Danger Circuit shows you don’t need to add much to add to a great time
After my first ever game of Downforce, I knew that the system was ripe for expansions. New player powers, new maps, that’s all you really need.
And that is exactly what we have been given in Downforce: Danger Circuit. A new double-sided board, and six new team powers. A small rule clarification sheet for the new powers and conditions, and you are all set.
Setting up as per standard Downforce, we were into our first race on the Danger Circuit in about 5 minutes. Without a lot of new mechanics or areas to be on the watch for, we could pretty much just jump straight in.
And that is one of Danger Circuit’s biggest drawcards for me. No lengthy rereading of the rules. No trying to switch your thinking between the base game and the expansion. Just more Downforce, pure and simple.
There were some new terms to clarify like ‘Tight Spaces’, but the instructions took only a couple of minutes to read in its entirety and I read it while Alpal setup. I can’t remember the last expansion I was able to do that with.
Now I have seen a few people argue that only six new cards is a bit on the light side. Different people will always have different opinions, but I appreciate the simplicity of the expansion. More scoresheets are also something I hear being asked for, or dry erase boards like Captain Sonar. A couple of dollars at a stationary store will get your current sheets laminated, or the Restoration Games app is also easy to use and free on your phone.
Yes, we could have been given more powers, but I think that letting new powers come with new tracks is great – as long as they continue to come in pairs. The coupling of tracks and powers so far has been good, and I think can continue for quite some time to come.
Another suggestion I have seen is more players, and this is an expansion I don’t think is a good idea. The movement cards are already well balanced and work well, and adding new players means you have to start juggling decks depending on the number of players involved. It’s not an insurmountable issue, but why add complexity for complexities sake?
So the new powers are nice and straightforward, and from the games I have played feel better balanced to me. Not that Downforce was terribly unbalanced – I only try to quietly retire ‘Determined’ when experienced players get it over newer players, but if someone really wanted to play it I wouldn’t stop them either.
The only power that caused some discussion in Danger Circuit was ‘Tough’. As per the card wording, if on any players turn you end your turn next to a rumble strip, you may move 2 additional spaces. I have heard people calling this overpowered, but I don’t think so overall.
The chances of Tough hitting multiple times is limited, usually because another player has to intentionally make it happen by putting the car adjacent to a rumble strip. That was it discussion sorted, and fun was had by all.
And again that shows what I really love about Downforce. Forget the rules lawyering and semantic umpires. Downforce is simple and fun, and lets everyone enjoy themselves.
Prefer not having all the cards dealt at the start of the game? Done. Don’t like the betting aspect? Lose it. Are auctions confusing you? Just deal out the cars randomly.
All of this is intact in Danger Circuit. Unlike some expansions that almost fix a broken base game (or worse, expansions that break a great game), Danger Circuit just lets Downforce continue to do what it does best.
More Downforce is never a bad thing. While some people may raise an eyebrow at ‘only’ two new tracks and six new team powers, Restoration Games has shown they know the game’s strengths.
If you enjoy Downforce, Danger Circuit is a great addition. If you don’t like Downforce, nothing in Danger Circuit will change your mind.
Oh and a new game tip – now that you have four tracks, how about a Grand Prix type event? Add up all of the scores from each game for an overall winner!