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Outrider

Review

Outrider touts itself as a fast-playing, rules-light wargame, which is an accurate description. On the scale of wargames, this game is far more casual than most others on the market, which is a huge plus. You won't need any measuring tape or other templates to play — the cards themselves offer a very intuitive way to measure your vehicle's motion and artillery path without feeling like you're in a math class. Each scenario may last 60 to 90 minutes as opposed to 3 hours or even days. In fact, you don't even need to call it a "wargame" if you don't want to — just a fun strategy game with a wide-open board that allows cars to travel anywhere.

The theme of this game is interesting and inviting. It is similar to games like Car Wars, a classic by Steve Jackson Games, but seemingly far more accessible. There is quite a bit of excitement and action packed into each scenario, as well as a significant amount of replayability — in one game, you might be trying to plow through enemy territory as quickly as possible, while for another game in the same scenario you might be hidden behind a building, lying in wait for an enemy vehicle. What's more, the artwork and design of this game, especially for a prototype, are fantastic. It is obvious that this game has been polished over many years, and the gameplay is elegant and intuitive.

Because it is in the wargame category, however, there is a higher learning curve than you would expect from most games that we review. With 20 pages of fine print contained in the rulebook, expect to spend an hour or two studying out the game mechanisms initially. As always, teaching it to a new player takes far less time, but even so, this probably isn't an ideal game for your grandma. Fortunately, the rules are clear, well-written, and nicely organized, which is always a bonus.

We didn't have any complaints with the gameplay itself, for the type of game that it is. The only problems we had were fidgety components due to thin counters and folds in the map — this is inherent with almost any prototype, and we expect the published version will overcome any of our concerns.

The game has been designed to accommodate 1:64 scale diecast cars (read: any standard Hot Wheels) as optional miniatures to enhance the game. While not required, they will add a bit of interest to each vehicle card, as well as keep the cards in place to prevent them from blowing away when someone sneezes.

Final Thoughts

If you like cars and combat, and you're wanting to dabble in wargaming, I won't hesitate to recommend Outrider as a great option. While it may be too complex for many casual gamers, I can see this game being a big hit on Kickstarter — if you like what you see, be sure to check it out from now until December 14, 2014.

Pros:  Well-designed, intuitive gameplay, interesting theme, great option as a more casual wargame, good balance of luck and strategy

Cons: May be too complex for many casual gamers

Full Disclosure: this preview is based on our evaluation of an unpublished prototype of the game, which is subject to change prior to publication. This game is being published by the graphic designer of Casual Game Insider and modest compensation was received for this review. However, our thoughts and opinions expressed here are as honest and accurate as possible.