My son wanted to play a game with his Hot Wheels cars this morning, and here's what we came up with. All three kids, even the two-year-old, had fun, although the youngest just wanted to roll the cars around!
Best of all, setup was simple and fast, allowing me to happily class this as a "Quick and Dirty Toy."
(Disclaimer: While I don't specifically remember seeing it, I am SURE someone has documented a similar game in the past. No claim of originality, just fun!)
- Long stretch of smooth floor
- 6 Matchbox size cars (Test them to make sure they all run reasonably far and straight.)
- Tape (Blue painter's tape would be ideal. I didn't have any, but I found a couple rolls of low-tack paper "Washi" tape I was willing to risk on my floor.)
- Mark a starting line with tape. About one half of the distance to the end of your course, mark the 1 point line. Mark the 2 and 3 point lines about 1/3 of the remaining distance between the 1 point line and the course end.
Also mark the course end if necessary. (One variation of the game allows for a wall or other "bumper" at course end.)
- If you don't happen to have two sets of 3 similarly colored cars, place a small piece of tape or a sticker on top of 1/2 of the cars. We had two colors of tape and marked both sets of cars.
- Optionally, mark the point values on the tape.
Rules:I will give the base game rules along with several variations for younger or older players.
- Each player sends one car down the course, beginning from behind the starting line.
- The car is scored based on where it stops rolling, with any piece of the car extending over a line counting as "in." (Or "out" as the case may be!)
- Alternate turns until each player has sent all three cars down the course. Note that cars *are* allowed to bump one another, and scoring takes place only after all cars have been played.
- The player with the most points wins, and gets to go first on the next game.
In this example, the black and green car scores 0, the orange scores 1, the white scores 2, and the green and red cars 3 - unless they bumped the basket or drove off the edge.
Alternates for a simpler game
- Our first go-round, we marked a car as "out" if it either bumped a wall at the end of the course, or traveled past the wood floor into the kitchen. This was So easy to do that it got frustrating. So we set up a laundry basked across the kitchen door, and changed the scoring. Cars were now allowed to hit the wall or basket, but the area between the last line and the course end was now worth 1 point. The area between the 2nd and 3rd scoring lines was now deemed "most difficult" and set at 3 points.
In theory it is possible to bounce a car off the wall or the basket and back into the three point line, but in practice it never happened. Remember that where the Front of the car is determines the score.
Going back to the example in the photo, the green and red cars would be just 1 point, and the white car a 3.
- For younger kids, playing just one car at a time and immediately removing it from the course may be less frustrating. Alternately, each player could play all three cars and them remove them from the course before the other player goes.
- Play in a hall-way and mark cars as "out" if they strike either wall. If playing in a more open area, mark "gutters" or "boundaries" to left and right. Cars outside the boundary are not scored.
- Keep score for several rounds, perhaps using a white board or magna-doodle.
- Set up a dual-ended course with scoring lines on each end and gutters to side and end. This, of course, will require some accurate measurements plus plenty of room on each end to be fair. Each player sends his cars from opposite ends of the course. (Check out the rules for "Table Shuffleboard" for more ideas.)