Flashback Friday - PitchCar - Love It or Hate It? Do You Still Play It?

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PitchCar

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There Will Be Games

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And now onto PitchCar.

This beautiful wooden racing game of of skill and dextirity has a real WOW factor. Set this up at your next family gathering, and kids and non-gamers will quickly join in the fun. Don't be surprised when people pull out their wallets and start laying bets on the winner.

Some gamers, however, think this is a silly game. Others think it is great fun. But what do you think?

Love It of Hate It? Do you still play it?
There Will Be Games PitchCar

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DarthJoJo's Avatar
DarthJoJo replied the topic: #295026 05 Apr 2019 11:15
Sometimes I’m tempted by SEAL Team Flix or Flick ‘Em Up, but then I ask myself “Why? I already have Pitch Car and two expansions.” Just waiting for the boys to stop shoving every chokable object in their mouths to bust it out on the regular.
charlest's Avatar
charlest replied the topic: #295028 05 Apr 2019 11:45
My only problems with PitchCar are:

1. Setup can take forever with jumps and expansion elements
2. The official way to figure out who starts where requires a time trial which is so damn terrible when playing with a lot of people (basically you have to watch others complete a full lap one at a time just to seed starting positions)

So we stopped doing the time trial and just randomize it, but I have found that people who start ahead in the pack have an advantage, or more accurately, those who start in the back at a large player count have a serious disadvantage (too much shit in the way).

Maybe my aggravation comes from mostly playing this with 5+ players instead of just 3 or 4.
hotseatgames's Avatar
hotseatgames replied the topic: #295031 05 Apr 2019 12:06

DarthJoJo wrote: Sometimes I’m tempted by SEAL Team Flix


do it do it do it do it do it
Sagrilarus's Avatar
Sagrilarus replied the topic: #295035 05 Apr 2019 13:03

charlest wrote: 1. Setup can take forever with jumps and expansion elements

Are you kidding me? That's half the fun right there!


charlest wrote: 2. The official way to figure out who starts where requires a time trial which is so damn terrible when playing with a lot of people (basically you have to watch others complete a full lap one at a time just to seed starting positions)

Wait . . . it comes with rules? I should look for those.



Curious timing on this one, as the Mid-Atlantic Gaming Extravaganza (slots still open!) is coming up and my buddy Chris explicitly asked me to bring my Pitch Car just this past Monday. Last Year I didn't bring it because I didn't want to lug it and I was the dog of the week. It stays set up on one end of the table and people are adjusting it all weekend long. It gets heavy usage between other games.

I have two basic sets, two Expansion 2s and one Expansion 5. A LOT of pieces, in various states of repair. But that's Pitch Car. There's no promise of everything being clean and fair and dependable. Half the fun is dealing with trouble.

And with care, you can build in a lot of trouble. On one of these past gaming weekends we discovered there are ways to set up the track that are not . . . as the game was designed. Not sure how to describe them, but Expansion 2 with its blunt-ended pieces allows you to create crossing spots pretty much anywhere, where the path of travel doesn't have to go straight across, and where you can create lanes with just a one-inch gap that you have to shoot your car through. The game suddenly gets a whole lot more challenging.

Pitch Car is like golf. You can stink up an entire game, but attain legendary status by that one crazy roller that turns two corners, runs down the straightaway and then lands right-side up.


P.S. If you're reading the rules you're playing it wrong.
charlest's Avatar
charlest replied the topic: #295036 05 Apr 2019 13:20

Sagrilarus wrote:

charlest wrote: 1. Setup can take forever with jumps and expansion elements

Are you kidding me? That's half the fun right there!


Sure. I have a shit ton of minis you can paint and I won't even charge you for the fun.



C'mon Sag, that comment about rules is bullshit. Then why don't we just flick rocks off the table and watch them bounce? I'll just go 30 times in a row and we'll play simultaneously right, who needs rules?
Colorcrayons's Avatar
Colorcrayons replied the topic: #295038 05 Apr 2019 13:30
Pitch Car is the game I want to own and would love to play.

