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BiSikle

Reviewed by Herb Levy

(Cepia Games, 1-4 players, ages 5 and up, less than an hour; 57 piece set $40, 30 piece starter set $26)

 

Ever since Lance Armstrong captured the attention of the world (and especially American audiences) with his victories in the Tour de France, bicycle racing has attracted new fans. In BiSikle, bicycling comes racing out of Canada in this latest tabletop version of the sport.

bisikle1The 57 piece BiSikle set gives you 13 feet of track (straight and curved), four racer player pieces called BiSikles (and matching flags), stickers, guardrails, an incline for jumps, rules in no less than six languages (including both English and French) and, the key component to the game, a Zball.

The game begins with the creation of a racing track. Players are given total freedom to arrange the track any way they wish although three different track configurations are suggested. All players choose a BiSikle in a color (red, blue, yellow or green) and its matching flag. Now the unique Zball comes into the action.

The patented Zball is a small round ball that players “flick” to simulate bicycle movement along the racetrack. When flicking the Zball with your finger, the ball must be touching the track. What makes the Zball special (and the reason for a patent) is that the Z-ball is so constructed that it will NOT continually roll. Instead, it will come to a stop, even on upgrades! Once the Zball stops, the player’s bicycle piece is placed right behind it with the front wheel touching the ball.

BiSikles may not block the potential path of the Zball when it’s the other players turns so room must be left for the Zball to travel. When it is your next turn to go, you remove your BiSikle and mark its position on the track with your matching flag (which fits neatly into the track edge). While the ball can be flicked into the air (provided it follows the track route – no “short cuts” allowed), it must land on the track to advance the player’s piece. Should you flick the Zball off the track, your BiSikle stays where it was.

Several types of races are suggested in the rules. “Catch Me As You Can” is the traditional “race to the finish line”. The first player to cross the finish line wins! If several players manage to cross on the same round, the player who flicked the Zball furthest down the track claims victory. “The Team Race” has players operating in teams and scoring points for being the first – or second – or third – to hit various checkpoints along the track route and in the order of finishing. The third type is called “Race Against The Clock”. In this variation, players keep track of how many “flicks” they have done. The player using the fewest to cross the finish line wins.

The physical quality of BiSkile is very high. The plastic BiSikle playing pieces are large and nicely molded. More importantly, track pieces fit snugly. Gaps in the track are detrimental to play especially if you’re rolling a ball. That does not happen here, a marked improvement over similar race track sets. The only surprising thing is that only ONE Zball comes with the game. The Zball is the critical piece of play equipment. I would have traded a foot of track for another Zball just for the sheer convenience.

BiSikle is a bicycle racing game in the skill and action genre and, at the price, fans of the pricey Carabande and Pitchcar racing games should race to include in this one in their collections.

 


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