Death Roads: Tournament preview – deck building meets road carnage

Carnage and mayhem
Carnage and mayhem

Death Roads: Tournament is a fast-paced car-fighting game set in a dystopian future. You’ll have to put your car and your life on the line to fight for glory and a ticket to safety. Defend your reputation to earn entry into Paradise, the last safe haven in the Divided States of America. With only one winner, the stakes are high, and you’ll need to be prepared for anything. So fasten your seatbelts and get ready to ride to the extreme! Choose your driver, car, weapons, and sponsors and battle against other outlanders in dangerous races.

Death Roads: Tournament combines rogue-lite-style deadly racing and deckbuilding with car battles unlike anything seen before! Managing your car’s condition and handling, switching gears, and playing cards are crucial to coming out on top. Gear up and get ready for a race of carnage on Death Roads!

Race, fight, and strategize your way to victory in this adrenaline-fueled game

Character selection

Character selection

Death Roads: Tournament mixes deckbuilding with action sequences of road carnage in car battles, where you will fight for survival against other vehicles. Use the cards in your hand to perform deadly maneuvers, switch gears, and attack to defeat your opponents. Pay attention to all lanes for blockages and other inconveniences. If you run into a blocked lane, the game is over. When a vehicle slips, it loses steering control and random “skid” cards are played with surprising results.

Combat uses a turn-based system, where your opponent gets their turn to act once you have played your cards. At times, you may face multiple adversaries, which requires forward planning. You must evaluate which foes to eliminate first based on their strengths, weaknesses, and your deck of cards.

If you find yourself in a tricky situation, you may escape from enemies by driving forward until they are out of range. Escapes are limited, so save them for tougher opponents or mid-game, when the competition becomes more challenging.

Whenever your car is attacked by certain weapons or you play certain cards, your car may lose steering control, known as “skidding.” Skidding is unpredictable and can lead to devastating outcomes. Whenever you skid, you will play cards from your “skid deck,” which is composed of maneuvers like changing lanes, colliding with opponents, or speeding forwards or backward.

Garage and deck building

Garage and deck building

Your deck is based on the car parts you install in the garage. Each car part has up to four cards to assemble your deck. Some cards relate to car maneuvers, switching gears, and even swapping undesirable cards from your hand. Others relate to the weapons you can choose to eliminate your rivals. As cards are associated with car parts, you cannot build your deck with whatever cards you want. You are always constrained by the car parts you gain or acquire during the game. In the long run, it makes the game from becoming overwhelming Check your garage frequently to ensure that your car is set up to match your play style.

Select your path across the United States map when you start and between stages. Your journey is non-linear, with stops at Road Battles, Challengers, Events, Scrap Yards, Fix Stations, and the Chop Shop. The highlights are the Road Battle and Challengers, where you enter turn-based combat with different objectives.

At the end of a victorious battle, the player will be rewarded with parts to choose from and Scrap, the game’s currency. Scrap can be used to buy parts and fix your car. However, true to the roguelike spirit, the game is over if you lose a battle. You will slowly level up your character, eventually unlocking new cars and characters to choose from. The difficulty ramps up smoothly. The game never feels overwhelming but can be unpredictable and frustrating at times.

Death Roads: Tournament promises to deliver an exhilarating gaming experience with exciting features and unique gameplay mechanics.

Experience the Adrenaline-Pumping Action of Death Roads: Tournament

Car Selection

Car Selection

Who would guess that combining car-fighting action with turn-based battles, hand management, and deck-building mechanics would be a winning formula? The twist is that while the game feels like racing, each match is more of a battle using the car-fighting mechanics. What resembles a roguelike deck-building RPG is very well portrayed thematically as a car battle with its Mad Max style and original card system.

The game’s top-down, illustrated graphic style brings in elements derived from post-apocalypse dieselpunk design, popularized by the Mad Max series of movies. It’s simply outstanding. There is always a feeling that you are moving at high speed, and the animations of explosions and attacks are exhilarating. The game presentation is spot on with neat and clean elements, cards containing intuitive symbols only, and seamless user interface that does not get in the way of gameplay. The overall artwork is coherent with the dystopian fiction illustrated style: always neat, clean, and visually appealing. However, the soundtrack seems out of place, is tiring, and repetitive.

Death wish

Death wish

However, Death Roads can be highly disappointing because its randomness can lead to extremely frustrating moments. For example, moving into a blocked lane when skidding and suddenly losing the game after many impeccable battles. Recurring drawing of undesirable cards can also turn the odds of an easy game against you and lead to irreversible consequences. No matter how well you plan and play, the game can be unnecessarily punishing and not well-balanced.

Final Thoughts

Death Roads: Tournament is an exciting and addictive game that encourages you to keep playing with its quick and fast-paced battles. Like any roguelike, game over means the next game begins in a never-ending cycle of street rage and mayhem. However, its unpredictable nature can lead to frustrating moments, and the overall game balance needs tweaking to avoid undermining player performance. Nevertheless, it remains engaging and keeps us coming back for more. As an Early Access game, it has great potential to be realized after some polishing.


  • It mixes action sequences of road carnage with deckbuilding and hand management mechanics.
    Engaging and addictive gameplay.
    Mad Max-style post-apocalyptic dieselpunk design.
  • Cons:
  • The game can be highly frustrating due to its randomness, leading to unexpected outcomes and ruining the gameplay experience.
    The game can become repetitive after a while, as players repeatedly engage in the same type of battles.
    The soundtrack doesn’t suit the game.

Note: Death Roads: Tournament is available as an Early Access Game.

Tabletop Editor

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