RoboRally

2010-06-14T21:37:24.76-07:00

On Friday I did a review of the game Drakon, which I said was like the love child of D&D and RoboRally, so I thought it might be nice if I followed it up with a little history. Here my friends is RoboRally, one of the first quirky board games I ever played.

I remember 1995 rather well, it was a pivotal year in my road to geekdom. I was already well on my way with my love of Lego's, video games, and had recently been initiated into war based board games like Risk and Stratego. Perhaps it was these "gateway" games that led to my rapid downfall, but in 1995 I found in my friends basement a rather unassuming game called RoboRally that would change everything.

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Not in this box mind you, though it has its original art by Phil Foglio. At that point in time it was published by a group called Wizards of the Coast perhaps you have heard of them? Anyway, I asked if we could play it and a few minutes later we were sprawled out on the rug in the basement laying out the tiles on the floor and reading the wonderful flavor text that was on all the various cards and instructions.

Flavor Text: Text added to game pieces that is not necessary for game-play but adds to the overall atmosphere of the game, often a brief narrative or quote.

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After a few demonstrative rounds we were on our way racing through the sadistic maze dodging lazers trying to destroy each other while reaching the various rally points. It was an absolute blast. The only problem is that it is rather hard to play with 2 players and so we didn't play it very often. However some part of the game had left a sort of geeky taint upon my soul, possibly the work of dark wizards.

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Actually it was the work of just one dark wizard. You may recognize this name, perhaps because he created the largest and most widespread CCG of all time. It is because of this man and MTG that from 1995 to 2001, upon meeting someone I would usually immediately ask if they "played Magic", which 75% of the time yielded a quizzical look and an awkward laugh, but for the other 25% it provided an instant in, and bonding that I hardly think any other hobby could achieve. So as you can see 1995 and RoboRally proved to be a critical point in my life as a gamer.

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Here it is as a mess put away hastily in the game box. I assure you when I put it away after I was done taking pictures it was very well organized, zip-lock bags were involved.

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Here is everything out and a little more organized. It may seem like a lot is going on, but for all the pieces the game is rather simple.

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You've got your life tokens...

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and your damage tokens. You see, being a robot has certain perks, your steely metal outsides protects your electronic insides from damage, hence you can take quite a bit of damage before your life starts running out. However their are some things that negate this, and I am not talking about a logic trap.

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Periodically you may take the option to Power Down in order to rest and repair.


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Here is the cast of robots.



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The rally points and the programming timer. I have to say the neon yellow plastic is a favorite of mine.



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Here are the program cards which you lay down in sequence move your robot around the board.


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Upgrades which help cause a little more robo-mayhem.


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These are the course tiles, they are double sided and contain all sorts of fun obsticals for the robots. There are several expansion pacts that Avalon Hill (The division of Wizards of the Coast that does board games now) still prints. Some expansion packs did not get the re-print treatment but can still be obtained online.


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As you can see, there are lots of lazers and traps for maximum fun!



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Here are the individual robot player cards, as you can see there is a place to put all of your various markers as well as the sequence of your programming cards.


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There is also some basic turn information and the flavor text for the individual robot.



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This is the factory floor guide, it is essential for new players as it says what everything on the board means. Once you play a few games though you probably won't need to reference it anymore.


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Experienced players only need to whip this out to solve a debate if memories are not so fresh on how the various parts work.


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The rulebook and course manual. Similar to Drakon, this is another game I suggest you have at least three players to play... Though I think the age limit is a bit to steep.. I was playing this around 10-11.



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Inside are a bunch of suggested ways to play, you can also set up your own course.


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Here are robot figures you move around the board, the pointed end indicates what direction they are facing which is a very important factor in the game.


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You may be asking yourself right now, "Why only two pictures of the figures? In other articles you photographed several, if not all!", and you are right.. in other articles I did do that. In this one I am not because the one major thing I am disappointed with in the re-print version of RoboRally is these plastic figures... they are a weird soft plastic and they are not nearly as cool as the metal figures that came with the original. Sorry, I just have a thing for metal figures and that was a big disappointment for me.



The point of RoboRally is to move around the board, dodging lasers, pitfalls, and other robots, to reach certain rally points on the board. You make your move by laying down up to five program cards in sequence before the timer runs out, then everyone flips their cards in order and their is a heirarchy of which card activates before others. You may have had the perfect moves all planned out only to have them overturned by your robot getting moved a single space by anther players actions. It is rather humorous to see when a player thought he was going to win, being bumped so that his little robo obediently walks right into a pitfall. It is a lot of fun with a group of friends and if you can find the older expansions I highly suggest you get them as well. 
Ultimately RoboRally is a little box full of nostalgia for me, and I am sure it will be for you as well when you sit down and play this charming and quirky game.




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