Boardom is the regular blog feature in which Mary geeks out on table top games.

RoboRally is a hilarious robot race through a dangerous factory. It’s possibly the last thing I’d expect from the creator of Magic: The Gathering. Each player has to race to different check points in a certain order and the winner is the first to reach all of them. The challenge is that it isn’t exactly turn-by-turn. These aren’t androids or Cylons we’re talking about. They’re simple robots, and they need to be programmed.  Ahead of time.

RoboRally

So using the movement deck, each player has to program their robot’s next five moves before they happen. Then the round begins and you have to make those moves NO MATTER WHAT.

Easy, right?

Wrong. You were planning on moving your bot forward three spaces? Well your nemesis, the Twonky bot, has priority and slams into you, pushing you on the conveyor belt heading nowhere fast! (Twonky really is one of the RoboRally robots, and also has a presence in Borean Tundra.) You still have to move forward those three spaces because it’s in your program, but the conveyor belt has turned you around, so you’re really going the opposite direction you intended!

This game takes a lot of thinking ahead, visualization, and anticipation of possibilities. It’s easy to learn, hard but fun to play, and quite unique.

THE BASICS:

Play Time: 2 hours

Number of Players: 2-8. I’ve never played with just two. I think it wouldn’t be as hard or chaotic (or fun), but I should try it. 4-5 seems ideal to me, but if you really want your head to explode, go for 8!

Suggested age: 10 and up.

Designer: Richard Garfield (The creator of Magic: The Gathering!)

Artist: Phil Foglio of Girl Genius worked on the original Wizards of the Coast version. The latest Avalon Hill version has art by Peter Bergting,  Bob Carasca, Jennifer Lathrop, and Peter Whitley.

Published: 1994, Wizards of the Coast. Avalon Hill is the most recent publisher.

Buy: $35-45 from various sites.