8 min read

How to Play Heat Pedal to the Metal

Learn how to play Heat Pedal to the Metal with this quick straight-forward rules guide. If you are looking for an overview of the game Heat Pedal to the Metal, its gameplay and appeal, we provide a quick review here.

Players: 1 to 6 | Game duration from: 30 mins | Game Complexity: EASY
Heat Pedal to the Metal rules pdf / rulebook

What is Heat Pedal to Metal about?

Heat: Pedal to the Metal is a racing game where players race cars around a track for laps. Players shift gears to play cards that move their car and control their speed. Manage your speed and engine to win.

Heat Pedal to Metal Game Setup

  • Put the board in the middle of the table and start with the standard two-laps board.
  • Players choose a color and take their car, player mat, Gear pawn, 12 Speed cards, and 3 Starting Upgrade cards in their color.
  • Check the game board for how many Heat and Stress cards each player adds to their car (usually 6 Heat & 3 Stress cards so that example is used below).
  • Put your player mat in front of you. Shuffle your 12 speed cards, 3 Starting Upgrade cards, and 3 Stress cards together and place this draw deck faces down on your mat.
  • Put the 6 Heat cards face-up on the Engine spot and set your Gear pawn to first gear on your player mat.
  • Place the remaining Stress cards face-up next to the board as a reserve.
  • For the first round, randomly place all participating race cars on the starting grid one at a time in ascending order to determine player order.
  • Draw 7 cards from your deck. Ready, set, go!
Heat Pedal to the Metal setup

Heat Pedal to the Metal Gameplay

The game is played over several rounds. 

There are 9 possible steps:

  1. Shift Gears
  2. Play Cards
  3. Reveal and Move
  4. Adrenaline
  5. React
  6. Slipstream
  7. Check Corner
  8. Discard
  9. Replenish

Every round, all players must complete Steps 1, 2, 3 and 9. The remaining steps are situational and may apply to your turn.

Everyone completes steps 1 and 2 simultaneously (done in order, but without waiting for each other). Once everyone has completed these two actions, move on to steps 3-9. 

Repeat until all cars finish (check lap count on board).

Heat Pedal to the Metal 1

1. Shift Gears

Check the previous gear and shift up/down as desired.

You can shift your gear up/down two positions, but it will cost one Heat point. See Heat Cards for more info.

2. Play Cards

Your gear determines how many cards you play from your hand. Keep them face down in your Play Area.

After steps 1 & 2, move to “Reveal & Move”. Players move their car and finish their turn one by one, starting with the car closest to the Race Line.

3. Reveal & Move

Flip your cards to reveal their values. Add them up to determine your speed and move your car forward that many spaces. If possible, place your car closest to the race line.

Cars don’t block you on the race track. If all spots are taken, move behind the blocking cars, closest to the race line. If two cars are next to each other, the one closest to the race line is ahead.

Heat Pedal to the Metal 2

Stress Cards

Players begin with three Stress cards in their draw deck, representing lapses of concentration as they race.

Stress cards apply a random speed between 1 and 4 when played.

Flip the top card of your draw deck to determine your speed. If it’s a Speed card, add it to your played cards. If not, discard it and continue flipping until you find a Speed card. Repeat for each Stress card played. This must be done before the Adrenaline Step.

4. Adrenaline

The rule applies only if you are the last car to move during a round, or one of the last two cars in a race with five or more cars.

Adrenaline can be beneficial for the last player to move each round. If you possess adrenaline, you are allowed to move your car one extra space before or after your boost, thereby adding one extra speed.’

You also get access to one additional Cooldown. During your React step, you can utilize both of these advantages.

Note that Adrenaline cannot be saved for future rounds.

5. React

Only applies if you have access to symbols from cards played (Garage Module), Adrenaline or your current gear.

Activate symbols in any order. Access symbols from gear or Adrenaline. Garage Module allows access to card symbols. Core game symbols: Cooldown & Boost.


