There’s an Official Lamborghini Board Game — and I Played It [REVIEW]
Summary and review of Ghenos Games' Lamborghini: The Official Race Game (2011)
Lamborghini has a reputation for high-end supercars that boast outrageous performance and outrageous prices. Throughout its history, the Italian automaker has established a heritage of opulence and exclusivity.
So it’s bit strange that Lamborghini has its own board game.
During the late 2000s, Lamborghini earned attention for its motorsports achievements involving the Murciélago R-GT. Capitalizing on that success in an unorthodox way, Italian game-makers Ghenos Games created an officially licensed board game involving Murciélago R-GT races.
I played that Lamborghini board game, and it was a bumpy ride.
Review of Lamborghini: The Official Race Game
Publisher: Ghenos Games, Rio Grande Games
Designer: Pierluca Zizzi
Box Dimensions: 18.25″ x 12.25″ x 2.5″
# of Players: 2-5 adrenaline junkies
Ages: 10 and older
Category: card-drafting, hand-management race
Play Time: 45-60 minutes
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How to play Lamborghini: The Official Race Game
The Lamborghini board game utilizes a deck of cards (consisting of technology, maneuver, driver) to let players customize their Murciélago’s performance capabilities.
Before the race, all players acquire these cards and their Murciélago in a certain way: In a short game, they choose the cards from a face-up row. In a long game, they bid to choose the cards and pay their cost. For the remainder of the game, the unused tech, maneuver, and money cards serve as the speed deck.
The race itself consists of three laps, starting with the fastest car that begins in pole position. On their turn, the player will draw a card from the speed deck, add it to their car, driver, and enhancement (optional) cards to determine the number of spaces to move their Murciélago.
If the car cannot move the full amount or must squeeze between cars, the player must perform a maneuver check, which could result in damage received or caused. Players may also purposefully shove their car into other cars to inflict damage, which impedes a car’s speed and maneuverability.
After three laps, the winner of the race is declared. If the game is a short one, the game ends and the victor is crowned. If a long game is being played, there is a second race, which is preceded by a phase in which players may sell cards back for money to repair their race cars. In this scenario, the player with the most money after both races wins the game.
Lamborghini: The Official Race Game includes
- 1 double-sided race track board (Monza and Hockenheim)
- 5 miniature Lamborghini Murciélago plastic models
- 5 car cards
- 10 driver cards
- 39 technology cards
- 39 maneuver cards
- Paper money in denominations of $1,000-$20,000
- Rules booklet
The box for the Lamborghini board game is huge, proudly flaunting the black-and-yellow colors of the brand, its logo, and the Murciélago across the cover. The plastic cutaway and insert that reveals the model cars inside makes it an attractive box to display.
As for the actual function of the box, it’s pretty terrible. It’s made of a thin, corrugated paperboard — rather than solid cardboard like most games — that easily bends and warps. The top of the box doesn’t come off; instead, you have to open a flap at the top of the box and slide the plastic insert out, which is cumbersome and causes scrapes.
The artwork is commendable, particularly the texture details on the racetrack pavement and grass fields. The cards are nice and feature some neat driver portraits and iconography.
You may consider buying the game for the six detailed plastic Murciélago models inside, and while they are an attractive component of the game, they’re only plastic and aren’t solely worth the price.
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Thoughts on learning experience
The rule book of the Lamborghini board game is problematic and could impede your desire to play the game. The contents are multi-lingual, and the English rules translated from Italian are very unclear. The phrasing is unnatural, there are many run-on sentences, unformatted headings in the middle of paragraphs, references made to things that haven’t been defined yet, and necessary explanations omitted.
You have to read a sentence multiple times to understand what it’s saying since the words used aren’t quite what they should be (like someone used a thesaurus without knowing what the words meant).
As for actually learning and playing the game, once you read over the rules multiple times, you still need a full play-through to grasp what the directions are trying to tell you to do. Eventually, the rules will click, but it’s a struggle to reach that moment.
Thoughts on playing the official Lamborghini board game
I love the idea of an automaker having their own unique board game that promotes its vehicles and brand image. And in some ways, the Lamborghini board game achieves that. When your car moves 12-14 spaces — half the entire race track — in a single turn, it truly does feel like you’re piloting a supercar at breakneck speeds.
Lamborghini relies on its parts suppliers and mechanical components to optimize its cars, so it makes sense that building and accessorizing your race car is a major part of the game.
Unfortunately, Lamborghini: The Official Race Game takes these ideas and over-complicates them. The cards feature dozens of arbitrary symbols you have to consult the rule book to interpret — far more than necessary to communicate the few actual functions they serve. The game heavily relies on understanding these symbols, so you spend more time reading the rule book than playing the game.
We spent over half the total playtime choosing cards and arguing about what they meant so we could build our cars in a race that lasted six rounds. During that race, the player in pole position led the entire time and was never close to being overtaken, and the speed tests never affected the race.
I’ve played a lot of racing board games, and I like that Lamborghini: The Official Race Game brings the customization of your Murciélago to the table. But, it doesn’t result in a better experience than the numerous other racing games you can play; it only frustratingly complicates it. I appreciate that the Lamborghini board game tried to be better than a licensed cash-grab, but it just wasn’t fun to play.
Lamborghini: The Official Race Game is out of print, but you can find copies of it online through second-hand 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.