Street Kings: I feel the need - the need for speed!
Publisher: BOarD TO DEATH
Designer: Luca Vince Caltabiano
Players: 2 – 6
Time: 60 - 120 min
The Bottom Line
Street Kings is an underground racing game where players will pimp their cars and compete in races to be crowned the new Street King/Queen.
In the Box
Street Kings is a decently large table hog. There are various card decks depicting locations, upgrades, and cars, 5 car show posters and a fold out board. Each player has a player board, with a male or female side, 9 colored player cubes, and a wooden car.
I’m not huge a racing fan, but visually, Street Kings reminds me of Need for Speed and arcade style racing games more than a Gran Turismo career progression game. It's also reminiscient of movies such as The Fast and the Furious.
4th Wall Break: If you’re looking for a left or right turn, you’re in the wrong place! It's all about the rush of the drag.
Does Street Kings race to the finish or does it spin out at the starting line? Keep reading to find out!
How to Play
Street Kings is played over a number of rounds and within each round there are four phases. Each player will follow the phases in order:
- The first player chooses a car class they own. This determines the race class for this round.
- Players take actions until everyone qualifies for the race or passes their turn.
- Clean Up
Each player takes 1 action on their turn, but they may have numerous turns in a round. Players take actions until everyone qualifies for the current race or passes their turn.
- Go to the Shop: This is where you spend credits to pimp your ride on new upgrades to enhance your cars stats in each of the 4 categories
- Go to a Car Show: This allows you to gain credits equal to the beauty value of the car you are showing. These cars will be unavailable to race this round.
- Go to the Dealership: Buy and/or sell cars here.
- Choose a racing location: Draw a location card and place one from your hand into one of the 2 available spots on the board, face-down.
- Qualify for the Race: When you qualify, you must choose a car of the same class for the race and you place your car in the next available number on the starting line. You can now assign crew members and then adjust your cubes on your player board to match the total stars in each of the 4 categories.
If there are any empty location cards, fill them in from the top of the deck.
The race begins by flipping over the first location card. Each car will follow the stats depicted on the location and move their car along the board grids equal to the total number of stars for their car in each category shown on the location card.
4th Wall Break: In the picture above, the car would move 1 space for Acceleration, 2 spaces for Brakes, 1 space for Handling and another 1 space Acceleration; a total of 5 spaces. Top Speed was not used in this race.
When a car lands on the finish line, place the car pawn above the corresponding prize; the winning car receives the gold, second place silver, etc. If a car does not reach the finish line after completing the second location, continue again using the first location card.
When all cars have reached the finish line, assign trophies to all players. 5th and 6th receive a red ribbon, 4th a ribbon and credits, 3rd a bronze and credits, 2nd a silver and credits and 1st a gold and credits.
4th Wall Break: On today’s episode of Oprah…everyone gets a prize! If a player reaches two of the same trophy, they trade up to one of the next level. So, 2 ribbons= 1 bronze, etc.
It’s time to get ready for the next round. During this phase you return car show cards, remove location cards from the board, shift the first player to the left, discard all cards in the shop and reveal new upgrades.
How to Win
When a player wins their 7th gold trophy, only through winning a race and not trading up, there is one last Championship round! Move the finish line to class A and then deal 2 location cards from the deck face-down. At the end of this round, all players trade up their trophies and the player with the most Gold trophies is the Street King/Queen!
Positives and Negatives
- Unique theme and the car art looks awesome.
- Tricking out your car and buying new, exotic cars is fun and sending your car to a car show is thematic!
- Easy to learn and teach.
- The gameplay feels driven by luck. You're at the mercy of your draw from the location deck and though you can choose what location is played, it never feels like it's ideal for your strategy.
- Disconnected artwork. The cars, upgrades and car shows look great but the player boards are severely underwhelming.
- Qualification for races feels oppressive and turns the game into a "first to the next class wins."
Street Kings could have been a unique and interesting take on arcade style racing games that incorporated a lot of interesting mechanics, but instead it feels shallow. The random location draws can really throw a wrench in your strategy. The qualification mechanism relegates the game to “fastest to the next category C, B, or A car wins” and that can take the enjoyment out of the game. Overall, Street Kings is a light arcade style racing game with a lot of “flair” but not much under the hood.
4th Wall Break: I want to give a shout-out to the rulebook as they’ve included everyone that helped the project and that’s a very cool thing to do.
You will like this game if: you like cars, feeling like you're on Pimp My Ride!, or simulating an alternate universe where you own wild and exotic sports cars.
I give Street Kings, 3 Car Shows out of 5.
Keep an eye out for the next game from BORED TO DEATH, Neon Knights: 2086! It races onto Kickstarter October 10th. You can view the product page here.
A free copy of the game was provided for review.
A quick note on my rating scale:
5: This game is nearly perfect in every way and the Positives far outweigh any Negatives.
4: This game is outstanding and the Positives outweigh the Negatives.
3: This game is fun but feels average and the Positives and Negatives are nearly equal.
2: This game falls below average and the Negatives outweigh the Positives.
1: This game is bad and the Negatives far outweigh any Positives.