Parts of the Game
The Skill Cards must be matched to the jump difficulty and determine the effort required to clear the jump. If you match or exceed a jump's difficulty, you earn extra points. Skill cards also have a function you can play. For example: "Thanks to a good trim and fresh set of shoes from your skilled farrier, your horse feels quick and agile on this course. If you draw or are given an unlucky event, ignore its effects."
Jump Cards describe the type of jump to be cleared, and the difficulty of the jump. The 'Dinner's Served' card signifies just one of the several types of jump and explains lots of power is required to clear this big stack of hay bales. This card is worth six points.
The Horse Cards describe the types of jumps the horse is good at, and determine points for effort clearing those jumps.
Horse Care Cards give horses special abilities that can be used during a player's turn. For example, if you draw the horse Tempest, the card describes the horse as multi-talented and bold who takes charge if not guided and can be temperamental with an insensitive rider.
Event cards signify unlucky or lucky events that can occur during a player's turn.
Pace Cards determine how fast riders are going and Ribbon Cards are given for each successful jumps. There is also a lead rider token.
The Skill and Event Cards are set out face down. Each rider draws a Pace Card from the pile and the rider with the fastest pace walk, trot, canter or gallop, gets the Lead Rider Token. This signifies that this rider goes first over each jump card. Once the leader is determined, each rider gets a walk, trot, canter and gallop card. Each rider then gets three Skill Cards that are held so the other players can not see them. The ribbon cards are divided into ten piles and placed alongside of the jump cards already laid out. These are stacked highest to lowest.
To begin game play, each player chooses one of their Pace Cards and lays it face down in front of them. Then all players turn over their Pace Cards. The player who has turned over the fastest pace is the new lead rider and gets the Lead Rider Token. At each jump the players draws the number of Skill Cards shown on their Pace Cards. Then the Jump Cards are revealed and players apply their Event and Skill Cards to each jump. At the end of each turn, your Event Card must be discarded and you receive a Ribbon Card. The Pace Card is passed to each player as they play the Jump Card. When the last jump has been cleared by all the riders, they play a pace card for a race to the finish line. The players choose a Pace Card from their hand and the determines the order they cross the finish line. Each rider gets a Ribbon Card from the Finish Line card stack.
Perfect Stride VariationsA shorter game may be played, or simpler card game may be played by pulling out all the Pace, Event and Finish Cards and the Lead Rider Token.
Benefits of the Game
Because of the many different card combinations that could be pulled, you'll never play exactly the same game twice. Junior Rider rules are available from Perfect Stride's website, and the website offers extra instructions as well as bonus downloads and activities. Perfect Stride complies with the USA CPSIA safety guidelines.
The game packs easily into a small box and would be perfect for travel. The artwork is beautiful, with 95 individual pieces of artwork.