This weeks game is RoboRally.  There’s a demo of the game on that link, I recommend giving it a go.

Destroy all Humans? Not this time.

RoboRally was released in 1994 to almost no acclaim, which is sad because the game is rather good.  Not the best board game you’ll ever play, but fun enough to pull out during game night from time to time.  “So Taco,” I hear you asking, “Why post a good, but not wonderful game on your blog.  Surely there are much better games to spotlight.”

First of all, don’t call me Shirley;  second, it’s my blog; and third, I got really sick this weekend and I needed something easy to review.

Anyway; the gameplay is rather straight forward.  You have a robot that you are trying to navigate to one or more flags in order.  In your way are other players’ robots, traps-a-plenty, conveyor belts, and the odd spinning gear.  You are dealt 7 cards with moments on them such as turn, move forward 2 spaces, turn around, reverse, etc.  You queue up 5 of these cards and then everyone executes these commands one round at a time.

It’s a pretty fun game, and it’s certainly one that’s in our board game rotation.  The only issue I have with the game is that those with a more mathematical brain tend to succeed a little too easily.  Indeed when I played this with a bunch of fellow engineers the games tended to be pretty brief because calculating movements and whatnot was something our brains were always geared to do anyway.

Thus I provide you with a few house rules we put in to dice things up and make it all a little more difficult:

  1. When taking damage, instead of locking in the current movement; each round locked in movement slots are dealt a card off the top of the deck after the primary deal out.  The card is placed face down so that the player can’t see it.  This mixes things up rather nicely.
  2. NPC bots are populated randomly on the board (each board is X wide and Y long.  We use an online random number generator to produce an X,Y coordinate for the NPC).  After the primary deal out, each NPC is dealt 5 cards face down off the top of the deck.  These cards are executed in order with all the other players.
    • If an NPC is destroyed it’s repopulated on the next round (a fresh roll is made on the random generator)
    • If a player kills an NPC they are given an equipment card.
  3. All card placement is done with the timer.  In the official game rules the timer is only used when one person is left holding cards.  In our case we found that the game was harder and more fun if we always started the timer at the beginning of the placement phase.
  4. Every 10 rounds the goal locations randomize (Use the same random generator for the NPC bots).

Generally we only used 1 or 2 of those in any game, because it become too much to keep track of otherwise, but we did enjoy the games more with house rules.

-Confusion is a state of mind, or is it?