I learnt a new word (and it’s not a curse this time) “Peloton” and I’m going to use it at least half a dozen times in the review of LEADER 1 which I received as a swap for something else that displeased me.
Leader 1 is a bicycle racing game where players through careful management of their energy race across a varied race stage against the others.
In it’s favour it’s got
- Can accommodate lots of player (10 I believe)
- It’s quick (about and hour or so)
- It’s fun
- It’s got really keen models of cyclists in a variety of colours
The rules are pretty poor being translated from another language (possibly Vulcan) to English. That said there’s a number of rewritten rules available on the web.
It’s a fairly simple game, it doesn’t take long to get the hang of it and the rules can be revealed slowly to new players as the game unfolds without shouts of “you never said that!” which can often mar other games when experienced gamers sometimes try and protect new players from the intricacies of games by revealing critical rules just before they slam dunk a win.
The game starts with the Peloton, a bunch of riders all huddled together like emperor penguins and all breaking wind in front of each other seemingly, (these cyclists are a rum bunch) The pelton which is led each turn by a different leader tips along the course which consists of flats, hills, steep climbs, descents and more flats or whatever you’re having yourself based on the setup.
Each player has one or more cyclists, each a specialist in hill climbing or sprinting or a bit of both and can decide to go for it and break from the bunch and try and make it to the finish line before the others. The trick is to decide when to go for it and to manage the cyclist’s energy so they don’t get burnt out before the finish line.
There’s a real skill in this and real schadenfreude in seeing a rider who’s burnt all their energy get caught again by the pack.
Things like cobbled roads, slip-streaming, feeding stations add to the complexity but the game remains fast and really good fun.
The closest game to this would be Formula De or Rallyman however I think this is a far superior game to these two. There’s less luck involved (certainly less than Formula De), the tracks are much more variable and it has nice little models of cyclists (who have a habit of falling off)
One funny thing is there are no win conditions in the rules (I had it checked), so we figured it was first over the line although it could be interesting to give points based on finish position.
There’s extra rules for playing a longer game with a number of stages. Overall like Ming I’m pleased with this and will not blast it into space until it displeases me
I didn’t win btw
Next up was the old favorite Lords of Waterdeep. This game is still hugely popular and we had some new players who learnt it very quickly. I DID win at this. Great game, best game ever
More of this Next Thur