Perfect Stride is a horse-themed card game where players are riders who partner up with a horse of their choosing for a high-speed race across the countryside over a hidden course of challenging jumps. A story unfolds as lucky and unlucky events occur, and skillful riding is needed to collect the most ribbons to win the game. Perfect Stride encourages children to read, do addition and subrtractions, it promotes personal bests over player domination and engages players in problem-solving through logical thinking.
OK – listen up. Many of the folks that work with us on reviews pride themselves on their education, knowledge and when it comes to games, their skill. When we met up with Perfect Stride we did not quite know what we are getting ourselves into! The game is challenging. The game is constantly changing. The game has a fairly complex set-up (that can actually be more complex depending on which level you choose to play – and yes there are different levels to play at). There is luck, strategy, a little more luck, and a lot more strategy involved in each round. Perfect Stride takes a little getting used to when playing, but the game really does have a nice flow to it when it gets going. And…once you have the basics down, the skill really starts coming in to play. However, be warned – Perfect Ride does take a little getting used to. There is a learning curve. Younger players (especially if younger than the recommended age of 8 years old) will need some guidance at the beginning. Once everyone playing understands the rules, the game can be quite engaging and challenging – but let’s face it – this is no Candy Land – it will take a bit of learning out of the box to get up and running (or trotting).
All in all Perfect Stride consists of 169 “playing-size” cards and a “Lead Rider Token”. The game is designed for kids 8 and up, so for the most part kids that age understand how to handle (translation=clean-up) their games. Losing cards could seriously hurt the game play, so you’ll want to be extremely careful during clean-up. Other than the concern over lost cards, there are no major worries with durability.
The artwork on Perfect Stride is absolutely gorgeous, there is no denying that. We will say that unless your child has an affinity to horses this might not be the first game they grab off the shelf. There are brighter color games that kids almost always flock to first. However, if a group of kids sees another group actually playing Perfect Stride, the crowd will gather…and get interested…and want their turn to play! So while many kids may not be as impressed with the artwork itself, they will like the look of the game play – that is for sure!
Functionality and Perfect Stride go hand in hand. First off the game itself has different levels of play. Then add in that the game will play differently every time. Add to that a game that is truly challenging, requiring luck, skill and problem solving. All in all it is easy to see that the makers of this game put a lot of thought into the design of the gameplay itself. And it shows. Excellent functionality.
At its heart, Perfect Stride is a card game. Other than the Lead Rider Token, all other components are cards. With that said, in a blind survey we priced it right around $15. With an actual retail price of $24.95, it is quite a bit more costly than we had expected.
There are a number of skill and strategy-based card games on the market, some more popular over the years than others. But none that we had ever played were quite like this. First off, we have never seen a horse-themed card game before. Secondly, the unique way in which the game was designed and plays is absolutely original. If you are looking for a card game unlike any you have ever played – Perfect Stride is it!
Overall we found Perfect Stride to be an enjoyable, competitive, thought-provoking, problem-solving game that is surprisingly addictive. It isn’t easy to play the first time, and it isn’t the kind of game that does not require any thinking. The cards themselves are beautifully illustrated and the game play is challenging and fun. If you have a group of kids that either loves horses, loves challenging games, or both – then Perfect Stride is right for them!
Recommended Age: 8+ (Junior/Basic Rules), 13+ (Full Rules)
Retail Price: $24.95
On the Web: www.perfectstride.net
Buy It Here: www.perfectstride.net