Formula Pod

No way you (or anyone) could foresee this. I've played a game again! Right, unbelievable! I can confidently say that I've played more only in 2023 than in like the four precedent years altogether.

What was it this time? Something unexpected too, as I went to the races! Which races?

The classic Boonta Eve Pod races in Mos Espa!

Here come the challengers!

Ready to speed up!

They belong to the MicroMachines Pod Racing series, but with the wheels stripped out and rebased for the game.

An old friend I had lost contact with (much to my regret) got me into his gaming group. I knew most of the people in there and was pleased to meet new ubergeeks like me, so it kind of felt like family!

The owner and master of ceremonies has built a custom version of the Formula D board game, and it's awesome beyond words. It's not  an absolute 100% copy, but an adaptation, and I'll let you judge if it works fine. This will be my racer:

Ratts Tyerell. Not a good omen that he was the only casualty in the movie race

If you want to catch up with the Boota Eve race, you may refresh your memories (as I had to do!) here!

My pod has a couple custom traits, which are "light pod" (allowing me a free turbo action) and "family ovation" (allowing me a two-tile extra move just after first lap). As I'm not familiar with the original game, I cannot tell for sure if this is a mere translation of the Formula D traits into the setting or if it's pure homemade rules.

Anyway... let's race!

We determined the starting positions by rolling a die:

Our MC decided it was cooler if he used that weird pod

Quick basic thing about the game mechanics. You use manual drive, so you have six gears. Everyone starts on first gear. You roll a D4 and move that number of tiles. Next turn you may want to speed up to second gear, then you roll a D6. For third gear you use a D8. Then a D12 for fourth, a D20 for fifth and finally a D30 for sixth. BUT they are not regular dice. The D4 only has 1 and 2. The d6 only has 2, 3 and 4 (specifically one 2, two 3 and three 4). The D8 has one 4, one 5, two 6, two 7 and two 8. And so on. This way you make sure that a higher gear means higher speed. Each turn you may want to keep your gear or to change it one up or down (you may want to force the gear, but it's... not wise).

Well, so the participants slowly begin to move. Everyone? Not everyone!

My pod stalled when trying to start!

Some of the racers begin to speed up!

From this point on, the turn is decided just by your position in the race. You may see all the tiles overlap, so there always will be someone a little bit ahead than another one.

Some of the pods begin to set distance from the group

We got the opportunity to enjoy some homemade rules too. For example:

Clegg Holdfast ends his turn on this tile. He takes the slope and...

...jumps over the canyon!

In the meantime, most of us still were on the first curve!

As the racers manage to set higher gears, the pods begin to move faster

The access to the canyon becomes a bottleneck

These curves are tricky, you better slow down a bit

When you go through curve tiles (you see them with those marks), you have to end your turn on one of them. That's the way to represent the racer going a gear down to get control of the vehicle. If you don't do so, you'll lose as many structure points as extra tiles you moved past the curve.

In fact, that happened to me there, I went simply too fast and, though I passed many racers, I lost a lot of structure points. From now on you should imagine a dense, black cloud of smoke pouring out my pod...

Some nasty actions are also in order

When a pod ends its turn adjacent to another one, they can accidentally bump into each other (with an eventual loss of structure points), but not only that; a racer can deliberately hit a rival, so you may want to take care of who you have close to you...

Mars Goo takes the final straightaway

And, in taking the last curve towards the straightaway...

...I lost my last structure point and crashed just in front of the authorities!! Booom!

I thought that the accident implied that I was out of the race, but instead of that, I was allowed to respawn, but just with one structure point (one out of the original twelve). Once again, I cannot tell if it's part of the original Formula D or if it was a homemade rule. Anyway, now my goal was to run the engine again and get to boxes.

You can recover structure points there rolling dice

Some of the pods begin their second lap

Then things went wild. Our pal began to run random events all over, just to make the race more interesting.

A Sarlacc!

An Imperial Checkpoint!

Totally handicrafted

Tusken Raiders!

Womp rats!


Second lap is definitely in hard mode. Let's see it!

