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What am I missing in Flamme Rouge


Hello! I’m really not the type to trash a popular game, but I was really excited about receiving Flamme Rouge due to friends loving it, and the great review here. We got it out, played it, and all felt a bit bored. It came off one note and stale. I’m wondering, has anyone played it, missed a key rule that makes it great, and the end result was that it wasn’t super fun? I’d love to find out that I’m wrong here, please let me know if you’ve experienced similar plays. Thanks!

-The normally overly optimistic gamer, Nick.


Flamme Rouge is certainly a game that has more than one “level”. Yes, you and 3 or 4 of your friends can sit down around a table, draw cards, play cards, and watch with lackluster enthusiasm as your little cyclists progress down the board.

The meat (or soy if that’s your thing?) of the game is managing your cyclists’ decks. Saving up the big cards when they’ll do you more good but also worrying about staying with the pack because going it alone is a very exhausting proposition.

I would say the rules “gotchas” are:

  • When you play a card, it is removed from the game and not put in your discard pile
  • If your cyclist is at the front of a pack (meaning there is nobody in the right-most lane of the spot ahead of them), that cyclist gains an exhaustion card that will start to clog up your hand if you get too many.
  • A rider on an upward incline cannot be either the subject or object of drafting.
  • You must choose one of your cyclists, draw their cards, choose and discard the rest before you are allowed to draw cards for your second cyclist.
  • [EDIT] On an upward incline, your movement is limited to a max of 5. If you play a 2, you move 2. If you play a 5, you move 5. If you play a 9, you move 5.
  • [EDIT] On a downward decline, your movement is guaranteed a minimum of 5. If you play a 2, you move 5. If you play a 5, you move 5. If you play a 9, you move 9.


I have occasionally seen someone break away right at the start and carry on that lead through the whole race, acquiring piles of exhaustion cards as they go but never quite letting anyone catch them.

But this is rare. The normal game works in the basis that each Rouleur has the same cards as each other Rouleur, so the way you win is to play the right cards at the right time.


I always have the high-level strategy of “my sprinteur will just follow my rouleur until the last 1/3 or 1/4 of the course and then I’ll use all those big cards I’ve been saving up (and very few exhaustion cards because hopefully I’ve given all of those to my rouleur) to blast ahead to victory”

In practice, I just groan and bury my head in my hands as I watch my friends win and I’m at least 2 more turns from crossing the line with either cyclist


Also, I believe the 3rd level of this game is, before drawing a single card, looking at the layout of the track and developing a strategy specific to the course you’re about to play. Early uphills with some (Peloton) refreshments near the end? That’s completely different than uphills right at the end and downhill near the start.


Didn’t we have a very similar thread to this a while ago?


Yeah, I guess we did:


Beat me to it!


I think it is totally OK to dismiss Flamme Rouge if it is not for you. I own it, but only to play at playing it with my 4 year old daughter (and maybe play it for real at some point with family). I’m never again going to take it to a game meet to play with friends/strangers/acquaintances.


I see people are still misinterpreting what I said. Sigh.


Maybe you just don’t like it; I don’t. :stuck_out_tongue: Doesn’t make it a bad game, just not my type of game.


Yeah I have to agree with the general sentiment of the replies here…sometimes a game just doesn’t work for you. Cosmic Encounters is that for me. Sometimes it’s theme and sometimes it’s mechanics but I don’t think that a game “everyone” loves is a guaranteed hit


Yeah, Terraforming Mars for me. But it’s a big industry with plenty of room for weirdoes like us. :slight_smile:


As a pure numbers game, it isn’t really “enough” to satisfy. There aren’t enough choices or chances to manipulate things to make for a satisfying game if we rest solely on its pure mechanics. One only needs to play solo versus the peloton and muscle racers to see how thin your choices are.

I like having an excuse to build tracks and I like card-counting solitaire games so I’ll actually bust it out for a race or two once in a while, but the real magic comes from group play. Yes, again the game is a bit thin on juicy choices there, but there’s something to be said about reigning everything in. It’s a hodgepodge of miniature betting, board tactics, deck building and deduction games all-in-one, and if it was too wild, none of the core conceits of the game would work, at least consistently.

In my opinion, it all comes down to how much you enjoy that delicious last sprint, and more specifically, how much your table enjoys that last sprint. It’s kind of a classic rowdy game that way, and it’s invaluable in my collection for that reason. Quick and dirty, with just enough there to get people groaning or cheering on every draw/reveal. The modular setup, especially with Peloton/Meteo, plus tourney rules is just a big ol’ cherry on top.


I think it lives or dies on the group you’re with and the atmosphere you’re going for.

There’s not much of an actual game and the strategy is very shallow. It means it’s perfect for casual friends who just want a simple and light-hearted good time. The best fun I’ve had with it is playing with two drunk buddies who are super competitive. We did a 5 race tour and they were literally yelling with joy when they overtook each other and trash talked each other the whole time. Every other playthrough with ‘gamer’ friends was quite dull.

On another note, I’m told the Pelaton expansion is a must-buy which elevates the game.


I would agree. However, if you don’t like the base game, I don’t know if Peloton will “fix” it for you.


Agree. Peloton is an excellent expansion to me because it adds more things without fundamentally changing the game. This is a bad choice if you don’t like the game in the first place.


Is Peloton out of stock in the UK? I can’t find it at any of my usual places…


Looks like it. Best one I can find is Philibert, but it’s in French. The game is language independent, except any player aid and rule book will most likely be in French - which you can solve by printing from an online pdf. Ballpark 30 quid with shipping.


Ah, it does sound like there might be a restock at the end of May/beginning of June according to this thread:

So if that’s the case I’ll wait till then :slight_smile: