Board game reviews, strategy tips & session reports
No. of players: 2-8
Amount of time to play: 120 min
Age requirements: 12+
Set-up time: 10 minutes
RoboRally is a hectic race to the finish line. You must plan each of your robot’s moves, but often, things don’t go according to plan.
The core of RoboRally is the program cards. To start you are dealt nine program cards. Program cards can rotate your robot left and right or move your robot forward and backward. You choose which six programs you want to use on your turn and place them facedown on your play mat. Extras cards are discarded.
When planning, you are not to move your robot on the map. You must envision each step and rotation in your head and reference the map.
Once all players have chosen their cards (you can use a timer to keep this phase moving), everyone reveals their first program card and moves in speed order (highest first). If you bump into anyone they are pushed forward unless they hit a wall.
The map also contains conveyor belts, gears and pits. The belts and gears will move after everyone executes their program card. If your robot is on them they move too. Walking into a pit or off the map will kill your robot. You will re-spawn next turn on the last checkpoint you reached.
Then all the robots shoot a laser hitting any robot in front of them. If you are hit you place a marker on your play mat showing the damage. For each damage token you have you receive one less program card from which to choose your six. And once you have more than four damage tokens your program cards become locked. That means you’ll do those actions from that point going forward.
You repeat this process of executing a card, moving the board elements, and firing lasers until all six cards are face up.
You can spend an entire round powered down. You do nothing but will heal all damage. While powered down you can still be pushed and shot. There are also upgrade spaces on the board which will remove add a cool feature to your robot.
The first player to land on the last checkpoint wins.
RoboRally is a classic at this point, but I thought I’d tell any readers who have not tried it, how it is. It is very chaotic and very fun. Each round you are in close proximity to another robot you’ll be wondering if they’ll push you and mess up your sequence of movements. Sometimes no one is near you and you just get confused. That’s when you hold on and wait to see what happens. Either way the result is tense, fun and sometimes hilarious.
I really like the program cards and how you plan your route and even have to adjust things on the fly. What do you do if you get no rotate right cards? Maybe U-turn plus one rotate left card will work.
Another humorous part of RoboRally is the way everyone shifts in their chair trying to figure out their robot’s facing and position on the map. After you play you’ll understand the confusion that can take place.
I have the Avalon Hill version of RoboRally and have played the WotC version. The components are great and the rules are easy to follow. There are different courses to race and even map expansion packs. These add to the replay value of the game.
RoboRally is a great game to play with non-gamers and a variety of ages. I think it has a place in most any game collection.
Score and synopsis: (Click here for an explanation of these review categories.)
Strategy 3 out of 6
Luck 3 out of 6
Player Interaction 5 out of 6
Replay Value 5 out of 6
Complexity 4 out of 6
Fun 5 out of 6
Overall 5 out of 6