THUNDER ROAD GAME REVIEW
'Drive and survive in this desert highway race. Chase your opponents cars and attack with your chopper...if you can't wreck them, outrun them! Will yours be the last surviving car?'
Thunder Road is a post-apocalyptic themed racing board game which was published by Milton Bradley back in 1986. Now out of print you can still pick this little gem up on ebay or if you are lucky maybe a car-boot sale or charity shop.
Using an assortment of four different vehicles each ranging from a modified dune buggy to a single-passenger helicopter, players must race down an infinite roadway against one another. The goal of the game for players is to either be the last player team alive (e.g., eliminate all other player vehicle teams) or simply out race (i.e., out distance) the other teams.
On first glance of this game the pieces are very, very similer to the vehicles used in the post-apocalyptic film Mad Max 2, the Gyro Captains Copter, Max's V8 Interceptor, Dune Buggys and Pappagalo's Lone Wolf custom built vehicle, coincidence? Probably not, but who cares? Mad Max is a great film and can give you that feel and buzz when playing.
The European box cover
On setting up you put the switch & link game boards together and then set little black car pieces, called wrecks, on the appropriate hazard areas. Players then select a colour team/gang to play and their selected vehicles go on the squares with that corrosponding vehicles silohette (apart from Copter's, these can fly freely and have one attack on each new board placed).
Initial play consists of each player rolling three yellow D6, one for each automobile, and moving said vehicles for the number of spaces rolled at the player's discretion. For example, I roll my dice and get a 2, 4 and a 5, so I move my V8 2 squares, my Buggy 5 and the Lone Wolf 4. If any of your vehicles happen to be on the road squares which run through the middle of the board you get to roll an additional black dice, this can then be added to a yellow dice to make movement even quicker, but the vehicle must stay on the road to use this black dice movement, it can be tricky trying to stay on the road due to other road users and wrecks in the way, but these are the chances you have to take. Once all players have done this, the rest of the game proceeds with each player rolling to move and also trying to attack opposing player vehicles.
The American market box cover
Attacks can be done by a player ramming their vehicle into their opposition's vehicle, shooting at their opponent's vehicle with vehicle-mounted artillery or using their aerial vehicle (the Thunder Chopper) to attack. Combat is very simple and uses the armour rating of each vehicle to determine damage, the following armour ratings are...
- Buggy = 4
- V8 = 5
- Lone Wolf = 6
A ram attack is done when your car lands on the same space as an opponents, you both roll a red D6 and then add the car's ranks to this number, if the attacking players total is more than the defense then the opponents car is wrecked, if its a tie or the defending car scores higher, both cars remain running (see it as a deflection and both drivers remain in control)
A shooting attack can be done if you land one space behind an opponents car, if there is more than one you can choose which one you wish to shoot at. One red D6 is thrown and if the number matches or is higher than the armour rating then it is destroyed and becomes a wreck.
Chopper attacks may attack once on the rear board and once on the lead board, and once on every new lead board in that order, if you attack on the lead board first you cannot go back and attack on the rear board. After moving your cars and attacking with them, you may wish to fly your chopper up to a car and attack. If there are two cars on the same spce you again choose which one you are attacking. One red D6 is thrown, if the number matches or is higher than the armour value it becomes a wreck. Choppers cannot attack if all your cars are wrecked.
Rear of the box showing some children enjoying the game
As play progresses along the game board, it is constantly extended by using the back portion of the board; the Rear Board. Indeed, a way in which a player can beat an opponent is by getting all of his cars and chopper onto the right-most game board (Lead Board) faster than his opponent's vehicles. If a player is lagging too far behind and is still on the left most game board section (Rear Board) by the time another player has reached the end of the Lead Board, any vehicles on that portion of board are permanently removed from the game; this suggests that the car was "outrun". An exception to this rule applies only to the Thunder Chopper, it can stay in play as long as a player has at least one running car remaining.
If all your cars do get wrecked there is still a chance of getting back in the game. When one, two or all three have been wrecked on the board, always throw the three yellow dice and the black die, if appropriate, on your turn. If you throw a double six you can repair any one of your wrecked vehicles still on the board. You can then move it and any other running car(s) using all the dice as you would normally, and also getting to use the chopper again.
This game is solely aimed at kids due to the simplicity of the rules, but us grown ups here at Bored? Game! love playing it every so often, it is a lot of fun to be had when you want to have a game of something but don't want the hassle of setting up loads of pieces and boards together or you have finished a big game of something and have some time to kill still. Plus were avid Mad Max fans...bonus!
Bored? Game! rating 10/10
- Gameboard - in 2 parts
- 3 Yellow D6 (car movement dice)
- 2 Red D6 (attack dice)
- 12 Ranked cars (in 4 colours)
- 4 Choppers
- 8 Black wrecks
The original T.V. advert for the game from 1986