Anakin crashes and loses his last point. Just as happened earlier.

Pods at boxes, other ones speeding up... We're on it!

Ouch! Metal scrap. That's not good for the engines!

Mars Goo jumps over the canyon and avoids the Sarlacc

Just a side note: At some point Mars Goo was literally the last one, and now he just overtook almost everyone. A good control of your gears, a good strategy approaching curves... and, well, some old school good luck with the dice can turn the tables in no time.

Control on the curves is 80% of this game, as you are about to see in the next pic. If you go too fast your pod is going to suffer...

Anakin crashes again

Are you trying to go through the checkpoint? Imperial pursuit!

Om nom nom

Seriously, Anakin, today's not your day

By then I had just recovered my structure points at boxes, so I was ready to squander them all again in a crazy run.

Revving again

Release the Krayt Dragon!

At this point I'm no longer sure if this is Star Wars or Mad Max

Trust me, better race than the one in the movie

Unfortunately I had to leave the game at this point, as it was getting really late. It's a shame, but I couldn't stay. I was disqualified -which in the end I guess it's pretty close to what happened to Ratts Tyerell in the movie!!

If I get notice of who won and get more pics of what happened after my departure, I'll edit the post!

Some brief conclusions about the game. First of all, ambientation is everything. I don't think I would have been easily tempted into a Formula1 board game. However, a race in the Star Wars universe got me hooked since second 1, even if it was about the Phantom Menace! The mere idea of making a pod race was pure genius, but the translation of the racers and the rules into this setting broke my awesometer. The special traits of the pods were reasonably balanced, no one getting really overpowered. The fact of some engines stalling at the start of the race was so hilarious, but at the same time so atmospheric!

As I said earlier, you can't really take anything for granted. Taking curves properly is enormously important. You have to balance your speed and how much risk are you willing to take. For example, I took those two close curves (where the Tusken Raiders were to appear later) way too fast. That allowed me to overtake quite a lot of other racers and put me in a competitive position. But I payed quite a high price and lost most of my structure points. Later on I was too fast when facing the last curve of the lap and, even if I reduced two gears on a single take (which causes damage by itself!) there was no way I could slow down enough to avoid going too far, so I took that additional damage and ended up loosing all my structure points. As I told, a correct strategy on the curves is essential.

The game mechanics are sweet. The use of the modified dice is pretty ingenious and a fantastic way to represent speed and particularly acceleration. There will be some times in which you'll want to run faster but the road will be too crowded, or moments when you'll need to decelerate quickly even under the risk of burning your engine. The control of the structure points is important too, because sometimes you'll prefer to lose some of them, but get out of that curve overpassing other players, allowing you you go first on the next turn and taking the initiative.

So in the end I'm so happy that I got to play. The game itself is great, but the modified version is freakin' awesome. I also got in touch again with pals I had lost contact with long ago, so I'm most definitely calling this a win!


  1. Fantastic looking game Suber, and sounds like you had a blast. The random encounters certainly added a lot of fun and atmosphere to the game.

    1. Thank you! I enjoyed every minute of the race, it was such a fun thing to do! It's amazing how a change in the ambientation can repurpose the whole game.

  2. Replies
    1. It was! Most exhilarating gaming experience in quite a while!

  3. Great stuff! Very cool and always to good to get in a game of anything!

    1. That's absolutely right! It was a wild experience and utterly fun, cannot ask for more!

  4. As a F1 fan since young, this here is soooooooooo cool on soooooooo many levels. Thanks Suber, for sharing something so cool as this :)

    1. Haha, glad you like it! It's as enjoyable as it sounds!!

  5. Sounds like an awesome game!
    Best Iain

    1. It is! It really went beyond my expectations, it was super, super fun :)

  6. Hello Suber,
    we returned after some time... and we immediately wondered what weird news we would find on your blog. You didn't disappoint us! Congrats to the creator for the look of the game board and for the gimmicks he found to make the race more exciting. In fact, it was more of an adventure than a race!

    1. Welcome back! So glad to have you again over here! Haha, I bet that we could make a decent story out of the game :P