There isn't enough storage space to deal with it, nor gaming space to play it in house.

But like most games I own, it would never be played.
Sagrilarus's Avatar
Sagrilarus replied the topic: #295039 05 Apr 2019 13:32

charlest wrote: C'mon Sag, that comment about rules is bullshit. Then why don't we just flick rocks off the table and watch them bounce? I'll just go 30 times in a row and we'll play simultaneously right, who needs rules?


Please excuse the poetic license, didn't mean to strike a nerve.

You need rules, just not THE rules. You could set Pitch Car down in front of a couple of three year olds and they'd have it up and running in about ten minutes. That's the beauty of the game. How you play is intuitive, and anything that gets in the way of that is to be set aside. (The other game that I think does this is Sputnik, but I'm not sure how many others here have even played it.) The components provide all you need to establish free-form play, adjust rules to taste.

To be honest I do recall reading about that qualifier bullshit at some point in the past, but it seemed so absurd that we never did it even once. We just put the cars down and play. The game gets a sort of rotation going, with all players circling the table as each person takes their turn. We had to establish a no-goosing rule to keep the peace. (My buddy Jeff still won't stand with his back to me, regardless of which game we're playing. Hasn't since 2009.)

First rock flicked off the table is the target rock. Each person flicks their rocks one at a time. All rocks that follow score three points if they're closest to the first rock, two points if they're second closest, one point if they're third, fourth or fifth closest. Any rock that hits the first rock scores eight points. First person to fifteen wins. Rock Flicka! On Kickstarter starting next week, WAY better than Seal Team Flix!
WadeMonnig's Avatar
WadeMonnig replied the topic: #295047 05 Apr 2019 13:56

Sagrilarus wrote:

charlest wrote: C'mon Sag, that comment about rules is bullshit. Then why don't we just flick rocks off the table and watch them bounce? I'll just go 30 times in a row and we'll play simultaneously right, who needs rules?



First rock flicked off the table is the target rock. Each person flicks their rocks one at a time. All rocks that follow score three points if they're closest to the first rock, two points if they're second closest, one point if they're third, fourth or fifth closest. Any rock that hits the first rock scores eight points. First person to fifteen wins. Rock Flicka! On Kickstarter starting next week, WAY better than Seal Team Flix!

If you thought the eco terrorist got people in tizzy, Seal Team Reflix steals this idea only you are flicking tiny baseball bats at baby seal meeples. Coming to kickstarter in a 24 hour fear of flicking out blitz.
charlest's Avatar
charlest replied the topic: #295051 05 Apr 2019 14:09

Sagrilarus wrote:

charlest wrote: C'mon Sag, that comment about rules is bullshit. Then why don't we just flick rocks off the table and watch them bounce? I'll just go 30 times in a row and we'll play simultaneously right, who needs rules?


Please excuse the poetic license, didn't mean to strike a nerve.

You need rules, just not THE rules. You could set Pitch Car down in front of a couple of three year olds and they'd have it up and running in about ten minutes. That's the beauty of the game. How you play is intuitive, and anything that gets in the way of that is to be set aside. (The other game that I think does this is Sputnik, but I'm not sure how many others here have even played it.) The components provide all you need to establish free-form play, adjust rules to taste.

To be honest I do recall reading about that qualifier bullshit at some point in the past, but it seemed so absurd that we never did it even once. We just put the cars down and play. The game gets a sort of rotation going, with all players circling the table as each person takes their turn. We had to establish a no-goosing rule to keep the peace. (My buddy Jeff still won't stand with his back to me, regardless of which game we're playing. Hasn't since 2009.)

First rock flicked off the table is the target rock. Each person flicks their rocks one at a time. All rocks that follow score three points if they're closest to the first rock, two points if they're second closest, one point if they're third, fourth or fifth closest. Any rock that hits the first rock scores eight points. First person to fifteen wins. Rock Flicka! On Kickstarter starting next week, WAY better than Seal Team Flix!


Sorry, a bit grumpy today.

