Updated: Dec 26, 2019
Unless you have young children and Netflix access, you may not be familiar with Oddbods. It's a rather charming CGI animation made in Singapore by One Animation. It appears to follow a silent movie type structure, with sound effects and visual gags but no spoken language. The characters are all brightly coloured blobs with faces, but the cartoons have a closer affinity to Mr Bean than to Tellytubbies.
All this is by the by. You don't need to have watched or even heard of Oddbods to play Oddbods Go-Kards. This is a card-driven racing game for 2–7 players. The track is modular so can be set up in scores of different layouts. Players play their cards for their movement value or spend them, as in a deck builder, to buy power-up cards displayed in the market. There are tactics involved because some tracks offer a choice of lanes, each with different coloured spaces and each of the different coloured spaces triggers a different effect. These vary from random card or dice events to Snakes & Ladder-like slides up or down the track. Players usually have a choice of where they will move, however, so this game is a definite step up from roll and move race games.
Oddbods Go-Kards is billed as a game that can be played at different levels: as a children's game, as a family game and 'pro style' as a game for seasoned games players. The difference is principally the decks used: the children's game is played using only the movement cards; the family game uses the movement and special cards; and the 'pro style' game adds in the power-up cards. That's a great idea but the rules aren't as clear as they should be for each version of the game. Since power-up cards aren't supposed to be used for the children or family versions of the game then the 'dollar value' on the movement cards is irrelevant other than for 'pro style' play. The rules need to make that clearer. We also found players were uncertain as to when and how the 'special cards' come into play. These are not fatal flaws but we'd like to see a clearer version of the rules developed during the course of Oddbods Go-Kards' progress through its Kickstarter campaign.
Once you get underway, the game itself is fun and its modular nature makes it an ideal choice as a gateway game because it allows complexity to be introduced in stages. It's never going to appeal to hardcore gamers, and the 30 minutes or more that it takes to play the 'pro style' version makes the game too long to play as a filler. That said, Oddballs Go-Kards works well as a family game that adults can enjoy playing with their kids.
The components look good. Here on Board's Eye View we've only been able to show a preview version of the game (Pro-edition with the power-up cards market), but the published version will have three-dimensional constructs at each corner. If we can get hold of those, we'll show them off too in a Board's Eye View 360º photo, where they are sure to stand out.
Oddbods Go-Kards is designed by Siddharth Jain, with art by Geo, and is published by Playware Hobbies.