Rallyman GT Review: An Adrenaline Rush of Dice-Rolling & Car Racing
New racing board game captures thrill of high-speed motorsports and appeals to gearheads of all ages
When it comes to the most esteemed motorsports board games, Rallyman is near the top of the list. Unfortunately, not many people have gotten to play the game because its original 2009 release immediately sold out, and it’s been hard to obtain ever since. The result was an ongoing demand for Rallyman to be republished for a wider release.
Finally, our wish came true — but we got something even better: a reimagining of the original Rallyman with brand-new artwork, improved components, streamlined rules, and modular track tiles for infinite replayability.
Rallyman GT review:
A thrilling racing game that’s low on math and high on risk
Publisher: Holy Grail Games
Designer: Jean-Christophe Bouvier
Artist: Loic Muzy
Box Dimensions: 11.5″ x 11.75″ x 2.75″
# of Players: 1-6 racers
Ages: 14 and older
Category: Push-your-luck rolling & racing game
Play Time: 45-75 minutes per lap depending on # players & length of track
MSRP: $49.99 (core box)
How to play Rallyman GT
Before starting the race, you need to build your racetrack by using the various track tiles, arranging them however you want or following pre-designed combinations in the rule book.
Once you have your track, each player chooses a car, receiving the corresponding dashboard and gear markers. All cars start in zero gear at the starting line. Starting position order is determined by randomly drawing gear markers from the cloth bag.
Each turn begins with that player choosing the dice to plan their movement that turn. They must follow the rules of movement, which involves using the black dice to sequentially increase or decrease gears, the white dice to maintain current gear, and the red dice to brake rapidly.
Once a player determines their anticipated movement, they must roll their dice to determine if they succeed or suffer a loss of control. They can either roll the dice one at a time and stop when they want, or they can roll all the dice simultaneously and earn focus tokens to benefit them later in the game. If three hazard icons are rolled, the player loses control and receives vehicle damage based on their current gear and location on the track. Players can also lose control from approaching curves at too high a gear. Racers can repair damage by stopping and pitting during the race.
When a player ends their turn, they mark their current gear with a token. Once all players have moved in that round, the player with the highest gear begins the next round.
The game ends when the first player crosses the finish line (depending on the number of laps).
The basic retail edition of Rallyman GT includes:
- 31 double-sided track tiles
- 1 pit stop tile
- 6 plastic racecar tokens
- 11 movement dice
- 250 various chipboard tokens for damage, focus, and gears
- 1 disc for round identification
- 1 cloth bag for drawing damage tokens
- Cards for dashboards, driver identification, and player aids
Thanks to its detailed, rich artwork inside and out, Rallyman GT is a visually stunning game. Unlike most motorsports games that stick to a drab, industrial aesthetic, Rallyman GT boasts a dynamic, kinetic visual style marked by rough textures and paint splatters. It’s a fantastic way to depict excitement and contemporary style.
The tiles are thick and durable, filled with personality and unique details. Even the plastic cars are all different in model shapes; that’s very rare for a motorsports board game and shows how much care the designers put into the appeal of Rallyman GT. That care extends to the rest of the components in the box, like the engraved dice and cloth bag.
Thoughts on learning experience
Reading through the Rallyman GT rulebook is fairly straightforward and clear. The directions are organized in a way that you can read them as you first play-through, beginning with the setup, moving to the turn sequence, how to use the dice, the results of rolling the dice, and concluding resolving damage/ending the turn. I love rule books that you can walk through with your group step-by-step as you learn to play.
It also helps that the explanations utilize many full-color example scenarios with captions explaining what’s going on. Oftentimes those examples illuminated details I was still hazy on.
If you’ve never played a racing board game before, you might want to watch a video or reread the instructions before playing, but as a motorsports game veteran, I found it to be an easy read.
Thoughts on playing Rallyman GT
Regardless of the look, production quality, and rules of the game, the real question is how enjoyable is playing Rallyman GT? The answer: It’s a blast. Even the non-motorsports fans I played with enjoyed the strategy and risk of the game. We love how it integrates the push-your-luck dice rolling differently than other dice racing games like Formula D and Dice Drivin’.
In addition to its simplicity and streamlined turn sequence, what sets Rallyman GT apart from other meaty racing games are the safeguards and balances in place to ensure there’s never a runaway winner and that everyone remains a competitor.
In one of our games, the first person to lose control and spin off the track managed to make it back in the race and take the victory trophy. So even though a loss of control can happen (and it happens multiple times each game), it won’t set you back permanently.
Sometimes, turns can drag due to analysis paralysis. Even though turns are basic on concept, players can rack their brains plotting out the optimal movement — which can be undone from losing control and need to be re-planned. I’d suggest setting a timer on everyone’s turn to limit how long they can take planning their turn. Otherwise, people can get bored and lose interest while waiting for their turn.
Still, it’s easy to talk through the possibilities publicly when you’re plotting your movement since that information isn’t hidden from the rest of the players. It lets experienced players coach newcomers. And it captures the themes of real car racing well: only passing other cars if you’re in a higher gear than them, dropping to a lower gear around curves, the weather and tires affecting traction, etc.
Designer Bouvier crafted the rules and gameplay of Rallyman GT to make it easy for new players to pick up and learn but reward repeat players with an abundance of strategic choices. I think he struck that balance well. It was easy to teach Rallyman GT and see new players quickly grasp the objectives and methods of moving during their turn. Yet, as we finished the race, we recognized the many possibilities for optimizing each turn even more. That’s promising for Rallyman GT‘s replayability.
For even greater replay-ability, Holy Grail Games released a slew of expansions in conjunction with Rallyman GT‘s release. Add trickier track challenges with the World Tour expansion. Stage a multi-race circuit with the Championship expansion. Play with up to 12 players with the Team Challenge expansion. If you get your hands on a Kickstarter edition of Rallyman GT, you’ll find a wealth of exclusive components, like a raise bridge track tile and more tires for your car.
A lot of thought and craftsmanship went into creating Rallyman GT, so I highly recommend it to any gamer or gearhead who wants a premium racing board game that isn’t overly complicated or fiddly. It’s a great gateway game into the motorsports genre and a solid long-term investment for experienced gamers who want to sink their teeth into circuits and solo campaigns.
Rallyman GT is now available for purchase on Amazon.
Product provided for review by publisher.
Aaron is unashamed to be a native Clevelander and the proud driver of a Hyundai Veloster Turbo (which recently replaced his 1995 Saturn SC-2). 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.