LEGO RACE 3000 Review: Car Racing on a Different Type of “Brickyard”
Since their inception, LEGO bricks have shared a connection with automobiles. Some of the earliest LEGO sets were race cars, and the LEGO IDEAS site is filled with proposals for classic car sets. So, as the LEGO Games line has launched over a dozen different brick-based board games, it’s no surprise that one of them was a car racing game.
LEGO RACE 3000–also released as Course 3000–attempts to combine the ingenuity of LEGO bricks with competitive excitement of auto racing. Does it qualify, or does this game blow a tire?
LEGO RACE 3000 (Set #3839)
Publisher: LEGO Games
Designer: Bastiaan Brederode, Cephas Howard
Box Dimensions: 10.7 x 7.6 x 2.6 inches
# of Players: 2-4 people
Ages: 7 or older
Category: roll-and-move car racing
Play Time: 20-30 minutes per lap
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How to Play
To play LEGO RACE 3000, you first have to construct the racetrack and the cars. Once you do so, following the included builder’s guide, each player chooses one of the colored race cars and sets it at the starting line.
On each player’s turn, they roll the customizable die. Based on what the rolled die shows, any combination of the following may occur:
- If orange is shown, the player advances their car to the nearest orange block (taking a turbo boost)
- If yellow is shown, the player may add or move one of the yellow shortcut pieces on the gameboard
- If any of the four player colors is shown, those cars may advance one space
- If any blank squares are present, the rolling player adds one square of his/her own color to the die and then moves
If a player lands on the same space as another car, they may advance further to the next vacant space. Taking a pit stop allows a player to remove one of the colored squares on the die of another player.
The first player who reaches the finish line after one lap (or more, if desired) wins the game.
LEGO RACE 3000 includes:
- 167 LEGO pieces to build four race cars, a two-lane track, 10 oil spills, a checkered flag, and a winner’s podium
- 1 build-able LEGO Die
- Rules booklet
- Building instructions booklet
Like all of the LEGO Games boxes, the cover art of RACE 3000 is tremendously appealing. The vibrant colors, emphasis on the product’s image, presence of the race driver-outfitted players, and the bold title all capture what’s appealing about the idea of the game. One of the sides of the box, notably, still has the alternative title of Course 3000 printed on it.
Inside, the many small pieces come in plastic, sealed pouches, like in all other LEGO sets. Each brick is made with the level of high-quality craftsmanship, precise interlocking shape, and sturdy construction you expect from the company. What could’ve been a very blandly-colored collection of pieces finds ways to instill touches of orange and yellow into the set to brighten it. The components certainly do not disappoint.
The box itself is sturdy but does not contain any dividers to store the pieces in, so obtaining some resealable baggies would be useful.
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Thoughts on Learning Experience
In the LEGO RACE 3000 box are two booklets: one for initial construction/setup and another for the rules of play. The building pamphlet is just like any other easy-to-understand LEGO pamphlet that uses step-by-step pictures. These are easy to follow and offer players an initial beginner’s course that can be customized if desired.
The game rules booklet is written in three languages: English, Canadian French, and Spanish. Unfortunately, despite only being three pages long per language, these are less easy to follow due to their vague nature. The basics are all there, but aspects of the game result in scenarios that are not directly explained in the rules. Thus, you’ll have to read between the lines and make up house rules.
Otherwise, a quick read-through is enough to start playing right away, and the simplistic rules (and gaps) might not bother young drivers.
Thoughts on Playing the Game
I’m a fan of LEGO’s line of build-your-own board games that’s been released over recent years, especially Heroica and Creationary, so I was curious how LEGO would put its fingerprint on a traditional racing game. While I would assume that the inclusion of LEGOs would enhance the basic game, it actually hindered it in multiple aspects.
- The patented building die is the focus of RACE 3000, around which the gameplay revolves. Whenever a player’s roll results in a blank space on the die, they add their color piece to it. That quickly results in an ongoing issue: if you don’t have the luck of getting your color on the die as much as other players do at the beginning of the game, your color will never come up as often as theirs. The oil slicks are supposed to correct this by slowing lead players down, but they’re easy to avoid.
- Cars take up more than one peg space, so when they’re in close proximity to each other, they’ll move ahead multiple spots, including leapfrogging over other cars. Thus, you’ll move fewer spaces (i.e. slower) when you’re behind.
Those two aspects hinder players who fall behind from ever catching up with the players in the lead. I recommend setting up the die beforehand so everyone has a better chance of winning. There are aspects I do appreciate, particularly the two-lane track with customizable layout and the way the bricks are used to imitate the shape of race cars.
RACE 3000 is a colorful game that’s not a challenge of skill or strategy but of excessive luck that has more problems that successful aspects. It’s not one of LEGO’s better games, nor is it one of the better race games for children. You do have the ability to retool and change the rules to match your preferences and create your own house rules–that is the ongoing appeal of LEGOs–but the game is flawed as it stands.
LEGO RACE 3000 can be purchased through Amazon and other online retailers.
- Aaron WidmarSenior Editor
Aaron is unashamed to be a native Clevelander and the proud driver of a 1995 Saturn SC-2 (knock on wood). He gleefully utilizes his background in theater, literature, and communication to dramatically recite his own articles to nearby youth. Mr. Widmar happily resides in Dayton, Ohio with his magnificent wife, Vicki, but is often on the road with her exploring new destinations. Aaron has high aspirations for his writing career but often gets distracted pondering the profound nature of the human condition and forgets what he was writing... See more articles by Aaron.