My point was that the time trial was a flaw. It seemed like you were arguing it's not a flaw, and to simply ignore it. Having to ignore rules of a game is exhibitive of a flaw in my opinion.

But I agree, ignore it and play anyway. If someone else will set this up and I can just jump right in and play, it's a good time.
GorillaGrody's Avatar
GorillaGrody replied the topic: #295058 05 Apr 2019 14:48
I think this game’s fun. A few years ago, I developed a version for it that incorporated power ups based on the old Wipeout games on PS1. Vastly improved the game for us.

Files here: www.boardgamegeek.com/filepage/95187/wipeout-variant-pitchcar
dysjunct's Avatar
dysjunct replied the topic: #295061 05 Apr 2019 22:52
It’s okay but weighs a ton and isn’t as fun as Zoo Ball. Which is easier to transport and costs a tenth.

I had Pitchcar and most of the expansions. Gave it to my brother who is a big Formula 1 fan. On the grounds that if I really want to play it I can play with him. It’s been about ten years and I haven’t played it, so there you go.
san il defanso's Avatar
san il defanso replied the topic: #295121 07 Apr 2019 23:41
This is one of those games that seems like I should enjoy it more than I usually do. It might be because I have never played with all of the expansions. Mostly I've just played with the straightaway tracks.

I am not much good at flicking games either. I have a hard time combining precision with any kind of power when making my shot. It might be a genre that just doesn't work for me very well.
Vysetron's Avatar
Vysetron replied the topic: #295124 08 Apr 2019 08:18
PitchCar is good. I prefer my dex games to either be a bit more ambitious or a bit less enormous, but I'll happily play other people's sets.

Also is no one else going to mention the typo in the title?
Sagrilarus's Avatar
Sagrilarus replied the topic: #295129 08 Apr 2019 09:49

Vysetron wrote: PitchCar is good. I prefer my dex games to either be a bit more ambitious or a bit less enormous, but I'll happily play other people's sets.

Also is no one else going to mention the typo in the title?


And it's pricey. I got the bulk of my stuff back when you could still get online discounts for the game, likely saved me $50 or $75.
Anjou Valentine's Avatar
Anjou Valentine replied the topic: #295242 09 Apr 2019 15:39
The problem with PitchCar is that when you have five other people willing to play a boardgame with you, you aren't pulling out PitchCar.
jay718's Avatar
jay718 replied the topic: #295253 09 Apr 2019 21:42

Anjou Valentine wrote: The problem with PitchCar is that when you have five other people willing to play a boardgame with you, you aren't pulling out PitchCar.

Sure, but I don't think that's the space that PitchCar is trying to fill. While the setup can be arduous, PitchCar is still more a filler or late night game and it fits that bill nicely. It comes out often after the 'main event' games are done and the drink is flowing. Add some side wagers in like $5 per race, winner takes all, and the good times are really rolling. We've had a lot of fun with this one at ConnCon and TrashFest. I love it.
Matt Thrower's Avatar
Matt Thrower replied the topic: #295264 10 Apr 2019 04:20
Still my favourite dexterity game. As other's have said, it is a pain to set up and put away, but it's so much fun.
n815e's Avatar
n815e replied the topic: #295267 10 Apr 2019 06:45
Is this good with kids?
Matt Thrower's Avatar
Matt Thrower replied the topic: #295268 10 Apr 2019 07:08

n815e wrote: Is this good with kids?


Mine love it. Younger ones won't be competitive, but they can still have fun, especially if the adults playing make deliberate screw-ups to keep them invested.
ubarose's Avatar
ubarose replied the topic: #295306 10 Apr 2019 21:56

n815e wrote: Is this good with kids?


Absolutely. I say just and it over to them and let them play.

