Since it’s still board game week for Mommy Is At Work, I wanted to talk about one of my favorite games that adults will enjoy but kids will love: Pitchcar.
There is very little more exciting to kids than a race or chase (in college I did a lotof children’s theatre, and my professor always emphasized the importance of a goodchase scene), and car races fit the bill perfectly. Witness the success of the Pixar movie Cars, the immense popularity of NASCAR, or the high prevalence of racing games on any video game console and you’ll see how much kids love races. After all, it’s simultaneously one of the simplest and most exciting events humans do on a regular basis.
Enter Pitchcar (also known as Carabande, or found in a 1/3 size smaller edition as Pitchcar Mini), the dexterity racing game. Like other dexterity games—like Jenga, Billiards, Darts, or Carrom—Pitchcar relies on players using their physical abilities to take their turns and improve their positions. However, in Pitchcar, players aren’t building a tower or trying to land their playing pieces in a particular spot. Instead, players are racing around a track (built from scratch before every game) to see who can cross the finish line first by flicking their cars (wooden discs about the size of a nickel, although much thicker) with their fingers.
Pitchcar is a TON of fun! I love this game, and it would probably rank in my top 5 favorite board games, in part because it’s that simple. It’s a very basic type of fun that everyone I have ever played with enjoys–furthermore, this simplicity makes it ideal for kids.
When we lived in Tennessee, our church had semi-regular board game nights where Pitchcar was always a huge hit with the under 8 crowd (of course, please remember that this does have small pieces and is certainly NOT a game for children too young to understand not to put pieces in their mouths!). Frequently, I’d see a handful of kids take the box and play with it until the night was over. Granted, I don’t know how well they followed the rules of the game, but whether as a toy or a game, Pitchcar works really well.
Unfortunately, that brings me to the negative side of this review. Pitchcar is expensive. Compared to most board games, very expensive–as of publication of this post, Pitchcar costs over $70 on Amazon, and Pitchcar Mini runs over $40. And those are both for just the base games, no expansions included. I will say that Pitchcar Mini is still a lot of fun (it’s the version I own and the only version I have ever played), and the base game still has an enormous amount to offer, but it’s still a bit much for most people.
However, even at the high price point, I still recommend the game. I have never played another game that manages to create a fun, high-energy experience solely out of building a track and then flicking wooden discs around that works well for all ages. If you’ve never tried Pitchcar, take the first opportunity you get to do so, and I promise you won’t regret it.