Cyclocross

Race Your Own Spring Classic with ‘Visions of Rainbows’ Board Game – Cyclocross Magazine

Jason McDowell is a cyclocross racer and fan during the fall, and when it comes time to hang up his ’cross bike, he turns to board gaming to survive the cold Wisconsin winters. McDowell recently launched a Kickstarter for a board game called “Visions of Rainbows,” a collaborative game that allows you to race your favorite spring classic or grand tour from your kitchen table.

McDowell shares about the game and how you can back it on Kickstarter.


Bike racing and board gaming may seem like two vastly different audiences on the surface, but I’m Kickstarting a game called “Visions of Rainbows: The Race for the Champion’s Stripes,” which seeks to marry the two worlds via the mode that makes both great—it’s all about the storytelling.

“Visions of Rainbows” was borne of an equal love for board gaming and bike racing. I spend summer and cyclocross season riding bikes and switch over to playing games through winter and spring. The end result is a balanced game with solid strategy and tactics to appeal to a seasoned gamer, and solid depth of theme to satisfy the ardent racing fan.

Visions of Rainbows is a new cycling board game by Jason McDowell

Unlike many racing games, in “Visions of Rainbows” every part of the race matters, from the front to the middle to the back. Players take turns activating a rider from their team by playing Action cards like “Pain Cave,” “Argy Bargy” and “Delusions of epic-ness” (among many others) that allow their riders to pull, push and draft lines of riders. These actions move a bunch of riders at once, including opponents.

Cards allow you to take different cycling actions.

Cards allow you to take different cycling actions.

You can also break lines by dropping opponents or forcing them out of your lane and into others. The more actions you take, the more fatigue you take on. But the more you allow your opponents to move you, the more energy you conserve. It’s a game about working together but knowing when to turn the screws in little ways so your opponents do more work by the time you approach the finish line.

The Visions of Rainbows game board.

I spent most of the past weekend previewing the game at the Midwinter Gaming Convention and honestly, it was a tough sell thanks to the theme. When approached to try out “this new bike racing game,” I was greeted with many stink faces.

There is probably a Venn Diagram that could be made with two disconnected circles illustrating board gamers and sports fans with my game sitting between.

But countless times, after a bit of convincing and a completed test run, most told me they were surprised and impressed with the level of excitement the game offered.

Some future ‘cross racers play Visions of Rainbows.

This enthusiasm is reflected in Dane Trimble’s Everything Board Games review in which he suggested, “I have a lot to learn about the strategy of this game, and I have a feeling that won’t change any time soon. It reminds me a lot of Chess in that way.”

A bike-racing board game is a project that occupies the niche-iest of niches. Both are small areas and, when combined, are smaller still. I believe this is a solid game, but I laughingly suggest if I could do it all over again, I’d choose a wizards and starfighter theme and called it “Harry Pod-Racing” instead.

Nevertheless, I still believe in this project and hope to get it into your hands soon.

You can back the Kickstarter from now until February 10, 2020. You can also follow the game on Instagram.