How to Play Famous 500
Table of Contents
- Let's get started!
- Three cards each
- Check for false starts
- Monitoring speed and endurance
- Tires, fuel, engine and speed
- Each track has a difficulty score
- Four sample race cars
- Start your engines...
- Hairpins, curves and straightaways
- Playing a card
- Earning Speed points
- Subtracting the costs from your car
- Swapping cards with your opponent
- Completing your first lap
- Trailing driver discards and draws
- Starting the next lap
- Pit stops are indicated with a dotted line
- Declaring your intent to stop
- Draw a card then return one under the deck
- Spend Speed points to repair your car
- Returning to the race
- Fall below zero and you’re out of the race
- Making it across the finish line
- Thank you!
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Dealing the Cards
Shuffle the nine Speed cards and deal three facedown to each player. The three remaining cards form a facedown Pit Deck off to one side.
Look at the three cards you’ve been dealt. If all three show a speed greater than 100, you can declare a false start and insist that the cards be shuffled and redealt.
Customizing Your Race Car
Racing cars is all about speed and endurance! After the cards have been dealt, each player will design a custom race car on their own sheet of paper.
Divide each sheet into four columns: Tires, Fuel, Engine and Speed. Whoever earns the most speed points without falling below zero in the other columns will win the race.
The numbers you put in these columns will depend on the difficulty of your racetrack. The Monaco track has a difficulty of 18. That means your first row must add up to a total of 18 points.
You can divide those 18 points however you like but here are a few sample cars to get you started.
- Stock Car: 6/6/6/0
- Grand Touring Car: 8/5/3/2
- Sports Prototype: 6/5/4/3
- Formula 1 Car: 5/4/5/4
When you’re ready to begin, place one penny on the Lap 1 space and another on the first section of track. The first section is always marked with an arrow beside the chequered flag.
The First Lap
Race tracks have three types of sections:
- BLACK sections indicate hairpin turns;
- GREY sections indicate gentler curves; and
- WHITE sections indicate straightaways.
Each section, you and your opponent will choose a card from your hand and play it facedown. Once you’re both ready, turn your card over, revealing how fast you’ve chosen to drive through the current section of track.
The driver who played the higher card earns 2 speed points. The driver who played the lower card earns only 1 speed point. Add your points to the current tally in your Speed column.
That said, going fast is hard on your car. We’re currently in a GREY section of track. See how the faster driver's card cost 2 Fuel while the slower driver's card cost only 1? Both drivers subtract the costs from the appropriate columns on their sheet.
Once you’re done scoring, each driver takes the card played by his opponent. The penny then advances to the next section of track.
Continue playing cards, earning Speed points, subtracting your costs, swapping cards, and advancing the penny until you've made it once around the track.
Between laps, the driver with the fewest Speed points must discard a card, removing it from the game. He then draws a new card from the top of the Pit deck. If tied, the driver who played the slowest card on the previous section must discard.
Armed with new knowledge of the available cards, the trailing driver advances both pennies to mark the start of the new lap.
Making a Pit Stop
Both cars are running low on fuel. Fortunately, this section of track shows a dotted line, indicating that it’s a Pit Stop. You can spend Speed points here to repair and refuel your car.
To declare a Pit Stop, simply say “Pit Stop!” and keep your card facedown when it’s time to reveal.
Drivers who make a Pit Stop draw a card from the Pit deck. After viewing their hand, they return a card to the bottom of the deck. If both drivers declare a Pit Stop, the one with the most Speed points draws first.
The main reason to declare a Pit Stop is to repair your car. For every Speed point you spend, your pit crew repairs 3 Tire points, 2 Fuel points, or 1 Engine point.
The driver who did not make a Pit Stop earns Speed points and subtracts costs, as usual. Drivers in the pit earn no Speed points and subtract no costs. Swap cards and advance the penny to the next section of track to continue the race.
Finishing the Race
For a track of this length, each lap should take under 10 minutes. The race can end early, however, if either driver’s tires, fuel, or engine fall below zero. If that happens, the other car coasts to an easy victory.
If both cars reach the finish line, however, the winner is the driver with the most Speed points. If tied, the driver who played the fastest final card wins the race.
Thanks for joining me for a few laps, champ! I can tell you like to go fast. You can take my car out on the track anytime. Go ahead, here are the keys! You’ve earned them.
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How to play the Famous 500 card game
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