Fast Action Horse Racing (3rd Edition)
This game is along the "fast-action" games that are so popular from Pat Premo (a true gentleman in the game business).
The game arrives in a manila envelope. Inside are the instructions and the horse ratings. The rules are clearly written with examples, and some of the charts are included in the body of the rules. One chart is on heavier cardstock--the chart which contains tables that you'll be using a lot throughout the course of your gaming. The horse ratings are on 17 double-sided yellow sheets of paper. The typeset is not only very clean-looking, but easy to read.
Pat claims that there are about 4300 horses in the game. I guess I'll take his word for that. It looks a lot closer to 6000-7000 but I'm not going to double-check his math!!
Those of you who have bought previous editions of fast-action horse racing game will be able to pretty much pick it up and go. Those new to the game, the rules are very well written and you should have no trouble getting into the "starting gate".
The ratings for the horses are, in a word, magnificent!! The thoroughbreds, for example, are now rated for 5, rather than 3, distances. 2 year olds are rated in 2 distances rather than 1. I've spotted many new names in the historical listing of horses, so Pat has been doing heavy research to include all these past favorites.
I haven't gotten the chance to check yet, but it looks as though you could replay many races of the past, as some years have 20 or more horses listed.
All breeds come with this game. Thoroughbreds, heat racers, pacers, trotters, steeplechase, quarter horse, Appaloosas, Arabians, paint, pintos, china ponies, "western heroes", and even mules!! Excruciating research must have made all this possible.
Fans of the "black stallion" book series will see the famous horses with their own ratings as well.
The most intriguing part of the game would be the "fantasy horses". Think of taking all the best of all the famous horses, from thoroughbreds to mules, to all the classifications in between, and "normalizing" them to a thoroughbred miler (8 furlongs). This allows you to see who, "pound for pound", the greatest horse of all time was.
How does the game work? Basically, with the roll of two dice an adjustment is made to the rating of the horse. Highest score wins. This is really over-simplifying it, because a lot more comes into play before and after the race (horse stumbling, loses jockey, inquires after the race, photo finishes, and on and on) and don't forget to break out your monopoly (c) money for betting! You can place win, place, show, exacta, and trifecta bets within the game.
Drawbacks?--well, there's only one as far as I can see. Many charts that you use during the game are scattered thru out the rules. I would keep them there, but also put them on one cardstock also. Maybe one side could be the charts you'd use before each race, and the other side would have the charts you'd use after the race.
All in all, I think that the $30 is more than worth it. Considering the amount of ratings you get, a similar game that takes into account about 5000 different horses, you'd expect to pay well over a hundred dollars. And Pat looks to service this game into the future with updates available after the calendar year. In years past, they've been only a couple bucks. And you'll get the big names from the just-completed calendar year.
Folks, if you buy only one horse racing game---even if you have no intention of racing some of the breeds represented, make this your game.
I hereby give "fast-action horse racing" (3rd edition, 2003), FOUR STARS!
You can Contact Pat Premo at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 716-372-3515 to order the game.
Added: Saturday, June 21, 2003
Reviewer: Bill Hild
Related web link: Pat Premo's Fast Action Games