The Official Rules of Cars


When we go out to eat, we tend to take in more than we take out. Like most kids, Daniel “comes with everything you see here”. A typical trip may include Oscar, his stuffed blue dog, or some other “pet”. He may be accompanied by the latest toy sent from his various grandparents for various holidays. However, no trip to a restaurant is complete without at least a fistful of Hot Wheels so we can play Cars.

The layman probably thinks Cars is just pushing a car back and forth across the table. That is the “beginner” level. Daniel and I started playing this back when he had only a few cars (I believe he has several hundred thousand now). It was a good time pushing the cars around; making the car noise. The smooth shiny melamine tables at McDonald’s are perfect for a game of Cars.

However, as Daniel got older, the beginner level of Cars just wasn’t as much fun anymore. We moved up to the “intermediate” rules at that point. It’s not enough to just get the car to the other side of the table. You place your hands in an “L” shape, join them at the thumbs and stick your fingers straight out. This becomes the “garage”. The trick is to get the car into the garage and keep it there. If you push too hard and it ricochets out, it doesn’t count.

The intermediate level is more of a challenge than it sounds. Hot Wheels cars don’t have the best alignment and a car can vary its path pretty significantly in the trip across the tabletop. There is the added threat of missing the garage altogether and driving off the edge. Daniel calls it “plunging to their doom” (yes, he’s my child; what gave it away?).

Now Daniel is eight years old and we’ve moved on to the “advanced” level of Cars. You still drive the cars across the table, you still have the garage. But now you have to push it with your thumbs while it is in the garage, similar to the bumper action in a pinball game. Where does it go from there? We’re entering uncharted territory. However, I have a feeling that – from this point on – the game of Cars may involve real cars.

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