Cooldown is important because it lets you reuse Heat cards. The number in the Cooldown symbol shows how many Heat cards you can reuse. You can access Cooldown by driving in gear 1 (Cooldown 3) or gear 2 (Cooldown 1).


You can boost your car’s speed by paying 1 Heat and flipping the top card of your draw deck until you get a Speed card. Then, move your car accordingly. You can only do this once per turn.

Boost increases your Speed value specifically for the purpose of the Check Corner step.

6. Slipstream

Only applies if you end your move next to or behind another car.

You can slipstream by landing next to or behind a car, moving you two spaces forward. But, slipstreaming won’t increase your speed value for the check corner step.

7. Check Corner

Only applies if you crossed through a corner this round.

Crossed a corner line? Check if you’re over the speed limit for that corner.

If your total speed for the round is equal to or below the speed limit, no action occurs.

Speeding? Pay Heat equal to the difference between your speed and the speed limit (see Heat Cards).

Pay for each corner separately, starting with the first one crossed.

Spin out

Insufficient Heat to cover excess Speed results in a spin-out after paying all available Heat.

  • Move the car to the first available space before the corner where the spin-out occurred.
  • Take 1 extra Stress card if in 1st/2nd gear, or 2 if in 3rd/4th.
  • Move your Gear pawn to 1st gear.

8. Discard

This is an option step. You can discard cards from your hand by placing them face up in your discard pile. Remember, only the top card can be viewed. Stress or Heat cards (including the Upgrade ones) cannot be discarded.

9. Replenish Hand

Remember, this is one of the required steps of your turn.
Take all cards from your Play Area and put them onto your discard pile.
Draw back up to 7 cards, then the next player can proceed with steps 3-9.

Running out of cards

If your draw deck is empty, shuffle your discard pile and use it as your new draw deck to draw or flip cards.

Don’t shuffle your Play Area back in the deck during your turn if this happens before the final redrawing step, as the cards have not been discarded yet.

Heat Pedal to the Metal Heat Cards

Heat Cards 

As you race around the track you should use Heat to drive faster on straights and in corners. As a consequence, Heat cards will move from your Engine to your discard pile. Later on they will be shuffled into your draw deck and reach your hand. The only way to get Heat cards out of your hand and back into the Engine is to cool

down, typically by shifting to lower gears. This cycle means the same Heat card could be used several times during a race, depending on how fast you use it, draw it and cool it down again.

Heat cards can never be discarded or played from your hand. They effectively reduce your hand size by filling it up with useless cards.

Paying Heat 

Every time you are asked to pay 1 Heat, you must take 1 Heat card from your Engine and move it to your discard pile. If you do not have a Heat card available, you cannot choose to Boost. If you went through a corner exceeding the Speed Limit and do not have enough Heat to pay, you spin out (see p. 6

Heat Pedal to the Metal 3

Shifting up/down 2 positions

If you want to move your Gear pawn an extra step up or down (e.g. between gears 1&3 or 2&4) during step 1: Shift Gears, you have to pay 1 Heat immediately. As everyone shifts gears at the same time, just announce you are doing it, pay the Heat and move your Gear pawn accordingly.

Cluttered Hand

If you have too many Heat cards, use playable cards first and cover the remaining difference with Heat.
In this turn, your car stays in place. Move your Gear pawn to 1 gear, discard the cards in your Play Area, and proceed to step 9 (Replenish Hand).

How to Win

Win by crossing the finish line first after completing the laps indicated on the board. If two or more cars finish together, the winner is the car furthest ahead. In case of a tie, the spot closest to the Race Line wins.

When crossing the Finishing Line on the last lap

Slipstreaming is prohibited. It is not allowed to slipstream even when you are approaching the finish line.
After crossing the finish line, ignore speed limits in corners and move as far as possible.
Remove finishing cars from track, place on Hall of Fame Space. Play until all cars finish. Adrenaline to last/last two cars based on number of cars that started.

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