Um Reifenbreite

Steve and Mike came over and we played Um Reifenbreite. I have had this hanging around my collection since Essen 2006, where I picked it up for 6€. I thought this was a good deal for a Spiel des Jahres winner, even if the box is twice as big as it needs to be, but leaving it for four years before playing was not in my plans.

We picked Um Reifenbreite because we were tired and Mike and I like cycling. There was some messing around with printing translated rules and chance cards but in the end it is a simple game, which captures the feeling of a bike race well. We spent almost no time printing or cutting the translated chance cards, as they are rarely handled. We played the Advanced Rules plus the swapping leaders and sprint rules.

The art in this game is classic 1980’s continental comedy style that used to be very common on jigsaws, postcards and posters, but has sadly died out.

The game is similarly retro – simple, intuitive, basic fun that captures the essence of the underlying theme. This is what eurogame originally meant to me. Now that definition has morphed into baroque monstrosities like Sceptre of Zavandor or Dungeon Lords. Clever games, but a long way from Um Reifenbreite. If you have played Formula De or Circus Maximus, you will be familiar with the basic race game mechanics of Um Reifenbreite and a game takes between 45 minutes for one-day races to two hours for the Tour de France. The winner is mostly decided by luck, but you don’t play games like this as a test of your intellect.

You can get this very cheap second hand and it’s a good family game that works for armchair biking enthusiasts at the end of a long day.