Road Hog: Rule the Road Board Game Makes Traffic Fun
Sitting in rush hour traffic is the worst part of most people’s day, so it’s probably not an experience you’d want to relive when you aren’t stuck behind the wheel. Yet, game designer Randall Hoyt did the unlikely and found a way to recreate traffic jams as a strategic, fun-to-play board game. Road Hog embraces the frustration every commuter faces and channels it into a creative family game.
Review of Road Hog: Rule the Road
A game of gas-powered gridlock by Randall Hoyt
Publisher: Jolly Roger Games & Ultra-Pro Entertainment
Designer: Randall Hoyt
Box Dimensions: 6.5″ x 9.5″ x 2.0″
# of Players: 2-5 commuters
Ages: 12 and older
Category: roll-and-move racing game
Play Time: 45 minutes
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How to Play
Build your road using the modular tiles, and place everyone’s colored cars at the enter zone. Fill the road with white cars and trucks to create traffic congestion. Deal each player three cards and begin the game.
On a player’s turn, they will roll the two dice: one indicates the number of spaces their car can move and the other one indicates how that player can manipulate the traffic. A player can also play as many cards in their hand as they want/can. All of these actions can be made in any order during the player’s turn, pursuing the most advantageous result. The player strives to move their car forward down the road, navigating through traffic and blocking off competitors’ cars from advancing. Cards played further manipulate traffic positions, driver advancement, competitor hindrance, or even negate cards that have been played. Certain road tiles possess particular rules that regulate movement, like curves and a toll booth.
Eventually, one player will cross into the exit zone first, and that player earns the title of “winner.”
Road Hog includes:
- 5 player cars in different colors
- 20 white traffic cars
- 5 white traffic trucks
- 2 dice
- 10 square, modular road tiles
- 60 cards
- 1 rule booklet
The production quality of Road Hog is marvelous. Honestly, I’ve seen few board games that contain this high of production/component quality and quantity at this price point. A rubber backing lines the back of the modular road tiles — it’s a brilliant way to keep them from sliding around during play. I love all the little car tokens, and they’re all sturdy and identical (good job, quality control). The printing on the cards and road tiles is vibrant yet easy-to-read. Frankly, everything about this production looks and feels first-rate.
The only critique I have is that the tiles need to have visible yellow lines on them to divide between tiles so it’s clear that new tiles are new spaces (this is how they appear in the instructions but not on the actual tiles themselves).
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Thoughts on Learning Experience
Road Hog isn’t a complicated game, but learning it took some time due to the flow and organization of the instructions. For instance, it explains how to play cards before outlining what each turn involves and how movement works. Luckily, bold headers and visual supplements clarify the gameplay and make it easier to consult the rules later. The humor in the rule book is a welcome addition to a potentially dry theme, and the set-up is easy thanks to permanent car-placement labels on the tiles.
Thoughts on Playing the Game
I received Road Hog for Christmas, and I admittedly never expected to play a game about traffic jams. In all honesty, it was actually pretty fun. And that’s not the gearhead in me talking talking, either. We played with a handful of different people who aren’t automotive enthusiasts, and they all enjoyed it.
The directions and gameplay are simple enough for parents to teach children, but there’s enough strategy that groups of adults can still enjoy playing it (and have a laugh at the satirical theme of the game). A full game doesn’t take very long to play (a little under an hour), and never stagnates because of the two different dice, which allow you to hinder competitors without having to neglect your own progression. Because of this constant tug-of-war to keep any leader from getting too far beyond the pack, the race stays surprisingly tight until close to the end.
The outcome of the game depends heavily on having the right cards at the right time, forming and breaking allegiances, and balancing offensive/defensive actions. However, even the best strategies don’t always work out. A lot of everyone’s cards ended up getting nullified by reaction cards and thus didn’t make a difference.
While it has a unique theme and design, Road Hog still is about racing your car to the finish line before your opponents can, so it feels like a motorsports game with a lot of obstacles on the track. It would be great to see an expansion to Road Hog in the future that added more unique tiles like the toll booth that embrace the highway setting of the game and set it apart from other race-your-car-to-the-finish games.
As it stands, though, Road Hog is a clever, nifty little game that tackled an frustrating everyday situation and successfully adapted it into a fun game. The final product suits families more than hard-core gamers as it serves as a fun, light introduction for younger players to grid-movement racing games.
You can purchase Road Hog through the publisher’s website, Amazon, and other online retailers.
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.