Thursday, May 19, 2016


RoboRally was on sale at Amazon and I've heard friends mention it a number of times, so I bought it. It's a race in which the players send robots trundling around a factory floor that has a few numbered flags scattered about; you're trying to be the first to touch each flag, in order. Except your robot is fairly stupid, with only a limited set of commands (such as Move 3, or Back Up, or Rotate Right) each turn. And the factory floor has conceyors, pits, lasers, and other hazards. And all the other robots also have lasers, and if they run into you they can shove you off course...
In my first game, SpinBot got off to a quick lead, charging across the floor while SquashBot lurched well behind...but Squash got a laser shot on Spin. The two bots jockeyed back and forth, trying to end their movement on the first flag. They managed that, and then Squash accidentally rammed Spin, knocking him into a laser. Each point of damage reduces your number of maneuver cards available, so Spin was only getting 7 cards vs SquashBot's 9; while you can only use 5 cards per turn, the reduction in cards to choose from can make a huge difference. 
Both bots sped for Flag 2, but had difficulty picking maneuvers to end on the flag; they overshot, drove around, spun in place, got carried away by a conveyor, and bashed into walls. Squash eventually managed to land on the 2nd flag, then headed for the final one. He caromed off a wall, made two loops, and arrived at Flag 3 just as the hapless SpinBot finally got a path that put him on Flag 2.
I'm not entirely thrilled with the physical components--the board and cards could be sturdier--but I got it at a steep discount. It's quick and easy to learn, and if you have the appropriate fatalistic attitude and can cope with your maneuver cards being not helpful at all...again....then it's a lot of fun.

A few days later we had another game of RoboRally, this time with three players. None of us even made it to the first flag. We each drove into pits or off the board twice. Betina deliberately pushed me into a pit ("It was an accident!" she says, with a telltale note of glee) to wreck my bot for the third and final time, but Justice was quickly served. On the next turn, Rachel accidentally backed into Betina and shoved her into a pit, leaving Rachel as the survivor.

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