I love to play with my family, but with the range of kids I have, not to mention a picky wife, it's not always easy to put something in front of them that will work for everyone. Too difficult or complex, my youngest gets the "deer caught in headlights" look, too simple, the rest of us get the same look. So, when a game comes along that everyone can play, and that is a complete blast, it's an epic win. Bisikle just happens to be that very game, in a big, big way.
I got this in the recent "Fortress: Ameritrash Arms Trade" math trade, from a gentleman in Pittsburgh. The box showed some significant wear and the insert was beat up. Anal retentive types might have scoffed, written a nasty note, or gone on an internet nerd rampage, but me, I took one look at it and smiled my ever-loving ass off. I knew that this game has had the hell played out of it, so it must be good. Turns out that it's not merely good, it's not just great...it's something else. Maybe supremaswsomesaucity would be a good word to describe the qualities inherent in the game. In any event, if you don't own this game, there's probably something wrong with you. I know my buddy Mickey might have problems with it since he has MS and his hands have the dexterity of a dead box turtle. But barring some nerve damage, you really should have this game, even if you don't have kids.
Bisikle is a very rules-light racing game involving a little nickel-sized ball that's loaded with small ball bearings. It comes with a bunch of track pieces, a bunch of rails, and some obstacles. It also comes with four little bicyclist pawns and some matching flags. The track bits are basically the same as the old slot car tracks, but without the electric rails. They come in straights and curves alone, with no differentiation between them, so no special track bits like passing sections or anything. That said, the Lego factor is very high, and making crazy tracks is part of the fun.
Now, to play the game, you simply flick the ball down the track faster than the next guy until you do a lap or two, or three, or whatever the duration is set at. It's really that simple. There's maybe three rules to the game regarding knocking over people's pawn and going off the track, but that's it. Simple. That said, it's also incredibly fun, and more so because that little ball is designed in such a way that it stops on its own after a bit, and you can actually produce English on it. I've not mastered it, and my cheating little youngest always beats me, but I don't care. I just like to flick the ball and improve my technique so that I can get the ball to bend around corners or arc through the little mouse-hole obstacle. The fun in this one is really in the playing rather than in the winning.
The track is smooth, but slightly stippled, so the ball does get some traction. To my great surprise and wonderment, the ball doesn't even notice the mating joints in the track, so you really can't blame anyone but yourself if you screw the pooch on a shot. Included in the set are little risers, of which there are far too few, which allow you to do a loop if you desire. I would've preferred a four-way intersection, personally, but it is what it is. The game also comes with a mouse-hole barrier and a jump, both of which have nothing to do with bicycle racing and everything to do with awesome. This circumvents my desire to make loops since I can, instead, just have the track stop at an intersection and force players to jump over it. The upshot is that everything in the box exudes awesome, especially if you like games that can be played by everyone.
Apparently the bicycling theme didn't go over well, because they made another game, RoadZters, which is identical in every way except that instead of bicyclist pawns, there's little car pawns. I mean, completely identical in every way other than that. In a way, I'm glad the game doesn't have 20 expansion packs because if it did, I'd be poor. After owning this game for a relatively short period of time, I can tell you with absolute certainty that I prefer this over Pitchcar, and that I'd have ordered every available expansion already. Luckily, the only expansions are 'more of the same', with the exception of the "high grip Zball", of which I've ordered two already so that my oldest daughter can have an easier time stopping the ball on the track, rather than down the hall by the dog bowl.
All I can tell you is that if you like games like Pitchcar, Catacombs, Ascending Empires, Crokinole, or Sorry Sliders, due to their heavy dexterity aspects, this game may very well be for you. It's bad ass in every way, and while it doesn't have the same amount of variation that Pitchcar has, it's about half the price. It's simply a game that requires nuance and skill to be good at, but requires nothing but a pulse to really enjoy. Get it while you can still find it, or trade for it if someone will come off of it.
Why I Want To Ride My Bisikle, I Want To Ride My Bike:
- Unique dexterity game using a very unique marble
- So rules light it's ridiculous
- Great quality bits, and I mean truly great
- Has a very high concentration of supremaswsomesaucity
- The "price to value" proposition is very good
Why This Game Needs To Juice Up Like Lance:
- There are not enough unique track styles or risers for loops- 10-speed bicyclists with $10,000 bikes do not take wicked jumps
- No room in the box to add more track sections, which are sold separately, in bags
Overall:If you like dexterity games, or if you want a cheaper alternative to Pitchcar, this is a must-have game. The only downsides are that the theme is not all that important to the game and that there's simply not enough unique track styles. If you want a different theme, go with RoadZters; it's the same game, but with cars.
Learn more about Bisikle here: