Race Car: Beyond Palindrome


This is a game I remember seeing ideas for on Board Game Geek yeaaaaaars ago. Lost to time…

It’s a beer-and-pretzels dexterity game fueled by Hot Wheels.

Here are the rules.

You need

  • A surface.
  • 3-8 players.
  • One Hot Wheels car per player.
  • One color six-sided “Health die” per player.
  • Two six-sided dice for the group.
  • 3-8 fun-shaped household “obstacles.”
  • A way to measure in inches.


Destroy all other Hot Wheels. RUMBLEEE!!!

The Golden Rule

When in doubt, make a ruling as a table. Be consistent.

The Silver Rule

Add or subtract rules as necessary.


Scatter the obstacles all over the playing surface.

Randomize who sits where.

Each player sets their Health die to 6.

Each player places their car in front of them on the edge of the surface.

On the count of three, each player flicks their car towards the center of the table. Re-flick the cars that fall off the table.

Randomize who goes first.


On their turn, the player has two flicks and one shoot.

The player must flick their car twice. A “flick” is any sort of hit with the finger that moves the card. No “closely nudging” or “dragging” the car in any way.

A flick counts if it moves at least one car length or 90 degrees. On a mis-flick, reset the car as best as possible.

If the current player’s car hits another car, that car loses one Health.

Any car that bumps into an obstacle on any turn loses one Health.

After flicking, the current player may shoot one other car in a 90 degree cone from the front of their car. You can’t shoot cars that have cover.

To shoot, the player measures from their car to the other car to the nearest inch, then rolls 2d6. If they roll equal to or higher than the number of inches, that car loses one Health.

All Health loss on a turn is cumulative.

If a car goes to zero Health, they are destroyed. Destroyed cars on the surface become obstacles.

May the best car win.

Everything fits in a quart-size plastic bag.


A car does not have to stop to be flicked for the second time. Do this to avoid obstacles or falling off the surface edge. Huge style points on this one.

A car that falls off the surface loses one Health. It is then placed on the edge of the surface 12 inches away from any other car at the end of the current turn.

A car that flips loses one Health. At the cost of one flick, the player may flip their car upright. Or, they can try their luck at flipping upright…

If a car is destroyed before that players’ first turn, they are reset to 3 Health.

How to measure a 90 degree cone from the front of the car for shooting.

It’s a light, easy wargame that contains some good lessons in design and making rulings, a very Free Kriegsspiel Revolution approach.

Writing these rules out was weird for me, because this game is (or was) 100% word-of-mouth. That’s also why there’s no “power ups” or “special moves” or what have you. That would require actual cards or writing or words. Keep it simple, Speed Racer.

Having your own Hot Wheels feels like what I imagine playing Marbles in the ’50s was like.

Go nuts with the obstacles. Note the cool egg-holder thing in the picture below.

A game in progress. Also pictured: the Dole soul-killer banana.

My brother jokingly calls this one “Race War.”

“Wanna start a Race War?”

“One, two, three, four, I declare a Race War.”

“What? It’s a fun game!”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.