Road rage is taken to the next level in Fast & Furious: Highway Heist. Players will work together to take down an 18-wheeler, a tank, and even a helicopter in a thrilling battle taking place on a highway with fast vehicles. Are you ready to take this challenge on a quarter mile at a time?
Fast & Furious: Highway Heist is a cooperative board game for two-to-four players. Each member of the team will assume the role of a hero from the movie franchise. In case you’re wondering, your crew can choose between Dom, Brian, Letty, Roman, Han, and Tej. Each character has a unique set of attributes and a unique special ability.
At the start of the game, you’ll also have the choice of your starting vehicle. The game doesn’t use specific names for cars, but you’ll recognize these vehicles if you watch the films. Your choice in vehicle can matter, as cars also have a set of attributes and a special ability. However, there’s a good chance your car isn’t going to survive for the duration of the game. Take advantage of it while you have it!
All of the action takes place on a stretch of highway as players and your enemies are speeding eastward in cars, SUVs, and whatever the big bad is driving. Based on the scenario you choose, you could be attempting to destroy a tank, steal from an 18-wheeler, or even snipe a helicopter out of the sky. Your primary goal in the tank and helicopter scenarios are to destroy them. In the freight scenario, you have to steal valuable cargo off the truck. Can you complete the goal before you run out of time?
On your turn, you’ll have the ability to perform two actions. There’s a lot to choose from by default, from hopping out of your car to jump onto an enemy vehicle, to ramming enemy vehicles, to hijacking enemy SUVs. While the game is fairly easy to learn, the game provides players with many exciting actions to perform that feel like you’re playing a part in the movies. During one round, I forced an enemy SUV into driving directly in front of a tank. On the next, my wife Steff then drove beside the SUV and rammed it, causing it to flip over and crash into the tank behind it. Awesome!
Most skills require dice-based skill checks to perform. Failing the check wastes that action. While die rolls can be tough, there are ways to minimize risk. Based on your combination of character and vehicle, you may be better suited to perform certain tasks, as your attribute totals may give you more dice to roll. You also get access to nitro. When you roll a nitro symbol, you can cash in a nitro token to add that value to your skill check. Other players can spend their nitro tokens to give you extra dice as well. You’re not guaranteed to hit every time, but at least you have ways to work around it. Also, based on the insane stuff you’re doing, it makes thematic sense that actions wouldn’t work every time, even if it makes the game harder.
Better yet are a series of limited-time stunt actions. These actions require the board to be in a specific configuration before you can perform them, but the rewards are grand if you can pull them off. However, these stunt actions get removed if they get pushed off the stunt track between turns.
One stunt from the tank scenario involved two players sandwiching an enemy SUV. When in position, you can perform a stunt that allows you to run a tripwire between your two cars, causing the middle car to flip out and crash into an enemy vehicle. You’ll have the opportunity perform crazy moves like this throughout the game! Not only are they thematic in the ways that they replicate scenes from the movie, but it challenges players to work together to set these stunts up.
Towards the end of the game, one final stunt is made available for players to attempt. If you can pull it off, you instantly win the game, regardless of how much progress you’ve made towards the primary objective. It may seem like a cop out, but these final stunts don’t throw off the game’s balance because they’re still very hard to set up and perform.
If anything, based on the games we’ve played, the likelihood of winning without the final stunt is basically zero. Instead, we aim to get as close as we can to completing the objective so that by the time the final stunt appears, it’s somewhat reasonable to complete. Also, if you haven’t made any progress by the time the final stunt is available, pulling off that stunt is almost impossible.
After each player’s turn, enemies fight back. With the roll of an enemy die roll, they might ram into your cars, throw you off of the roof of a moving vehicle, or you might even shot at by the boss vehicle, among many other calamities that can occur.
Most devastating are the cards from the enemy deck. When triggered, your enemy does something crazy, such as call for lots of backup or blast every player car in sight for big damage. After a few turns, they trigger an even nastier move that can really turn the tide in their favour. The enemies in this game are well equipped to bring the pain!
At the end of every player’s turn is one of the game’s most clever mechanics. Since this is supposed to simulate a high-speed chase, car positions need to be adjusted depending on their state. If you leave your car unmanned, it moves back one space to represent the car slowing down without a driver. But if a car is wrecked, it moves back four spaces, also demolishing any vehicles behind them. Not only does this element add to the theme, it’s a core gameplay mechanic that players must lean into in order to clear the board of enemy SUVs and smash the boss vehicle.
The magic of Fast & Furious: Highway Heist is that it finds such a great balance of theme and mechanics. Everything the game has you do feels like a direct nod to actions that take place during the movies’ most bombastic moments. Even if you aren’t a fan of the movies, playing a game that allows you to smash cars, fight henchmen on the top of a tank, and even launch cars into helicopters is a thrill many cam appreciate.
All of this action is built on a solid gameplay foundation that makes a lot of sense, is fairly easy to teach, and is incredibly exciting to engage with. There’s lots of room for individual players to perform cool moves and even more opportunities for teamwork to shine. Pulling off that multi-turn sequence that everyone takes part in that helps you score a big hit or even win the game makes this insane battle worthwhile.
Fast & Furious: Highway Heist does the movies justice by distilling its craziest action sequences into an exciting and accessible board game. No knowledge of the movies is required to enjoy this one, though the game is chock full of fan service for fans of the franchise. If you’re looking for a board game that simulates the thrills of an action flick, this is it.
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