Checkered Flag

This page last updated March 31, 1997

Checkered Flag is a travel-sized racing car game from Milton Bradley. Not much bigger than a business card, it's less than an inch thick. The case opens to reveal the pieces - two magnets of one color, and two of another - and the board slides out and unfolds to triple the case size. The center of the case contains two spinning wheels which act as dice.

The board is of a race track, and it's a cute little travelling game that fits even in a crowded suitcase. Unfortunately, there were no rules with the copy I bought. I bought it remaindered some years ago at a chain drug store, and the package had been stapled shut. I don't know if the game ever came with rules or not - hard to tell. So I wrote my own rules, given what the board looked like. In case you have the game, and don't have any rules (or don't like the rules that came with the game, though I suspect they are similar), here are the rules I wrote for Checkered Flag.

Rules for Milton Bradley's Checkered Flag

Copyright 1993, 1997 by Steffan O'Sullivan

The Pieces
Each player chooses a color. One magnet of his color is his car, and is placed at the start line. The other magnet is his gear marker, and is placed in Neutral at the start of the race.

The Track

  • Only one car per space.
  • White Spaces: Straightaway.
  • Salmon-colored Spaces: Curves and other Danger Zones.
  • Striped Spaces: Narrow Track, no passing.
Shift Boxes
Cars start in "N" (Neutral). You may never shift up or down more than one gear change per turn. That is:
  • From Neutral you can shift to "1" (First Gear).
  • From 1st you can shift to 2nd or back to N.
  • From 2nd you can shift to 3rd or back to 1st.
  • From 3rd you can shift to 2nd.
You don't have to shift gear every turn - you may remain in the same gear.

If you crash, move the magnet directly over to the "Crash" circle next to your current speed. On subsequent turns, the car may not move, but the shift marker is moved up one box, until "N" is reached. From "N" you may shift to 1st and move. Thus, crashing while in 2nd gear means you lose one turn; crashing from 3rd gear means you lose two turns.

Each player spins the wheels, adding the total. High number goes first.

First, select your Gear, then spin the wheels each time you move:

  • 1st Gear: move the lesser of the two numbers (only one of them if they are the same).
  • 2nd Gear: move the greater of the two numbers (only one of them if they are the same).
  • 3rd Gear: move the sum of the two numbers.
Curves and Other Danger Zones
If you enter a curve or other danger zone while in 2nd gear, you must spin again to see if you crash. If you get a "1" on wheel "B", you have crashed. Place the car in the last danger zone space in that section you could have reached that move.

If you enter a danger zone while in 3rd gear, you crash if you roll a "1" or "2" on wheel "B".

There is no chance of a crash if you move in 1st gear.

Multiple Curve Danger Zones
Two of the danger zones have more than one curve. You must check for a crash for each curved section in these danger zones. All other contiguous danger zone spaces moved through in the same turn require only one check for crash for all of them.

Leaving a Danger Zone
You don't have to check for a crash if, leaving a danger zone, your first space entered is a white space. You do have to check if you enter a new danger zone space that turn.

You must brake if someone is in a Narrow Track and your movement would take you onto or through their space. You must stop before reaching their space. The number of spaces you have to brake is important: that is, if your given move is 6, but you can only move 4 that turn, you must brake 2 spaces. Spin the wheels: if you get the number braked or less on Wheel "B", you have crashed. You may also voluntarily brake before entering a danger zone, but you must still check for crashing from braking. You can always brake from 1st gear with no chance of crashing. You may not ram the other car!

The first car to cross the finish line is the winner.

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