Review: Homestretch
Publisher: Milton Bradley
Year: 1974
Tagline: The Zany Steeplechase Game with Springy-Leg Horses

This cover shows ridiculous cartoon racehorses and jockeys tipped every which way as though the legs are made of springs

how we met

This was another from an estate sale full of random vintage games at very nice prices. And you tell me: if you open a box and find plastic racehorses with springy legs, would you turn away? Neither would I.

how it plays

The goal of Homestretch is to be the first to race your horse to the end! The board has two obstacles in between the start and finish spaces. Homestretch is a spin and move game, where the spinner will indicate which horse leg you move and to which color space.

The spinner
Your friend (hopefully), the spinner

You can move a horse leg to any space of that color (it doesn’t have to be the next available space of that color) with a few rules applied:

  1. You can’t move any horse leg over the first obstacle, the fence, until you have gotten all four horse legs off the start area.
  2. You can’t move any horse leg over the second obstacle, the hedge, until you have gotten all four horse legs over the first obstacle. And they are super stretchy, but that would really be pushing it!
  3. You can’t move any horse leg onto the finish area until all four horse legs are over the second obstacle.
The board
This view of the board should help demonstrate the obstacles and gameplay. Note: only one horse is kind of standing at this point

The other rules are that at the end of your turn, your horse body must be off the board. You can drape it around and lean on things around you, but you can’t end your turn with your horse body just laying on the board. If that happens you must move your horse leg back to where it was before spinning.

Yellow pawn horse close up
If it sounds easy, it’s because I haven’t focused on one of our heroes yet

One space on the spinner allows any foot and just shows a color. You must announce which foot you are moving prior to starting. You must commit.

One space on the spinner causes you to lose a turn. Like most vintage games, it does not give you any nice way to track that so just try to remember.

The first player to land two of their horse’s legs in the finish area wins Homestretch!

how it went

This was such a fun departure from a typical vintage game. The only problem with my copy is that the red horse is missing one foot that helps to anchor it in place. I honestly thought that would make play easier, but John ended up with the red horse and it was much more difficult to balance that one. (sorry John!)

The horses have names, this green horse is Beetle Bohm
They get names, the better to haunt you with my dear

Homestretch suffers from a lot of spinning (or rolling) issues where if you must move each of the four horse legs before making real progress, it can take several turns to make that happen. Sometimes you might spin the same damn leg three times in a row.

The middle portion of the board is where the horses can really open their stride, and that saw the most precarious positions for us. At times players were facing the wrong direction, upside down, twisted every which way to try and move a bit forward every spin.

Horses stretched all over to try and get over the 2nd obstacle
See? Floating millimeters above the board. What a fucking mess

Bill probably pushed the boundaries the most with how he tried to stretch his poor horse’s legs. And he was able to spin lucky enough that it paid off for him in the end. Bill was the first player across the second obstacle and then to get two horse legs into the finish area. And Bill won Homestretch!

play or pass

Play, definitely. I think play can go long with four players (especially if your spins are repeatedly not what you need), but what a fun, weird game. Homestretch combines the luck of spinning with the creativity, daring and dexterity of pushing your horse to its limits and making sure it does not touch the board. We had a grand time.