Karl Benz built the first automobile in 1885 and to this day, it remains one of the most groundbreaking and useful inventions in modern history. However, (with the exception of racing games) there is very little representation of the automotive industry in board games. Here are 7 games about cars to make your game night roar like a V8 engine.

Formula D (2008)

Formula D Box Art
  • Players: 2-10
  • Time: 60 Minutes
  • Designers: Laurent Lavaur, Eric Randall
  • Publisher: Asmodee
  • Theme: Formula One Racing

Formula D (originally titled Formula De) is a racing game in which players are trying to be the first to get around the track. The game includes a gear shift and a car for each player and a racetrack with a variety of curves.

During the game you will be increasing and decreasing your gear to manage the curves which require you to go through at a specific gear or risk damaging your vehicle. Too much damage can eliminate you from the race and the first person to cross the finish line wins. This is a simple game and supports a surprisingly large player count.

Kanban (2014)

Kanban Box Art
  • Players: 2-4
  • Time: 90-120 Minutes
  • Designer: Vital Lacerda
  • Publishers: Stronghold Games, Eagle Gryphon Games
  • Theme: Automotive Business

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This game is designed by Vital Lacerda, who is known for designing some of the most complicated board games in the industry, and Kanban is no exception.

This game is an extremely heavy strategic game in which you manage a car business during the automotive revolution. You manage suppliers, factories, and assembly lines to produce the most innovative cars more efficiently than your competitors.

If this game interests you, keep your eyes peeled for an early 2020 Kickstarter for Kanban EV, which is supposedly a more streamlined version of the game and focuses on production of more modern electric vehicles.

Getaway Driver (2019)

Getaway Driver Box Art
  • Players: 2
  • Time: 25-35 Minutes
  • Designer: Jeff Beck
  • Publisher: Uproarious Games
  • Theme: Car Chase

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Getaway Driver is probably the biggest thematic stretch on this list, although there is a car chase involved, the game itself is less about cars and more about managing and maneuvering your way out of the city while your opponent is trying to corral you with the full force of the law.

Alas, I would feel remiss if I left this game off of this list. It is an excellent 2 player cat and mouse game that utilizes cars (and other vehicles) in a unique way as compared to the rest of the games on our list.

Purchase direct from the publisher Uproarious Games

Kraftwagen (2015)

Kraftwagen Box Art
  • Players: 2-4
  • Time: 90 Minutes
  • Designer: Matthias Kramer
  • Publisher: Stronghold Games, ADC Blackfire Entertainment
  • Theme: Automotive Development

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In Kraftwagen, you take control of start-up companies that research and develop new technologies to improve their production of automobiles, which will then be put to the test in Grand Prix races which will provide you prestige and money to use for further development. This is a fairly underrated game and can often be found on the discount shelves of many online retailers.

Automania (2015)

Automania Box Art

In Automania, you a run a car factory producing the most sought after cars on the market. You can customize your factory, hire specialists, and improve your assembly lines. While this game is similar to Kraftwagen and Kanban thematically, this is a much faster paced game. It feels like you are producing and selling off tons of vehicles. It definitely has a lot of strategy, but the turn-to-turn gratification in this one is what makes the game feel light and fresh.

Sadly this one is out of print, but there is definitely enough interest to get another print run so for now it’s just a waiting game.

PitchCar (1997)

PitchCar Box Art
  • Players: 2-8
  • Time: 30
  • Designer: Jean du Poël
  • Publisher: Ferti Games, Eagle Gryphon Games
  • Theme: Racing

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PitchCar is a wild dexterity game in which you are using wooden puzzle pieces to build a large race track and then flicking small cars (discs) around the track to see who can finish first. That is pretty much all there is too it. It is by far the the most lighthearted game on our list and arguably the most fun as well.

Downforce (2017)

Downforce Box Art
  • Players: 2-6 
  • Time: 20-40
  • Designer: Rob Daviau, Justin D. Jacobson, Wolfgang Kramer
  • Publisher: Restoration Games
  • Theme: Racing and Wagering

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Downforce is another racing game on our list but it separates itself from the pack with a couple of unique mechanics.

Firstly, the movement cards in the game move multiple cars forward, not just one. So on your turn, you move yourself and a handful of your opponents up as well.

Secondly, you can win the game without even winning the race. At various points throughout the game you can place wagers on who you think will win, and if they do, you receive points for it. It makes the decision of which cards to play all the more interesting, because maybe your best chance to win the game is to help someone else win the race.

So what are you waiting for? Thanks to Karl Benz, your friendly local game store is just a drive away. Or you can purchase them at the links above!

7 Board Games about Cars