have is 20,000 pounds to start betting with.

It's the betting that does it. After everyone has assigned their horses, each horse gets a lane at random and has odds assigned to it. (The odds are basically (Lane Number*Stable Entry Number):1; however, for particularly high longshots, like a 6 horse in the 6th lane, the odds are slighly higher, say 50:1 instead of 36:1). Each player then bets (if they wish) on a horse in secret. The amount of the bet, however, is public. After the race, the prizes are paid out and the bets are settled up.

The Race

The race itself is mainly by chance. The horse in the inside lane rolls a die first (and then it goes clockwise around the table). You must move as far as you rolled. However, some of your motion can move you out a lane instead of forward (as many spaces as you wish). You can only move in if you rolled a 6 (and then, only one lane). Two horses can never occupy the same square, so if you are blocked you must shift outside (or inside if you rolled a six). Of course, the outside lanes have farther to go in the corners.

Some of the squares land on hedges, and if you end your movement on them, someone might play a card that makes your jockey fall. And there are other squares that let you double your move if you land on them. This is where the better horses get their advantage. There are three rows of squares where a double move may happen (one is 3 lengths wide, another 2 and the third 1). A #1 horse can double it's move in any of these (for a total of six spaces that allow a double move), whereas a number four can only double it's move in 3 spaces, and a number 6 hours only has one row of doubling squares.

The Overall Game

The race itself is fairly straightforward, although the cards allow for quite a depth of strategy. Will you go straight ahead, and land on a bush? Or will you slide out a lane to avoid it? More importantly, do you really want to win the race? After all, you might have bet on someone else and you might make more money if you can get your 20:1 longshot bet to win...

This becomes the big issue in some races, like the lady's purse. The total prize money is under 50,000 pounds, but because of the poor horses running, the odds can easily get average 15:1 or thereabouts. (If all 6 horses had a stable number of 6, then 24:1 is the average). In this race, if nobody bet on their own horse, it is easy to see people trying to take the longest possibly route, get their own riders thrown off of their horse, etc.

The Really Nasty Horse Racing Game lets you spend a fun hour or two rooting against your own horse....


This was written by Brian Bankler.

Back to Main List