The moment you open the box, it’s clear that RoadZters, the latest racing game from Cepia Games, is going to be Major Fun. And the more you explore the beautifully made components, and the sheer ingenuity of the design, the clearer it gets.
It’s a car race, but you don’t exactly race cars. Rather, you roll a special kind of ball, the Z-ball, a small, hollow ball that is weighted with what feels like BBs, so that it actually stops while still on the track, and even on an incline. And, depending on how good of a Z-ball-flicker you are, you can develop quite a degree of mastery – making the ball spin and curve and jump around the track.
You also get 4 cars, each of a different color. The cars have wheels, and will roll, but you don’t roll them. You can, however, thanks to their artfully constructed rear decks, use them as Z-ball ramps. The cars serve as markers, to indicate your progress during the race. Each car also comes with a specially designed rubber mat. You place the mat on the front end of the car, actually to prevent it from rolling. After you’ve had your turn, you move the car with its mat to where the Z-ball stopped (that is, if it stopped on the track). When it’s your turn again, you lift the car off its mat, giving you all the clearance you need to make your next Z-ball shot.
The tracks fit together with ease. The yellow guide rails are wonderfully flexible. They fit into holes on either side of the track, and provide almost endless subtlety as you explore how curves in the track can effect the course a Z-ball must take. There are stickers that you can use to further embellish the set, but even without them, you will be impressed by the elegance of your completed track.
We always appreciate good packaging, but the RoadZters packaging is exceptional. It’s like what you’d expect from a good set of drill bits, every kind of piece having its own compartment.
The rule sheet comes in 6 different languages, which could explain why, though they’re brief, they are also more difficult to follow than you would expect from such an elegant game. Luckily, once you understand how the Z-ball works, the rest is self-explanatory.
RoadZters was designed by Patrick Naveau (PNDI). The game can be enjoyed by anyone who knows how to flick a ball. It’s best with 4 players, but with 3 or even 2, it’s still fun. If you’re lucky enough to have your own set or two, you can while away many happy hours mastering your precision Z-ball flicking skills.
I was fortunate enough to capture a Z-ball moment between Game Tasters Will and Erin (with Chris in the background providing the necessary egging-on).