Review of RoboRally the Board Game

RoboRally – the zany board game of robot madness! You are a supercomputer in a giant robotics factory, and you’re…umm…bored… No, really, computers get bored too! So you and the other supercomputers get this crazy idea you’re each going to program a robot and race them around the factory floor. This can only end in tears.

Appearance:

RoboRally is a very attractive board game, the robot miniatures are the greatest part of this game’s flavour. With names like Twonky and TrundleBot the game has pieces to match. You can just tell by looking at them that these bots have a few screws loose, pardon the pun. The board itself looks maddening with all the conveyor belts and gears and lasers. The cards are also nicely done. They couldn’t really have done anything with the movement cards so I don’t blame them there, but the special item cards have images that really translate their function well. And they look good.

Score: 8/10 – For visually stimulating my desire to make robots do crazy destructive things.

Rules/Gameplay:

As frustrating as RoboRally can be, the design is truly brilliant. Each turn players are given 10 movement cards in order to pre-plan 5 actions. Be it moving forward or backward, turning right or left, each of your movements has to be planned before the action starts. The goal of your movement is to race the other robots to predetermined locations on the game board. This may sound simple, and it’s simple enough to understand, but it can play havoc on your brain getting around some of the twists.

Twist #1 – The board. With 4 two-sided playing surfaces and the possibility of overlapping them at any given point, there are a myriad of game possibilities. Within these varying boards you have many hazards to avoid; such as conveyor belts which move you whether you like it or not, gears which turn you, lasers that sear your hide a nice golden brown, and pushers which, well, push you at their own discretion.

Twist#2- The players. You thought your planning was perfect. Your five movements were going to get you to that finish line and you were home free. Then someone pushed you just one square to the left. Now you’re in a pit. Good times. Yes, each player’s moves are done one at a time. So when your first move puts you in the path of another player’s first move, they end up pushing you off course. Now those last four moves you so elegantly planned are for naught. Sorry.

Twist#3- Damage. Pain and death come to us all, even robots. In RoboRally each robot one has 10 health, and there are countless ways to take damage. Sadly, once you’ve taken 5 damage, every subsequent damage you take will cause your poor robot’s brain to short-circuit and one of your movements will be locked onto the last movement it was designated. There are ways to be healed, but it can be a darn nuisance getting to those healing spots when you always have to finish your movements by turning around.

Now just imagine your sense of satisfaction when you successfully navigate the many pitfalls of the game, coupled with the “accidental” interference of your friends, and find yourself at the finish line. Screws loose and all.

Score: 9/10 – For having a game of crazy robot antics almost perfected

Overall:

RoboRally is a brilliant game whose length depends on the sadistic tendencies of its’ player – all in all a truly genius bit of entertainment. It looks good and remains balanced and quite challenging throughout the game. Add on to that the ability to adjust the board and checkpoints to make the game easier or harder for all different occasions and groups. Certainly one of my top 10 board games.

Score: 8.5/10 – There’s not much else to say – a must have.