- Learning time
- 40 minutes
- First play time
- 120 minutes
Race to the Rhine is a war game that’s not a war game – at least, not between the players, who represent the Allies racing across Europe, trying to be the first to reach the Rhine.
There is fighting – it’s the second-world-war, and Nazis are abundant – but the thrust of the game is the race – trying to move at least one of your corps up to and over the river, whilst keeping them supplied with oil (to move) food (to eat) and ammunition (to see off the Nazis). Each player has to manage the three resources as best they can in order to outstrip their opponents in the race to the Rhine.
Blocking their path are Nazi Squadrons that get harder and harder to defeat the closer you get to the river. It’s entirely possible – probable, in fact – that at the game end nobody will have managed it – and in this case scores are tallied based on how many medals each player has won (gathered by defeating enemy troops and liberating towns).
On your turn you have several actions – move a corps, supply a base or establish a supply line being the basic ones. But supply lines only function temporarily, so at some point you’ll need to establish new ones as your corps run out of supplies. At the end of your go you’ll place a new marker representing Nazi advancement eastward – toward the players.
There is a basic game that is relatively easy to pick up, and an advanced one that introduces new combat elements such as air-strikes.
The guru's verdict
Although players don't fight each other, they can (and will) steer the Nazis into each others' paths.
Despite looking like a game with a million rules, Race to the Rhine is actually quite fast-moving.
Usually your options are limited - there isn't too much to choose from. But there will be turns that require a bit more thought.
The randomness of the cards for both players and the German army mean no two games are the same.