It's a well explored concept with strategy games to take the premise of a heated battle or other dynamic challenge, extract the complexities of the conflict and present them in something of a thoughtful, chess-like scenario. It doesn't necessarily take a computer to do this, however, as Subbuteo, Dungeons & Dragons and card players will tell you. Essentially, Right of Way offers exactly this kind of experience, only for a 700-mile car race played with a deck of cards.
First, however, we're justified in chastising DejaVu Software for not including any instructions with the game itself. While an informative webpage types out the basics, we're chalking the lack of an actual in-game manual or functioning tutorial down to laziness, impatience, or both. Those initial ten minutes of aggravation at not knowing what the hell was going on has cost the game a point in the overall score, so let's hope that's enough to encourage the inclusion of instructions in a subsequent update.
So, with DejaVu's over eagerness to submit its game to the App Store before bothering to tell people how to play it out of the way, let's move on to the game, which is surprisingly good. The objective is to race against the computer for exactly 700 miles. First one to that number without going over is the winner of that hand. Miles then translate directly into points, and the overall game is won by the first to 5,000.
You begin Right of Way with a hand of seven random cards; playing one card alternately, then drawing a new replacement card from the deck. There are four types of cards: distance, hazards, remedies and safeties. To get started, you naturally need a 'go' card. Once that's been played, your car is considered to be moving and you can begin using the various values of distance cards to drum up the miles.
Of course, it's not so simple as landing a go card then piling on the miles in the hope of getting to 700 first. The hazard cards are used against your opponent (though more often used against you, by the opponent) to slow your progress. Hazard cards consist of flat tires, crashes, empty fuel tanks, stop signs, and speed limits. This is were remedy cards come in. Counters for each of these are available, should you draw them from your deck. Attempting to hold on to useful cards or waiting for them to be dealt from the pack right when they're needed really turns the game into something of a high-speed poker match.
With a limited number of each card type in the deck, hands can go from pseudo-breakneck speed to both cars sitting still and struggling to turn their engines over. Both situations make for a tense game of cards, however, as a car finally fires up only to be hit with a flat tyre before it can get off the mark, or both cars are racing neck and neck at 650 miles, waiting to land that exact distance card to cross the finish line.
With a bit more – nay, a lot more attention to the game's presentation, Right of Way would be a superb card game. Right now, it's a decent bare bones affair that fails to maximise on the possibilities presented by the iPhone, but that could all change with a proper update. With any luck, this game will soon come highly recommended.