Dé, which I hold as one of the worst games I've ever played. Meanwhile, I really enjoy Detroit-Cleveland Grand Prix, which I've heard more than a few people dismiss as not being "race-like" enough.
Somewhere in the middle, my opinion not yet fully formed, sits the game Snow Tails. Each player commands his own dog sled across any of dozens of possible tracks. (The "board" comes broken into many puzzle-like pieces, allowing several different play configurations.)
The mechanics of the race are charmingly elegant. Each player has a deck of 25 cards -- five each numbered 1 through 5. The cards play in any of three slots on their dog sled: a "left dog," "right dog," and a brake. The sum of the dogs (less the strength of the brake card) determines the forward speed of the sled, while the differential between the two dogs determines whether the sled will pull to the left or right as it advances. On your turn, you may play cards from your five-card hand into one, two, or all three slots on your sled, and then draw an equal number of replacement cards. But there is one catch: all cards you play in a turn must be of the same value.
The courses place considerations on the players that will be familiar from other racing games: you can draft behind your opponents; you must slow your speed to avoid calamity during a turn; damaging your sled reduces your options for the rest of the race (in the form of a smaller hand size).
I found the balance of strategy versus luck in the deck mechanism to be an interesting one, and I think I enjoyed the game well enough during my first race. But I was left with some reservations about the overall balance of the game. In our play, the leader of the race didn't change once until the final stretch, no matter how cleverly the other players maneuvered to seek advantage. And when that final stretch came, the come-from-behind winner simply threw all caution to the wind and nearly destroyed his sled with damage in a mad (victorious) dash for the finish line.
It's possible that what I described was a fluke of one race. It's also possible that the particular track we raced, with many tight turns, shaped the experience. But as much as I enjoyed the game while I was playing it, I was left at the end with serious doubts about playing it again. If every race indeed offers no opportunities for the lead to change, save for a reckless final turn where the person who draws the highest cards wins, then the game offers no real strategy, only the illusion of it. But I certainly want to like the game.
Right now, new board games seem to be coming into my group faster than we can play them. And many of the new ones have made more of a splash than Snow Tails. Thus, though I had every intention of giving the game another chance (and waiting to review it until I did), it's now been several months since my first and only play. So I've decided to wait no longer. I would suggest caution if you're thinking of picking up Snow Tails, though I certainly invite anyone who owns it and has played it more to chime in and speak to my concerns.