Except it has to be the standard sized game, not PitchCar Mini. The disks in PItchCar Mini are smaller and lighter, and require a bit more skill to keep them on the track, and not flying across the room and disappearing under the cupboard.
Michael Barnes's Avatar
Michael Barnes replied the topic: #295307 10 Apr 2019 22:26
Ok, so Dragon Con 1996. I see these dudes playing this cool looking dexterity game on a big, huge wooden race track. All black and yellow. I didn’t know it at the time but it was three sets out together. We got in on the next game and I wound up playing it for a few hours. One of the players was Jay Tummelson, and he had for-sale copies of it- both regular Carabande and the Audi special edition. I bought one of each as well as the jump pack, the chicane, and action set. I think I spent like $200 on it. I played it a lot over the years- always a hit. Eventually sold it for $350. I’ve never even seen a copy of Pitchcar, let alone the “mini” version which has got to be useless.

It is a really fun game, but the logistics are bad. Set up is definitely a thing, as is the rails falling out, and uneven joints, and putting it all back into boxes..
Sagrilarus's Avatar
Sagrilarus replied the topic: #295325 11 Apr 2019 09:09

Michael Barnes wrote: It is a really fun game, but the logistics are bad. Set up is definitely a thing, as is the rails falling out, and uneven joints, and putting it all back into boxes..


Setup with three people doing it takes a minute or two. I don't have a problem with my rails falling out, just a problem with one of my Extension 2 copy's rails not going in. Hammer fixed it, I leave them there now. Uneven joints are part of the game as far as I'm concerned. We've put salt on the track, salt shakers on the track, dimes under the edges of some pieces to make mini-jumps or bumps in the straightaways, etc. That's part of the beauty of a game like this, where it's more a pile of parts like Lego than it is a particular structured product. Add what you like and play, and if the cat goes after a disk that's in the game.

Logistics . . . you have to look at Pitch Car like Heroscape or 40K or Wings of Glory. You need to get a plastic tub for it and figure on doing a little maintenance now and again. My original base set is 15 years old, has about 100 plays on it, and some of the pieces started to split between the surface and the bottom on the outside of the rail. Wood glue and a clamp fixed it. It isn't a fraction of the maintenance that people spend on minis games, on custom inserts and sleeves for euros with 500 pieces or, god-forbid, clipping the corners on wargame counters. Part of the hobby that you do when you're sitting in front of the TV. Keeps you from snacking.
charlest's Avatar
charlest replied the topic: #295336 11 Apr 2019 11:01
Do you setup using suggested layouts Sag or do you freestyle it?

When we've played it's always been just make up your own course. This takes quite a bit of time for us, much longer than 3 minutes no matter how many people help. Often the problem is that the track won't align or join up correctly so you have to swap out pieces and nudge things a bit.
Michael Barnes's Avatar
Michael Barnes replied the topic: #295339 11 Apr 2019 11:26
Exactly the same problem as a Tyco race track.
Sagrilarus's Avatar
Sagrilarus replied the topic: #295344 11 Apr 2019 13:03

charlest wrote: Do you setup using suggested layouts Sag or do you freestyle it?


When we've played it's always been just make up your own course. This takes quite a bit of time for us, much longer than 3 minutes no matter how many people help. Often the problem is that the track won't align or join up correctly so you have to swap out pieces and nudge things a bit.


Short answer -- Extension 2.

I have a lot of track (two base sets, two Extension 2s and one Extension 5). Extension 2 is the key to happiness, as it allows you to free-form your shape, cross over existing track and snap a piece on the far side in place that wouldn't otherwise fit. Magic -- your pieces can all lay down super easy. Here's a super simple example:



Generally we have a straight piece between the two flat-ended Extension 2 pieces and that opens up some interesting possibilities.

Our May Getaway is first weekend in May and I'll get a photo of our bigger setup. It's not uncommon for us to cross a straight piece like I described above, and move its rail so that there's only a one or two inch gap, making for a really challenging spot in the track. A few years back I took a shot at a one-inch gap (about 2mm wider than the cars) from way-far away. As the car hit the side edge of the piece being crossed, it popped up on edge, rolled lazily through the tight gap, rolled against the edge of the turn of the curve piece and continued along, and then eased itself back down onto the correct side. It was a holy-shit moment where everyone was pissed we didn't film it. You had to see it to believe it.