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Yellow Jersey

Read a review here

        Yellow Jersey

E-Mail - [email protected]

2014 'Expo Release' edition - Each game commemorates a different year of the Tour De France from 1919. E-mail me to reserve a copy.

2013 'Expo Preview' Box edition  (12 copies from 1903) - Sold Out.

2013 'Essen Preview' Tile edition (20 copies) -  Sold Out.

In 2012 I took the first prototype of Yellow Jersey to Essen. Nick Case was one of the first gamers to have a play. Below is his review that he published on Yellow Jerseys' BoardGameGeek page;

'There is something supremely tactile about timber that makes it infinitely superior to plastic. So when I stumbled upon a beautiful looking game called Foundation by Cubiko games I ended up in an e-mail exchange with the designer and creator Gavin Birnbaum. Long story short he tracked me down to the Essen Bruhaus on the Wednesday night having finished setting up his area in the Messe ready for the onslaught the following day. Over a wheat beer we talked a little about Foundation and then he very casually said, 'well I have some other games I'm playtesting, would you like a go?'

We didn't need asking twice and he broke out a square, hinged box with what looked like a race track carved into the lid. The opened box revealed an array of wooden pieces, cyclists, circular player boards, pegs and counters with numbers etched out. The only splash of paint was on the bikes, I was sold already. Gavin explained that this size of box with the board carved onto the lid was his modus operandi for all of his games. As the beer sloshed around the table and us, it became immediately apparent that these are perfect pub games, small, self contained in a robust wooden box and most importantly, beer proof.

Gavin explained the rules very quickly, because there are very few. We all control a team of 3 cyclists. Stage posts are randomly distributed around a circular-ish track that starts and ends back in Paris. Players select 3 of 6 numbered disks (1-6) to decide how far each cyclist will go in turn one, and here's the first attack of angst. You only move one cyclist at a time and the road is at most only 2 spaces wide, sometimes only 1. So do you strike out for the front or hold back? The problem being if other bikes block your way and you can't take your full move you will crash and lose movement the next time you allocate a disk to that cyclist.

However if you time it right and end your turn exactly behind a single team, you slip stream to the front. Similarly end up at the top of a hill and you will go faster next turn, bottom of a hill and you go slower. And just to rub it in some more you can't let your front two bikes get seperated too much (too many stage posts in between) or they will slow down in future turns.

What transpires is a see saw of positioning where a bike can look totally out of it, only to slip stream back into contention whilst an early leader gets boxed and overhauled by the pack. An enthralling tug of war and I wanted to press the necessary euros into Gavins hands there and then. However it was his only demo copy so I had to wait, and it was worth the wait because he has revamped it now using hardwood for the box and tweaked the rules slightly. Both are enhancements.

This is the perfect filler for me, 30 minutes play time, simple rules, nice wooden hand made bits (in Gavins workshop) and it looks stunning.'

 The background to Yellow Jersey.

The idea for a race game on a 246mm x 246mm sized board had been on my mind for a while but it was only the need for a fresh game at an after school Cubiko Club that pushed my creative mind into gear. The club was due to start at 3:15. I spent the morning designing a racing circuit. (pictured below). Armed with some dice and some 'Tiny Town' cars I took the game to Mayfield school.  

The kids were enthusiastic and the game flowed quite well considering the rushed dice mechanics.  



After being inspired by the cycling in the London Olympics I saw the opportunity to turn it into a 'Tour de France' type game (pictured below). I drew a circuit, made some cute cyclists, applied a simple move mechanic (still with dice) and started playtesting.

Initial name for the game 'Tour de France'


   In the workshop I produced the initial CAD and cut this board (pictured).  I liked the bikes so much I cut some more.

  A search on BBG showed that 'Tour de France' wasn't a unique name so I renamed the game 'YELLOW JERSEY' and it fitted nicely!

Next I cut a jersey for the round starter piece and completed more play testing. I soon dropped the dice and put in place a more subtle 'choose your move' mechanic. It worked well but was a bit confusing, I kept losing track of play. What was needed was a 'support board' to create some clarity. However, adding components means more work, time and cost but the 'support board' proved its worth, it kept things organized and play was much easier to follow.


Here is the first version of the support board.

In September 2012, armed with some swiftly drafted rules, I took Yellow Jersey up to Stroud to play test with some game designers. 

It took about an hour to play and everyone enjoyed it. There were some suggestions, which I have since addressed, but the main positive for me was that the mechanic survived and the game worked.

I set to work and produced the 1st demo copy (pictured left). During Essen spiel '12  several people played a game and again the feedback was very positive.





  Yellow Jersey was released at UK Games Expo 2014.







30/6/13 - The tile version (sold out) was made for Essen 13