Domino Rally Review: An exciting, nostalgic family activity!

Best Moment

My three young kids and I had spent hours putting together three sets into an elaborate set-up across the kitchen floor. After several stray knees and elbows destroyed our progress, we built in some fail safe breakpoints. Finally, we neared the final segment when dad knocked over two entire sections. Ugh! After some massive rebuilding, we finally pulled it all off and cheered as the two cars jumped through the flaming hoop and knocked over the brick wall.

Gameplay Overview

Domino Rally is an enhanced version of classic domino sets with some “modern” features like a self-driving car which sets up dominoes, stunt cars jumping through a ring of fire, and a domino-triggered rocket launch! Gameplay consists of maximizing creativity with any sort of configuration. Want to group by color? Great. Want to clump all of the activities together? That’s just fine. Let your kids’ imagination run wild as they work together to build and create.

Quick Thoughts

Domino Rally will make you feel like a kid again! It was a super nostalgic moment setting this up for the first time, enhanced all the more by being surrounded by my own kids “helping” out. It had been a long time since I had played with dominoes (um, decades?), and it was so fulfilling lying on the floor trying to carefully maneuver around our set-ups while simultaneously placing dominoes.

Domino Rally provides real-world, resilience-building opportunities. The first time playing, we bit off more than we could chew by combining all three sets. It was a long process sprinkled with complaints, but we worked through it together with patience, diligence, and resilience. I actively seek out chances to teach our kids these principles, and this opportunity quite literally fell on our doorstep! Here are the three sets we tried:

Starter Lane
This basic set includes an awesome cascading wall with a clever trigger rod and a step bridge to place dominoes over or underneath. See if you can craft a seamless figure-8 with the center point being the top of the bridge using all 60 dominoes and the wall! It’s the perfect amount of challenge for younger kids.

Crazy Race
Yes, this set has a flaming hoop (not real fire you uber-conservative parents! 😉 ) through which not one but two cars fly after taking a death-defying, upside-down loop. Add to that a brick wall for the cars to demolish, two cascading towers, and a steep starting ramp, and you’ve got the makings for many hours of entertainment. It also has these clever speed tracks with attached dominoes. All you have to do to stack them is tip the track enough and you’re set!

Ultra Power
This is my favorite of the three sets because it has a self-driving car that stacks dominoes for you! You can control if it drives straight or curves left or right as it places stacked dominoes from its feeder. I was highly skeptical about it working when we first opened the box, but we all watched in awe as it chugged around doing the work for us! This set also has a really cool rocket and airplane that launch when triggered.

Tips & Tricks

  • Be patient with children! There will be inevitable “Oops!” and “Oh man!” moments. That’s okay! Just enjoy the process and working hard at accomplishing a goal together.
  • Whether you’re playing with kids or adults, build in breakpoints (i.e., spaces between segments) so you don’t lose everything if you trip or bump or sneeze.

Scoring & Wrap-up

Overall, as a classic family activity, I give Domino Rally a solid 8 out of 10 (“Very good – enjoy playing and would suggest it” on BGG’s scale) for the following reasons:

Promoters

  • The dominoes themselves are a great size and thickness for kids. They are easy to stand up and don’t fall over with the slightest puff of air.
  • The loops, bridges, planes, jumps, walls, rockets, tracks, stairs, and set-up vehicle are super entertaining.
  • The dominoes and activity components are colorful and bright.
  • Setting up teaches kids patience, diligence, and rewards for hard work.

Detractors

  • I have a few quality concerns with the components. Nothing has broken yet, but the plastic seems a bit flimsy with the non-domino parts (the dominoes themselves are solid).

If you’re an old-school dominoes fan, new to the craze, or interested in a gift idea for a friend, family, or grandchild, you’ll love this collection of dominoes. There’s nothing quite like seeing the excited then determined faces of kids unwrapping these boxes.


Disclaimer: I received this game for free in exchange for my review, but believe me, I post authentic reviews every time and will be brazenly blunt if needs be.

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