Fast & Furious: Highway Heist Review
For a franchise that spawned nine main movies, plus spin-offs, with more in development, it’s a shock that there aren’t more Fast & Furious board games. After all, you’d think the show’s mix of visual thrills and (literally) high-octane action would suit the midrange just fine. Well, the wait for a new Fast & Furious board game experience is over with Fast & Furious: Highway Heist from Funko Games.
This co-op game lets you take on the role of characters from the show, like Dominic or Letty, and work together to win one of three storylines, all of which recreate climate chase scenes from the movies. There’s the truck theft from the first Fast & the Furious movie, the tank pullout from the sixth, and the helicopter footage from the seventh.
Fast & Furious: A Look At Highway Heist
Box and what’s inside
Highway Heist was designed by Prospero Hall, a tabletop design team that caused a stir with acclaimed games set in popular franchises like Jaws and Disney Villainous. Like most of their titles, Open the Box greets you with a quote to set the scene: “It doesn’t matter what’s under the hood. What matters … is who is behind the wheel ”.
Under the board, there is a board filled with colorful plastic figures: cars, enemy SUVs, and the three big boss vehicles, one for each scenario. While usable enough, they are made of soft plastic and lack detail. Each piece has two holes in the top to accommodate pegs that represent a person standing on top of the vehicle, so they are not well suited for painting.
The choice of art is interesting. Rather than stills from the movies, the Fast & the Furious board game features fuzzy faux-impressionistic imagery in a post-apocalyptic style. While not the most obvious choice, it is very effective, creating a sense of speed and mimicking some car-heavy Australian cinematic franchise.
Rules and how to play
For a game with the potential to sell in the mass market, Highway Heist requires a good digestion of the rules before you can put your foot down. If you’re familiar with modern board games, it won’t be difficult, but friends who prefer the hardtop to the tabletop may find the sheer number of options a bit confusing.
Other than that, the setup is nice and quick. The group chooses a scenario to play and each player chooses a character and a car. Certain combinations are better suited to particular scenarios. Then you place the big bad guy – tank, trailer, or helicopter – in the middle of the road, surrounded by four enemy SUVs, and spin your engines.
You put the big bad guy – tank, trailer, or helicopter – in the middle of the road, surrounded by four enemy SUVs, and get your engines running.
During a turn, each player can perform two actions. Some of them, like Drive and Leap, are automatic. Most, like Force, which allows you to push enemy vehicles, require a six-sided custom dice roll with a mix of blank, nitro, and void sides. You check the stats needed, like speed or control, then add up the pool from the character and car you chose. The action requires a certain number of green success points to succeed, otherwise it is wasted.
Co-op dice games can be frustrating when things don’t turn out the way you want them to. But in Highway Heist, you often end up riding twice per turn, per player, so the luck tends to balance out.
In addition, all dice that feature Nitro symbols give you a tactical choice: discard them or burn one of a limited supply of matching tokens to turn them into achievements. It’s a sleek combination, providing tension for big rollers while rarely leaving you out of control.
After your turn, you roll another die to see what the enemy models are doing. Sometimes opposing SUVs will crash into your cars, or their passengers will jump on your roof to wreak havoc. Often times, however, you’ll need to tap into a scenario-specific enemy deck that has more detailed events. These make move and attack the big enemy of the scenario, and sometimes other enemies. The tank could bomb or crush players’ cars, the helicopter could drop a rocket, and so on.
They also grow into an “activating” space for an extra-negative effect if you don’t plan and plan to prevent them. The “Cargo Thieves” card in Truck Heist, for example, places enemy pickets on your cars which, if not dealt with in time, will steal some of the loot you managed to earn.
Fast & Furious: Highway Heist creates a great feeling of kinetic energy and movement.
Even with just two actions and one enemy activation, Fast & Furious: Highway Heist creates a great feeling of kinetic energy and movement. Cars jostle for position on the road, player and enemy stakes climb rooftops and jump. In a clever design choice, the movement is relative: rather than moving many spaces on a huge board, there is a presumption of high speed. The constant hustle and bustle on the board gives her the feeling of speed she needs.
Stunt cards that move down the board add to the chaos. These are special actions that require you to set up particular locations on the board and a successful dice roll to be successful. The reward is an extra Nitro Token and a big step towards your storyline goals. However, they are also a timer. A new waterfall is added to the board each round, increasing through three difficulty levels, and an old one is removed. The last hardest stunt is an instant win if you can pull it off. But if it comes off the board, it’s the end of the game.
The Stunt Mechanic is a bit of a double-edged sword. While this adds strategy and great moments to the fun, some of the maps are super specific and very difficult to complete with just two players. Highway Heist works best with three or a full complement of four. Most of the stunts don’t come from the movies either, but directly from the imagination of the designers.
The last hardest stunt is an instant win if you can pull it off. But if it comes off the board, it’s the end of the game.
You can adjust stamina by removing more stunt cards to make it harder. And a good thing too, because the difficult standard setting seems a bit too easy. Good cooperative play should provide players with a challenge they can aspire to. Married to the limited list of three storylines, this poses a question about the game’s long-term replay value.
But while it’s on your table, Highway Heist is an exciting race, its moving parts locking into a satisfying whole. The list of actions and stunt cards gives you a lot to think about. The way the stunts count down and enemy cards turn up the tension without remorse. And the dice rolls and Nitro boosts help you feel like you’re always with one shot to the finish line.
Where to buy Fast & Furious: Highway Heist
Fast & Furious: Highway Heist has a list price of $ 29.99 and can be ordered direct from Funko Games or other online retailers in the US, as well as in person at your local game store.